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Home / News / Huawei Mate 20 preview: Everything we know so far

Huawei Mate 20 preview: Everything we know so far

UPDATED: We'll also see a Mate 20X, plus UK Pro pricing leaks

The Huawei P20 Pro currently sits atop our list of the best smartphones in the world, and while an unexpected pick, its triple-camera setup, sleek design, and other high-end elements make it stand out from the pack.

Can Huawei repeat the feat later this year with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro? We really liked last year’s Mate 10 Pro, even if the design now feels awfully dated compared to the sleek P20 Pro, and we’re looking forward to seeing Huawei’s next-gen take on the handset.

Huawei has already confirmed an October debut for the handsets after launching the Mate 20 Lite at IFA 2018, and we’ve heard plenty of rumours and reports about what to expect. Here’s the latest.

When will the Huawei Mate 20 be out?

When will the Huawei Mate 20 be out?

Rumours pointed to a Huawei Mate 20 debut at IFA 2018 in late August, and they were half-right: Huawei debuted the Mate 20 Lite, but not the pricier, surely more appealing Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

However, Huawei didn’t totally leave us hanging: they confirmed that we’ll see the Mate 20 series debut on 16 October in London (via GSM Arena). Given that launch timeline, it’s entirely possible that we’ll have the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro in hand by the time Halloween rolls around.

Also, Huawei has since teased a Mate 20X model, promising a phone that runs cooler for longer gaming sessions. We expect to see that on Tuesday, as well, despite the surprising lack of earlier leaks.

Fact or fiction?

Mark your calendars: Huawei’s next big phones will see the light of day tomorrow.

How much will the Huawei Mate 20 cost?

Last year’s Mate 10 Pro launched at £699 and then the P20 Pro debuted at £799. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the Mate 20 Pro push even higher than that.

A late September leak of marketing slides suggests an ILS 4,000 (about £849) price for the Mate 20 Pro, while the Mate 20 weighs in at ILS 3,000 (about £635).

Using leaked Swiss retail pricing details, Phone Arena estimates a consumer cost of between US$850-900 (about £650-690) for the Mate 20 and upwards of US$1100 for the Mate 20 Pro (about £840).

WinFuture, meanwhile, claims a €750 (about £660) price target for the Mate 20 and at least €100 more for the Pro version. All told, these leaks roughly point to something around £650 for the Mate 20 and as much as £850 for the Mate 20 Pro… although exchange rate differences could drive that up significantly, especially with Apple sticking to 1:1 USD-to-GBP conversions of late.

WinFuture author Roland Quandt has since reported that the Mate 20 Pro will sell for £899 unlocked.

Fact or fiction?

We’re expecting £899 on the Pro, as Quandt reported, and something in the £649-£699 range for the standard Mate 20.

What will the Huawei Mate 20 look like?

What will the Huawei Mate 20 look like?

We’ve already seen the Mate 20 Lite, which was announced at IFA 2018, but leaks suggest that the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will vary from that design in some key ways.

Purported leaks of both devices from Weibo (via BGR) suggest a new kind of approach for the triple-camera setup from the P20 Pro. Instead of aligning them vertically on the left side of the phone, we see them arranged in a backwards "L" shape in the upper center, with the flash arranged to complete the square pattern.

It’s an eye-catching tweak, and supposed photos of live devices spotted at IFA (see further down, via Teknofilo) seem to confirm that unique approach. The Mate 20 also drops in a fingerprint sensor beneath the back camera array.

On the front, you’ll spot further differences, but both seem to have a notch. The Mate 20 (directly above, via WinFuture) has a very small, teardrop-like notch, while the notch on the Mate 20 Pro (seen further up) is closer to the Apple iPhone X. Why? It’s rumoured to have the same kind of 3D facial unlocking feature.

There’s still a chin at the bottom, but it looks pretty slim. And at the top of the screen, you can see what’s expected to be the Mate 20’s version of the brilliant Twilight gradient colour from the P20 Pro (via WinFuture).

And if an XDA Developers leak proves true, you also won’t see a fingerprint sensor on the larger device. That’s because the Mate 20 Pro will reportedly feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, letting you scan your digits on the screen itself. The pricey Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design handset had the same feature earlier this year, so that addition here makes a lot of sense.

Fact or fiction?

The leaks are starting to pile up, and it’s starting to look like the real deal.


Amazingly, a full unboxing video (above) has leaked just prior to the official launch. It doesn’t provide a great look at the phone for most of the video, but gets closer at the end to show the in-display fingerprint sensor at work.

What about the Huawei Mate 20’s screen?

What about the Huawei Mate 20

The XDA Developers leak, which is purportedly based on leaked firmware files, suggests a 6.3in AMOLED display for the standard Mate 20. That’s a bit larger than the 5.9in LCD on the Mate 10.

