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Huawei P20 Pro Display Review: Good, but not flagship worthy

The OLED display on the P20 Pro is good, but how is it living with the notch?

huawei p20 pro screen

The Huawei P20 Pro is definitely one of the interesting smartphones to launch this year. It has gathered a lot of attention for the triple rear camera setup, leaving behind the likes of Samsung Galaxy S9 duo, Google Pixel 2 XL and the Apple iPhone X. Huawei P20 Pro India launch is set for April end, and I have been using the device for roughly three weeks now. I have already spoken about the working of the triple camera setup and also talked about the camera performance. Next, we look at the display, and how is it living with the ‘notch’ on the top.

To begin with, the Huawei P20 Pro flaunts a 6.1-inch OLED display running at full HD+ resolution of 1080×2240 pixels, with pixel density of 408ppi and an aspect ratio of 18:7:9 ratio. The screen-to-body ratio stands at 82 percent, which is a bit less compared to the Galaxy S9, but if Huawei had not incorporated the fingerprint sensor below the display, it could have helped to increase the ratio.

I’m a little disappointed here as rival smartphones in the premium category feature QHD+ displays. But given the fact that camera is in focus here, the resolution aspect can be ignored. Also, the difference between full HD+ and QHD+ is something that you can’t easily figure from the naked eye.

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Talking about quality, the OLED display is pretty sharp and color reproduction is good too. Whether it is watching movies or playing games, the visual experience is good. The contrast is good, whites are bright and blacks look deep, but they aren’t deeper as some of the rivals. By default, colors look sober, but for those who prefer punchy colors, Huawei has given the Vivid mode option under settings that you can turn on. The OELD panel is adequately bright, and legibility under direct sunlight is no issue either.

You can also adjust the color temperature from cold to warm, depending on your preferences. The usual night mode that adds a yellow tint on the screen to avoid stress on your eyes is also present here. And yes, OLED panel also enables always-on display that shows time, date, battery percentage and notification counts.

Let’s talk notch

When the iPhone X renders leaked with a notch, nearly everyone criticized it, including me. But the first smartphone to actually come out with a notch was the Essential PH-1, and iPhone X came much later. Keeping those facts aside, I never liked the idea of a notch as you don’t get to utilize the entire screen area. But after using the P20 Pro, I think that a notch is a clever implementation.

Well, in the above image, you have the top half of the Galaxy S9 and P20 Pro. Observe closely, the top bezel on the Galaxy S9 is thick, whereas on the P20 Pro, you get more screen real estate. On any phone, the top half is generally occupied with notifications panel showing time, battery level and network strength among others. By creating additional space, these notifications show up on the either side of the notch.

Other way to look at it is that the Huawei P20 Pro comes with an aspect ratio of 18.7:9 whereas most other smartphones feature 18:9 display. Essentially, the 0.7 addition is used for notification panel, and you get full 18:9 screen real estate.

Huawei is also offering an option to hide the notch in settings, which just adds a black strip on the top so that the notch goes unnoticed. But when you know there is a notch, why hide it?

Overall, display on the Huawei P20 Pro good, but not great. For a flagship smartphone that will be competing against the Galaxy S9, LG G7 ThinQ, Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium and others, you would at least expect QHD resolution. And while some people may not like the idea of having a notch, it is something that you can’t get away with. The notch is here to stay, most OEMs are adding one to their smartphones, and its time you should embrace it too. We will soon be posting our full review of the P20 Pro, so stay tuned for that.

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  • Published Date: April 18, 2018 7:00 AM IST

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