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Honor View 20 real-life camera review

The Honor View 20 comes with a 48MP camera, which promises stunning photos at both daytime or nighttime.

We’ve already reviewed the phone in detail so we knew what to expect.

But we felt we could go the extra mile to understand where its camera excels and where it falls short. So we took the chance for a break from the bleak winter weather and took the phone for a photo shoot at a sunnier location – the French Riviera. Note that none of this was organized or sponsored by either Honor or Huawei or any their subsidiaries, though, we certainly wish it was 🙂

Great light = great shots, simple as that

Starting with the photos taken in good light (AI On), we are happy to share the Honor View 20 got us great looking shots most of the time.

The great dynamic range was complemented by nice sharpness and colors. The autofocus was quick and always spot on.

The screen perhaps didn’t do the camera justice out in the bright sun as we had a hard time seeing the full tonal range of the photos as we took them. But that was only in those situations where the sun was hitting it straight on and phones with AMOLED screens are guilty of this too.

The AI scene recognition as indicated by a set of small icons in the viewfinder, was quick and always spot on, though, we rarely noticed any significant difference to how the scene was captured. Come to think of it, that actually might be a good thing as it never went over the top with the colors or contrast.

One of the few photo situations where the phone let us down was when we shot plates of food indoors (the Mate 20 Pro’s AI setup did a better job of it). Also, some of our outdoor landscape shots turned out too contrasty and a bit overexposed too – all for no apparent reason.

We also missed having a quick way to engage the camera’s burst mode if there is even one (such as with a long press of the on-screen shutter). But that’s nitpicking as the camera’s shot-to-shot times were amazingly short and the whole experience of using it felt great.

We took all photos you see below in the default 12MP resolution as this is the mode meant to get you the highest quality shots.


Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2398s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2475s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3247s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3125s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/4274s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/121s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2075s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3731s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1323s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/401s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/190s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/936s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3367s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/584s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2075s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1232s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1242s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/704s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1873s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/108s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/168s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2053s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1466s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2160s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/4167s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2747s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/47619s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 daylight camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2841s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 daylight camera samples

Zooming in is possible

There is a 2x toggle in the viewfinder which provides 2x magnification compared to the normal shooting mode. The focal length is reported as 52mm in the image EXIF tags which seems about right. Of course, the View 20 does this with a single camera so the zoom was not optical but rather a crop of the center of the 48MP camera sensor.

The produced zoomed photos are 12MP in resolution again but upon closer inspection, you can notice they are more grainy and with a higher level of sharpening applied. Still, if you only browse them on the phone’s screen, they look as good as the regular photos.

The camera also provides up to 10x digital zoom but you’d have to pinch zoom on the camera viewfinder to control that, while the toggle for the 2x zoom is directly accessible.


Honor View 20: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3497s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: 2x zoom - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3731s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/120s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: 2x zoom - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/127s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1447s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: 2x zoom - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1866s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: 2x zoom - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: 2x zoom - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: Normal - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2525s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20: 2x zoom - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2825s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20: Normal 2x zoom

AI is in charge of HDR

Using its AI smarts, the camera would often turn on HDR mode, which restores the clipped highlights successfully. If it fails to pick the mode on its own, you can always force it, though the process requires a few extra taps on the screen – there is no toggle for it visible in the viewfinder. One would suggest that this should mean it’s always on, but that’s not the case. It just means that Auto HDR is always on.

Below you will find a few comparison photos where the camera missed engaging the HDR mode at first but then engaged it for one of the consequent shots.

Our only gripe with Huawei/Honor’s HDR mode implementation is that you can see the entire captured tonal range of the photo only after it has been taken. During the process of shooting, the viewfinder doesn’t show the expanded dynamic range as we’ve seen that on phones by other brands such as Samsung, Google, Apple, OnePlus, and as of lately, LG.

This way you can’t really guess whether you have the nicely exposed shot you were hoping for without double checking the photos you just took in the gallery. We really hope that’s something the company will work on improving for its future phones.


Honor View 20 HDR: Off - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 HDR: On - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 HDR: Off - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 HDR: On - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 HDR: Off On Off On

Photos are equally impressive in low light

The Honor View 20 regularly provided us with great looking shots in low light even without engaging any special modes.

The white balance was always spot on, too, even in tough scenarios such as these underwater shots taken at the aquarium at Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum.


Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/25s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/50s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/25s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 low-light camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/25s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 low-light camera samples

A Night mode is hardly needed (with a camera so good)

A year ago when Huawei introduced its Night mode, it seemed like a game changer. The Honor View 20 makes use of the same excellent handheld long exposure photo taking capabilities as Huawei flagships.

Surprisingly though, what we’ve been witnessing regularly is that the cameras on all these phones can almost match the output of the dedicated Night Mode even when you shoot in the regular Auto mode. All while saving you the hassle of making sure you hold the phone steady for a few seconds.

The only difference compared to the Night mode is that you see the excellent result in the gallery only after the shot has been taken. Sure, it looks much more magical watching the Night mode do its thing right in the viewfinder. And the Night mode is not completely without its benefits – it does provide a slight boost in tonal range recovery – especially in the highlights. But really, it’s hardly worth the fuss. Our advice is just to use the regular Auto mode all the times and you’ll be good.


Honor View 20 Night mode: Off - f/1.8, ISO 320, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 Night mode: On - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/-3s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 Night mode: Off - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/33s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 Night mode: On - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/-3s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 Night mode: Off On Off On


Honor View 20 lowlight options: Auto, HDR Off - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 lowlight options: Auto, HDR On - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/100s - Honor View 20 camera review
Honor View 20 lowlight options: Night mode - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/-3s - Honor View 20 camera review

Honor View 20 lowlight options: HDR Off HDR On Night mode

Videos are smooth and have great dynamic range

Video recording with the Honor View 20 is a joy – much like taking photos. The stabilization in 4K is really good and you can use the 2x zooming during video recording with an acceptable quality penalty.

Other than that, we appreciate the videos for their wide dynamic range, the high level of resolved detail and the nice color reproduction.