Honor 20 Pro with quad camera review: The small P30 Pro?
The Honor 10 was the flagship of the Huaweis subsidiary with a display diagonal of less than 6 inches and almost enjoyed an exceptional position on the smartphone market. Now, with some delay, the naturally larger Honor 20 Pro comes onto the market. Can the new flagship with quad cameras on the back and in-display camera on the front convince?
Technical data of the Honor 20 & Honor 20 Pro
|Honor 20||Honor 20 Pro|
|Display||6.26 inch IPS LCD (2340 x 1080 P), 412 PPI||6.26 inch IPS LCD (2340 x 1080 P), 412 PPI|
|Processor||Kirin 980 Octa Core @ 2,6 GHz & 1,92 GHz & 1,8 GHz||Kirin 980 Octa Core @ 2,6 GHz & 1,92 GHz & 1,8 GHz|
|Graphics chip||Mali-G76 MP10 @ 720 MHz||Mali-G76 MP10 @ 720 MHz|
|Main memory||6 GB LPDDR4X @ 2133 MHz||8GB LPDDR4X @ 2133 MHz|
|Internal memory||128 GB UFS 2.1||128 / 256 GB UFS 2.1|
|Main Camera||48MP IMX586 f/1.8, 117° Ultra Wide 16MP f/2.2, 2MP Depth Camera, 2MP Macro Camera||48MP IMX586 f/1.4 OIS, 3x Zoom 8MP f/2.4, 117° Ultra Wide 16MP f/2.2, 2MP Macro Camera|
|Front Camera||In-Display Camera 32 MP f/2.0||In-Display Camera 32 MP f/2.0|
|Battery||3,750 mAh with 22.5W SuperCharge||4,000 mAh with 22.5W SuperCharge|
|Connectivity||USB-C, WLAN-AC, BT 5.0, LTE, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, NFC||USB-C, WLAN-AC, BT 5.0, LTE, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, NFC|
|Features||Face Unlock, Side Fingerprint Sensor, Stereo Speaker, Headphone Jack||Face Unlock, Side Fingerprint Sensor, Stereo Speaker|
|vOperating system||Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI surface||Android 9.0 Pie with MagicUI 2.1 surface|
|Dimensions / Weight||154,25 x 73,97 x 7,87 mm / 174 g||154,25 x 73,97 x 8,34 mm / 182 g|
|Colours||Sapphire Blue, Midnight Black, Icelandic White||Phantom Black (Black-Violet), Phantom Blue (Blue-Green)|
More manageable than the competition?
As we have already predicted, the Honor View 20 model stands for the new Honor 20 and 20 Pro. After all, the new flagship also relies on an all-view display thanks to Hole-Punch Display. In the upper left corner is the well-known “hole” with space for the 32 megapixel front camera. The Honor 20 is smaller than the original from our own house; the screen diagonal is smaller from 6.4 inches to 6.26 inches.
Due to the very small rim, it feels much smaller than the 6.26 inches would suggest, and is approximately at the level of a Mi A3. Thus, it is quite handy for the offered display size and also the pleasantly rounded corners of the frame are pleasing. This is made of aluminium, which is violet in our Phantom Black version. As if a violet frame wasn’t already extraordinary enough, it also accommodates a fingerprint sensor on the right – more about that.
The back is made of glass and is either black-violet (Phantom Black) or blue-green (Phantom Blue). The well-known Twilight effect is used again, so that the colours change depending on the viewing angle. As expected at Honor, the workmanship is very good and leaves nothing to be desired. Only the triple camera, which protrudes quite clearly out of the case, stands out negatively.
Fingerprint sensor on the side & Face Unlock
Like the Nubia X and Elephone A5, the fingerprint sensor is located on the side and not at the usual positions on the back or in the display. It is placed slightly above the center and also functions as a power button. Thus, one has here a real button that one can press in order to activate only the lock screen and to check the notifications.
By default, the screen is unlocked when you put your finger on it and not when you press the key. This behaviour can also be changed if necessary, so that the mobile phone is only unlocked if one also presses the key.
The sensor itself works very fast and beats any in-display fingerprint sensor with ease. As soon as the finger is put on or the button is pressed, the mobile phone is immediately unlocked.
