Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review

Huawei Mate 20 ProHuawei’s phones just keep on getting better. The Mate 20 Pro is packed with stunning options and offers up a superb different to any other flagship phone on the market right now. Huawei unveiled the Mate 10 Pro that had not just only the new Kirin 970 processor but also a perceptibly totally different style from the Mate 9 that preceded it. The Mate 20 Pro continues that trend with another fully new style, a next-gen CPU and also the camera setup everybody wants: commonplace, wide-angle and photo. With other new features such as the innovative in-screen fingerprint sensor, 3D face scanning unlock and reverse wireless charging, it's a very tempting flagship to add to your shortlist.


Design and Display
In terms of build quality, the Mate 20 Pro finds itself in a crowded company of phones. The phone has an aluminum frame, which sandwiches glass on the front and back. The usual durability caveats which apply to phones with glass backs also apply to the Mate 20 Pro. However, it seems the ship has long sailed for metal unibody flagships, so I won’t waste much time here. The aluminum frame of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is thinner than the Huawei P20 Pro because the phone has curving sides and a curving back.


While it's nothing special once it comes to the build quality, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s look and feel are a few things completely different. On the front, we've a 6.39-inch OLED display with a wide display notch. The notch contains all the required components for 3D facial recognition, including a dot projector, IR camera, and flood illuminator.


The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has curved display edges like Samsung’s flagship phones. This means that side bezels are virtually non-existent. Although a curved display reduces screen real estate, it also has the advantage of making the phone narrower. At 72mm wide, the Mate 20 Pro is one of the narrowest flagships I’ve used so far, and this has a positive impact on ergonomics, which are excellent. The chin is also small, which results in the Mate 20 Pro has a decent screen-to-body ratio of 87.9%. There is no physical fingerprint sensor on the front or back, as Huawei uses an optical in-display fingerprint sensor. We will comment on its speed and accuracy in the Performance section.


On the top, we find an IR blaster and the microphone. At this point, Huawei is the only major device maker that continues to include an IR blaster in its flagship devices, so if users care for this feature, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is additional or less the only choice.


The power and volume buttons are situated on the right-hand side. I had no complaints regarding the buttons in terms of stiffness. They are easy to press, requiring the right amount of pressure. Their location is optimal as well.


On the left-hand side, we find the SIM tray. The dual-SIM variant of the Mate 20 Pro has a hybrid SIM tray which takes either two nano-SIMs or a nano-SIM and a Nano-Memory (NM) card, which is of the same size as a nano-SIM.


The bottom of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is minimalist as there are no visible speaker grilles. Instead, a speaker is contained inside the USB Type-C (USB 3.1) port. (The earpiece acts as a secondary speaker.) The Huawei Mate 20 Pro lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, forcing users to use less convenient alternatives.


The triple camera setup is laid out prominently at the center on the back inside a square camera module. I worry that it makes the phone stand out a bit too much. On the positive side, the camera bump here is negligible despite the presence of the huge 40MP 1/1.7-inch sensor, which is good to see.


The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has an IP68 rating for water resistance, up from the IP67 rating of the Huawei P20 Pro.


The Huawei Mate 20 Pro features a 6.39-inch Quad HD+ (3120×1440) OLED display with a 19.5:9 ratio. The display’s dimensions are 147 mm x 68 mm Huawei sources the display alternately from BOE display and LG display. It should be noted that some LG Display panels on the phone have suffered from green tint issues. The panel has LG’s DDIC, while the BOE Display panel uses a DDIC supplied by Synaptics.


By default, the display’s resolution is ready to Full HD+ (2340×1080), however, it will be increased to Quad HD+ (3120×1440). Increasing the display resolution increases the display’s effective pixel density from 403 to 538 PPI, which means per-inch sharpness is increased by over a third. Huawei’s text rendering in EMUI 9 has perceptibly improved as even Full HD+ resolution is okay to my eyes (despite the very fact that the display uses a PenTile matrix). Increasing the resolution to Quad HD+ does make text appreciably sharper, though.


The Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s Display supports HDR10. It also has a Natural Tone feature that competes with Apple’s True Tone feature on the iPhone XS. Natural Tone calibrates the display’s white point according to ambient light temperature. In my testing, this works well, but it does have the expected effect of reducing white point color accuracy.


Overall, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s BOE display is amazing. It has a few minor issues related to the lack of support for Android’s color management system and the bluish-white point of the Vivid mode, but there is not much to complain about. Note that the LG Display panel can have different panel characteristics. Unfortunately, buyers have to deal with different components in this key area.


Camera
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a triple rear camera setup, which is branded the Leica Triple Camera. The primary sensor is the 40MP Sony IMX600, which has a 1/1.7-inch sensor size, 1.0μm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture, and 27mm equivalent focal length. It does not have OIS. The secondary camera is an 8MP sensor with 1/4-inch sensor size, OIS, f/2.4 aperture, and an 80mm focal length. This lets it provide nearly 3x optical (lossless) zoom relative to the 27mm focal length of the primary camera, and it also has a 5x hybrid zoom option.


While the Huawei P20 Pro had a 20MP monochrome tertiary camera, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro retires it in favor of a brand new 20MP ultra-wide-angle camera. The ultra-wide-angle sensor has an f/2.2 aperture, 16mm focal length, and autofocus (!). Autofocus has traditionally been missing in ultra-wide-angle cameras (as seen on LG’s flagships and the Samsung Galaxy S10), so the Huawei Mate 20 Pro positively distinguishes itself in this respect.


There's one camera on the front, a similar 24Mp selfie camera we have seen before on Huawei phones. It does a great job as you can see below, and there's plenty of detail if you turn off the Beauty mode which is on by default and which smooths out the skin. There was clearly an issue with the early software on our test phone because we couldn't get the portrait mode to blur the background at all, but the feature is there.


Master AI, first introduced in the Huawei P20 Pro, returns on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It can now recognize more scenes and objects. Huawei has significantly improved the performance of Master AI, to the point where I recommend leaving it switched on. The “Blue Sky” and “Greenery” scene modes are significantly toned down in terms of saturation and exposure, and over-saturation of colors is not an issue anymore. It can still misidentify scenes, but the frequency of this issue has gone down. Master AI now also hurries up when it comes to switching between scenes. The chances of a photo being taken in the wrong scene mode are lower now. All these improvements have to be commended.


Video still super out at 4K at 30fps, however, the massive modification is that there is stabilization at all resolutions. There's no longer a tick-box to show it on and off: it's on all the time. Huawei calls it AIS, or AI Stabilisation because it uses the NPU to analyze and smooth out the jerkiness.


There's a noticeable remarkable between 4K video shot on the Mate 20 Pro and the P20 Pro / Mate 10 Pro. The latter two were almost unusable with no stabilization, but that's not the case now.


Operating System
Mate 20 Pro runs Android 9 Pie with Huawei's EMUI 9.0 software. remains a strange combination of Google’s software and knock-off iOS. It ditches the app drawer for an iOS-like appearance of multiple home screens crammed with apps, not to mention it comes with an excess of bloatware. Everything regarding EMUI continues to feel a touch everywhere the place. The icons are blocky and ugly, notifications often miss out important information, and the Settings menu is a mess of hard-to-find options.


Storage and Ram
Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with 128 GB of internal storage with NM card, up to 256GB. and Huawei Mate 20 included 6 GB of RAM.


Conclusion
Huawei Mate 20 Pro is one of the best smartphone made by Huawei company. By combining the best quality style, the most effective cameras at launch and excellent battery longevity, the Mate 20 Pro asserts its position among 2018's high flagship phones. It's still a great buy in 2019 too.


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