The US-China trade talk escalation and all the drama surrounding Huawei and its subsidiary Honor has created a lot of uncertainty in the industry and the path it is going to take going forward. Still, the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone maker is holding firm and going ahead with the scheduled Honor 20-Series launch. (Honor 20 Quick Review हिंदी में पढ़िए)
The company plans to release three phones under the 20 series banner i.e Honor 20 Pro, Honor 20 and Honor 20i. Recently We published our initial impressions of the Honor 20i and now we are ready with our Honor 20 hands-on review based on some quality time we have spent with the phone in our own space.

Honor 20 Quick Review: What’s in the box?

The retail unit has simple packaging, similar to what we usually get with Honor phones. Here’s everything that comes inside the box:

  • Honor 20
  • 22.5W Superfast charger
  • Charging Cable
  • a type c to 3.5mm audio jack converter
  • SIM ejector tool
  • Regular guidebook

Surprisingly, Honor hasn’t bundled a TPU case therefore, we would advise all the Honor 20 buyers to buy one to protect from any sort of accidental mishap.

Honor 20 Quick Review: Design and Build

The new Honor 20 Pro and Honor 20 look almost identical, especially from the front. The Honor 20 has a punch hole camera that its predecessor Honor View 20 introduced in India.

Since notches are now passé, punch hole to accommodate front cameras is what we’d see on trendy phones moving forward, at least the ones that don’t go as far as including any variant of a mechanical slider or pop-up. In fact, affordable and mid-range punch hole display phones from Vivo and Samsung are already on their way.

Anyways, using the punch hole allows Huawei to implement a nearly bezel-less fascia, which consequently helps restrict the phone to a very manageable form factor. The hole cut out isn’t as clean as the one we have on our Galaxy S10+, but it seldom gets in the way.

Turn your attention to the vanilla Honor 20’s rear side you will notice what Honor terms as ‘Dynamic Holographic dack design‘. What’s that you may ask? Well, it is a triple layer design – one color layer, one standard glass sheet, and one with diamond shape tiny prisms – that together result in the gradient on the back.

Honor claims that the entire manufacturing process is so complex that out of every batch only a handful are perfect enough to be used in phones.

The rear glass panel is affixed tightly on the rounded side rail. In a surprising move, Honor 20 doubles the power button for fingerprint unlock, which isn’t a bad move as the sensor is snappier than an average in-display sensor and has better accessibility than the rear-mounted sensors.

The camera module that sits on the top left corner protrudes outwards. There is no case in the box to even out the hump either. Honor 20 is also the latest among a long list of phones that have forsaken the audio jack.

The Phone feels slippery and prone to fingerprint smudges as most other glass body phones. At the same time, it has a very premium feel.

Honor 20 Quick Review: Display

The Honor 20 display is a 6.26-inch screen, which we’d say hits the sweet spot for phones in 2019 (size-wise). Honor has sourced an IPS screen featuring 2340×1080 pixels. The display looks sharp and vivid from all angles. The default calibration feels slight in favor of colder tones, but there are ample customization options to fix that from display settings.

The screen can touch a peak brightness of 480 nits which means it is legible both indoors and outdoors. All in all, the display seems to be a decent one suitable for all sort of usage.

Honor 20 Quick Review: Hardware and Software

At the heart of the Honor 20, you will find the same 7nm chipset that Huawei uses in its flagship the P30 Pro (review). The Kirin 980 includes a dual NPU (neural processing unit) that serves a key role in all AI work. Although the Kirin 980 was introduced at the end of 2018, the chipset is a direct competitor to and in the same ballpark as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855.

In India, the phone comes in a combination of 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage.

Magic 2.1 UI that you will find running on Honor 20 isn’t much different from EMUI that you see on Huawei phones. It is based on Android Pie with all sort of customizations and features. Our review unit had a number of pre-installed apps like Vigo, Facebook, Netflix, and a few others. Thankfully, Honor lets users uninstall these pre-installed apps.

The Honor 20 draws power from 3750mAh battery which isn’t the best in class but could be manageable considering the power efficient chipset and software on board. What works in its favor is fast charging and 22.5W adapter that users will get in the box.

Honor 20 Quick Review: Cameras

The Honor 20 has a lot riding on its cameras. Following in the footsteps of Huawei flagships, it also gets a quad camera. Both Honor 20 Pro and Honor 20 shares almost the same camera hardware. Just like the Pro variant it also opts for Sony’s IMX586 48MP as a primary sensor with Quad-Bayer filter.

It is worth mentioning that the ASUS ZenFone 6, Xiaomi Mi 9, OnePlus 7, Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro and OnePlus 7 Pro all of them are using the same sensor as their primary cameras. Beside the 48-megapixel f/1.8 sensor, there is a 16-megapixel super wide-angle camera, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro lens. Up front, both the Honor 20 phones get a 32MP selfie camera.

On paper, the camera hardware makes an impressive read and software isn’t raising any alarms either. It has versatile AI mode can recognize various subjects such as greenery, blue sky, and pets to enhance the final image accordingly.

In our limited time with the camera, the Honor 20 rear module performed well and captured good pictures in proper lighting. Having said that, we will require more time with the camera and our final verdict will be out in our full review.

Honor 20 first impressions

Our initial couple of days with the Honor 20 were really interesting. It is extremely handy, premium and a powerful performer. The Kirin 980 based phone can handle most tasks and gaming comfortably.

The Honor 20 series India launch date is set for June 11 which will clear the air about its pricing and availability. Currently, the Honor 20 is retailing in European markets for EUR 499 (approx Rs 38,780) which makes it costlier than the OnePlus 7. However, we expect the Indian printing of Honor 20 to be far more competitive.


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