Alternatively, the Honor 20 Pro also offers Face Unlock via the front camera. This also works very reliably and quickly, but is of course not as secure as the fingerprint sensor. Since this is also on the Power Button, you don’t need Face Unlock here, because it’s not a faster option.
Solid LC display
In terms of display type, nothing changes from the View 20, because in contrast to the Huawei P30 Pro, the Honor 20 may “only” be equipped with an IPS LC display. This is allowed to advertise with the Full HD+ resolution (2340 x 1080 P) and thus achieves a slightly above-average pixel density of 412 ppi. Accordingly, the screen is nicely sharp and offers strong colors in the standard “vivid” color mode, which are supposed to simulate a bit of an OLED display. Nevertheless, the contrast is of course not quite as strong as in the big P30 Pro, but it’s quite good for an LCD.
If the colors are too strong for you, you can not only change the color mode, but also adjust the color temperature as you like. There is also an eye-protecting night mode and you can choose between HD+ and FullHD+ resolution or let the phone decide depending on the content.
The brightness of 420 nit is perfectly ok, but unfortunately it is not further increased in direct sunlight, like the Mi 9 or P30 Pro do. The only point of criticism of the nicely borderless FullView display remains, as already with the View 20, the backlight bleeding at the lower edge, which can be seen especially well with a white background. After all, the pixels around the front camera are not much darker than the rest.
Honor 20 Pro with Top-CPU
With the CPU there is no surprise, because the Honor 20 Pro is armed with the HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor, which is currently the most powerful processor from their own house. It already sits in the current top models of the company (P30 Pro, View 20). The memory of the Honor 20 Pro with 8 GB RAM and either 128 GB or 256 GB internal memory is nicely large. But it has to be, because there is no possibility for expansion.
As expected, the performance in everyday life is very good. No lags, no delays and thanks to the 8 GB RAM also no problems with multitasking. However, the Kirin 980 seems to have been somewhat throttled here, as the benchmark results are consistently below those of the P30 Pro with the same processor. Probably the processor gets hot faster in the smaller case and at the current temperatures and then reduces the performance a bit to avoid overheating. But in practice you don’t really notice the difference, luckily.
Magic UI 2 based on Android 9
Contrary to all rumors and speculations, the Honor 20 Pro now ships with Android 9 Pie (security update June 2019) and the Magic UI 2.1 interface. As always, this surface is very colorful and unfortunately also equipped with all kinds of bloatware. These superfluous apps like Booking.com, Amazon etc. can still be uninstalled. Most of the Honor apps can only be deactivated, so they still take up space.
Although the surface here is called Magic UI, it is basically the EMUI surface from Huawei. App icons, settings and general design are almost identical. Accordingly, there are many setting options for the App Drawer and navigation gestures as well as useful functions such as the one-hand mode or three-finger screenshot.
Quad camera: Huawei P30 Pro sends its regards
The backside reminds us optically of current Huawei devices, the Twilight effect is also on board again. So there are now four cameras on the back instead of two as in the Honor 10. The main sensor consists of the currently popular 48 megapixel Sony IMX586, which the Honor View 20 also uses! In addition there is a 16 megapixel ultra wide angle camera (117°) and an 8 megapixel telecamera! Like the normal Huawei P30, the Meizu 16s and the OnePlus 7 Pro, it offers a triple optical zoom. As with the P30, the 20 Pro also has a fivefold hybrid zoom.
In addition, there is even a 2 megapixel macro camera with a close-up limit of 4 cm. In addition, the aperture of the main camera is very large with f/1.4, so the 20 Pro can capture a lot of light, which is especially advantageous in low-light scenarios. The laser autofocus also helps to set the focus correctly even in the dark.
Main camera with 48 megapixels
The photos taken with the main camera are of course only 12 MP, because pixel binning is also used here. Honor therefore combines 4 pixels to one, which also benefits your storage space. A real 48 MP photo can be 13 MB, while the 12 MP only needs 4 MB. In a direct comparison it becomes clear that the 48 MP photos (left) are of course sharper and you can zoom more into the picture before it gets too pixelated. However, with the normal 12 MP photos (right) you get more dynamics, so you can see more details on the steeple.
The normal photos then always have a good dynamic, get many details and offer strong colors. Some scenes are a bit overexposed, but you can adjust this before taking the shot.
