Huawei Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review Reviews Tech

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: An identity crisis done right

Mate 20 Pro review

Mate 20 Pro review

Within the years I’ve coated Huawei’s smartphone launches, their units have been all the time cut up between the photography-centric P collection smartphones (P9, P10, P20) and the business-centric Mate collection (Mate eight, Mate 9, Mate 10). However, this yr, it seems like Huawei had a little bit of an identity crisis once they unveiled the model new Mate 20 collection.

Gone have been the monochrome colourways,” enterprise” apps and “professional” advertising push. It was virtually as if the Mate traded in its ornate cufflinks for a pair of SpongeBob socks. However, if what you’re on the lookout for is a strong flagship smartphone to spend your year-end bonus on, does it matter?

Properly, if my time with the Mate 20 Pro is any indication, that reply is not any.

Mate 20 Pro review

When you might make the argument that Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro isn’t fairly the Mate everybody remembers, there’s no denying that this telephone is a Huawei gadget. Positive, it might appear to be a Galaxy S9 — with it’s beautiful curves, water resistance and phenomenal match and end — however this telephone is distinctly Huawei. The unit I’ve here’s a putting color they name Emerald Inexperienced and I completely dig it. It has Huawei’s pizzazz with out being garish the best way their Twilight units are — and that’s superior.

Then, you decide it up and also you instantly discover that the telephone’s curved again panel isn’t plain previous glass — Huawei’s done one thing to it. They name it a “Hyper Optical Pattern”, which sounds tremendous ridiculous, however principally means this telephone has a textured again that provides the handset an virtually nail-file-like attribute. It’s not apparent the best way the blue P10’s was, however it’s definitely one thing else — one thing very Huawei. Apparently, this texture is meant to make it grippier within the hand and fewer susceptible to smudges, however I truthfully don’t assume it makes an enormous distinction to a daily glass again — particularly not after you stick it in a case. Nevertheless it’s a neat concept that appears fairly cool, so props.

Huawei’s additionally slapped a stunning 6.39” OLED show up entrance that not solely pushes a dense 3120×1440 pixels (Quad HD+), but in addition helps HDR and is curved so it bleeds over the sting precisely the best way Samsung’s does. It additionally doubles as a easy approach to scale back gadget footprint and conceal any bezels that the telephone may need.

For sure, it seems to be nice from just about each angle. I feel the large challenge lots of people may have with this show, can be the pretty broad notch on the prime. My drawback with the notch isn’t with the truth that it’s there — it’s extra to do with Huawei’s software program optimisation across the notch, however I’ll get into that a bit later. To the notch haters, I’ll say this: At the least it’s not as deep because the Google Pixel three XL’s notch, so I feel you’ll get used to it pretty simply.

In any case, that notch is there in your profit. Because of it, Huawei was capable of incorporate their very personal 3D face unlock system — that works very nicely, by the best way — and a 24MP f/2.2 aperture selfie digital camera. Naturally, this digital camera nonetheless packs all of the 3D lighting and beautification options you can ask for, however that I’m actually not a fan of.

Apart from that, Huawei additionally constructed a strong earpiece stereo speaker setup into the Mate 20 Pro. It will get a lot loud, however I hate the truth that sound from the bottom-firing speaker comes out the USB-C port. Why did Huawei assume this was a good suggestion once more? As a result of it’s actually not. The second you stick a cable into it, the audio is instantly muffled. Whereas I might say the speaker audio sounds ok, I nonetheless assume assume it’s a bit of missing if you examine it to one thing just like the iPhone XS and correct front-facing models like on the ASUS ROG Telephone. So, the truth that they’ve obtained this USB port handicap too, simply makes it worse.

Fortunately, I by no means discovered myself always hooked as much as a charging cable all through my time with the Mate 20 Pro. This, I assume, leads properly into my favorite function concerning the Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Its wonderful battery life.

First up, this telephone has one of many largest batteries in a flagship smartphone — a whopping four,200 mAh cell. I discover that astounding that they have been capable of match such a big cell right into a telephone that’s not noticeably greater or thicker than one thing like a Galaxy S9+. In truth, these telephones really feel about the identical weight in your hand too, so what black magic did Huawei pull right here?

I’m unsure, however I’m completely for it. On common, I’m getting about six hours of screen-on time with about 14 hours time on battery. Regardless that that is within the “Smart” show decision setting (which mechanically switches between resolutions to preserve battery), that is nonetheless wonderful battery life for a flagship smartphone — a lot better than the outcomes I acquired on final yr’s Mate 10.

