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Huawei P20 vs Samsung Galaxy S9: what to choose when both have raised the bar

30 March 2018 5

The South Korean giant Samsung kicked off the MWC this year with new flagships Galaxy S9 and S9+. Both the devices are amongst the first flagship smartphones of the year. As expected they attained most of the limelight of this year's MWC. Due to Samsung's flagships announcement, LG and Huawei delayed their flagship announcement. LG delayed for months whereas Huawei took the stage on March 27 in Paris to wraps off the cover from the flagships P20 and P20 Plus. The new Galaxy S9 series isn't revolutionary smartphones instead we can claim them evolutionary models with a refined design and top-tier hardware under the hood.

On first look, you surely will find the P20 aesthetics pretty much similar to another big giant's flagships. The P20 shares design aesthetics with the Cupertino giant's iPhone X due to the placement of dual rear cameras and notch on the front. Still, there are plenty of aspects which makes the Huawei P20 a solid flagship device pretty much capable to challenge the existing big players like Samsung Galaxy S9.

From the look of the things, it seems like this year most of the flagships will have superb camera setup because most of the OEMs are paying special attention to camera setup of their flagships. So far we have seen Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi and Sony's flagships and one thing common in all these smartphones camera setup which is key selling aspect of all the devices.

Ahead of Huawei P20's announcement the Galaxy S9 is awarded as the best flagship smartphone available in the market. Today we will compare the Galaxy S9 against the Huawei P20 to know whether the Huawei's flagship is able to disrupt the Samsung's dominance in the flagship market or not. We are also hopeful this comparison will help you better decide which smartphone is better in what aspect. Without any further ado, let's start with the design.

70.8 x 149.1 x 7.65 mm
5.8 inches - 2244x1080 px
68.7 x 147.7 x 8.5 mm
5.8 inches - 2960x1440 px
Go to comparison page
Design

As mentioned above, unfortunately, this year's Samsung flagship Galaxy S9 isn't a revolutionary device in terms of design instead Samsung brought an evolutionary design based on last year's Galaxy S8. On first look, you may not be able to differentiate Galaxy S9 from the Galaxy S8 because the front-facing side design of both the devices is almost same. Samsung further reduces the bezels on the Galaxy S9 but the change is few millimeters. The chassis of Galaxy S9 is made up of aluminum with glass covering the front and rear side. The Galaxy S9's sides are gently curved from edges whereas the front display is also dual curved.

The most prominent change in the Galaxy S9's design is the placement of fingerprint scanner below the camera module. The Galaxy S9 is IP68 certified which means it can resist 1.5 meters deep water for 30 minutes without any damage. The Galaxy S9 has USB Type-C for connectivity and retains the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. Although the Galaxy S9 doesn't have a brand new design still it is one of the most striking smartphones in terms of design.

The Huawei P20 is also not bringing a brand new design instead it shares looks with the 10th anniversary iPhone. The P20 front-facing side features a small notch on the top which is slimmer than iPhone X but still doesn't look brand new in terms of design. The good thing has Huawei placed the fingerprint scanner on the front despite trimmed bezels and notch. On the rear side, you will find dual snappers on the top left corner. So far all Huawei P-series smartphones have unibody metal design but this year Huawei took a leap forward by introducing a metal-clad design which looks quite premium.

The P20 is an IP53 certified device which means it isn't as water and dust resistant as Galaxy S9. Also, it lacks the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack instead it relies on USB-C for charging and audio output via headphones.

Display

The display panel on both the devices is same in size but that's where similarities end. The Galaxy S9 is featuring a 5.8-inches Super AMOLED display panel with dual curved edges. The display screen resolution is Quad HD+ 1440 x 2960 pixels, by default the display is set to Full HD+ screen resolution. The Galaxy S9's display aspect ratio is 18.5:9, undoubtedly its one of the best display on any smartphone in the market. Although the display panel and resolution are same as the last year's device the new panel is brighter than last year panel.

The Huawei P20 sports a 5.8-inches display panel like the Galaxy S9. It's an LCD panel with a Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2244 pixels. The display aspect ratio is 18.7:9, the reason behind this awkward notch is a notch on the front. The Galaxy S9's panel has a number of edges over the P20 including a quad HD display, dual curved edges, better brightness level and last but not the least OLED panel.

Camera

The Galaxy S9 camera sensor is one of its modules with variable aperture. Both the companies brought special camera setup on the larger sibling, the Galaxy S9+ is the first Galaxy S-series smartphone with dual rear cameras whereas the P20 Pro is the first Huawei flagship with three rear cameras.