3-5x zoom & 117° ultra wide angle
The two cameras for zoom and ultra wide angle shooting are reminiscent of the P30 and OnePlus 7 Pro. The 16 MP ultra wide angle camera has a fixed focus, but still takes neat pictures, which are especially useful for landscapes and buildings or for capturing a large group of people.
The Zoom camera natively offers a triple zoom and a fivefold hybrid zoom. We already know the technology from the P30 series and it delivers good results again. The digital zoom then offers up to 30x magnification, which you can safely ignore.
With these two additional cameras you get a flexibility that you wouldn’t want to miss once you had them.
Portraits with three levels
The portrait mode lets you choose between three levels: 1x, 2x and 3x. At the 3x level the zoom camera is really used, the 2x level only uses a digital zoom of the main camera. The separation of foreground and background is very good and no details are “swallowed” during the transition.
Top night mode for all three cameras
I already knew the night mode from the P30 Pro, which is why I expected very good night shots – I was not disappointed. Even in normal mode (left), the large sensor and the very large aperture opening bring a lot of light from dark scenes. If you then use the night mode (right) and hold the phone quiet for about 5 seconds, you get even more dynamics, more realistic colors and less noise.
Honor also kindly allows you to use the night mode with the zoom and ultra wide angle camera. They also need it more than the main camera, because the apertures of both cameras are smaller and therefore less light hits the sensor. The night mode still gets a lot out of completely unusable photos.
2 MP macro camera without added value
Even if Honor uses here an extra 2 MP macro camera with a close-up limit of 4 cm, it is easily beaten by the 3x zoom camera. Because the low resolution is visible in every photo, so that the details that one wants to accentuate in macro photos can’t come into their own. The zoom camera with three or five times magnification (middle & right) did a better job in all situations. In the left photos, neither the sharpness nor the colors are really convincing.
32 MP front camera in display
The front camera in the display is the same as in the Honor View 20. It has a resolution of 32 megapixels and a f/2.0 aperture. The high resolution is also noticeable in the Selfies, which offer many details as well as good contrast and colors. The portrait mode doesn’t recognize some hair correctly any more, which are then already blurred. All in all, the portraits are fine, too.
4,000 mAh battery for 2 days running time
The Honor 20 Pro gets a 4,000 mAh battery that can be charged with 22.5W. The battery gives the smartphone in combination with the efficient processor and the “small” display a good 14 hours of battery life. So there are easily two days in a row, which is no longer standard nowadays.
The included Honor SuperCharge charger charges the 20 Pro with 22.5 watts and should bring it up to 55% in only 30 minutes. In our test we were still at a respectable 45% after 30 minutes and at 84% after 60 minutes. The Honor was fully charged after 1.5 hours. It can’t keep up with the charging champions of OnePlus and Huawei, but 90 minutes for 4,000 mAh is still a good time.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with the typical flagship equipment. This means you get 15 LTE bands, Dual SIM, ac WLAN, NFC for Google Pay, Bluetooth 5, GPS / Galileo / BDS / GLONASS, but you also have to do without the headphone connection and the memory expansion.
After all, the final version in the shops then includes a pair of USB-C in-ears as well as a UBS-C to jack adapter and a case. Unfortunately, this is missing in our pre-release version, but is advertised on the official website.
The sound when calling was excellent for both sides and also VoLTE and VoWiFi are supported. The normal sound for media, on the other hand, is only average, as only a mono speaker is used on the underside.
Opposite on the upper side I also suspected an infrared transmitter, but several remote control apps from the Play Store indicate that there is no such transmitter. Also a pre-installed app of Honor is missing for the function. Either the above is another sensor (e.g. for ambient light) or the function is activated at the official release.
Good smartphone – unfortunately too expensive
We liked the Honor 10, but it wasn’t quite perfect. The Honor 20 Pro has become a really good smartphone and a clear upgrade to its predecessor and even to the View 20 thanks to the cameras. With a price of at least over $400, the Honor 20 Pro is in a strange position. Because for over $100 less I get the Mi 9 with a better AMOLED display, better CPU and only slightly weaker (zoom & night mode) camera.
Therefore, the Honor 20 Pro in my eyes is only really useful if you would like to have a Huawei P30 without Notch and can do without the OLED display.
What do you think about the Honor 20 Pro? Is the Hole Punch Camera convincing or would you rather stay with a Notch?To the gadget