Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: One of the best camera phones money can buy
It offers a great deal of versatility with it’s wide angle, normal, telephoto and super macro modes.
Specifications: HiSilicon Kirin 980 octa core, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage (expandable only with nano memory card), 6.39-inch amoled display (19.5:9 aspect, 3120 x 1440 pixels, HDR10, DCI-P3 colour), in-display fingerprint scanner, 3D secure face unlock, Leica 40MP f1.8 wide angle + 20MP f2.2 ultra-wide + 8MP f2.4 telephoto, 24MP f2.0 front camera, WiFi ac, BT5.0, 4,200mAh battery, 180 grams.
Pros: Near-perfect combination of style & performance, every feature & spec you could ask for in a phone, fast performance, effortless & versatile tri-camera system.
Cons: Uses obscure proprietary nano memory card for expansion, reverse wireless charging is painfully slow, audio from speakers not loud enough.
When it comes to the best flagship smartphones you can buy, there are but a few names in the mix. You won’t be surprised at any of the usual suspects: iPhone XS, Pixel 3 and Galaxy Note 9 for instance. OnePlus has been inching up the order with the 6/6T but now, it’s Huawei’s turn.
The brilliant P20 Pro never got the attention it deserved (incidentally, it still sits at the top of the DxOMark Mobile ratings) and now Huawei has pulled out all the stops for this new global flagship. During the course of testing, we heard this statement from others quite often: “Mate 20 Pro is expensive for a Huawei”. And that’s the unfortunate perception the brand has. But they’ve literally ticked almost all the boxes when it comes to making a premium phone.
Save for a true bezelless screen, we can’t think of anything the Mate 20 Pro is missing. Some may complain about the EMUI interface that’s a little on the heavy side — but it’s nothing that a lightweight launcher can’t fix.
To start , the Mate 20 Pro has gorgeous design: curved glass front + back (quite like the Galaxy S9 Plus actually) and an eye-catching Twilight colour that shimmers between blue, purple and black . Top that off with a brilliant oled display (3120 x 1400 pixels, no less), blazing-fast Kirin 980 processor (it’s Huawei’s own 7nm chip, one of the fastest around) and a brand new tricamera system with wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens.
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Some of the other features include wireless charging, wireless reverse charging (to charge another Qi enabled phone), in-display fingerprint scanner, IR universal remote, 3D face unlock and ultrafast 40 watt charging. Huawei is going for the ‘three is better than two’ philosophy when it comes to cameralike they did with the P20 Pro.
The P20 Pro has a monochrome camera while the Mate 20 Pro takes a different approach: 40MP f1.8 wide angle lens, 20MP f2.2 ultrawide angle lens and 8MP f2.4 telephoto lens with heavy AI optimisation. This gives you a lot of flexibility while shooting — it can tackle indoors, landscapes, super macro, backlit, portraits and night with equal aplomb. It does ‘computational photography’ like the Google Pixel, often capturing bursts of images to add brightness/sharpness. And the result is stunning photos in most conditions.
The best adjective for the Mate 20 Pro camera is ‘effortless’. Coming to downsides, the back glass is glossy and prone to fingerprints. There’s no 4K 60 mode for video. And there have been some reports of dud screens on the Mate 20 Pro. Specifically, issues about green tints and flickering — this has been tied to issues with manufacturing of the LG amoled display. However, Huawei has since fixed this issue that occurred in the first small batch of phones.
Bottom line, the Mate 20 Pro offers a great deal of versatility with it’s wide angle, normal, telephoto and super macro modes. It can produce some truly stunning results, making it one of the best camera phones ever. But what spoils things somewhat is the aggressive AI that continues to work (in a reduced capacity) even when you turn it off from the settings. It’s almost as if Huawei doesn’t fully trust you to capture the photograph on your own. For this reason, we still prefer the Pixel 3 for photography (Pixel also does consistently better HDR & night shots) and we prefer the iPhone XS for video (Mate 20 Pro stabilisation isn’t as good and it can’t do 4K 60 video).
For a limited time, Huawei is offering a bundle with a pair of Sennheiser PXC 550 headphones for Rs 71,990 (Rs 2,000 extra). This is a fantastic deal because the PXC 550 itself costs Rs 28k at the time of writing (PXC 550 is a highly rated pair of active noise cancelling headphones).