Huawei has not been holding back on being a top competitor in the smartphone market. Just this year, the phone maker has released various iterations of their Mate 20 series with different configurations that caters to different end users and price ranges. One of their latest is the Mate 20 Pro which provides an impressive combination of design and tech in one package.
This one’s a looker
Coming in at 6.21 inches, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a sleek and classy phone with a gorgeous curved display sealed by Corning Gorilla Glass. On the back design is an impressive glass texture which is non-slip and anti-fingerprint - the one we reviewed came with a very eye-fetching midnight blue gradient design.
Ergonomically, the phone’s size and weight is just nice in my hands and I had no problems accessing the screen while one-handed. The volume rocker and lock button are located on the phone’s right side which is actually a convenient layout especially if you want to access them with just your thumb (for right handed people at least). Where’s the fingerprint scanner, you ask? We’ll get there eventually, but for now…
All about the curves
And we thought that another certain phone brand were undisputed for their curved screens but upon spending time with the Mate 20 Pro, its curved display could actually stand proudly beside its competitors. The Mate 20 Pro’s display measures at 6.39 inches with a screen-to-body ratio of 87.9% and a resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels. It’s vivid, bright, and crisp - perfect for a session of video consumption on netflix or youtube, and even for gaming.
I’ll come clean: I’m not a fan of notches, regardless of what form it may take on any phone. In the Mate 20 Pro’s case, it does have a notch but it also has the option to hide it in the system settings. You could probably imagine my delight to that. Even when hidden, there’s still a generous amount of screen to ogle at without hindering your viewing pleasure.
Kirin it real
While I’m not a hardcore heavy user like some people out there, I still have multiple apps and games that I frequently use for my typical day-to-day life. Running these while multi-tasking on the Mate 20 Pro is top notch, thanks to it running on Android 9.0 Pie which is also enhanced by Huawei’s own EMUI 9.0 interface.
The phone is powered by the Kirin 980 with 6GB RAM, so expect a lagless experience while running and switching between several apps in the background. Gaming-wise, expect buttery smooth delivery in terms of graphical performance and loading times with games such as PUBG Mobile, Honkai Impact, and so on. This is just the 6GB + 128GB variant by the way, so expect what a monster the 8GB model could be.
You got the gist of the phone’s look and performance, but what’s a smartphone without unique tech features that sets it apart from the rest?
Remember when I addressed regarding the fingerprint scanner’s location earlier? Here’s the cool bit and my favourite as well: it’s on the screen. As my first ever exposure to an in-display fingerprint sensor, this feature is a delight where all I have to do to access the Mate 20 Pro is merely touching a designated part of the screen with my thumb. The downside is that the sensor may fail on some tries if you’ve not registered your prints thoroughly, but this bit of technology is something I would love to see included and improved in upcoming phones.
If the fingerprint sensor isn’t enough for your security needs, the Mate 20 Pro also has 3D face scanning tech if you wish to unlock the phone with your face. This feature works well enough even in low light, but personally, it’s something I can live without using. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but I’d rather not have the phone unlock everytime I peek at the screen for the time or notifications.
The Mate 20 Pro does well enough in terms of audio quality, but definitely not the best when it comes to volume. Based on the phone’s design, it actually does not have any noticeable speakers which is a plus point for a very sleek and almost seamless look, but may be a factor to its soft volume output. It’s more of a design choice rather than a flaw, and despite of my gripe regarding the volume, it’s actually not that bad. What’s bad is that you better have bluetooth earphones ready, because the Mate 20 Pro is another one that decided to ditch our beloved headphone jack.
The phone’s battery life is massive. While not as large as the 5,000mAh capacity of its Mate 20 X sibling, the Mate 20 Pro’s 4,200mAh is still plentiful for an entire day’s use. After a full charge on one evening, I was impressed that the battery was down to 27% at 4pm the next day even with app usage. What takes the cake for the phone is that not only it supports wireless charging, the Mate 20 Pro also has the ability to wireless charge other compatible phones. The drawback is that you have to leave it idle on a desk as it charges another phone, so have fun engaging small talk with the other phone’s owner while that’s happening.
Huawei ups the ante in terms of camera performance after the P20 with a with the triple camera setup on the Mate 20 Pro. With AI support, multiple modes and settings available, photos taken with the phone’s cameras are one of the best you can find in the market.
The phone is equipped with a 40MP wide, 20MP ultra wide, and 8MP telephoto with 5X optical zoom which is great for different photo scenarios which you can handle manually or have the built-in AI determine for you. Images appear crisp and vibrant with remarkable detail especially when shot with the 40MP, while the 20MP ultra wide could also double up for macro close-up shots, and the 8MP telephoto’s optical zoom is amazing. The Mate 20 Pro’s low-light mode merges several shots to deliver clean photos with dynamic range even when there’s barely any light available, and the shots taken are pretty fast at about 4 seconds tops.
My only gripe with the images taken with the Mate 20 Pro’s cameras is that the contrast can be too overwhelming. It’s something that can be remedied in post or if you choose to shoot in Pro Mode, but I like my phone camera photography to be snappy.
The Mate 20 Pro, in a way, is Huawei’s winning hand at the smartphone poker game table in 2018. It generously offers a lot for a flagship phone when it comes to tech, features, design, and camera. If you’ve set aside cash for an upgrade and you’re expecting to get the equivalent or even better for what you’re paying, this phone is definitely worth considering.