Then, there’s the borderline insane velocity during which this smartphone expenses. Huawei’s new 40W fast-charging brick is not any joke, and from my testing, I used to be capable of absolutely cost the handset from 2% in slightly below an hour. A four,200 mAh battery, absolutely charged, in underneath sixty minutes. Thoughts boggling. 30 minutes on the plug gave me a few 70% cost.

Sadly, I wasn’t capable of check the 15W quick wi-fi charging as a result of I didn’t have a suitable wi-fi charger. That stated, I did attempt the reverse wi-fi charging on different flagship smartphones like my iPhone X and a Samsung Galaxy S9+. Whereas the iPhone X was capable of detect the Mate 20 Pro and begin charging effortlessly, the Galaxy S9+ would solely detect the Mate 20 Pro when positioned in a really particular spot. Huawei says it’s due to the dimensions of the S9+’s coils, however I haven’t torn one down so I can’t affirm.

In fact, a great battery can be fairly ineffective if the smartphone didn’t additionally include flagship-grade efficiency. Naturally, with the corporate’s model new Kirin 980 processor on the helm, Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro is a strong performer. Its snappy and responsive once I’m utilizing it for my every day duties, and I additionally didn’t run into any points once I began gaming. In fact, I’m not a heavy gamer, barring the occasional bouts in PUBG Cellular, so your mileage might range.

However, I feel probably the most unmistakably Huawei factor about this smartphone is the gadget’s triple digital camera array. Sure, they removed the devoted monochrome sensor and disabled Grasp AI by default, however it’s nonetheless so Huawei it hurts. And I imply this in each a great and dangerous means.

First up, the three cameras on the Mate 20 Pro are a bit of totally different from the P20 Pro. Right off the bat, you’ll discover that it’s organized in a totally totally different method. I might harp on about how a lot I’m not a fan of this design, however I’ve to confess that the cameras are in a greater spot than they have been on the P20 Pro — you don’t get unintentional fingers in your shot anymore.

In addition to the brand new association, Huawei’s new Mate 20 Pro now includes a foremost 40MP f/1.eight aperture foremost digital camera, an 8MP sensor with an f/2.four aperture telephoto lens (OIS, 3X optical zoom) and a 3rd 20MP sensor with an ultra-wide f/2.2 aperture lens.

Regardless of the brand new array, this telephone nonetheless captures photographs like a real Huawei system would. In the event you like the best way photographs seemed on the P20 Pro, you’ll love the best way pictures look on the Mate 20 Pro. I’ve personally had a love-hate relationship with Huawei’s pictures because the P20 Pro as a result of that digital camera produces the type of photographs that attraction to individuals who love overedited photographs, however don’t need to discover ways to edit. The Mate 20 Pro retains that actual attribute.

I could also be generalising somewhat right here, however I feel you perceive the sentiment. Nonetheless, if there are two issues I completely love concerning the Mate 20 Pro’s digital camera, it might be the Night time Mode and the ultra-wide lens.

There’s actually no arguing with how good Huawei’s Night time Mode is. The truth that this Chinese language firm has managed to engineer a digital camera function that permits a smartphone to take the type of low-light photographs the Mate 20 does, is nothing in need of superb. And, the truth that it additionally doubles as sort of a Tremendous Duper HDR mode for difficult lighting conditions, is a very nice contact.

However, it isn’t with out its faults. As a result of it takes some time to seize a picture, it’s not very best for fast-moving topics, or if you’re in a motorcar. That stated, typically you should use the delayed shutter to your benefit to get one thing that appears like a long-exposure shot captured on a tripod, solely it was handheld:

And, you’ll additionally need to flip it off when you’re making an attempt to take a photograph that really seems prefer it was taken at the hours of darkness. This silhouette shot, for instance, was captured within the telephone’s regular mode and even then it turned out fairly good:

In reality, I’m fairly impressed with how properly the Mate 20 Pro captures low-light pictures with out Night time Mode. Right here, for instance, I truly want the one which was shot with out Night time Mode on:

Secondly, I’ve stated this earlier than and I’ll say it once more, the ultra-wide angle lens is all the time going to be extra versatile than the brief telephoto lens in at present’s smartphone. That’s as a result of, for zooming, you’ll be able to all the time depend on digital zoom — one thing the Mate 20 Pro does higher than some other telephone I’ve seen up to now. Right here’s a fast pattern at 1X, 3X, 5X and 10X zoom:

However, you merely can’t digitally again as much as match extra into your shot if you’re in a cramped area. And that’s the place the ultra-wide is available in to offer you photographs like these:

So I’m actually glad Huawei added the ultra-wide. Sure, the picture high quality is somewhat totally different — slightly worse, actually — and the 20MP sensor units a unique white stability from the primary sensor, however I’m prepared to forgive these points due to how a lot versatility the ultra-wide brings. Plus, the picture high quality isn’t dangerous, and the fisheye impact isn’t insufferable (I’d say it’s barely worse than LG’s newest try), so it isn’t like I’m switching from a DSLR to a potato.

