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Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: A revolutionary smartphone for the shutter-happy

Though positioned as a camera phone, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has all the qualities of an all-rounder premium smartphone

Khalid Anzar  |  New Delhi 

Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Mate 20 Pro

If I were to list the best camera phones of 2018, the Mate 20 Pro from the stable of Chinese smartphone manufacturer would easily be on the top of the list. This smartphone has top-of-the-line specifications, a premium design, curved AMOLED notch-based display, fast-charging capabilities and everything else that you expect from a flagship smartphone. What’s more, it has a triple-camera module on the back, touted as the Matrix camera system, making this phone a complete package in the premium flagship segment.

Here are the phone’s specifications before getting into details:

Screen: 6.39-inch curved AMOLED (1440 x 3120 pixels)


Rear camera: 40MP of f/1.8 aperture, 20MP ultra-wide lens of f/2.2 aperture and an 8 MP telephoto lens of f/2.4 aperture (5x optical zoom, OIS, PDAF/Laser AF)

Front camera: 24MP of f/2.0 aperture

Processor: Kirin 980

Operating System: EMUI 9.0, based on Google Android Pie 9.0

Storage: 128GB

RAM: 6GB

Battery: 4,200 mAh, supports fast charging via supplied 40W wall charger

Water and dust resistant rating: IP68

Others: In-display fingerprint sensor and infrared-based face recognition for device unlock

Design

Though the front of the Mate 20 Pro appears similar to the Samsung Galaxy S9-series — both have curved screens and tall aspect ratios — the back of the Mate 20 Pro has some distinct elements that set it apart. The phone’s twilight colour shows different colour hues in different light settings. It looks similar to the twilight colour design of the P20 Pro but is a shade darker. On the downside, its glossy mirror design makes the phone’s body a fingerprint magnet, and it also obstructs the reflective properties of the glass, making it appear dirty.

The phone has a glass-metal-glass design, with both front and back sides covered with a curved glass that seamlessly blends into the metallic chassis. The chassis is also comfortably thick — unlike the sharp one seen in the Nokia 8 Sirocco — making the phone easy to hold. The buttons on the right side of the chassis, power key and volume rocker keys, are placed well without making it difficult to reach them and operate.

Overall, the may not have a radical new design like the Oppo Find X or Vivo Nex, but it has a refreshing look that is more than just cosmetic beauty.

Display

The has a 6.39-inch QHD resolution AMOLED screen, with a notch on top accommodating the selfie camera, earpiece-cum-secondary speaker and a host of sensors, including the infrared sensor that works in tandem with the front camera to unlock the phone using the face-recognition technology. Also, as the screen is curved from left and right sides, it looks completely bezel-less. Like other notch screen-based smartphones, there is a visible unused space below the screen that allows you to hold the phone horizontally. However, this does not go very well with the overall appeal of the phone.

The screen also houses an in-display fingerprint sensor that sits under it on the lower side. The dedicated fingerprint sensor area on the screen is marked with a fingerprint icon, which glows with a grey hue when you lock the screen and turns blue when you put a finger on it. For an in-display fingerprint technology, the sensor is fast and accurate. It unlocks the phone almost instantly and recognises your fingerprint no matter how you put your finger on the sensor.

Being an AMOLED unit, the screen has a good contrast and brightness. The addition of the HDR10 technology makes it ideal for multimedia enthusiasts. The screen is set to render vivid colours, which can be changed to natural, cool, warm tones from the settings menu. Though the screen is curved, it does not in any way complement the curved screen profile with, say, a side quick menu bar that the Samsung Galaxy S9-series has.

Camera

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is primarily a camera smartphone. The tri-camera module on the back has a combination of higher megapixel camera with a bright aperture lens, ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens for 5x optical zoom capabilities. An artificial intelligence-based automatic scene recognition complements camera, making it easy — even for amateurs — to capture scintillating frames in the auto mode.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
The Mate 20 Pro is one phone that captures detailed frames irrespective of light conditions. It has a dedicated night mode, which provides manual control on shutter speed and light sensitivity (ISO) to capture objects that otherwise appear dark in dull light conditions. The phone’s camera interface also has a pre-installed light painting mode for night time photography; it allows you to take artistic pictures of traffic trails, light graffiti, flowing water and star trails.

The front camera is as good as the rear set-up, but lacks the zooming capabilities, night mode and some other features limited to the back module. The front camera supports HDR, which enables it to capture objects in front of bright lights comfortably.

Performance

When it comes to performance, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a power performer. It works smoothly irrespective of what task you put it at. It handles processor-intensive tasks without showing any lags or thermal issues. It also delivers a consistent gaming experience without losing frame rate or slowing down the performance.

On-battery time is one thing that has plagued most of the premium smartphones. Thankfully, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers good on-battery time. It works for more than a day on regular usage and around 12 hours on moderate or heavy usage. The phone comes bundled with a 40W fast charger that charges the battery from zero to 70 per cent in around 30 minutes, which is excellent.

Verdict

Although Huawei has positioned the Mate 20 Pro as a camera phone, it has all the qualities of an all-rounder smartphone — from water- and dust-resistance capabilities (IP68) to premium glass-metal-glass design and QHD+ resolution curved AMOLED screen. Priced at Rs 69,990, the phone might seem to be on the pricier side, but considering the fact that most premium flagship smartphones also have a similar pricing, the Mate 20 Pro is a complete package in its segment.


First Published: Fri, December 14 2018. 14:33 IST
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