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Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Huawei steps up its flagship game

technology | Nov 10, 2018 12:00 AM IST

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Huawei steps up its flagship game

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The Chinese smartphone maker’s new flagship offering is its most serious attempt at creating a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung.

The Chinese smartphone maker’s new flagship offering is its most serious attempt at creating a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung.

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If you’re looking for a one-line review, here it is: the Mate 20 Pro is Huawei’s best phone to date. If that doesn’t satisfy you, however, I wouldn’t blame you. Huawei has been pumping out great flagship phones for a while now, starting with the launch of the P10 Pro last year. However, if you’re looking to take the plunge and spend over Rs 60,000 on a Huawei phone, the Mate 20 Pro is the company’s strongest argument.
First Impressions
The Mate 20 Pro looks more like a Samsung flagship than a Huawei one, with its curved screen and minimal bezels. I reviewed the Emerald Green variant of the phone and was mighty impressed with the design. The phone has a bigger notch than the teardrop notch we’re starting to see on newer phones, but we’ll get to why that’s justified a little later.
The 3-lens and flash camera setup on the back is the most distinct feature of the phone and gives it a nice symmetrical design. All in all, it’s an innovative design that stands out while retaining design features we’ve come to expect from phones in 2018.
A Display That Will Take Your Breathe Away
The 6.4 inch OLED display on the Mate 20 Pro is instantly eye-catching and immersive. With a 1440 x 3120 pixel resolution and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, the vibrant colours and sharp blacks that are the trademarks of OLED displays will grab your full attention. I’m not a big hater of notches on phones, and because the Mate 20 Pro’s notch houses 3D facial scanning, a flood illuminator and an IR (infrared camera) camera, I’m more than willing to let that slide.
User Interface: Hit And Miss
The Mate 20 Pro comes loaded with Android 9.0 and Huawei’s signature EMUI 10. I’ve not been a big fan of Huawei’s user interface in the past, preferring the more stock feel of the OnePlus, and while EMUI 10 seems like an improvement over its predecessor, there’s still room for improvement.
Speed Thrills
I reviewed the higher end model of the Mate 20 Pro, with a whopping 8 GB of RAM, and it felt like it. Most apps opened faster than the iPhone XS and Samsung S9 in tests, and Huawei has promised not to indulge in the same phone-throttling practice that has caused controversy for Samsung and Apple.
The Best Camera In The Business
Huawei has ditched its signature monochrome sensor in favour of a 20-megapixel ultra-wide lens with the Mate 20 Pro, and it’s a great change. The ultra-wide mode makes taking group pictures much easier and adds exciting new perspectives to what you’re used to with your phone camera. The primary 40-megapixel sensor, 8-megapixel telephoto sensor and ultra-wide sensor team up to create an unparalleled camera experience.
The portrait mode is top-notch as well, and the 24-megapixel front camera makes taking great selfies much easier. The Mate 20 Pro’s camera is the best smartphone camera in the world right now, and by a fair margin.
The camera also has an AI (artificial intelligence) supported mode called HiVision, which uses AI to recognise the subjects in photographs and offers intuitive options. You can point your camera at a food item, and HiVision will tell you what it thinks the food item is, and how many calories it has. Similarly, turn on ‘Shopping’ mode and point your camera at a shoe or a pair of headphones or even another phone, and Huawei will link you to similar-looking products online. It’s a work in progress and not accurate enough to feel 100 percent functional, but it’s a cool feature to show off to your friends about nevertheless.
No Compromise On Battery Life
The Mate 20 Pro comes equipped with a robust 4200 mAh battery that lasts through the day. The fast charge feels faster than the OnePlus and easily manages to charge the phone by 70-75 percent in 30 minutes. The phone supports fast wireless charging as well and has an interesting new feature called reverse wireless charging. Turn on that setting and place the back of your Mate 20 Pro against the back of another glass-back phone and you can transfer power to that phone as well. Although I’m not sure how many times you’re going to use that feature if you end up buying the phone, it definitely adds to the cool factor.
Final Verdict
The Mate 20 Pro is Huawei’s best phone by some distance, and a serious consideration if you’re not obsessed with Apple or Samsung flagships and want a fast-performing phone with a great camera. It introduces some innovative new features you can toy around with, but the best thing about it is that it gets its basics absolutely spot on – a stunning display, great camera and a robust battery life.
The AI and UI are both hit-and-miss at times, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that Huawei has made a great flagship phone that’s a worthy competitor to Apple and Samsung flagships.
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