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Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: The Premium All-Rounder

Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a plethora of features including 6.39-inch QHD+ curved display, Huawei’s latest 7nm Kirin 980 SoC, Leica powered triple rear camera setup, 4,200mAh battery with 40W fast charger, in-display fingerprint sensor and 3D depth sensing camera. How does it stand against its competitors? Is it worth buying? We have used Huawei Mate 20 Pro for more than two weeks and here’s what we think about it.

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The premium smartphone segment in Indian market doesn’t seem to getting lesser competitive as every major smartphone brand is aggressively eyeing some chunk in world’s fastest growing market. Chinese electronics brand Huawei is also eyeing to build a strong position in Indian smartphone market. They recently launched their flagship smartphone Huawei Mate 20 Pro in India, just a few days after the global launch. 

According to research firm IDC, Huawei (including Honor) has been on the second spot in the global smartphone market share list since last two quarters (Q2 and Q3 2018). The premium segment in India is currently led by OnePlus, followed by Samsung and Apple, respectively; while Google is also making way for themselves with Pixel 3 series. 

But not every phone from every other manufacturer is perfect and Huawei Mate 20 Pro (starting Rs 69,990) comes with a plethora of features including 6.39-inch QHD+ curved display, Huawei’s latest 7nm Kirin 980 SoC, Leica powered triple rear camera setup, 4,200mAh battery with 40W fast charger, in-display fingerprint sensor and 3D depth sensing camera.

How does it stand against its competitors? Is it worth buying? We have used Huawei Mate 20 Pro for more than two weeks and here’s what we think about it. 

Design and Display

Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a large display but the phone doesn’t feel bulky while holding, thanks to edge-to-edge curved display inspired from Samsung Galaxy S9. At the top you’ll find a notch that houses selfie camera, an earpiece, 3D depth sensing camera and other sensors. The notch isn’t as huge as Pixel 3 XL’s and you can also mask it in Settings if you don’t like it. 

Mate 20 Pro features an in-display fingerprint scanner which sits near central portion of the display. The in-display fingerprint scanners being used in any phone right now works pretty smoothly but they’re neither as fast as standard fingerprint scanners nor do they have a higher success rate, maybe this technology will get better with time. However, during my usage of Mate 20 Pro, I rarely used the fingerprint sensor because of the much faster face unlock, which is amazingly fast and works fine even during the night- all thanks to 3D depth sensing technology. Also, this phone has both fingerprint scanner (missing in Apple iPhone XS) and face unlock (missing in Google Pixel 3) for security, which is appreciated.  

A little above the phone’s bottom, there is a logo which guides you to where to place your thumb/finger. The logo is not always active, when its active only then you can place your finger to unlock the phone. The fingerprint sensor becomes active when you lift the phone, tap on the screen or press power button. 

Similar to Samsung Galaxy S9, Mate 20 Pro’s body is also a combination of glass and metal where metal chassis is sandwiched between glass at both front and back. Mate 20 Pro is absolutely one of the incredibly designed smartphone you can buy right now. However, this phone is also vulnerable to getting easily cracked even if it falls from a shorter height and we advise you to get a protective case for this phone as soon as you pull it out of the box. 

Huawei Mate 20 Pro is offered in two colour options Twilight and Emerald Green (the one we reviewed). Emerald Green variant has texture pattern with numerous diagonal lines making the Mate 20 Pro smudge resistant and less slippery than other glass body handsets. 

The device is IP68 rated water and dust resistance which means you can submerge your phone up to 1.5 metres deep for 30 minutes.

At the rear, you’ll find a unique square shaped triple camera setup with Leica logo at the top and Huawei branding at the bottom.  

Like every other premium smartphone, Mate 20 Pro also has stereo speakers but they are quite oddly placed. The earpiece at the top doubles as a speaker which is fine but the sound from bottom speaker comes through USB Type-C port. This could trouble you if you are watching videos while charging your phone as the path for sound gets blocked by charging cable. 

At the bottom you’ll find single-SIM tray and USB Type-C port; also, the 3.5mm headphone jack is missing which means USB port will double as a headphone jack. Volume buttons and a red coloured power button are placed on right side of the phone. 

As mentioned earlier, the display is not only gorgeous but it turns the viewing experience a lot better. Watching videos or playing games in Mate 20 Pro is a feast to the eyes.  Huawei Mate 20 Pro features a 6.39-inch QHD+ (3120x1440) OLED display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio, pixel density of 538 ppi, HDR support and Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. The display is vibrant, offers deeper blacks, high contrast and brightness. 

Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a large display but the phone doesn’t feel bulky while holding, thanks to edge-to-edge curved display inspired from Samsung Galaxy S9. At the top you’ll find a notch that houses selfie camera, an earpiece, 3D depth sensing camera and other sensors. The notch isn’t as huge as Pixel 3 XL’s and you can also mask it in Settings if you don’t like it. 

The display quality is undoubtedly one of the best you can get on any smartphone out there. 

The screen is vibrant and displays crisp and clear content. Be it gaming or binge watching your favourite show, Pixel 3 XL’s display will not disappoint you in any way whatsoever. 

