A few years ago, when Huawei launched its first smartphones in South Africa, they were seen as nothing more than imitations and cheap imitations of much more powerful and elegant flagships. At the time, BlackBerry and Nokia devices were still out there, at the top of the smartphone market and with no signs of their imminent demise. The turnaround was nothing short of miraculous considering all things.
It's been about five years since its humble beginning, entering the market with Huawei Ascend P6. Fast forward to 2018 and the company has new ambitions, seeking to replace the likes of Samsung and Apple as the number one smartphone in the South African landscape. But to achieve that goal, the smartphone maker needs to be able to deliver on its promise to continue to produce great devices.
Having launched the Huawei Kill 20 Pro Just a few weeks ago, the OEM was able to break new ground, offering a number of innovations in the industry along the way. So with that in mind, the Mate 20 Pro is the device that ultimately puts Huawei at the top of the industry?
Build and Design
Looking back through the many iterations of Huawei's flagships over the years, there has been a distinct look about their devices. At first, they would be compared to the likes of the Apple and Samsung units. With Mate 20 Pro, the company stands out. There are still indications of other OEMs featured in the unit, the iPhone X and Galaxy devices, but the unit is mounted in a lightweight and stylish box that looks great.
The Mate 20 Pro is the thinnest and shortest of all devices, yet it has the same screen size as Note 9, which is quite impressive.
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for confusing the device with the previously released Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone. Mate 20 Pro has more pronounced curves around, from the four corners, from the four edges and even from the screen. The unit feels much softer in the hand as it fits nicely in your palms.
It would be more accurate to compare the size of the unit with that of S9 Plus and Note 9. Mate 20 Pro has similar dimensions and weights compared to these units. The unit measures 8.6 mm thick with the S9 Plus at 8.5 mm and the note 9 at 8.8 mm. It also weighs the same as the S9 Plus at 189g, while Note 9 sits a little behind at 201g, possibly as a result of the added S Pen insertion. The total dimensions of each device are 157.8 × 72.3 × 8.6mm, 158.1 × 73.8 × 8.5mm and 161.9 × 76.4 × 8.8mm, respectively. The Mate 20 Pro is the thinnest and shortest of all devices, yet it has the same screen size as Note 9, which is quite impressive. But more about the details on the screen in the next section.
Although the Mate 20 Pro design may resemble Galaxy devices, after a more detailed inspection, you will notice a large number of changes. To begin with, the entire button is mounted on the right side of the devices, with the power button closer to the center and also has a red metallic lining. Each of the buttons is within reach of an average thumb. This also includes the fingerprint sensor under the display. This feature is not new to Huawei, having previously launched the capability in Mate Porsche Design smartphone, a much more expensive smartphone. The fingerprint sensor works almost perfectly, unlocking the devices in less than a second when detected. It also includes FaceID unlocking if you need additional security.
The fingerprint sensor works almost perfectly, unlocking the devices in less than a second when detected. It also includes FaceID unlocking if you need additional security.
There are a number of quite nice building features added to the unit, which include reintroducing the infrared port, for additional features. Also, there is no speaker grille to speak of. Instead, Huawei has adjusted the speaker behind the Type-C port on the bottom of the unit, through which the sound is projected. It may not seem so useful, but contributes to cleaner design while having fewer holes for IP-68 rating, which allows the device to be submerged in water up to 2m deep for 30 minutes.
While most flagship smartphones currently offer some or all of the IP rating, Huawei includes an underwater mode for your camera, allowing users to take pictures while having fun in the pool. It is worth noting that it is not recommended to spend a lot of time taking underwater photos without a protected enclosure.
Overall, I was more than impressed with the construction, design and features added to the Mate 20 Pro and it is definitely one of the most comfortable units to hold on hand.
Screen and Display
As with many other features, the likes of Apple and Samsung have always led the way when it comes to their world-class screens. In 2018, Huawei stepped up its game with the Mate 20 Pro-mounted panel. To begin with, the screen corresponds to the size of Note 9, measuring 6.39 "compared to 6.4" on note 9, 6.2 " on the S9 Plus and 6.5 "on the iPhone Xs Max. Where the Mate 20 Pro stands out, however, is that it has one of the smallest frames, which gives it an impressive close-to-the- , the highest among major OEMs.
Huawei has replaced its previous LCD panel in the 2017 units, replacing it with an AMOLED panel.