As for the Mate 20 Pro, the firmware didn’t point to a size, but rumours suggest a 6.9in OLED panel. That’d be huge, and certainly a leap over the 6in OLED panel on the Mate 10 Pro. More recently, however, we’ve heard of a 6.3in display on the Pro, which certainly seems more sensible… and that means the standard Mate 20 might be smaller.

But there’s really no consensus on this front. In early October, WinFuture reported that that standard Mate 20 would be the larger of the two phones with a 6.43in LCD display. However, the site did not specify the size of the Pro model.

Interestingly, Huawei may be flipping its approach from the Mate 10 line: purported website code found by Mobielkopen suggests that the Mate 20 Pro will use a Quad HD panel, while the standard model will stick with 1080p.

Fact or fiction?

Given the notched designs, we think both screen sizes sound right. The Mate 20 Pro’s rumoured massive, Quad HD panel sounds like a real treat.

How much power will the Huawei Mate 20 pack?

How much power will the Huawei Mate 20 pack?

Huawei didn’t show off the Mate 20 or Mate 20 Pro at IFA 2018, but they did showcase the tech within them: the Kirin 980 system-on-a-chip.

It’s the successor to Huawei’s own A.I.-centric Kirin 970 chip, which powered the Mate 10 and P20 lines, and is built with a 7nm process that packs in more transistors (6.9 billion, to be exact-ish) for potentially much-improved performance.

Huawei suggests that the chip outclasses the current Android flagship standard, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, in terms of benchmark scores, gaming performance, overall efficiency, and plenty more. Android Authority has a great breakdown of the claims and what they mean.

If the Kirin 980 can also top Samsung’s Exynos 9810 chip seen in the Galaxy S9 and Note 9, then it could rule the Android world… at least for a few months. Even so, it’d take a real feat to beat the A12 Bionic seen in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

Still, Huawei thinks it has the edge, so we’ll have to see how the benchmarks and real-world performance compares.

Based on a Kirin 980 chipboard seen at IFA 2018, German tech blogger Roland Quandt suggests that the Mate 20 will feature 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage as standard.

Fact or fiction?

The Kirin 980 sounds impressive, indeed, but we’ll see whether it can really overtake the pack.

What kind of cameras will the Huawei Mate 20 have?

What kind of cameras will the Huawei Mate 20 have?

The P20 Pro’s triple-camera setup is a big reason why it’s our favourite phone in the world right now. Unsurprisingly, the Mate 20 Pro is expected to have the same thing.

You’ve seen the purported new pattern in the above render, along with the supposed sneak shot snagged at IFA here.

A supposed Weibo leak (via Gadgets 360) suggests that the setup will bring slight improvements, packing a 42-megapixel main sensor instead of the 40MP one on the P20 Pro, but the end result should be about the same. And the P20 Pro shows just how wonderful that can be.

We figured that the standard Mate 20 might opt for a lesser dual-camera approach, much like the basic P20, but a Mate 20 leak shows the same tri-camera setup as the Mate 20 Pro. Could it be?

Amusingly, Quandt spotted a triple-camera module at Huawei’s IFA 2018 booth that’s a dead ringer for the ones seen in the Mate 20 leaks so far.

Fact or fiction?

The recent abundance of leaks and reports makes this tri-camera setup seem more and more legit.

Is there anything else I should know about the Huawei Mate 20?

Is there anything else I should know about the Huawei Mate 20?

It sounds like the Mate 20 will get an even beefier battery than the P20 Pro’s 4,000mAh pack. The XDA Developers leak suggests a 4,200mAh cell for the standard Mate 20, while the Weibo leak says 4,200mAh on the Mate 20 Pro.

Which is true? Well, we’d expect a larger battery in the Pro model, especially given the larger screen, but we’ll have to see how that pans out. At least the XDA leak suggests wireless charging for the standard Mate 20, and we have to believe the Mate 20 Pro would follow if so.

As for Android 9.0 Pie, you can safely assume that Google’s latest OS revision will be in tow when the Mate 20 rolls out in October.

And then this is cool: What you’re seeing above (via WinFuture) are reportedly Huawei’s new Freebuds 2 wireless earbuds, and you can set the charging case on the back of the Mate 20 to charge them. That’s a really clever way to ensure that you can give your earbuds a quick top-off even if you’re not near a charger. And yes, that would seem to confirm wireless charging for the handsets…

Fact or fiction?

It all sounds plenty compelling, if true, although we’ll have to wait and see whether the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro end up being even better than the stellar Huawei P20 Pro. We’re excited to find out, and will do so in October.

Profile image of Andrew Hayward Andrew Hayward Freelance Writer


Andrew writes features, news stories, reviews, and other pieces, often when the UK home team is off-duty or asleep. I'm based in Chicago with my lovely wife, amazing son, and silly cats, and my writing about games, gadgets, esports, apps, and plenty more has appeared in more than 75 publications since 2006.

Areas of expertise

Video games, gadgets, apps, smart home

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