The Galaxy S9 is bringing a single 12MP sensor on the rear side with variable aperture. The aperture turns to f/1.5 in low-light conditions whereas in stable light conditions the aperture automatically turns of f/2.4 aperture. The aperture automatically considering the lighting conditions, if you want more control on your camera you can use Pro mode in which you can also witness a change in aperture as well. However, in auto mode, the change in aperture isn't visible. Up front, the selfie-camera is an 8MP module with f/1.7 aperture.

The P20 brings dual rear Leica certified camera setup like its predecessor but the sensors are now placed vertically on the top left corner. The primary sensor is 12MB RGB module with f/1.8 aperture whereas the secondary sensor is a 20MP module with f/1.6 aperture. Its the same setup we have seen on the Mate 10 series but according to Huawei new camera modules capture more light. The dual rear snappers come with 19 scene detection capabilities which allow the camera to automatically adjust according to the scene. Apart from this feature, the company brought AI camera on the front as well. The selfie camera is 24MP with f/2.0 sensor to capture amazing selfies.

Hardware

Being the latest flagships both the devices are packed with the latest hardware. The Galaxy S9 US variant is packed with Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC whereas the rest of the world will receive the Exynos 9810 powered variant. Both the variants have 4GB RAM and 64GB native storage which is further expandable using MicroSD card. Both the Exynos 9810 and Snapdragon 845 SoC are the latest powerful most powerful chipsets that's why both are the latest benchmark setting chipsets.

On the other hand, the Huawei P20 is powered up by the company's own Kirin 970 SoC, its the same chipset we have seen on the Mate 10 series but still, it is one of the fastest SoC in the market. It is also accompanied by 4GB RAM. The P20 native storage is 128GB which isn't further expandable. In terms of sheer performance both the devices are equally good at handling HIFI games and hefty multi-tasking tasks. No matter which smartphone you opt you will not find any key difference in performance. As a daily driver both the devices is quite powerful machines.

As OS both the devices are running on Android OS, however, the main version and custom UI layer is different. The Galaxy S9 is running on Android Oreo 8.0 based Grace UI straight out of the box whereas the Huawei P20 is pre-installed with the latest Android Oreo 8.1 based EMUI 8.1.

Specs Huawei P20 Galaxy S9
Display 5.8-inches 5.8-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2244 pixels 1440 x 2960 pixels
Chipset Kirin 970 Snapdragon 845/Exynos 9810
RAM 4GB 4GB
Storage 128GB Non-Expandable 64GB Expandable
Rear cameras 12+20MP 12MP
Front camera 24MP 8MP
Battery 3,400mAh 3,000mAh
USB Type-C Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No Yes
OS Android Oreo 8.1 Android Oreo 8.0

Battery

The Galaxy S9 is packed with a 3,000mAh battery cell which survives one day on moderate usage but if you are amongst those who use a smartphone for hours of video streaming, you may disappoint with the performance of the battery. The P20 takes lead here as it is running on a 3,400mAH battery cell. The P20 has an advantage of not only a larger battery cell but also lower screen resolution.
Despite having glass rear the P20 doesn't have wireless charging feature whereas Galaxy S9 support wireless charging. Both the devices support fast charging tech, however, the tech is different on both the devices. The P20 comes with Huawei's Super Charge tech which quickly pops up the battery in no time, on the other hand, the Galaxy S9 has Qualcomm's Quick charge tech for fast charging.

Conclusion

The Huawei P20 seems like an iPhone X running on Android OS. It's a powerful smartphone which falls in the same niche like the other well settle brands flagships. The design approach isn't ambitious at all because of being a copy of already well-known device. The P20 takes lead in camera, battery and latest OS. On the other hand, the Galaxy S9 is a solid flagship with a similar design like its predecessor. The Galaxy S9's main aspects are a camera and display whereas it retains same battery, the design of last year's device. The latest Android Oreo 8.1 is few good months old, the Samsung is yet not ready to ship their flagships with the latest version of Android OS.

Last but not the least the pricing will play an important role as well. The Galaxy S9 is available for £739 in the UK whereas the P20 can be grabbed for £599. This could attract someone who is willing to grab the latest flagship but don't want to spend hefty amount. In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the latest Huawei flagship in the comments section below. Stay tuned.

(last update 15 December 2018 @ 21:23)

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