Honor View 20, from the stable of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei, is the first smartphone in India to feature a punch-hole screen. It is also the first Honor-branded smartphone powered by Huawei’s flagship Kirin 980 system-on-chip (SoC) -- a mobile process that powers Huawei’s premium flagship, the Mate 20 Pro (review) -- and a 48-megapixel primary camera sensor. For a midrange flagship, the Honor View 20 seems to be a feature-rich proposition. But is it? Let’s find out:
The Honor View 20 has a glossy glass body and a metallic frame. The glass body has a V-shaped gradient line design on the back. These lines reflect when looked at from different angles, making the phone stand out from its glass-bodied peers. Unfortunately, the gradient lines are prominent only in the sky blue colour, and not so much in other variants, such as the black unit that we reviewed.
At a time when in-display fingerprint sensors are becoming mainstream in smartphones, the Honor View 20 has gone with a conventional fingerprint sensor at the back. It obstructs the phone’s unibody design, but its utility makes up for whatever little damage it does to the phone’s overall design language.
The phone’s punch-hole display looks refreshing and is a step forward, compared to notch screens. However, like other notch screen-based smartphones, it also has a visible bezel at the bottom that obstructs its otherwise bezel-less profile.
The Honor View 20 has a 6.4-inch IPS LCD screen with fullHD+ resolution, stretched in tall 19.75:9 aspect ratio. Considering the fact that most videos are created to work on 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio screens, the unconventional aspect ratio of the phone makes it less suitable for videos consumption. When viewed in horizontal mode, the screen shows thick black bar on sides of the screen. Though some apps provide an option to stretch the video to fill unutilised screen areas, they do it by cropping some portion of the content or by up scaling the content, which affects content render quality.
In terms of output, the screen looks vivid and has good contrast. However, the colour rendition is far from natural and the sunlight legibility is average due to not so bright screen panel in work. The punch- hole display format looks attractive, but pixels around it are relatively dimmer than rest of the screen, making it look odd at times.
For a midrange phone, the Honor View 20 has a capable set of cameras – front and back.
The image output is good — better than other midrange flagships such as the OnePlus 6T or Oppo R17 Pro. The camera takes detailed shots in daylight, recognising a scene quickly, thanks to built-in artificial intelligence scene recognition. What's more, it invariably gets the settings right. Low-light photography is also better than other midrange flagship phones. The phone’s night mode brightens up low-light environment, but with a loss of frame details in some cases.
The phone has a time-of-flight 3D sensor at the back that measures the depth information. This sensor assists the primary rear camera in portrait shots, which turn out neat with a good amount of natural bokeh in the background. Interestingly, the use of ToF sensor is not limited to photography. It also works in video mode to add artificial blur in background or to add effects to the video.
The selfie camera also boasts the portrait mode, which manages to do proper segmentation of the object and background to create enhanced portrait shots with a good amount of background blur. The camera takes detailed shots in daylight conditions, but shows some weakness in low light.
From handling day-to-day tasks to rendering graphic intensive gaming titles, the Honor View 20 performance is no less than that of a premium smartphone – glitch-free that is. The phone keeps apps active in background, handles multitasking efficiently, and works effortlessly all across. It boots Android Pie operating system-based Magic user interface, which is an improvement over Huawei’s emotion UI.
The UI supports gesture navigation, which makes it easy to operate the phone, and is is suitable for both left- and right-hand users. It is intuitive and responsive, making it the best iteration of gesture navigation in its segment.
Powering the phone is a 4,000 mAh battery good enough to keep the phone running for at least a day. The phone comes bundled with 20W fast charger that charges battery from zero to 55 per cent in half an hour and 100 per cent in about an hour.
Priced at Rs 37,999 for the base model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, the Honor View 20 is a midrange offering that can share space with the some of the premium smartphones. The phone is a feature-rich proposition in its segment, with good imaging capabilities, flagship design, all-round performance, and decent on-battery time. If performance, camera and design is what you are looking for then this smartphone is just for you.