Huawei today finally announced their new flagship smartphones for 2018: The P20 and the P20 Pro and they have made quite the splash.
The Huawei P20 and the P20 Pro feature a new design when compared to the P10 family, which was carried forward from the P9 era. This new design incorporates a minimized bezel at the front, which now shamelessly includes a notch, which is a trend we have seen in 2018.
The crazy part about the new phones are the cameras and Huawei didn’t skimp on the megapixels. Starting with the regular P20, it has the usual 20 MP monochrome sensor paired with the 12MP 1/2.3″ colour sensor with 1.55 μm sized pixels.
The P20 Pro however steals the show with a triple threat camera setup at the back. there is a 20MP monochrome sensor with a f/1.6 lens, an 8MP telephoto lens with a 80mm equivalent optically stabilized lens with a f/2.4 aperture and a massive 1/1.78″ 40MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture. That 40MP sensor is almost twice as big as the one found on the Galaxy S9 if you do the math and it has come close to what we used to get from Nokia back in the day. The 40MP sensor combines 4 adjacent pixels into one to generate brighter and cleaner 10MP files.
This camera system at the back of the P20 Pro ensures that you can optically zoom upto 3 times and uto 5x hybrid zoom according to Huawei. Crazy still, it tops out at ISO 102,400, which is something we see on professional DSLRs and in typical mobile cameras, they max out either at ISO 3200 or 6400. Tjhe 40MP
The camera system, especially on the P20 Pro is so good, apparently DxOMark has given it the highest score ever for a mobile phone and checking out the photos (especially the low light ones), it is quite impressive.
On the video front, the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro have six axis stabilization and can shoot 960fps video (for 0.25 seconds) in 720p, joining the likes of the Galaxy S9 and the Xperia XZ Premium in offering this feature.
Since these phones are powered by the Kirin 970 processor which has a dedicated Neural Network Processing Unit, the P20 family comes with some neat AI tricks. There is a feature called Night Mode which uses AI image stabilization to allow you to capture ‘blur free shots” without the need for a tripod.
There is also something they call 4D predictive focus where the camera predicts moving objects and focuses on them and AI assisted composition which would give intelligent suggestions to frame landscapes or group shots.
Huawei also decided to slap 24MP selfie cameras with f/2.0 apertures on both models, which is ridiculous, but means that you will have way more detailed selfies, especially during the night. The company says that the selfie cameras also come with “AI beautification and 3D portrait lighting.”
Remember Prisma? Well if you still use the app, the P20 and P20 Pro will have on-device Prisma processing and they say that this is three to four times faster than the cloud version.
Also in partnership with Google, the P20 and P20 Pro supports Google AR Core which will allow advanced AR capabilities’ like motion tracking, light estimation and understanding the environment for building AR apps.
The other classic AI assisted functionalities from the Mate 10 are carried forward to the P20 family where it can identify more than 500 scenarios in 19 different categories and selects the best mode for the scene.
The Huawei P20 has a 5.8 inch 1080 x 2244 LCD screen while the P20 Pro has a 6.1 inch 1080 by 2240 pixel dense OLED screen with visible notches at the top. Interesting enough, you can ‘turn off’ the notch within settings, which is a weird thing to do for the trouble.
They are relatively thin (7.65mm for the regular P20, 7.8mm for the Pro) which is surprising considering the amount of tech crammed inside. Also convincing enough is the battery sizes where the P20 has a 3400mAh unit and the Pro gets the 4000 mAh unit. The P20 gets 4GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage while the Pro gets 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
Huawei is usually bold with colour choices and they went a notch ahead this time round. The P20 is available in black, midnight blue, twilight and pink gold and champagne gold while the P20 Pro is available in all those colours except champagne gold. The Twilight in particular is particularly impressive and it seems to change colour as you tilt the device just like the HTC U11.
Also, Huawei decided to position the fingerprint sensor at the front on both the P20 and the P20 Pro. The rest of the features include USB type C port, no headphone jack and they run Android 8.1 out of the box.
The regular P20 will go for €649 and the Pro will be €899, which is in the range of flagship smartphone pricing we have come to expect. Huawei has truly made a splash with the new P20 family and especially with the Pro’s new 40MP camera, reviewers will be rushing to test it out against the current top rated phone cameras we have.