Gadget Review: Honor 20 Pro
The lines between high-end devices and those below continue to blur, as makers continue to add top-tier features to the latter. And Huawei and its sub-brand Honor are at the forefront of this charge.
The Honor 20 Pro is the company's latest flagship. With a 6.26-inch screen that's pretty standard today, it boasts of a chin thin enough to make it look like a true edge-to-edge display. A little punch-hole front camera on the upper-left portion is blessed with face-unlocking tech that holds up really well even in darkness.
Honor's fingerprint scanner is on the side, embedded in the power button. This is a hit-or-miss; it's great for right-handed users, since the natural positioning of their thumb will be right on that spot. Above that is the volume rocker; on the other side is the dual SIM tray and below is the USB-C port. No 3.5mm audio jack, so that will be an issue for some.
Right behind are not three, but four lenses powering its AI quad-camera. Apart from the standard wide (48MP), super-wide (16MP) and telephoto (8MP) lenses, Honor threw in an additional 2MP lens dedicated to macro shots. The biggest difference from the Huawei P30 Pro is that the latter's fourth lens is a time-of-flight (ToF) camera, which gives more options to control depth of field.
The camera system has a laser autofocus feature that zeroes in on your subject while giving that needed background effect, so shots are really balanced and crisp. If you zoom in - the 20 Pro has 3x optical zoom and a distant 30x digital zoom - the results will vary, particularly because of lighting conditions; the lower the light gets, the grainier and smudgier it'll get. Its night time mode solves most glare and smudge issues. The ultra-wide-angle option is great for getting everyone in the shot.
The generously-specced 32MP front camera doesn't 'beautify' you, unlike other smartphones that sometimes make you look like you're covered in foundation.
Battery life is good, but not among the best. In our standard test, it lost 13 per cent of juice; by comparison, the Honor View 20, launched earlier this year, clocked in at 14 per cent.
We're all aware of the issues Huawei and Honor are facing with the US. The 20 Pro, as listed on its website, runs on Honor's "Magic UI 2.1 (compatible with Android 9)". In other words, it's still an Android phone. Even more to look forward to is that Honor has confirmed that this smartphone will receive the upcoming Android Q update. The Magic UI is too simple, as it doesn't jive with the strong offerings this device brings to the table.
The 20 Pro is big on the memory side, having 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, though the latter is non-expandable.
The Honor 20 Pro challenges the notion that the best needs to be pricey. The message Honor is sending isn't just targeted at peers - it's a clear signal to those above that surprises like this at this range can indeed be pulled off.
Huawei Kirin 980, 7nm, dual-NPU
Magic UI 2.1 (compatible with Android 9.0 Pie); upgradeable to Android Q
6.26" FullView, 2340 x 1080, 91.7% ratio
Main - quad-lens: 48MP wide (f/1.4) + 16MP super-wide (f/2.2) + 8MP telephoto (f/2.4) + 2MP macro (f/2.4), laser AF; front - 32MP (f/2.0)
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C; dual nano SIM
Excellent camera; good battery; crisp display
No listed IP rating; side fingerprint sensor a hit-or-miss; missing headphone jack/non-expandable memory can be an issue