As an entire, I’m completely glad with the Mate 20 Pro’s digital camera. Would I’ve favored a much less aggressive post-processing? Sure. Would I’ve been happier if the digital camera didn’t have a slight tendency to over expose? Sure. However the capturing expertise as an entire is one I’d fee at an A-, so that you’ve done nicely, Huawei.

Nevertheless, as a lot because the Mate 20 Pro carries a whole lot of what’s good with Huawei telephones, it additionally carries a few of the dangerous. And the most important challenge I’ve all the time had with Huawei’s units, is with the software program. Sadly on the Mate 20 Pro, these points are much more evident.

I might speak about how I’m not an enormous fan of the best way it seems, however I get that that may be a extra subjective matter. What isn’t a subjective matter is how poorly optimised this smartphone is for the notch and its curved show. Simply take a look at how the default keyboard will get minimize off whenever you’re utilizing Gesture Navigation.

In the event you play one thing like PUBG Cellular with out the notch turned off, your HUD parts get reduce off. 

My query is: Why? Why does all of this occur? Shouldn’t they’ve already figured all of this out with the Huawei P20 Pro since that was the primary Huawei flagship with a notch? Completely befuddling.

Oh, and whereas we’re on the subject of UI parts, let me simply say that the All the time-On show on the Mate 20 Pro seems like some first-gen function. There’s completely no customisation and no personalisation right here, one thing Huawei actually must study from Samsung.

Now, let’s transfer on to the in-display fingerprint scanner. Let me preface this by saying that in my books, Huawei has all the time been king of the fingerprint scanner. They’ve received probably the most correct, most dependable and quickest scanners out there. I virtually by no means have to fret concerning the scanner failing, as a result of it virtually by no means fails.

On the Mate 20 Pro, that phenomenal fingerprint scanner is nowhere to be discovered. Instead, you’ve acquired a strain delicate in-display fingerprint scanner as an alternative. Now, so far as in-display fingerprint scanners go, that is undoubtedly probably the greatest I’ve used, however that’s not likely a excessive bar to clear. It’s like saying Transformers four was one of the best Transformers film — when all of them are crap, it’s arduous for me to offer you factors for being much less crappy.

This in-display fingerprint scanner is far slower than Huawei’s common scanner. It’s significantly much less correct. And, it’s additionally actually onerous to get your finger within the right spot with out wanting on the show, one thing I by no means had an issue with when there was a mild recess to slip my finger in. It’s simply not as intuitive, and that’s disappointing.

That stated, I’m a fan of corporations making an attempt new issues on their smartphones, so I gained’t penalise Huawei an excessive amount of for this. I simply want it might have been higher. As it’s right now, it’s undoubtedly not an improve when it comes to usability. On the plus aspect, the 3D face unlocking is mighty fast, nevertheless it suffers from the identical type of weak spot Apple’s Contact ID does: It’s simply inferior to a fingerprint scanner in its present state.

Nevertheless, that’s the majority of my points with this flagship smartphone. In fact, there are different quibbles, like the shortage of a three.5mm headphone jack, and the truth that it doesn’t have a microSD card slot (I’ve but to get my arms on an NM card, so I can’t remark) however I’d classify these as comparatively minor points. Nothing you possibly can’t get used to.

Within the grand scheme of issues, I’ve to say that my time with the Mate 20 Pro was a fond one. Sure, Huawei’s acquired numerous work to do with the software program, however I feel they’ve actually nailed the hardware facet of this smartphone. I can’t actually provide you with an extended listing of cons with out sounding too nitpicky, so I assume that speaks volumes to how strong of a package deal this Mate 20 Pro is.

Positive, you can make the argument that the Mate 20 Pro has misplaced its Mate identity, however is that basically a nasty factor? At greatest, the earlier “Mate” identities have been that of a barely worse Galaxy Word — Huawei was by no means going to compete with the S Pen with a telephone that doesn’t function one thing comparable. To not that phase of the market anyway.

Mate 20 Pro review

In order that they pivoted. As an alternative of making an attempt to wrestle down this path of being a business-centric gadget, they determined to only make the most effective Huawei flagship they might: And I feel they’ve succeeded big-time. The Mate 20 Pro might have misplaced its Mate identity, however it’s nonetheless unabashedly a Huawei smartphone — each the great and the dangerous. It’s a P20 Pro Plus, in the event you should, and that’s not essentially a nasty factor.

Not if what you need is the most effective smartphone Huawei has ever made. Not if what you need is a strong, dependable, long-lasting flagship smartphone with a superb digital camera for a great worth.