Huawei Mate 20 Pro First Impressions – The Stuff Flagships Are Made Of

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro may have arrived at the fag end of 2018, but it’s fully loaded and equipped with attributes that would define smartphones in the better part of 2019. By now a lot has been said and written about this innovative triple-camera phone but we only got to experience it in person at the India launch.

Yes, the Mate 20 Pro India price is a bit steep (Rs. 69,990), but Huawei wants to be seen right up there with the top players and has put in a lot of work to justify the price. Let’s discuss a few interesting details and our opinions in the Mate 20 Pro quick review that follows.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Price and Specifications

Model Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Display 6.39 inches OLED display 2K+ 3120 x 1440, 538 PPI
Processor 2.6GHz octa-core HUAWEI Kirin 980
Internal Storage 128GB, expandable via nanoSD (256GB)
Software Android 9 Pie based EMUI 9
Primary Camera 40 MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.8 aperture) + 20 MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2 aperture) + 8 MP (Telephoto, f/2.4 aperture)
Front Camera 24 MP, f/2.0 aperture
Battery 4200 mAh,  40W charger
Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (wave2), 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz,Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC and HWA Audio,Type-C, USB 3.1 GEN1*,Type-C ear jack
Dimensions Width:72.3 mm,Height:157.8 mm,Depth:8.6 mm,        Weight:Approx. 189 g
Price 6GB, 128GB: Rs. 69,990


Huawei Mate 20 Pro Design and Build

At a glance, the Mate 20 Pro could be mistaken for a Samsung flagship, thanks to its curved OLED panel. But be that as it may, the Mate 20 Pro is certainly a gorgeous phone, one that turned out to be rather comfortable to manage and operate in spite of the large ~6.4-inch screen and a 4200mAh battery.

The display has a wide notch which houses a selfie snapper, regular sensors, dot projector and other required paraphernalia for “secure” face unlock. There is no fingerprint sensor or Audio jack on the phone, though.

There aren’t any speaker grille holes either, in spite of the stereo speakers present at the top and bottom – and that’s kind of cool.

The Square camera module on the shimmery back panel further adds character to the phone. It’s nice to see Huawei do things differently. These minor design tweaks might not seem like much, but they go a long way in demarcating a phone and are exactly what we expect to see on flagships.      

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Display

The gorgeous Curved OLED panel on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has been sourced from LG. Thankfully we didn’t notice issues that plagued LG’s OLED panels on Pixel 2 XL. In our initial time with the phone, we didn’t notice much of color shift when viewing the display from different angles.

Huawei has not calibrated the screen to adhere to sRGB color accuracy, but there is a ‘Natural Mode’ under Display Settings that comes close. The bezels around the screen are extremely narrow and symmetrical. The screen is shielded by Gorilla Glass, but the exact version hasn’t been specified.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Performance and Software

A major draw of the Mate 20 Pro is the use of the new 7nm Kirin 980 chipset. This is a tri-cluster SoC (2 + 2 + 4) and has the latest Cortex-A76 CPUs as performance cores. The Kirin 980 is expected to remain competitive with the upcoming 2019 flagship chipsets including the next one from Qualcomm and the recently launched Exynos 9820 – at least as far as raw performance goes.

Current Chipsets are already good enough for most of our needs, and these performance improvements might not make an immediately noticeable impact, but you’d surely be able to appreciate the speed in the long run.

In India, Huawei is retailing the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant.

The software is Android 9.0 Pie based EMUI 9.0. Our past experience with Huawei software hasn’t been particularly good, but at least EMUI is extremely feature-rich and more than customizable and you can tweak the cosmetic part to your liking.  Reportedly, Huawei has made some major improvements and we will be testing them out during the course of our full review.

The exhaustive Mate 20 Pro feature set also includes Samsung Dex like support, AI assistant, a Samsung Mall replacement, and what not.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Camera and Battery

If you will be buying Huawei Mate 20 Pro in India, it will most likely be for its camera. Huawei offers a 40MP primary camera with f/1.8 aperture lens, an 8MP f/2.4 sensor with 3X zoom telephoto lens, and a 20MP shooter with wide angle lens.

The primary 40MP sensor has large 1/1.7” size (which is significantly bigger than usual 1/ 2.5” ad 1/ 2.3” sizes on current flagships) but the individual pixel size is just 1 micron. Huawei bins 4 pixels into 1 big pixel resulting in an effective 2-micron pixel size and churns out 10MP images from the main sensor in the default mode.

The 8MP Zoom lens is the only sensor that gets OIS. Due to the large sensor size of the primary 40MP sensor, there is no room for OIS assembly and the main sensor works with EIS.

Like everything Huawei, the camera app excesses on shooting modes (including an underwater mode) and extras and there is a lot to keep you engaged.

Of course, our experience with how all those alluring hardware numbers add up is very limited at the time of writing. We will need to spend more time with the phone before we pass on our verdict.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro houses a 4200mAh battery that supports 40Watt SuperCharge and also supports 15W fast wireless charging. It also supports reverse wireless charging, but that’s not something you’d be using very often.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Quick Review – Should you buy it?

After our preliminary examination, we are quite convinced that the Mate 20 Pro takes the right approach. Class-leading chipset, innovative camera, excellent design, benchmark technology– That’s the stuff flagships are made of, after all.

We understand that not many consumers would be willing to shell out the steep price of 69,990 INR for a Huawei phone just yet, but that doesn’t make the Mate 20 Pro any less worthy. All said and done, our first impressions of the Mate 20 Pro are largely positive and we are eager to spend more time with the phone.

Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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