If you go down the memory lane and remember Huawei as a brand a couple of years ago, you will probably remember it as a brand that was struggling to keep with the likes of other companies in the budget and midrange segment. Now Huawei is competing against top flagships. The P6, P7, P8, P9 were never considered flagships. But in the last two years, Huawei has closed the gap against its competitors Apple and Samsung and is taking great leaps forward.
We already have a fair idea about the Huawei P20 Pro. I mean who does not know about triple cameras?? I have used this device for almost two months now and I will be talking about how the device has fared in my long time of use.
Huawei P20 Pro Specifications:
- Display: 6.1-inch full HD+ (1080 x 2240 pixels) OLED display, 18.7:9 aspect ratio
- CPU: Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 970
- OS: Android Oreo (v8.1) with EMUI 8.1 on the top
- RAM: 6 GB
- GPU: Mali-G72 MP12
- Storage: 128 GB
- Rear Camera: 40 MP with f/1.8 aperture + 20 MP with f/1.6 aperture + 8 MP with f/2.4 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), up to 5x Hybrid Zoom, PDAF, LED flash
- Front Camera: 24 MP front-facing camera, f/2.0 aperture
- Sensors: Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyro, proximity, compass
- SIM: Dual SIM with 4G
- IP67 Dust and Water Resistant
- Battery: 4,000 mAh with Fast Charging Support
- Price: Rs. 99,900
Design and display
When I first saw the P20 pro, I instantly fell in love with the Twilight version and undoubtedly, this is something that has made the device stand out. For me, this is the most appealing color any smartphone has till now.
Sure, you have the notch sitting on top. But you also have an option to remove the notch and I think the phone looks good that way because it makes the bezels look even. But it’s totally your choice. I like the idea of a button/ scanner at the bottom. It’s the fingerprint sensor and a single button working as the home key and navigation button.
I found it interesting because it works according to your gestures, for example, you need to hold for going back to home screen, tap to go back and swipe to get to recently used apps. All this gives a different feel to the device and it’s totally fun to use.
The fingerprint sensor resides at the front & is very very quick in response but I found myself using facial unlock because of its swiftness and accuracy.
Something you will notice is that the device does not have a headphone jack. However, you get headphones in the case and you are supposed to plug it in through the Type-C charging port and I didn’t quite mind doing so.
On hands, yes the P20 Pro is a huge phone but it’s amazing that the device is very easy to carry. By looks, it may seem slippery but it I never had troubles with this one because it just fits right in your hands meaning that its easier to have a strong grip on the phone.
I used this phone without any phone case or display protector. The screen surprisingly does not have a lot of scratches to it. However, I wished the same about the back. In two months’ time, there were slight scratches and marks around the edges but the glossy finish makes the scratches appear less.
Display wise, the 6.1-inch 1080p AMOLED display produces accurate colors and viewing angles is excellent. Though it’s not 2K like the Galaxy S9+, but the display is crisp, vibrant, and bright. It is the display we would expect on a flagship and it has one that is really good.
With a darker theme, the OLED screen provides good contrast and black level. Similarly, you can adjust the color temperature as per your liking but I found the natural tone to be better.
Huawei had made headlines with the Leica branded triple cameras and the fact that DXO has rated its camera with an outshining 109 score makes it even more appealing. One thing I noticed in all the pictures taken from this device is that the photos pack in abundant details. Now, I am talking about a lot of details and sharp pictures.
In the normal mode, the colors in pictures are great, you get vibrant pictures with no chance of shaky images and shutter speed and autofocus is unbelievably high. There is a 3x optical zoom or a hybrid 5x zoom. However, you cannot zoom in through the 40 MP sensor while taking photos but that’s okay because the results are decent with great details.
You have an option to change the resolution from 40 to 10 or 7 MP but I recommend you use the 10 MP option because I found it to have a better dynamic range and color saturation compared to the 40MP photos.