The unit also boasts an impressive display of 1440x3120px, which has a pixel density of 538ppi. Unfortunately, part of the screen includes the very nasty notch to accommodate the front camera, speaker and additional sensors. But, unlike other devices including the slot, the Mate 20 Pro has the option of removing the notch, disabling the top section of the screen to make it look much simpler. Whether you want to maximize the viewing area or look for a more stylish look, Huawei software lets you customize your look.
Interestingly, there is a little more on the screen than the specs on the paper. To begin with, Huawei has replaced its previous LCD panel in the 2017 units, replacing it with an AMOLED panel. There is the Super AMOLED installed on the main Samsung devices, but it still does the job. The colors are crisp, bright and the contrast is great. This is definitely one of the most beautiful screens installed on a Huawei unit.
Another plus point for the unit is that it supports HDR, creating higher contrast and brighter colors, which is great for applications that support these features. This makes the videos and images captured with the onboard camera incredible to look at.
Performance and battery life
One of the biggest discussion points since launch was the benchmark comparisons of the Kirin 980 chipset with other leading OEM SoCs. As I've said many times over the past two years, total CPU performance is no longer where the smartphone war will be won, but rather how it uses what it has under the hood, no matter how small. Huawei's new 7nm architecture elevates the game over previous Huawei units, but still falls short of the brand compared to the immediate performance with the likes of Samsung and Apple's latest chips. With a score of about 9700 on Geekbench 4, the unit is just below note 9 and iPhone Xs and Max Xs, the latter that leads the pack.
… As owner of Mate 20 Pro, you can select a mode, which allows you to charge another smartphone that supports wireless charging …
Huawei, however, has made some improvements in how the processor is used, which includes the Turbo GPU mode, which boosts performance while playing cutting-edge games. What this does is extract all available resources from other applications and focus on providing the best performance for the game you are running. This also reduces the overhead of other applications to run the phone more efficiently, which also allows you to keep the minimum of heat while increasing the frames per second. The feature is still limited to a handful of games, but Huawei is working on adding new apps every month. Another interesting feature about the mode is that it optimizes the load times, which makes the overall use of supported applications even better. At this stage, Huawei has become its own game mode, offering the best performances in this area in relation to any other smartphone in the market.
In terms of the complete specification list, the Mate 20 Pro includes a Kirin 980 HiSilicon chipset, Octa-core CPU (Cortex-A76 2 × 2.6GHz and Cortex-A76 2 × 1.92GHz and Cortex-A55 4 × 1.8GHz), GPU Mali-G76 MP10, 6 GB of RAM in the variant of 128 GB and 8 GB of RAM in the 256 GB drive. The unit also includes a non-removable 4200mAh Li-Po battery, which is one of the industry leaders and 5% more than the Galaxy Note 9.
With the performance of Note 9 setting the benchmark, Huawei was looking to outperform its rival with another tick in the list. With both phones easily able to last a full day of operation, these are already quite impressive from both. I found that both devices had enough charge to last up to a second day, with normal performance, with relatively similar results. There is, however, a feature that makes Mate 20 Pro stand out from any other device on the market, this being the reverse loading feature. What this means is that as a Mate 20 Pro owner, you can select a mode that allows you to charge another smartphone that supports wireless charging. This is a very impressive achievement. Although the load is relatively slow compared to normal charging modes, it is quite useful for those around you.
One of the most contentious aspects about Huawei's smartphones has been their device software and EMUI firmware. Things have changed significantly with the latest releases, with Huawei taking things one step further with the release of Mate 20 Pro. One of the things that many Android users complain about is the lack of app drawer, preferring to distance the device from the Apple's approach.
Huawei has made a major effort to increase its security features from both a hardware and software standpoint.
Huawei allows users to choose between single interface and application drawer layouts, which is a great resource for everyone. In addition, Huawei has also greatly reduced the interface, leaving only a few pre-installed Huawei applications, many of which are quite useful in any event.
Having been released the latest of all Android smartphones not ordered by Google, the Mate 20 Pro is one of the first to include the Android 9.0 Pie (the Sony Xperia XZ3 is the first). There are a lot of small changes implemented, both natively and from Huawei itself. One of my favorite additions to software is the new wireless desktop feature. Originally released on last year's Mate 10 units to compete with Samsung's DeX software, Huawei stepped up its game with wireless technology, increasing game performance and making everyone sit and catch on. I will have more on the wireless desktop with a complete overhaul.
