For years people have been ditching their old digital cameras for phones but it’s really only just got to a stage where phones can now take on higher end cameras for quality. Enter the Huawei P20, one of two latest handsets from Huawei that aim to provide the best phone and camera in one package.
If you were in any doubt of the P20’s plans to become your next premium phone, just one look will tell you that this means business. The sleek glass frame is beautiful, so much so that Huawei included a clear phone case in the packaging to ensure it gets seen. It feels really comfortable to hold both in portrait and landscape modes (the latter for taking pictures, hence the ‘Huawei’ logo on the back being landscape).
The phone is almost bezel-less bar a notch at the top (like the iPhone) that houses the front camera and sensors. The notch allows for face recognition which is, thankfully, far better than many android attempts have been so far. I only found issues with this in very bright conditions. For those who are still wary of this feature, the front fingerprint sensor is a godsend. While other phones have moved theirs to the back, Huawei sensibly listened to their customers and kept their sensor on the front and it makes all the difference when the device needs to be accessed quickly while sitting on a table. The sensor also acts as a traditional ‘home’ button.
The 3400mAh battery is only average, unfortunately, lasting a day with intensive tasks but the phone fast charges using the USB C connector and its own version of fast charging that works really well, it’s pretty surprising how fast this phone can be topped up. It’s a shame the P20 hasn’t joined the growing list of phones that can be wirelessly charged, though.
The all important screen is a beautiful 2244 x 1080 resolution with an LCD display that, thanks to the colours and great viewing angles, could easily be mistaken for OLED. As seems more common these days, the P20 has no headphone port but comes with a USB C adaptor and headphones in the box. This phone is no slouch, featuring a Kirin 970 processor that can easily give other phones a run for their money, tasks zip along at the flick of a finger and all the games I’ve tested run flawlessly. Android 8.1, the latest version of Google’s OS, is onboard, supported by Huawei’s own apps and widgets which have improved immensely with this generation of phones.
But it’s the camera that sets this phone apart. It might feature one less lens than its big brother, but the mix of 12Mp f/1.8 and 20Mp f/1.6 lenses help it to outdo most of its rivals and produce some of the best images I’ve ever seen from a phone. The daylight shots are clear and colours are precise, the onboard AI helps to choose just the right options, though this can be turned off if you want to set things up yourself. Close ups look sharp and in focus while night time shots are equally impressive without losing the clarity in the shadows or pixilation in the shot. Even the front facing camera, an impressive 24mp, provides some impressive bokeh shots, blurring the background and making it look as if you’ve used an SLR camera. It’s almost as if the AI is choosing all your best features for you and displaying you in your best light.
The Huawei P20 is certainly the best Android phone I’ve ever used and I’m very impressed by the whole package, especially the wonderful camera.