Software and Performance

The single-SIM Mate 20 Pro runs on EMUI 9.0 based on latest Android 9.0 Pie. Huawei was the first brand to showcase a 7nm processor (which improves performance and efficiency) for mobiles but Apple brought first 7nm SoC in the market with iPhones of 2018. 

Mate 20 Pro runs on Huawei’s Kirin 980 chipset coupled with dual NPU (Neural Processing Unit for AI performance), Mali G76 GPU, and 6GB of RAM. It has 128GB internal storage which is expandable up to 256GB but only via Huawei’s own nano memory cards.  

Huawei’s Kirin 980 managed to perform a great job irrespective of tasks thrown at it; be it app opening or switching, gaming, lags seem like a thing from the past now. Mate 20 Pro seems to perform better than phones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 but I still feel Apple’s A12 Bionic does a better job. 

On Geekbench, Pixel 3XL achieved single-core score of 3,322 and multi-core score of 9,834. AnTuTu gave it a score of 2,75,558.

 Handset  AnTuTu Score
 Huawei Mate 20 Pro 2,75,558
 Samsung Galaxy Note 9 2,38,575  
 OnePlus 6T 2,98,107
 Google Pixel 3 XL 2,23,283
 Apple iPhone XS 2,81,557

With Mate 20 Pro you’ll also get gesture based navigation option but I didn’t found them perfect and they needs to be polished; however, you can rely on on-screen navigation buttons.

Huawei Mate Pro has a 4,200mAh battery which will easily drive your day even if you are a power user. The handset comes with Huawei Super Charge which undoubtedly provides fastest charging speed among any flagship phone. Huawei claims that with their 40W charger and Super Charge tech, you’ll get 70 percent battery within 30 minutes. During our usage, Mate 20 Pro reached from zero to seventy percent in less than 35 minutes, and 100 percent in another 35 minutes; which means you’ll get full juice just in an hour. 

Mate 20 Pro is also capable of wireless charging and reverse charging. Reverse charging is an amazing feature which lets you charge other Qi charging compatible phones with Huawei Mate 20 Pro but charging speed is tad slow.

Connectivity features include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with 2X2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, Location, NFC, USB Type-C, Qi wireless charging and reverse charging.

Camera

Last year, Huawei brought three rear cameras in P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro also gets triple cameras at the back but P20 Pro’s monochrome camera has been replaced with an ultra-wide camera in Mate 20 Pro. 

Huawei Mate 20 Pro sports Leica powered triple rear camera setup, 40-MP (standard, f/1.8 aperture) + 20-MP (ultrawide, f/2.2 aperture) + 8-MP (telephoto, f/2.4 aperture, OIS). On the front is a 24-MP selfie snapper. 

The handset’s rear camera with its AI prowess will make you think why carry a DSLR when you have Mate 20 Pro. This amazing camera can perform every task with the combination of multiple lens, be it Portraits, landscapes, macro shots, night shots and what not. The telephoto lens has 3x optical zoom for shooting distant objects, it is also capable of 10x digital zoom. 

Mate 20 ProPixel 3XL 

Mate 20 ProPixel 3 XL 

Mate 20 Pro’s camera is backed by AI photography which automatically optimizes the photos by recognizing more than 1500 different scenarios in 25 categories.

For an example when to point the camera towards a flower or tree, it automatically to a different mode which shows enhanced results. Similarly, if you aim at a person, it automatically switches to Portrait mode and blurs the background. Also, the images clicked in the night were clear and had a good amount of detail. Apart from that, colours, brightness and contrast are adjusted automatically and precisely.

The AI capabilities are also visible in Video section, you can select from options like Fresh, Background blur, Vintage and AI colour which detects people and greys out everything else in the frame, real-time. 

The handset also has slo-mo feature which lets you shoot slow-motion videos with up to 960 frames per second. It also offers a variety of features like AR lens, Panorama, Monochrome, HDR and other filters.  

Another feature that I like is ‘Aperture’ mode where you can adjust depth of field of the subject. ‘Night mode’ is also present to click comparably clearer images in low lighting conditions. 

Contrary to the rear cameras performance, I found selfie camera to be just decent. The selfies clicked turned out to be softer than what they should have appeared in reality. However, this was due to various filters applied by default that smoothens face skin, makes face thinner; I personally don’t prefer these modifications. iPhone X like studio lighting effects are also present which are fun to play with. 

Conclusion

At Rs 69,990, Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a complete package which offers excellent display, amazing battery, astonishing cameras, very quick 3D face unlock and power packed performance.

In my opinion the traditional fingerprint sensor could have been used instead of ‘modern’ in-display fingerprint scanner because it isn’t perfect yet. The 3.5mm headphone-jack is missing from this phone too, which seems like a thing from past now in almost every premium phone. 

Till now Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was an all-rounder in complete sense with its value for money offerings but if you could pull out a few thousand bucks from your wallet, Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the new all-rounder in premium segment which excels in every department. On the other hand, Google Pixel 3 XL which clicks better images is available from Rs 83,000 which is pretty expensive; the smaller Pixel 3 starts from Rs 71,000 but smaller display and lesser storage are major drawbacks. Apple iPhone XS is an incredible phone but you'll need to pay a much more amount while OnePlus 6T is also an incredible performer but it doesn't offer a lot of elite features which user desires from premium category. 

If you are looking for a flagship Android smartphone then Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the right choice for you.


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