Huawei has made a major effort to increase its security features from both a hardware and software standpoint. In addition to fingerprint sensor on the screen and FaceID unlock to improve your biometric security, there are also some management features to provide more options and flexibility to the user. Management also extends to other aspects of the device, including memory, storage, battery and tanned, similar to how Samsung manages its system functions.
The preinstalled applications discussed earlier include Huawei Health, HiCare, AppGallery, and Translator. Other tools include a recorder, Smart Remote, Mirror, Compass, Torch and a few others. These are all very minimalist applications, but they all have a function to play that would be useful in everyday life. There are some non-Huawei pre-installed apps, including Facebook, Netflix and Booking.com, plus some games like Asphalt Nitro, Spider-Man Ultimate Power and Assassin's Creed Unity, to name a few. .
There are some integrated features of the AI, one of which is the Digital Balance tool, which aims to reduce the use of the phone throughout the day. This allows users to set how long they want to use their smartphone when they want to start sleeping at night and many other features of that type. Many large corporations have started the work-life balance for both devices and applications, so it's pretty impressive that Huawei seems to be leading the way when it comes to smartphones.
Undoubtedly, the biggest drawcard of Huawei's previous flagship releases was the camera. The company made a significant statement when it joined forces with Leica to upgrade its camera hardware and with the launch of its triple lens camera in the P20 Pro earlier this year made all the headlines. The triple camera is back with all the new enhancements.
In terms of hardware, the unit features a 40MP f / 1.8 wide-angle lens along with a 20MP, f / 2.2, ultra wide-angle and 8MP f / 2.4 telephoto lens. In terms of internal features, the camera supports some levels of DSLR, which includes autofocus, laser focus, phase focus, contrast focus, artificial image stabilization and dual-tone flash.
… The unit features a 40MP f / 1.8 wide-angle lens, next to a 20MP, f / 2.2, ultra wide-angle and 8MP telephoto lens, f / 2.4 …
The camera software on the device also includes several modes. These include auto camera mode, photo, night, portrait, video, pro, panorama, monochrome with dedicated monochrome lens, time lapse, light painting, watermark and a very useful underwater mode. You can also customize some shortcuts and triggers for shooting, flipping and enjoying.
One of the most impressive additions to the feature-packed application is the new macro photography under the Aperture mode. This allows users to take cool pictures of thumbnails and other tiny objects. The mode allows users to stand within 2.5 cm of the subject while maintaining focus with additional zoom features for more detail. Speaking of zoom, the camera also offers 5x optical zoom with some pretty impressive results.
With AI playing an important part of the camera's ecosystem, a lot of work is done in the background without the user noticing. One such feature is automatic scene detection, which Huawei provides some indications on the screen whenever it detects a different type of outlet, changing the messages to inform the user. One of the most useful is text recognition, which adds some OCR details to improve text in the image.
The camera is able to switch modes automatically and detect light in the scene as well. If the auto flash is off, the camera goes into overdrive for a great picture in low light. In some cases, I purposely captured images in light rooms near zero with the camera able to capture more detail in the scene than I could with my eyes.
Finally, Huawei has added a Qmoji feature, which aims to compete with the counterparts of Samsung and Apple. With the inclusion of a 3D depth sensor in the front camera, the application does a good job of collecting many details with the representation of your animal avatar, including the movement of the tongue.
Last year was the year of change for most major smartphone manufacturers, offering massive reviews for their major handsets. With that in mind, as well as the fact that CPU performances are walking on an equal footing, I predicted it would come to features or services in 2018. Samsung seemed to be disappointed in terms of overall improvement of Galaxy S9, but quickly turned the things with Note 9, which, at the time, I pointed out as the best cell phone of the year. The iPhone Xs Max did little to impress and despite the performance gains over its rivals, it did not have much to bring to the table.
With the latest release of Huawei, Mate 20 Pro, the game has changed. Without a doubt, the smartphone surpassed Note 9 as the best cell phone of 2018, not just by releasing specifications, but by developing a full-featured unit. It's hard to believe that with all managers of packaging devices, it does so in a very stylish frame on top of that.
At a retail price of R18,999, it corresponds to the price of Note 9. Huawei in previous years was known to offer affordable devices with great features, which is still done in many of its midsize units. O Kill 20 Pro definitely justifies its price and then some.
Huawei Kill 20 Pro
- Great new design
- Good performance
- Good screen
- Fingerprint sensor on the screen
- Full of resources
- Enhanced camera
- Learning facility 0%
- Easy to use 0%
- Pleasure 0%
- to draw 0%
- performance 0%
- Value for money 0%