Another thing worth noticing is about the Master AI. Now, I know that it is with all the right intentions that Huawei has included the AI option but there is still room for improvement in this area. There are things that AI des really well, for example, identifying scenery or sky or objects accurately. But what it adds to the normal pictures is an added punch to it. It tends to make the pictures a little more saturated and sharp, especially the ones that it recognized as sky or greenery. But the good news is that you can always disable it and get back to natural settings, which I found myself doing most of the times.
Adding to the camera setting options is the Night mode. The reason I am mentioning it separately is that the night mode does a commendable job preserving details in low light. The colors seem better and there is less noise in the pictures because it takes a long exposure shot that takes 6 seconds to capture a picture. Well, after the 6-second wait, you get very clean low light shots. What you have to keep in mind is that the night mode can only be used to take pictures of still objects.
There’s also pro mode that uses AI and automatically adjusts ISO, shutter speed, which is extremely convenient, at least for me.
Like the back camera, the 24 MP selfie camera also reproduces a smooth skin tone and I must say that the selfies are very sharp. Sometimes, when the environment is very bright, you might get overexposed images. But all in all, I have liked the selfie camera because I have actually got quite good selfies from this one.
Now moving on to the video department, the videos are stabilized and are of superb quality with a good amount of details. However, 4k videos have lesser stabilization than 1080p videos. So, it’s better you use the 1080P option. Also while taking videos from the beauty mode, the camera automatically decreases the quality to 720p, which well, is not fair.
Similarly, there are a lot of camera settings which may be confusing for some people as you have to dig in all of those, tweak in and out of different settings which may be a hassle for some. So, all in all, the cameras are exceptional as hyped.
Check out all the high-resolution camera samples here
What’s holding the phone inside is the powerful Kirin 970 chipset coupled with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory. Sorry, no SD card slot here, but I think 128GB is more than enough.
Now back to the processor, we know that the Kirin 970 is not something new, it had been used in the Mate 10 pro last year. The performance of the chipset is good no doubts but Huawei could have opted for the Snapdragon 845 which is the latest and certainly shows better benchmark results.
In real-world usage, it shows flawless performance in terms of multitasking and gameplay. For example, I played one of the graphics demanding game PUBG and it ran with minimum hiccups. Likewise, other high-end games too ran very smoothly.
The back of the phone rises in temperature but not to the extent of worry or frustration. In the August update, Huawei is introducing the GPU Turbo feature in the P20 Pro which as Huawei claims is going to boost the GPU performance. Having known that the GPU performs good enough, with the new update what does Huawei have in the bag for users will be known then.
On to the software, I must say that Huawei’s UI has gotten better with time and it’s actually pleasing to use. There are different theme options and you will never get bored of what’s there.
I am a Samsung user, but the EMUI on the P20 pro has got be impressed. Like most other flagships, Huawei has also tried to give many features to the users, there is battery optimization features, there is knuckle gesture features, there are a lot of display settings, you can enable or disable the notch which are all good to know and I don’t mind having them on my device. During my time of use, there was one update I got on the device. But I expected more for some reason.
The Huawei P20 pro has a massive 4,000 mAh battery and complementing this battery size is Huawei’s own Supercharge feature. The device gave a full two days of usage on a single charge even on extensive use.
Also, it’s not powering a 2k display so you get a longer life but if put in comparison with the S9 and iPhone X, Huawei certainly has a lead on this one. The battery life is very impressive and other flagship manufactures need to learn a lesson from this.
So, yes. What do I think about the Huawei P20 Pro as a whole? I would say that it is the perfect Huawei device. I mean among the others Huawei has produced till now, this one is the best offering. And if you will get the P20 pro, it will surely be for the cameras.
Yes, the camera’s interface and the AI need a little reworking but those can be fixed in an update, so no worries. The performance is powerful and in my time of use, this device has never let me down. So, would I recommend this device? I would say yes. This device is a package for photography enthusiasts and people looking to get a worthy flagship.