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Review

Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro first impressions: Upping the game

Huawei is again setting a new standard in smartphone photography with its latest Mate 20 series. Here are my first impressions.

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Huawei set a new standard in smartphone photography with its P20 Pro launched earlier this year. Now, the company is taking things a step up with its latest Mate 20 series. Huawei today launched the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Porsche Design Mate 20 RS, and the large-screened Mate 20 X. Having spent some time with these devices at the launch event in London, here are my first impressions of the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro.

Design

On the design front, both the smartphones look contemporary and quite obviously premium. The Mate 20 features a flat bezel-less display with a “dewdrop” notch at the top, while the Mate 20 Pro features a curved display with quite a wide notch at the top.

Both feature a glass body, and will be available in colors like Emerald Green, Midnight Blue, Black, Pink Gold, and Twilight. Of these however, the green and blue variants feature what Huawei calls “hyper-optical display pattern”. Essentially these variants feature subtle textures on the rear that are not only less prone to fingerprints, but are also easier to grip.

There is a third smartphone in the Mate 20 series developed in collaboration with Porsche Design. Called Mate 20 RS, this device features a matte textured finish at the back, with a reflective stripe running down the middle.

Display

Unlike what’s usually the case, the standard variant here features a bigger display than the Pro variant. The Mate 20 comes with a 6.53-inch LCD display with FHD+ resolution, while the Mate 20 Pro features a 6.39-inch OLED display with Quad HD+ resolution, and 19.5:9 ratio.

Power

The Mate 20 series is powered by Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 SoC fabricated on the 7nm process. Along with Apple, Huawei is the only company offering a 7nm chipset, and needless to say, these smartphones are quite powerful.

The Kirin 980 octa-core SoC is claimed to offer 20 percent improved performance and 40 percent improved efficiency over 10nm chipsets. In the short time I spent with the smartphones, everything worked quite smoothly without a hint of lag anywhere.

With up to 6GB RAM (8GB on Mate 20 RS) on offer, these smartphones are quite capable of handling anything from day-to-day multitasking to graphic-intensive games with ease. On the software front, the devices run the latest Android Pie out-of-the-box wrapped under EMUI 9.

Cameras

The four cameras on board the Mate 20 smartphones is again among the highlights. These camera lenses and the LED flash are arranged in a square-ish pattern at the back.

The Mate 20 comes with a 12-megapixel f/1.8 primary sensor, 16-megapixel f/2.2 wide-angle sensor, and an 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens with OIS. The Mate 20 Pro, on the other hand, comes with a 40-megapixel f/1.8 standard lens, 20-megapixel f/2.2 ultra wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto lens with OIS.

Unlike on the P20 Pro, Huawei has dropped the monochrome lens that was meant for sharper edge definition with less noise. But the company claims that the use of larger and better sensors makes the monochrome help unnecessary.

While shots clicked in ambient lighting conditions at the venue are not enough to judge a camera, my first impressions are quite positive. Still, we will reserve our judgement till we spend a considerable more time with the new smartphones.

Big differences

The Mate 20 Pro is the first smartphone from Huawei to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, whereas the Mate 20 has to make do with a rear sensor. For further security, the Mate 20 Pro also features an advanced 3D face scanner hidden in the notch that helps you unlock the device by just looking at it.

The Pro variant also features IP68 certification making it resistant to water and dust. The standard variant has no such ratings.

Watch: Huawei P20 Pro Review

The Mate 20 is backed by a 4,000mAh battery, and the Mate 20 Pro is backed by a 4,200mAh battery. While these might come across as standard, the talking point truly is the support for 40W SuperCharge technology. Using the bundled supercharger, the smartphones can be juiced up in almost no time.

The smartphones also support 15W wireless charging, but the Pro comes with a feature that differentiates it from the standard variant. Reverse wireless charging essentially allows you to juice up any other device supporting Qi-based wireless charging using the Mate 20 Pro.

Huawei has also introduced a new proprietary card slot to expand the built-in memory on the Mate 20 smartphones. The company calls it nano memory card, which is shaped like a nano SIM card and basically goes into the second SIM tray. Huawei says this is a choice driven by design, but it remains to be seen how consumers react to it.

First impressions

Both Huawei smartphones are quite impressive in what they offer. While the Mate 20 loses out on some key features when compared to the Pro variant, it is still a very competent flagship device. The Mate 20 Pro, on the other hand, is a device quite capable of taking the competition to the Samsung Galaxys and Google Pixels of the world.

Needless to say, these smartphones don’t come cheap. The Mate 20 is priced at €799 (Rs 68,000 approximately) for 4GB RAM with 128GB storage variant, and €849 (Rs 72,100 approximately) for 6GB RAM with 128GB storage. The Mate 20 Pro is priced at €1,049 (Rs 89,100 approximately) for the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage model.

There is currently no word on whether Huawei plans on launching these smartphones in India. If it does, it will be interesting to see how aggressive it can go with the prices to get one up over its competition.

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  • Published Date: October 17, 2018 7:56 AM IST