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Huawei P20 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: Battle to be the best camera-centric flagship

03 April 2018 5

A few years ago, Huawei flagships were not capable enough to compete against the Samsung's flagships but the time changes pretty quickly because the Huawei latest flagships are capable enough to compete against the well-settled brand's flagships including Samsung. This year Huawei didn't announce flagships at MWC instead they delayed the release of P20 and P20 Pro for a month. The new P20 series was announced in a dedicated event held in Paris on March 27.

With the new P20 and P20 Pro, Huawei challenges its competitors Samsung and Apple because they adopted somewhat similar design like Apple and Samsung flagships. We already compared the P20 against a number of flagships including the Samsung Galaxy S9. Today we will put the larger sibling P20 Pro against the Samsung's premium Galaxy S9 Plus. Both the P20 Pro and Galaxy S9+ are impressive flagships with strikingly beautiful design, top-tier hardware, and praiseworthy camera-setup. Indeed both Galaxy S9+ and P20 Pro are true flagships of H1 2018 as they are packed with better hardware than the standard versions.

Despite being the top-end Android flagships there is a number of aspects where both devices are way different from each other. If you are amongst those who are planning to grab a new premium smartphone, for sure you will consider both the latest phones S9+ and P20 Pro. Today we will put both the devices in head-to-head competition to know which device is superior to other in what aspects.

We are hopeful this comparison will allow to better understand the similarities and differences amongst the two devices. So without any further delay, let's start with the design of both the devices.

73.8 x 158.1 x 8.5 mm
6.2 inches - 2960x1440 px
73.9 x 155 x 7.8 mm
6.1 inches - 2244x1080 px
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Design

Samsung once again opted a glass and metal sandwich design. The chassis is made up of aluminum with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the front and rear glass. Samsung didn't bring a revolutionary change in design instead they brought incremental changes in last year's design with few refinements. The design is Samsung's original design that's why on first look you can easily identify it's a Samsung's flagship. The Galaxy S9+ dimensions are 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1mm and it weighs 173g.

On the other hand, Huawei for the first time opted a metal glass-clad design for their P-series flagship phone. However, instead of bringing a completely brand new design, it seems like Huawei took inspiration from Cupertino's iPhone X for the design. On the front, you will get a small notch on the display whereas the rear side camera arrangement is also pretty similar to iPhone X. It's a big step forward from Huawei in terms of design as opposed to last year's P10.

The Galaxy S9+ is an IP68 certified device whereas the P20 Pro is an IP67 certified. This means the Galaxy S9+ can bear up to 1.5 meters deep water whereas the P20 Pro can survive up to 1 meters only. The P20 is slightly slimmer at 7.8mm. The Galaxy S9+ fingerprint scanner is on the rear side below the dual camera modules whereas the P20 Pro has a scanner on the front below the display.

Samsung retains the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack whereas Huawei relied on USB-C port. In terms of colors options, the Galaxy S9+ is available in Titanium Grey, Lilac Purple, Midnight Black and Coral Blue whereas the P20 Pro is available in Midnight Blue, Pink Gold, Black, and strikingly beautiful Twilight. The overall finish of both the devices is pretty great. So it depends on your personal preference whether you like the Huawei's glass and metal design with a notch or Samsung evolutionary glass and metal design with fingerprint scanner below camera modules.

Display

As far as display is a concern, the Galaxy S9+ is featuring a 6.2-inches display with Quad HD+ screen resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. The display panel is Super AMOLED with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. On the other hand, the Huawei P20 Pro display is 6.1-inches with a Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2244 pixels. It's an OLED panel with an aspect ratio of 18.7:9.

The Galaxy S9+ display panel is not only larger but also it is dual curved from edges and sharper in resolution whereas the P20 Pro's display isn't curved from edges. Another important thing is P20 Pro features a notch at the top of display whereas Galaxy S9+ comes with a thin bezel at the top. One thing common in both the devices is extremely thin bezels around the edges. Although the Galaxy S9+ display is exactly similar to the Galaxy S8 it is brighter than the last year's panel.

Undoubtedly the display panel on the Galaxy S9+ is highly regarded as one of the best in the class display with higher resolution and beautiful dual curved edges.

Hardware

Under the hood, both the devices are running on the most powerful hardware available in the market. The US-bound variant is running on the Qualcomm's latest Octa-core Snapdragon 845 SoC whereas the rest of world will get Exynos 9810 powered variants. Both the variants have 6GB RAM and 64GB native storage. The built-in native storage is further expandable via MicroSD card.

Huawei introduced Kirin 970 SoC with the Mate 10 series. The company once again opted the latest Kirin 970 SoC for the P20 and P20 Pro. The chipset is accompanied with 6GB RAM and native storage is 128GB. Although P20 Pro native storage is double than Galaxy S9+ it can't be expanded further.

Both the devices are equally good as daily drivers, you won't feel any lag in performance no matter which device you opt. The P20 Pro chipset has dedicated neural processing unit to better handle AI-related tasks. In terms of performance and speed, both the devices are quite slick.

