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Huawei P20 Pro Preview: A real pro for photography

13 April 2018 5

This year Huawei delayed the announcement of their first flagship series of 2018, the company didn't unveil P20 series at the MWC. instead, the company held a separate event on March 27 in Paris to showcase their latest flagships P20 and P20 Pro. The P20 brings a number of goodies which are one of its kind and also it is one of the most expensive Android flagship smartphone in the market.

The Huawei P20 Pro brings enough to challenge the Samsung's latest Galaxy S9 Plus and Cupertino giant's iPhone X. Although Huawei brand isn't as powerful as the other two giants still their flagship is capable to challenge the existing big players. We already put the P20 Pro in head to head comparisons with a number of its competitors. In most of the scenarios the device emerge as the winner. One thing is confirmed Huawei tried their best with the P20 series to make it stand out from the competition.

Apart from regular top-tier hardware, the triple camera setup on the rear is something which isn't available on the latest flagships in the market. The P20 Pro packs a gigantic 4,000mAh battery cell which easily lasts more than one day on single charge. Today we will preview the latest P20 Pro to know everything regarding the device in detail. We are hopeful this preview will help you better understand the pros and cons of the P20 Pro and also whether you should grab the latest flagship from Huawei or not.

73.9 x 155 x 7.8 mm
6.1 inches - 2244x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

The P20 Pro is featuring a brand new design instead the company took inspiration from Apple's iPhone X. One of the key highlights of P20 Pro design is its strikingly beautiful glossy finish. The P20 Pro is one of the first Android flagships with a notch at the top. The chassis is made up of aluminum with glass covering the front and rear side. The front and rear side are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass. The aluminum is polished so well that it looks like steel. Being a glass and metal clad design the device attracts fingerprints so you have to take extra care to make sure it remains clean.

Despite the fact, the P20 Pro is featuring a gigantic battery cell under the hood still you can't judge it from its looks and thickness. The P20 Pro dimensions are 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm and it weighs 180 grams, this means it is not only slimmer but also lighter than the Samsung's Galaxy S9 Plus.

Huawei also joins the race of notch design and the P20 series is the company's first smartphones to have a notch cut out at the top. The P20 Pro's notch is smaller than iPhone X as it only features selfie camera and earpiece speaker. In case of watching 16:9 content two sidebars automatically appears at edges. Unfortunately, the P20 Pro lacks the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack instead the company relied on USB-C port. The device is IP67 certified which means it can resist 1.0 meters deep water for 30 minutes without any damage.

The best thing is despite having full front-facing display the device has a fingerprint scanner on the front below the display. It's extremely fast and undoubtedly one of the best in the market. Apart from fingerprint scanner, the device features facial recognition as well. Though it isn't as refined as the Samsung's or Apple flagships Huawei certainly did a great job in ensuring the P20 Pro looks premium in all aspects.

Display

The Mate 10 Pro was the company's first flagship with the OLED display, they opted an AMOLED panel for the P20 Pro as well. The display panel is 6.1-inches with a Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2244 pixels. Unfortunately, Huawei yet not ready to enter the arena of a 2K display. The display aspect ratio is 18.7:9, it is slightly awkward due to notch at the top. The display pixels density is 408 pixels-per-inch which is significantly lower than the Galaxy S9 Plus's 529ppi.

The difference is quite significant while watching VR content, however, on the daily routine, you may not find significant differences. Thanks to OLED panel the deep blacks are pretty great. If you are not comfortable with the default colors you can tune colors temp according to your preference as well. To better adjust the light conditions the P20 Pro automatically adjust colors temp on the go as well. Huawei admits notch is not for everyone that's why you can hide it as well.

Hardware

Under the hood, Huawei isn't bringing a completely new chipset. The Kirin 970 SoC was introduced last year and the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro were the company's first flagship with this chipset, the same SoC opted for the P20 Pro as well. Its an Octa-core chipset, the power-efficient cores are Cortex-A53 whereas the performance cores are Cortex-A73. The chipset is though amongst the best but still not as the powerhouse as the Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 SoC which has Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 cores. A 12-core Mali-G72 is on board as Graphics processing unit whereas the Mali-G72 on the Galaxy S9 series is 18-cores.

On Geekbench 4 test the P20 Pro achieves 6,755 points only which are way lower than Galaxy S9's 9,000 points. Also, it is important to mention that P20 Pro CPU and GPU doesn't have to bear the pressure of Quad HD resolution. The Octa-core SoC is accompanied with 6GB RAM and built-in native storage is 128GB which isn't further expandable using MicroSD card. Considering the latest standards the device easily falls amongst the best performing smartphones in the market.

