Chinese smartphone brand Huawei recently launched its flagship smartphone Mate 20 Pro in India. The smartphone is touted for its exquisite design, triple rear cameras, powerful Kirin 980 processor and so much more. You name a feature, and Huawei guarantees that Mate 20 Pro can excel in it. We spent a few days with it, to find out if the smartphone is really that great. Read the rest of our review to know if Huawei Mate 20 Pro should be your next buy:
Design and Display
Everything about Huawei Mate 20 Pro‘s design is premium. The smartphone looks absolutely stunning with its curved display and gradient metallic back panel. The two merge with each other seamlessly at the thin edges. At first, it may remind you of the Samsung Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+, but Huawei Mate 20 Pro does have a personality of its own.
Huawei has said that its flagship device comes with a ‘hyper-optical pattern’ on the glass that enhances the grip of the user. It also reduces the number of fingerprints that the smartphone catches while being used. We have to admit that Huawei Mate 20 Pro does not catch as many fingerprints as other glass smartphones. Over that, we – found it to be less slippery. Considering we almost accepted the fact that all smartphones with glass bodies are fingerprint magnets and can easily slip, Huawei Mate 20 Pro – made a mark by not being either.
While the front is dominated by the display that comes with a notch on top and an on-screen fingerprint sensor, the back panel has shades of three colours on it—Blue, Purple and Black. The lightest of all shades, Blue, starts from the top, followed by Purple at the middle and Black towards the bottom. The rear panel houses the square camera module that has three sensors and an LED flash. At the bottom is where the Huawei branding can be found. We loved the three-tone pattern on metallic back panel of the device. Also, Huawei makes its flagship stand out with the square camera module. During our time with the smartphone, it didn’t catch any scratches, and we think that’s a big plus.
The power and the volume rocker buttons are placed on the right edge of the smartphone and we loved how Huawei has made the power button Pink. The colour is in contrast with the shades used on the rest of the smartphone’s body. But then, instead of looking out of place, it actually makes the smartphone look more stylish. The bottom edge houses the USB Type C port along with the SIM tray and IR emitter is placed at the top. You would notice that Huawei Mate 20 Pro does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack or a speaker grille. This is because Huawei has used the USB Type-C port as an outlet for sound and the earpiece for audio playback in the smartphone. However, we should mention that this doesn’t deteriorate the quality of sound on the Mate 20 Pro, although if you try to listen to music while charging your smartphone, the sound is not as loud as it is otherwise.
We should mention that Huawei Mate 20 Pro has support for the company’s NM card format, which can be used for more storage. For those unaware, the NM card is smaller than a microSD card and can be inserted in the second SIM card slot. However, as of now, there is no word on when it will be made available.
In a nutshell, Huawei Mate 20 Pro ‘s design is extremely premium and the device manages to stand out with its three-toned pack panel, square camera setup and curved display.
Coming to the display of the newly launched Huawei Mate 20 Pro, it was simply a delight to use it. The screen of the device is 6.39-inches diagonally, so if you love watching videos and TV shows on your smartphone, be ready to be hooked to Huawei Mate 20 Pro. We found ourselves binge-watching videos for hours because of the high quality of the images projected.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro has an OLED display with QHD+ resolution and it has support for HDR. Thanks to the top-notch display specifications of Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the colours were very rich, the blacks were deeper than what we have seen on other flagships. And the curved screen has- 86.9% screen-to-body ratio, ensuring an incredible viewing experience for its user. One of the finer nuances that Huawei has taken care of is that unlike most other smartphones, the chin at the bottom of the display is very small, which is something we like.
There is a ‘Natural Tone’ option in the Display Settings of the smartphone, which makes the device’s display adjust its colour temperature based on the ambient light. Furthermore, you can select the Colour mode and temperature of the display on your own and switch on Eye Comfort to filter out the blue light. The latter proved to be useful when we used the device for some late-night reading.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro has an in-display fingerprint scanner, and rather than being placed towards the bottom of the smartphone, as we saw in Vivo NEX and OnePlus 6T, it is more towards the centre. We liked the performance of the on-screen fingerprint sensor as it mostly could recognise our fingerprint. The only exception to this was once when we tried unlocking the device with our moist finger. But then, we loved the ripple effect that is created on the smartphone each time it is unlocked. Apart from unlocking the device, the fingerprint scanner can also be used to access some locked apps.
To sum it all up, we would say that Huawei Mate 20 Pro has one of the best displays among the smartphones that we have used in the last few months. No matter what content you watch on it, it will all be a visual treat for the eyes.
Performance and Cameras
Before we start talking about the performance of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, lets us run you down through its specifications. The smartphone runs Android 9.0 Pie skinned with EMUI 9.0 out of the box and is powered by the company’s flagship HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor clubbed with 6GB RAM. The smartphone comes with 128GB storage as we mentioned earlier, uses a Nano-memory card of up to 256GB for more storage space.
On the camera front, Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a triple rear camera setup that comprises of a 40MP primary wide-angle sensor with f/1.8 aperture, a 20MP ultra wide-angle sensor with f/2.2 aperture, and an 8MP 3X telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture. The camera app of the device has support for Optical Imaging Stabalization, too.
On Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s front panel, there is a 24MP RGB selfie camera that has an f/2.0 aperture and it has support for 3D facial unlocking. This smartphone houses a 4,200mAh battery that supports 40W SuperCharge technology and 15W fast wireless charging technology. The smartphone also comes with a provision for wireless reverse charging, so it can be used to charge other Qi wireless devices.
