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Huawei P20 review – GSMArena.com tests

Introduction

A strange bird this Huawei P20 – a headliner without a spear. The omission of the triple camera is baffling, but as long as you give it a chance, you may be surprised. And if you don’t dwell on what didn’t make the cut, you should be able to see the P20 for what it is – one dazzling flagship.

Huawei P20 review

The signature Twilight hue is among the things the P20 duo will be remembered for. It’s available on both devices if you are lucky enough to reside in a region which stocks it, but the similarities don’t end here. The notched screen is shared, as is the Kirin 970 chip which, even though is six-months-old already, is still relevant.

Now, the elephant in the room – the dual-instead-of-triple camera on the back. Yes, it’s a step down from the more prominent P20 Pro but, fret not, this is not the same dual-camera we left on the Huawei P10 and Mate 10 Pro either. The 12MP color sensor is brand new and has much bigger pixels and thus we can expect brighter low-light images and less noise.

Huawei P20 review

The MasterAI is also a thing on the P20, improving the way we take pictures by allowing for some previously impossible tripod-free long-shutter pictures. You can use lossless telephoto zoom, record 960fps slow-mo videos, but you can also switch to monochrome and take some artsy shots downtown.

The 24MP selfie camera stays the same on both P20 phones, too. It may lack autofocus but can do Face Unlock and shoot portraits with blurred backgrounds in line with the curent trends.

Huawei P20 specs

Body: dual-glass with metal frame, 7.7mm thick
Screen: 5.8″ LTPS IPS LCD, 1080 x 2240px resolution (429ppi);
Chipset: Kirin 970 chipset, octa-core processor (Cortex-A73 2.4GHz + A53 1.8GHz), Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
Memory: 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.1;
Camera: 12MP f/1.8 OIS color + + 20MP f/1.6 monochrome; 4K video capture, 720@960fps slow-mo; Leica co-developed
Camera features: 1/2.3″ 12MP sensor, 2x optical zoom, OIS + EIS, can change focus and lighting in photos after they are taken, Variable Aperture, Portrait Mode, shoots long-exposure without a tripod
Selfie cam: 24MP, f/2.0 Leica lens, Portrait Mode with live bokeh effects; 2D Face Unlock
Battery: 3,400mAh; Super Charge
Security: Fingerprint reader (front), 0.4 seconds response time
Connectivity: Dual SIM, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 + LE, NFC, USB Type-C
Misc: IR blaster, stereo speakers

Seeing that Huawei didn’t copy-paste its old dual-camera but instead came up with some notable improvements is enough for us to let the company off the hook here. We can even forgive the switch to IPS LCD screen which some might consider a downgrade from Pro’s OLED.

The crime we can’t let slide is the failing to secure the P20 body against water. It’s beyond us why Huawei made water-tight only the P20 Pro, but it’s not fair and puts even more pressure on the P20. The IP53 rating is not the best excuse for ditching the analog jack, and yet Huawei still opted for its retirement.

It’s clear we are starting on the wrong foot, so let’s pop this Huawei P20 out of its box and hopefully we get on the right one.

Unboxing the Huawei P20

Fancy is not what the Huawei P20’s white cardboard box is. But the maker has an excellent track record for bundles and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Huawei P20 review

Inside that box, you’ll find eye-catchy Huawei P20 packed with a 22.5W charging plug, an enhanced USB Type-C cable compatible with Huawei’s Super Charge, a pair of headphones, and a must-have 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter.