Rapid Review: Huawei Mate20 Pro

Image: Huawei

The smartphone market is ridiculously cluttered with new models appearing regularly and, more recently, interesting new form factors coming to the market. The Huawei Mate20 Pro slides into the market with an attractive handset that will tick the boxes for most users and, while not cheap, delivers plenty of quality at a lower cost than many of its rivals.

What Is It?

The Huawei Mate20 Pro is an Android 9 (Pie) handset that delivers great photos through the three rear cameras, solid performance driven by Huawei's own Kirin chipset and lots of other nifty features.

I have to admit that I come to this review as a long-time iPhone/iOS user and the Mate20 Pro, as well as several other Android handsets I've played with recently, show that there is a gap between what Apple is producing and what the Android community is delivering.

Huawei has created a handset that undercuts its competition when it comes to price without compromising on the user experience.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Operating System Android 9 (Pie)
Display 6.39-inch AMOLED 3120 x 1440 2K+ display with 19:5:9 aspect ratio
Body 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm, 189g
Camera Rear: Triple camera with 40MP wide angle lens (F1.8), 20MP ultra wide angle lens (F2.2), 8MP telephoto lens (F2.4). Front: 24MP wide angle lens (F2.0)
Video Up to 4K UHD, 960fps slow motion capable
Chipset 7nm Kirin 980 with dual AI CPU: 2 x Cortex A76 processor(2.6GHz) + 2 x Cortex A76 processor (1.92GHz) + 4 x cortex A55 (1.8GHz), 720MHz Mali-G76 GPU
Memory 6GB RAM 128GB + expanded Nano Memory (NM) card up to 256GB
Battery 4200mAh with 40W SuperCharge 2.0 Technology, Qi 15W wireless charging and reverse wireless charging
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz and 5G enabled), Bluetooth v 5.0 (BLE supported), USB type-C
Payment NFC
Authentication Lock type: PIN. Biometric lock type: fingerprint scanner (front in-screen), facial recognition
Audio aptX/aptX HD and LDAC HD audio capable

What's Good?

Huawei has packed the Mate20 Pro with a swag of features that really make it stand out.

Wireless charging, as you'd expect is included and it adds the ability to use the Mate20 Pro to wireless charge other devices. Too bad it doesn't work with the Huawei Watch GT which uses a magnetic charger with a pair of electrical contacts.

Logging in, after a restart which requires entering a passcode, is handled either through facial recognition using the cameras and sensors in the notch at the top of the Mate20 Pro's 6.39-inch display or through an under screen fingerprint scanner that works quickly and efficiently.

The display is gorgeous. Everything looked great with text super-clear, even when the typefaces were small. Photos really "popped".

The three-camera array on the back of the device is organised into a square with a camera and the flash in each corner. The three snappers work together. There's a 40MP wide-angle, 8MP Telephoto and 20MP ultra-wide-angle.

Image: Huawei

Audio is excellent although the inbuilt speaker is poorly placed.

There's a set of USB-C earbuds in the box along with a USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor should you prefer to use your own buds - I like my Bose QC20 noise cancelling headphones and prefer to use those most of them. But there's also Bluetooth if you've embraced the wireless life.

Dual-SIM capability is also there. The SIM card tray can cleverly hold two SIM cards so you can specify one for data and the other for calls, or have one for your home carrier and the other for when you travel. You can specify through settings how each is used.

As a bonus, the Mate20 Pro comes with a clear case to protect the device. It's not going to save the handset from a drop onto a solid surface but it makes it a little less slippery and offers some coverage.

What's Bad?

One of my chief issues with Android handset makers is they insist on adding their own software to the devices. There certainly is a case for this but not when they simply replicate apps that are part of Android.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I write about a new Google Assistant feature to let you automate your mornings. I was a little frustrated as the Huawei Clock app, which looks a lot like the Google app and offers no extra functionality, didn't work with the updated Google Assistant commands.

It's minor quibble but avoidable.

Other than that, there wasn't anything else I encountered that I felt was a major issue.

Should You Buy It

The Huawei Mate20 Pro is available in two colours, black and midnight blue and has an RRP of $1599.

Amazon has the Huawei Mate20 Pro in Midnight Blue and Huawei Mate20 Pro in Black for $1349.

If you're looking for a high-end Android smartphone with a full suite of high-end features at a reasonable price, the Huawei Mate20 Pro is well worth a look.

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