Even as Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has been in the middle of a crisis because of an ongoing tussle with the US administration, its sub-brand Honor recently introduced the Honor 20-series in India. The smartphones in the series – the Honor 20 Pro, Honor 20 and Honor 20i (review) – were lopoked at with some doubt at the time, especially as there were questions over the phones’ future software and security updates from Google.
Addressing the concern, Honor issued a statement and assured that the phones would indeed receive Android Q and security updates. Also, the US administration recently softened its position on the matter and allowed Google to license Android to Huawei. Now that the whole Huawei-Google situation seems to have been resolved, it is time we found out how the series’ midrange smartphone, the Honor 20, fares on key parameters. Here is our review:
The Honor 20 has a no-frills design with a glass body and a metallic chassis. Like other Honor-branded smartphones, this phone’s back is covered with a curved reflective glass that renders different colour hues and shapes when exposed to light and looked at from angles. The reflective glass properties are more prominent in the blue variant than the black one that we reviewed.
The phone’s front is dominated by a punch-hole screen, which adds to both style and substance. The capacitive fingerprint sensor placed under the power button on the right side of the chassis along with the volume rocker keys, also adds up to the phone’s functionality without compromising its minimal design language.
The Honor 20 sports a 6.26-inch fullHD+ screen, stretched in a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen has a punch-hole design on the top-left corner accommodating a 32-megapixel front-facing camera. The display looks vibrant and has good sunlight legibility. The punch-hole is tiny and it does not cause any major obstruction to the on-screen content. The screen is a delight for everyday use but not perfect for gaming and videos. Thankfully, the phone has Widevine L1 certification; its screen can utilise its native resolution to render content available on over-the-top platforms in high definition.
The Honor 20 has a quad-camera module on the back, featuring a 48-megapixel primary sensor of an f/1.8 aperture, a 16MP ultra-wide lens of a 117-degree field of view, a 2MP macro lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the phone has a 32MP selfie camera placed inside the punch-hole on the screen.
Honor 20 camera sample: Auto scene detection
Honor 20 camera sample: Low light
Honor 20 camera sample: AI ultra clarity modeFrom landscape to macro shots and low-light photography, the Honor 20’s camera covers a wide spectrum of imaging. The phone’s 48MP primary sensor is a capable one that takes mesmerising shots irrespective of lighting condition.
The ultra-wide lens comes in handy while taking scintillating landscape shots with good details and natural colours. The super macro lens completes the package with its ability to take really close-up shots (4cm), which come out with satisfactory details. Had there also been a telephoto lens for optical zoom, the Honor 20 would have been an all-round camera phone in its segment.
Honor 20 camera sample: Ultra-wide
Honor 20 camera sample: MacroPerformance
The Honor 20 is powered by Huawei’s flagship-grade Kirin 980 system-on-chip, mated with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. The phone’s performance is smooth. It handles regular day-to-day operations and processor-intensive tasks, such as multitasking and multimedia editing, without a glitch. The phone comes with Huawei’s GPU Turbo 3.0 technology, which improves in-gaming performance by keeping the frame rates consistent and graphics' rendering smooth. However, the phone is susceptible to thermal issues: the phone’s body temperature rises making it so warm that holding and operating begins to get uncomfortable.
While the phone’s performance is top-notch, it is marred by its Magic 2.1 user interface, a heavily customised theme that covers the phone’s default Android Pie operating system. The user interface is an improvement over the company’s previous UI iteration, EMUI. However, it still comes preinstalled with lots of bloatware. The RAM management is also iffy and the phone abruptly closes background apps to clear up resources.
Powering the phone is a 3,750 mAh battery, which supports Huawei SuperCharge technology (20W) through the supplied charger. The battery keeps the show going for around a day. The on-battery time is on a par with what most smartphones in the same segment – 9-11 hours that is. Charging is quick and the battery takes around one-and-a-half hours to go from zero to 100 per cent.
Priced at Rs 32,999, the Honor 20 is a mixed bag of hits and misses. The phone would have been an undisputed winner if it had an optimised user interface with no pre-installed bloatware, besides telephoto lens for optical zoom, better display and no thermal issues. However, you can consider this phone for its imaging competence, premium design, sleek performance and decent on-battery time.