Reading: Light Dark

Type keyword(s) to search

We’ve just finished putting the Huawei Mate 20 Pro through our usual battery of tests and we’re quite impressed.

The long and the short of it: this high-end smartphone is worth considering if you’re an (Android) power user who wants a high-powered phone. It’s gorgeously stylish, slick, and has plenty of power to spare – and it takes pretty good photographs to boot, a few issues notwithstanding.

Come follow along and let us fill you in, courtesy of this review!

Superb style, dashing design

Irrespective of price, any modern phone nowadays needs to look good – how much more a top of the line unit. Range-toppers like these really need to look the part, most especially because such handsets don’t have a lock on style; there are quite a few midrange handsets that look good enough to mount a significant challenge to their higher-echelon counterparts.

We’re happy to tell you that the Mate 20 Pro is most definitely one of the best-looking handsets you can buy nowadays. It’s a compelling blend of distinctive Huawei features as well as some other features popularized by other top brands like Apple and Samsung.

For instance, the front’s slim chin and tapered sides, which descend and give way to its aluminum frame, are reminiscent of Samsung smartphones, and the sizable notch puts one in mind of Apple’s recent iPhones. But when you flip the phone over, you’ll see the square camera module, which contains the phone’s three lenses and its flash – a definite and quite distinctive Huawei innovation.

The Mate 20 Pro’s color way options also set it apart from most other phones; buyers can choose from basic Black, striking Emerald Green which is a combination of blue and green, and the head-turning, color shifting Twilight, our favorite of the three if you’re asking.

The Mate 20 Pro’s screen is something to gaze at. An OLED screen that measures 6.39 inches on the diagonal and boasting 3,120 x 1,440 (538 ppi) resolution, it’s bright and stunning to look at, a perfect counterpart for the phone’s chassis.

Lastly, this is a sizable phone, weighing in at a hair less than 199 grams, and there really isn’t very much you can do to minimize its size in a pocket. That being said, the good folks at Huawei seem to have put some effort towards making this phone easy to use despite its heft; it’s narrow enough for one-handed usage, and the curvature of its sides helps it nestle into one’s palms.

All specced-out

OK, so the Mate 20 Pro’s hardware looks and feels the part; what about what’s under the hood?

Huawei saw fit to equip the Mate 20 Pro with some awesome specs befitting a high-end device. This phone is running a Kirin 980 processor – an octa-core chip that’s been built on the cutting-edge 7-nanometer manufacturing process. This allows transistors to be packed tight and close in order to boost performance and reduce power consumption.

The Mate 20 Pro also comes with 6GB RAM and internal storage of 128GB ROM; expandable-memory types take note, it does come with a card slot – but can only take a new kind of (Huawei-designed) expandable storage format called Nano Memory.

Now we turn your attention to the Mate 20 Pro’s formidable camera set. The rear (main) set comprises three camera modules – 40MP (wide) , 20MP (ultra wide) and 8MP (telephoto), and supports autofocus as well as Huawei’s AI image stabilization. Whereas the front set is a bit simpler and boasts a 24MP lens that incorporates support for Huawei’s 3D Depth Sensing Camera facility. And front and rear, both camera modules feature Leica optics to help ensure topnotch photo and video quality.

The Mate 20 Pro’s (non-user-removable) battery is nicely sized at 4200mAh, which for us was more than enough for a full days’ work. We were interested to hear that this phone is compatible with Max 40 Huawei SuperCharge for wire charging as well as Huawei Wireless Quick Charge for wireless charging. Options like these are very welcome in our book.

This phone runs Huawei’s slick, stable EMUI 9.0 OS which is based on Android Pie.

Pro performance

And what’s the Mate 20 Pro like to run and put through its paces? In a word, and despite some shortcomings: pretty good.

The heady combination of its chipset and RAM as well as its stable and powerful OS practically ensure stutter- and lag-free performance, most especially during particularly trying periods such as gaming.

Our test phone proved to be unflappable, we couldn’t unsettle it no matter what we did – whether heavy gaming jags and photo- and video-shooting sessions, for instance – the phone just hunkered down and delivered what we needed it to do. Excellent stuff from Huawei.

A special note regarding the pictures and video the Mate 20 Pro takes. We found this phone to be a pretty competent snapper – it should be, we think, given its sheer imaging capabilities and power. Whether that power translates to actual prowess is something of a different and more nuanced story.

We shot a wide variety of pictures and video in good light and bad and indoors and out, and most of it came out quite well – we particularly love this phone’s awesome macro capabilities, for instance, that allow users to snap shots of objects just a couple of centimeters away from the phone’s lenses – but we do have to admit that the Mate 20 Pro could sometimes have trouble taking attractive shots in low-light situations.

Our shots in iffy lighting didn’t always come out very well; sometimes we would be disappointed by our shots, and sometimes we’d be quite satisfied by them.

The verdict

Some slight issues aside, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is quite a compelling phone and fully deserves to be on the shortlists of those in the market for high-end units. It’s a true flagship that works to take the battle to competing units, and in almost all cases it does manage to stand shoulder to shoulder with them and can even eke out the occasional win or three.

 

FOR YOUR TECH NEEDS ON THE GO

Find a store near you

Product Comparison