Specs Huawei P20 Pro
Display 6.1-inches
Screen resolution 1080 x 2244
Chipset Kirin 970
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB Non-Expandable
Rear cameras 40MP with f/1.8 aperture + 20MP with f/1.6 aperture +8MP
Front camera 24MP
USB Type-C
3.5mm headphone jack No
IP67 Yes
Battery 4,000mAh
OS Android Oreo-based EMUI 8.1

Battery life

One of the best aspects of P20 Pro is its gigantic battery cell of 4,000mAh. It is way higher than most of the flagships of this niche, it is 5,00mAH larger than S9 Plus. On heavy usage the device easily lasts more than one day, you can stream YouTube videos for hours. On normal to heavy usage, the device ends the day with more than 50% charge. On watching a Full HD video for 90 minutes the device only lost 9% of charge which is quite great. We already experience same exceptional results on the Mate 10 Pro as both the devices have the same hardware and the battery cell.

Huawei P20 Pro features a SuperCharge tech which quickly recharges the device in no time. In less than 90 minutes the device charges from 0 to 100%. The best thing is it took only 45 minutes to reach up to 80%. Despite all these goodies, the P20 Pro lacks the wireless charging support.

Camera

The P20 Pro features triple camera setup inlined on the top left corner. The camera setup on the P20 Pro is something which isn't available on all flagships in the market. The primary snapper is 40MP lens whereas the secondary sensor is a monochrome 20MP sensor. The third separate sensor is an 8MP module with optical zoom up to 3x. The zoom sensors allow the user to capture long shots without utilizing the digital zoom.

By default, the device doesn't shot 40MP shots all the time instead the device captures 10MP shots but you can 40MP images as well. In Pro mode, the users can even shoot DNG files of 76.2MB. Huawei once again joins hand with Leica for the triple camera setup. Undoubtedly the camera setup provides best-in-class results, the device performs way better than all latest flagships. The camera setup not only performs great in day-light conditions but also in low-light conditions as well.

Although the zoom lens isn't as higher megapixel as the other two sensors still it performs pretty great for capturing 3x zoom images. The P20 Pro also features hybrid zoom up to 5x. The results of hybrid zoom are not as clear as the zoom lens still it can capture images from far-away. Huawei instead of opting the optical image stabilization hardware they go through a different approach what they called AIS using smart processing to stabilize images.

One of the most impressive features of P20 Pro's camera is Night Mode which enhances the device capturing capability in low-light conditions. The device captures noise free detailed and sharp images in most of the scenarios. Utilizing the AI, the device identifies scenes to better adjust camera settings. For instance, if you are capturing food, the camera will set exposure, colors and contrast ratio accordingly.

The device supports 4K video recording but at this resolution, there isn't image stabilization whereas stabilization is activated on Full HD videos. Like the latest flagships from Samsung and Sony, the P20 Pro comes with slow-motion HD video capturing capability at 960 frames-per-second. The front-facing selfie camera on the P20 Pro is a 24MP module. Although its a higher megapixel sensor that doesn't mean it captures the finest selfies. However, it works pretty awesomely in low-light conditions like the rear cameras.

Price and availability

Huawei P20 Pro is currently up for sale in the UK at a price tag of £799. The device is available from April 6 but at the moment it is still in the dark whether the device will be available for the Australian customers or not. The device was available from eBay in the US for a limited time in limited numbers which means you can't expect wide availability of P20 Pro in the US.

Software

The Huawei P20 Pro is pre-installed with Android Oreo-based EMUI 8.1 layer over it. Undoubtedly it is one of the finest version of OS from Huawei because brought significant improvements in their UI last year by reducing the bloatware to a minimal level. The custom EMUI version of OS from Huawei seems like inspired by iOS arrangements because all apps are on the home screen. You have to organize all the apps into folders. If you don't like the stock theme, there are 12 more themes available for you.

As expected to be a flagship smartphone the P20 Pro speed of opening apps is quite slick, you can load the apps in no time. There are few bloatware apps from Huawei and most of them are utility apps to further enhance your user experience. To control different appliances the device features a Smart Controller app which uses IR transmitter to act as a global remote control.


Conclusion:

The P20 Pro is certainly a big jump from Huawei in terms of camera, AI, and design. As expected the company didn't bring a completely new hardware under the hood but the company main focus was the camera and AI. The P20 Pro camera results confirm the triple camera setup isn't a gimmick but instead it works really work in all sort of scenarios including low-light conditions.

The device is pre-installed with the latest version of Android Oreo and another plus point of P20 Pro is its amazing battery life which last way longer than most of the smartphones of this niche. In short, the P20 Pro is bringing a stylish design with great build quality, solid camera-setup, top-tier hardware and impressive battery life. The device will certainly attract those who want a powerful flagship camera-centric smartphone but don't want to go for well-established brands like Samsung and Apple.

In the end, we would like to hear our readers thoughts in the comments section below regarding the P20 Pro Preview. We will be bringing more previews and comparisons in coming days. Stay tuned.

The Huawei P20 Pro isn't still available. To be notified when it becomse available click here.

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