Attention geeks and all those who can’t afford a full-blown flagship, there’s a new sharp shooter in town ready to take down the OnePlus 7.
By now you must’ve already caught up with all the shenanigans going on with Huawei and the White House. So, instead of making assumptions, we thought it best be ignored and instead, spend quality time with Honor’s newest midrange flagship baby.
If you’ve taken a glance at the spec sheet, the Honor 20 seems like the perfect smartphone you can get your hands on. Four cameras, punch hole notch, gradient back and top specs. It’s got the works. We put this into the boxing ring to see whether it’s got the potential to take out the OnePlus 7 and other ₹30k contenders out there. Round one, fight.
Design: Shines like a diamond
The Honor 20 borrows just one element from the View 20 - the punch hole notch. Apart from that, the rest of the phone is tweaked to charm today's generation. It’s got a very reflective glass at the back which inturn also becomes a fingerprint magnet.
If you happen to spot the phone from far, you’d believe there’s an LED light fitted into the back panel of the phone. It’s definitely eye-catching and pretty cool to stare at until the person gets creeped out and turns away. Don’t like the Gradient Blue? Choose the Midnight black instead.
Instead of a fingerprint scanner on the screen or the back, Honor shifted it to the power button. It super snappy to unlock and made purely for right handers so they can unlock the phone using the thumb right from the pocket and ready to use when it’s out. Left handers/pocketers will have to get used to their index or middle finger. How nice.
We liked the way the phone fits in the palm because of its form factor and decent weight. It’s definitely not as charming or premiumly finished like the OnePlus 7, but because of its curved aluminum edges and sticky glass at the back, it grips the palm nicely and keeps from slipping away.
And oh, it does not make space for a headphone jack, but it compensates with a USB Type C to 3.5mm dongle in the box.
Display: Sharp and vivid
The Honor 20 takes a big leap from last year’s Honor 10. It gets invited to the cut-hole notch club, there’s a smaller chin with no button, in turn making space for larger screen estate and more pixels to stare at.
What you get here is a 6.26in (2340p x 1080p) display, which is 0.2inches smaller than the View 20. Before you raise the question, no this isn't an AMOLED like the OnePlus 7. It still happily rocks an LCD like its siblings.
Nevertheless, the display is great to use, viewing angles are fine, colours are bright as ever and using it under sunny skies is quite manageable. Watching Netflix in HD, YouTube or playing games in landscape is lovely and we’ve not got any major complaints from our side. But we still wish it had an AMOLED.
Camera: Four eyed raven
Honor really praised the 20’s camera performance, which scored a 111 in the DxO Mark test. But how well does it actually perform against rivals in its price bracket? We put it out to test and dry.
The 48MP camera is great to use in still situations with great lighting, especially if you want to blow up a picture on a full size billboard and flaunt it off across the entire city.
Since we don’t usually need that on an everyday basis, we stuck to the default 12MP mode for simple point and shoot. Images are sharp, structured and super vibrant (especially if AI is turned on). It doesn’t do well with motion shots and sometimes focusing was a bit off.
Although, zoom in and pictures start looking faded and pixelated. Nevertheless, that’s okay if you’re using it for everyday social media and what not. Need a clearer shot of the subject but can’t move any further? Switch to the telephoto lens and get your job done.
The 16MP wide angle mode is clearly our favourite mode to use. Even if it wasn’t needed, we switched to the wide angle mode just for fun. It’s surprising how much you can fit into a frame. Especially if you’ve got lots of people on a long table or if you’re too close to a subject. Better yet, you can use this mode while shooting video (not as great) and use night mode too (quite grainy, but does the job).
Night mode on the Honor 20 is quite impressive but it requires a steady hand and a steady subject. Using AI, it clicks about 16 odd pictures and racks up a really sharp, bright picture even if there’s a low source of light. Well, it’s not better than the Pixel 3a’s Night Sight of course, but overall, using its f1/4 aperture, it can make you see in the dark, sometimes.
The 32MP selfie camera seems alright on paper, but sadly this disappoints in actuality. No matter what lighting situation you’re in, pictures aren’t sharp. Compare it to the OnePlus 7 and you will find a big difference in picture quality. Forget that, if you compare it with the Realme 3 Pro, you will be surprised with what a ₹14k smartphone can actually do.
The dedicated 2MP depth sensor makes portraits look clean, well cut out and adds a nice amount of depth behind the subject. But again, we feel the Pixel 3a can do better, that too with one bloody lens.
Nevertheless, the Honor 20 has a great set of cameras, each designed to work in a particular way and each doing quite well on its own. Well, except for the selfie camera.
Performance and OS: Still smooth
The Honor 20 gets slapped with the Huawei’s 7nm Kirin 980 chipset for flagship performance and 6GB RAM for multitasking. With this kind of power, comes great responsibility, efficiency and speed.
Multitasking on WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram and gaming on Clash Royale or PUBG feels super smooth and everyday nuances are taken care of with minimal hiccups. Since it rocks GPU 3.0, it can understand and improve the gameplay, and at the same time manage battery and heating issues too.
Speaking of heating issues. The phone heated up with general music streaming, video calling and camera usage. Surprisingly it does not heat up as much while gaming though. Hopefully, a software update should patch things up.
Since the View 20, Honor runs on its own user interface - Magic UI 2.1, it still looks and works exactly like EMUI, but if you keep a Huawei device side by side, you will notice very minor tweaks and changes. Honor says it’s still working on a complete redesign for its devices, but for now, this is what we get. We’d appreciate a major bloatware clean up if possible. And if things work out well, we might even see a brand new OS too. *fingers crossed*.
Battery: Chugger for life
We all know how Honor/Huawei excels and thrives at battery management. And despite having a 3750mAh battery sitting in the Honor 20, it easily manages to deliver a one and a half days of battery. We’re quite content with the battery life and it definitely knows how to survive when switched to Super Power Savings mode.
It comes bundled with a fast charger, or like how Honor calls it ‘SuperCharger’. It can actually juice half your battery in a mere 30mins. It isn’t faster than Oppo’s VOOC or OnePlus’ Warp, but it definitely ranks top three in the fast charge club. Need a full charge from 0-100%? Plug it in and go watch two episodes of Peaky Blinders, you’ll be set.
Honor 20 Verdict
The Honor 20 has immense potential to gun down other sub ₹35k troopers and we’d recommend it without thinking twice. It’s got four sharp cameras that work quite well, an eye-catching design, great form factor, plenty of horsepower and long lasting stamina.
However, keeping aside a few niggles like build quality and screen, the OnePlus 7 overtakes the Honor 20 by a small margin in most areas. Unfortunately, if we have to consider the current situation, the OnePlus 7 seems like a safer and wiser bet over the Honor 20.
Nevertheless, the Honor 20 definitely ranks just below the OnePlus 7 and that should be considered as a win.