Now let’s talk about the software and the operating system of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. One of the key features of the new EMUI 9.0 skin by Huawei is that digital wallets, flashlight, calculator and other useful features, and apps can be accessed directly from the lock screen of the smartphone. Another very interesting feature that has been added is in the camera app of the smartphone. Huawei Mate 20 Pro mobile comes with HiVision, which is the company’s answer to Google Lens and can be used to identify objects, count the calories in food items, find similar objects online to shop, scan QR codes and translate the text.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro has support for a number of gestures. Like swiping left will take you back to the previous screen, swiping up from the bottom will take you to the Home Screen, and you can access Google Assistant by swiping upwards from the corners.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro also comes with Android 9 Pie’s Digital Wellbeing feature, however, since the device has a skin of its own, it has been named as Digital Balance. The feature gives you a daily report about your app usage and can also be used to limit your screen time. There is an option called ‘Bedtime’ that turns the screen to greyscale after the pre-set time.
The mobile device also comes with a Password Vault that saves all the login credentials for your apps. According to Huawei, to ensure user privacy, the passwords are stored locally on the smartphone and not digitally.
You can also find some gaming-centric features like ‘Game acceleration’ and ‘Uninterrupted gaming’ in the AppAssitant section that can be found in the Settings of your device. This will ensure that the device gives its best while gaming and you aren’t disturbed by notifications.
Moving on, we would say that Huawei Mate 20 Pro is quite a power performer. The company’s new Kirin 980 SoC can literally handle anything starting from multitasking, to heavy gaming and even hours of streaming videos. Even high graphics games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends run very smoothly on this smartphone.
Even after prolonged gaming and navigation (which we often did together), the smartphone didn’t heat up or even warm up a bit. Most people would expect this from a flagship smartphone, but considering Huawei Mate 20 Pro is not powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor like most other high-end Android devices, we weren’t sure about it till we started using it.
While we have already spoken about the in-display fingerprint scanner of the smartphone, another feature that deserves your attention is 3D face recognition, which we think is quite brilliant. Regardless of the lighting conditions, the 3D face unlock feature worked very quickly. We even tried to use it in a room that was pitch dark and -surprisingly it worked.
The biggest highlight of the smartphone: Its triple rear camera setup is what everyone is talking about. So we spent a little extra time with it to understand it in and out. As we mentioned earlier, Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a 40MP primary sensor, a 20MP wide-angle sensor and an 8MP telephoto sensor. According to Huawei, the default settings of the 40MP primary sensor is such that it combines four pixels into one. So basically, you will get a 10MP image from it. However, you can change these settings and shoot at a complete 40MP resolution too.
The camera app of the smartphone is extremely easy to use and it is very simple to toggle between the three cameras.
In well-lit conditions, Huawei Mate 20 Pro can focus on an object very quickly and can automatically detect objects, and scenes to switch modes according to what it sees. We noticed that the colours were a little enhanced in the images, but they didn’t look artificial at all. In fact, they somehow made the images look better. And when you point the camera towards a person, the app automatically switches its mode to Portrait.
Coming to the 20MP wide-angle sensor, you can use this mode to click various landscape shots. Although the images that we took with this sensor were very clear and sharp, they were not as great as the ones taken with the primary sensor. However, we did like some of the shots that we managed to take with the ‘Super Macros’ mode turned on.
We are really impressed by the 8MP telephoto lens of the smartphone that supports up to 3x zoom. We clicked some very clear zoomed-in images using it and they were extremely sharp with almost no noise.
The cameras of the smartphone clicked some very high-quality images with excellent colours, sharpness and clarity. The details, exposure and white balance were just right. What’s more, the sensors managed to retain their performance in dimly lit areas too, without compromising on the focusing speed.
Coming to the 24MP selfie camera of the smartphone, it left us with a bag of mixed feelings. In well-lit conditions, it did an excellent job. The images taken were simply amazing, had accurate colours and were as clear as the ones taken by rear cameras. We even liked how we had the ability to choose Bokeh patterns and use personalised beautification features.
However, in dimly lit conditions, the quality of the images somehow goes down. It didn’t match up to the rear cameras of the device, and we expected slightly better in terms of clarity of the images. We should also mention that Huawei Mate 20 Pro can be used to shoot 4K videos at 30fps and slow-motion videos at up to 960fps.
Now, let’s talk about the 4,200mAh battery of the smartphone. We used the smartphone for streaming videos, binge-watching YouTube, playing games, navigation via Google Maps for hours and so much more. However, even with usage like that, the battery could easily last more than a day. Even when the battery is less than 20%, you would be able to use the device for navigation and playing music for an hour. How many smartphones can do that?
The smartphone comes with a feature called Super Charge, with which it can charge from 0 to 96% in an hour. No, we are not exaggerating. A unique ability of the device is that it comes with reverse wireless charging. So, it can act as a wireless charger and charge other devices that support Qi wireless charging. However, we couldn’t test this feature during our time with the smartphone.
We ran benchmark tests on the smartphone, too. While it scored 3,273 and 9,828 in single and multi-core scores of Geekbench, it managed a 2,76,067 in Antutu. All of them indicating high-end performance.
Verdict and Final Thoughts
Huawei Mate 20 Pro is one of the most powerful performers in the premium smartphone market right now. The mobile device cannot disappoint you in any aspect. Although it comes with an exorbitant price tag of Rs 69,990, it doesn’t seem unreasonable considering the number of features this smartphone has to offer. Unless you are a Samsung or Apple loyalist, you can totally go for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It’s a powerful performer that has amazing cameras, a great display and stunning looks.
- Stunning design and display
- Amazing rear cameras
- Powerful performance
- In-display fingerprint sensor could have been more consistent
- Selfie camera can be better in dimly lit conditions