Huawei P20 review
Further photography refinement
Our Huawei P20 review finds a phone for photography and the pairing of Leica and Huawei continues to impress. Beaten only by the Huawei P20 Pro for photos, DxOMark confirms that this is the phone to have if you want a mind blowing camera.
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FullView Display with an on/off ‘notch’
The Huawei P20 arrives with a FullView Display and the ‘notch’, which was first introduced by Apple on the iPhone X. Huawei has refined this slightly by making the camera notch much more narrow and you can turn the notch on or off.
On/off notch: What this means is that you can have the display create a black bar across the top, to effectively make the notch disappear. We like the notch however and so must huawei because the default setting leaves the notch visible.
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The screen is nice and big at 5.8” and it uses RGBW LEDs (red, green, blue, white). Displays that use this are brighter but consume less power compared to an RGB screen. Although described as FHD, there are more rows of pixels (2244 x 1080) and these are used either side of the notch to display important information, like the time, battery and signal strength.
Glass, metal and gradient colour
The Huawei P20 has a curved glass body and metal edges but there is a twist when it comes to the paint job. The Twilight and Pink Gold models have a gradient colour finish, basically meaning that the colour changes gradually from one end of the phone to the other.
There are models that have just a plain colour and these are Black, Midnight Blue and Champagne Gold. The phone is pretty light at 165g and relatively thin at 7.65mm thick.
The Huawei P20 has a Huawei-made Kirin 970 AI octa-core 2.36GHz processor with 4GB RAM. This processor is special because it runs the AI photography features (more on that later) and augmented reality apps.
Phone Set Up
Security and fingerprint navigation
The first thing you will want to do is to set up a fingerprint for unlocking the phone. The sensor is edge-less and sits below the display. It can be used for accessing your private space or locked apps. You can even hide the entry to your private space, so no-one even knows it exists.
Smart Navigation: You can swipe over the fingerprint sensor to carry out actions such as home, back and recent. Alternatively, you can turn the virtual navigation keys back on.
If you have content to move onto your new phone, then there is a very healthy 128GB internal memory.
Android 8.1 and EMUI 8.1
The Huawei P20 gets Google’s latest Android 8.1 Oreo operating system and Huawei’s latest EMUI 8.1 user interface.
The biggest news here is that you get to experience a wide range of AI and augment reality apps. You could for example, use the Curate app to place new virtual furniture or art around you home to see what it would look like.
Desktop Mode: If you are a business professional then you can connect the phone to an external display or projector (cable required) and use the phone like a desktop. This means that you can leave your laptop at home.
Further features include a Dolby Atmos sound system, App Twin and Magazine Unlock. In the box you will find USB-C earphones, along with a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter.
Camera & Video
Leica Dual Camera
The Huawei P20 has a 20MP monochrome camera and a 12MP RGB (red, green, blue) camera. The Leica partnership has resulted in the P20 getting the second highest score from DxOMark for photos and the third highest score for video.
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In particular, the wide aperture and large image sensor make this phone an excellent choice for low light photography.
Heard all this before and not convinced? Take a look at the photo gallery examples and you WILL be blown away.
Further camera features include:
- 4D Predictive Focus - This pre-focuses on moving objects using laser focus, phase focus, deep focus and contrast focus.
- Ultra Snapshot - Press the volume button down twice and take a picture straight from a locked screen (0.3 seconds).
- AI Image Stabilisation - Permits Night Mode shooting without the need for a tripod.
- Super Slow Motion - Shoot slow motion video at 960 frames per second.
- Master AI - Scene recognition with automatic adjustments. Recognises cat, dog, food, group, night, waterfall, beach, snow, sunset, flowers, sky, greenery, stage, blue sky and quite a few others.
- 3D Panorama - Take a 3D image of a person or object.
- 24MP selfies - Use AI driven 3D facial modeling that follows the contours of your face for stunning selfies.
- 3D Portrait Lighting - Create studio quality lighting effects.