Specs Huawei P20 Pro Galaxy S9+
Display 6.1-inches 6.2-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2244 pixels 1440 x 2960 pixels
Chipset Kiri 970 Snapdragon 845/ Exynos 9810
RAM 6GB 6GB
Storage 128GB Non-Expandable 64GB Expandable
Rear camera 40MP+20MP+8MP Dual 12MP
Front camera 24MP 8MP
Battery 4,000mAh 3,500mAh
USB Type-C Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack no yes
OS Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI 8.1 Android Oreo 8.0 with Grace UI

Cameras

This year's main focus of latest flagships is indeed the camera setup. Samsung stepped up their game by introducing one of its kind camera setup with a variable aperture which switches according to lighting conditions. Not just that Samsung also introduced dual rear cameras for the Galaxy S-series smartphone for the first time. The dual rear snappers are 12MP modules. The primary snapper is 12MP with a variable aperture between f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture. During low-light conditions, the aperture turns to f/1.5 whereas in stable light conditions the aperture turns to f/2.4. The variable aperture certainly improves the Galaxy S9+ capability in shooting during low-light conditions.

The secondary 12MP sensor is a 2x optical zoom lens. Both the sensors are optical image stabilized. The best thing about the camera is its ability to capture slow-motion videos at 960 frames per second.

The Huawei P20 Pro is one of its kind flagship phones with three camera sensors on the rear side. The primary snapper is 40MP RGB lens whereas the secondary sensor is a 20MP monochrome lens, last but not the least the third sensor is 8MP optical zoom lens up to 3x with f/2.4 aperture. The P20 Pro camera is not only 1x ahead in optical zoom but also it provides monochrome shots. The P20 Pro performs well even in low-light conditions. Both the RGB and optical zoom provides hybrid zoom up to 5x. The P20 Pro can also capture slow-motion videos at 960fps.

Although the Galaxy S9+ camera setup main aspect is its low light capability whereas the Huawei performs great not only in low-light conditions but also in scenarios where the zoom lens is utilized. The DxOMark awarded P20 Pro 109 scores way higher than any other smartphone. As per DxoMark ratings, the P20 Pro camera is number one in the market. The front-facing selfie-camera on Galaxy S9+ is an 8MP module with f/1.7 aperture whereas the front sensor on the P20 Pro is 24MP AI camera to beautify your selfies.

Software

Both Samsung and Huawei are known for bringing custom UI layers over the stock Android OS. Those who prefer the stock OS experience will disappoint with the Galaxy S9+ and P20 Pro. Both the devices have tons of apps which aren't available on the stock version of Android OS.

The Galaxy S9+ is pre-installed with Android Oreo 8.0 with Grace UI layer over it. The devices feature Bixby AI assistant which can be initiated by clicking the physical button on the left edge. The company already confirmed Bixby 2.0 will be rolled out later this year with tons of improvements. Samsung introduced AniMoji feature with the Galaxy S9 series which allows the user to map their face into a 3D cartoon.

The P20 Pro is running on the latest Android Oreo 8.1 straight out of the box with EMUI 8.1 layer over it. One of the main issues related to Huawei smartphones was EMUI but the good thing is Huawei improved drastically with the latest EMUI version by reducing the bloatware to a minimal level.

Battery

One of the key differences between the devices is indeed the battery life. The Galaxy S9+ lights are kept on by a 3,500mAH battery cell whereas the P20 Pro is running on a gigantic 4,000mAH battery cell. The P20 Pro comes with a lower resolution OLED display and larger battery cell that's why it lasts significantly longer than Galaxy S9+. Both the devices support fast charging. The Galaxy S9+ also supports wireless charging but surprisingly that's not the case with the P20 Pro.

Price

Samsung's premium flagship Galaxy S9+ is expensive than the Huawei's P20 Pro. For the UK customers, the S9+ is available at £899 but you can get it at a lower price tag on special deals. On the other hand, the P20 Pro is announced at £799, if you pre-order it ahead of its official release you will get Bose QC35 II headphones free of cost which usually cost £329.

The Galaxy S9+ is widely available in almost all regions but that's not the case with the P20 Pro. We also heard that P20 Pro might not be officially released for the US market.

Conclusion:

Being the latest flagships both the Galaxy S9+ and P20 Pro are the top-tier smartphones with the best possible hardware but there are few aspects where both the devices differ.

The Galaxy S9+ is one of the first smartphones with Exynos 9810/ Snapdragon 845 SoC. The display panel on Samsung's flagship is dual curved from edges with higher screen resolution, it also has the 3.5mm headphone jack. On the other hand, the P20 Pro takes lead in the camera department and the gigantic battery cell. Now there are few aspects where both the devices are same as OLED display panel, 6GB RAM, glass and metal sandwich design.

If you are amongst those who are not satisfied with the Galaxy S9+ evolutionary design, cameras and battery life and looking to have something different. You can choose Huawei P20 Pro as it brings a number of aspects to attract buyers including a solid camera setup, gigantic battery cell. In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts regarding the P20 Pro vs Galaxy S9+ in the comments section below. Stay tuned for more comparisons and previews.

(last update 19 April 2018 @ 10:44)

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