Way back in October of last year, Huawei introduced the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. These phones were arguably Huawei’s most stylish phones to date, and they were also the first to use Huawei’s Kirin 970 chipset, with its dedicated neural processing unit. Fast forward to March, and Huawei announced the P20 and P20 Pro. These smartphones caused more commotion than nearly any other Huawei phone before them, mostly due to their 40MP camera sensor and new colorful designs.
Now we’re here in October of 2018 (it’s been a crazy month so far), and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro seems to have merged the best of the Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro into one solid flagship. This is our hands-on of the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
For obvious reasons, we need to talk about these devices’ design first.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro looks effectively the same as any other 2018 flagship from the front, with a relatively shallow, but fairly long notch at the top of the screen. Inside that notch, the Mate 20 Pro features a 24MP RGB sensor, a dot projector, a TOF proximity sensor, a flood illuminator, and an IR camera. All these sensors work together to enable a new face-unlock system that is apparently 30 percent faster than before and can still recognize you if you grow a beard, wear a hat, or start wearing glasses.
The regular Mate 20 doesn’t get these extra sensors, but its notch has a smaller “dewdrop” design, which is objectively less intrusive.
While the Mate 20 Pro looks very similar to every other 2018 phone on the front, it looks extremely different on the back.
Huawei gave the Mate 20 a highly distinctive and recognizable look
Huawei’s P20 was one of the first devices to use three cameras on the rear of a phone, and Huawei has included three here as well. However, the Mate 20 series features the three cameras and flood illuminator in a square formation, instead of the column the P20 featured. Love it or hate it, Huawei definitely gave the Mate 20 a distinctive and recognizable look.
The Mate 20 Pro packs an 8MP 3x telephoto sensor with OIS and a f/2.4 aperture, a 40MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture, and a 20MP ultra-wide sensor with a f/2.2 aperture and 16mm focal length equivalent. Unfortunately, those who opt for the standard Mate 20 will have to settle for a 12MP f/1.8 sensor in replacement of the 40MP on the Pro, and a 16MP f/2.2 one instead of the ultra-wide 20MP.
Huawei’s new devices bring some extra features to their cameras too. The Mate 10 and P20 sported a single NPU, which helped their cameras recognize up to 500 scenes and change the settings appropriately. With the Mate 20 and the Kirin 980, Huawei has added an additional NPU and upped the recognized scenes to 1,500.
This all runs Huawei’s Master AI 2.0, which can now do things like auto-selecting the best lens depending on the environment and tracking objects in 3D space to keep them in focus. All of these AI features can still be turned off if you would rather shoot things manually, but Huawei thinks its AI is good enough to help you get some great shots.
The Mate 20 Pro sports a 6.39-inch curved OLED display with QHD resolution and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and the Mate 20 has a 6.53-inch Full HD+ LCD display with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. The glass is curved on all eight sides of this device, so it feels a bit like the Samsung Galaxy S9.
The new Mate 20 Pro is sleeker, faster, smarter
If you have the Mate 20 Pro, you can use your 3D facial data as biometric security, locking apps and other files within a secure vault on the device. The Pro also has an in-screen fingerprint reader, while you’ll have to opt for the standard-fare rear fingerprint reader on the Mate 20.
The Huawei Mate 20 is the first device with the Kirin 980 chipset, the first chipset announced with a 7nm process. Huawei says this chip offers a 20 percent speed increase and a 40 percent power efficiency boost over chips built on the 10nm process, but we’ll have to test it in the real world to see how it actually works.
The Kirin 980 now uses a big.LITTLE.LITTLE setup, instead of a traditional big.LITTLE architecture. This means the chip can allocate less intensive resources to lower-powered parts to increase efficiency.
The Kirin 980 works alongside 4 to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage on the Mate 20 and 6 to 8GB of RAM and 128 to 256GB of storage on the Mate 20 Pro. Interestingly, there is expandable memory in both models but not with microSD. Instead, Huawei is introducing the NM storage card format. Not much is known about the standard at the time of this writing.
The Mate 20 Pro also includes IP68 water resistance.
Huge 4,200 mAh battery that wirelessly charges your other devices
This is all powered by a 4,000mAh battery in the Huawei Mate 20 and a 4,200mAh cell in the Mate 20 Pro. Huawei also updated its supercharge technology to 40 Watts, enabling a 70 percent charge in 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the standard Mate 20 doesn’t get this, sticking with the same Supercharge tech as the Mate 10 Pro and P20. Huawei is also adding 15W wireless charging to the Pro model, which Huawei says charges twice as fast as the iPhone X.
Besides having massive batteries, the Mate 20 Pro brings a new feature we’ve been waiting to see in smartphones: the ability to wirelessly charge other devices. This is a pretty huge; it lets you top off any Qi-enabled device by resting it on the back of the Mate 20 Pro. There is obviously going to be some energy lost in the transfer, but if you’re out with a friend who needs a jump, or just want to charge your smartwatch, you won’t be out of luck.
Huawei’s Mate 20 series are the first devices running EMUI 9.0 out of the box. Based on Android 9.0 Pie, Huawei mostly used this update to consolidate settings items and refine UI and app startup speed. This isn’t a major rehaul by any means, but rather a refinement of the previous version of the OS. It also includes things like a new wireless PC projection system as well as a Digital Balance dashboard to help you stay in tune with the things that matter in your life.
The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will come in Pink Gold, Midnight Blue, Emerald Green, Twilight, and Black. The Midnight Blue and Emerald Green models will have a special “hyper optical display pattern,” which looks almost feather-like and makes a pleasurable high-pitched scratching sound like vinyl when you rub it.
While the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro look fairly similar from the outside, you’re missing quite a bit if you opt for the standard model device. If you decide to buy the Mate 20, you’re losing the 3D facial recognition features, wireless and reverse wireless charging, water resistance, and OLED display. In return, you get a much smaller “dewdrop” style notch and a headphone jack.
You’re missing quite a bit if you opt for the standard Mate 20
We’ll be updating this post shortly with Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro pricing information, but until then, what are your thoughts on Huawei’s new flagships? Let us know your thoughts down below.
Check out our other Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro coverage
- Huawei Mate 20 officially announced: here’s everything we know about the new Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
- Top Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro features: We take a deep dive into the best features of the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
- Huawei Watch GT hands-on: Huawei also announced two new wearables: a smartwatch called the Huawei Watch GT, and a fitness tracker called the Huawei Band 3 Pro. We go hands-on!
- Huawei Mate 20 and 20 Pro specs: we take a closer look at all core specs on both the Huawei Mate 20 and 20 Pro.
October 16, 2018 at 04:49AM