Header Ads

OPPO

Huawei P20 Pro Review - The Photography Phone from the FUTURE?

P20 leaderboard
Huawei recently made the P20 Pro official, the upgrade of the P10 Plus last year and beefier brother of the regular P20.
Huawei P20 Pro Review - The Photography Phone from the FUTURE?
The ultimate camera phone of early 2018?

It's the latest top-of-the-line smartphone of the company which made a LOT of GOOD noise recently. Why?

It is the very first smartphone in the world equipped with an interesting and unique triple Leica camera system.

It highlights a 40MP RGB + 20MP monochrome + 8MP 3x telephoto lens that works altogether intelligently.

According to Huawei, the P20 Pro is designed compete or beat even some of the big dedicated cameras in terms of mobile photography.

DXOMark, the camera experts even noted that it has the best mobile cameras in the market as of this writing. They even claimed that the P20 Pro is several generations ahead of its closest competitor in terms of image quality.

Moreover, Huawei loaded this machine with some of the most powerful set of specs and features found on high-end smartphones today.

How true is that? Let's find out in this review!

Huawei P20 Pro Specs

Display: 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED 2244 x 1080 resolution w/ 3D curved glass and Gorilla Glass protection at 408 ppi
CPU: 2.36GHz 64-bit Kirin 970 octa-core processor w/ NPU and i7 co-processor
GPU: Mali-G72 MP12
RAM: 6GB
ROM: 128GB
Back Camera: 40MP f/1.8 RGB sensor + 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor + 8MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto sensor w/ 4D predictive focus, AIS, 5x zoom, 4K video recording, 960 fps slow motion, and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 24MP f/2.0 w/ A.I. face beauty and 3D portrait lighting
Battery: 4,000mAh w/ 5A Super Charge
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo w/ EMUI 8.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), 4G LTE Cat 18, Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, aptX HD, OTG, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, IR Blaster, IP67 water and dust resistance, 384K/32-bit HiFi DAC, USB Type-C, stereo speakers, Colors: twilight, black, midnight blue, pink, gold
Dimensions: 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 180 g
Price: PHP 44,990

Disclaimer: Huawei Philippines seeded us with this unit for our honest review.

Unboxing / Accessories

The unit itself
The unit itself

The unit we got arrived in a simple white box. Inside, it has the 5A Super Charge USB wall charger with TÜV Rheinland certification for safety. It also has the USB Type-C cable, USB Type-C headphone jack dongle, SIM ejector tool, protective case, quick start guide, and warranty card.

Build Quality / Design

Premium metal and glass all over

Coming from the nearly all metal P10 Plus last year, the P20 Pro is now made out of mostly metal and glass like the Mate 10 series.

The overall construction is absolutely premium!

The curved metal on the sides feels well machined and the glass at the back and in front (on the screen) has Gorilla Glass protection. It has no sharp edges on most sides as well. Moreover, it has IP67 water and dust resistance. It can survive being submerged in water up to 1 meter deep up to 30 minutes.
Mic and IR Blaster on the top
Mic and IR Blaster on the top
Another mic, USB Type-C  port, and speaker below
Another mic, USB Type-C  port, and speaker below
Dual SIM slots at left
Dual SIM slots at left
Power button and volume rocker at right
Power button and volume rocker at right

Right off the bat, the P20 Pro is a stunner! Undeniably, it is Huawei's best looking smartphone yet.

On the top, it has tiny looking bezels on the screen. It is also quite small and handy desipite its large 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED screen. Thanks to its unusually tall 18.7:9 screen aspect ratio and 82 percent screen-to-body ratio.

However, it'll come with the controversial notch on top to house the earpiece / speaker and the 24MP front camera snapper. Fortunately, it is way smaller than the on there's a way to hide that notch in the display settings.

It'll also have a bezel below to keep the fingerprint scanner in front. But personally, I would have liked it better if Huawei placed the fingerprint scanner at the back of the phone to minimize the bezel below further.

Huawei introduced the "3D curved glass" at the back of this phone. It made the glass back cover of the P20 Pro sleeker than ever. It'll come in black, midnight blue, pink, and gold shiny colors.

Huawei also introduced a new cool looking color dubbed as the twilight. It is a unique colorway with a beautiful transition of purple-blue-teal gradient which shines differently depending on the angle you look at it.

The back looks amazing, but it is a bit prone to fingerprint smudges. We are also slightly bothered by the protruded cameras at the back.

But to be fair with Huawei, we know that they did their best to house that BIG 1/1.78-inch 40MP sensor on a slim body. The phones is simply delightful to hold as well.

Most of the ports and buttons are on familiar locations too. You'll see that it has an IR Blaster and microphone 1 on top, microphone 2, USB Type-C port, and speaker below,  dual nano SIM slots at left, and volume rocker and power button at right.

Unfortunately, the storage is not expandable and it has no headphone jack slot like the Mate 10 Pro anymore.

Display Quality

Amazing screen quality!
Amazing screen quality!

The Huawei P20 Pro has one of the best screens today. It goes with a big notched 6.1-inch OLED panel with tall 18.7:9 screen aspect ratio and 82 percent screen-to-body ratio. This simply means that it has more screen real estate than your smartphones with traditional displays.

Really good screen quality!

It also has a screen resolution of 2244 x 1080 pixels or 408 pixels per inch. It isn't as mind blowing as the QHD+ screen of the Galaxy S9+ and the 4K screen of the dated Sony Xperia XZ Premium, but its overall sharpness and colors are right up there in the flagship category.

Color accuracy is amazing and viewing angle is excellent. It also has one of the best blacks and contrast in the business. Sunlight legibility is also outstanding. Reading text even outdoors is easy.

Personally, I won't even blame you if you'll pick this screen over the Xperia due to its bigger screen real estate on a smaller body. It is also no secret that having a smaller screen resolution can also help in making battery life better.

Only the screen of the Galaxy S9 is a bit better based on my experience.
Screen settings

On the software part, Huawei has a clever way to allow its users to turn off the notch by blackening the top portion of the screen. You may also adjust color and eye comfort, viewing mode, text size, and the resolution.

Lastly, it has 10 points of touch as expected.

Audio Quality

The Huawei P20 Pro has a stereo speaker setup like the Mate 10 Pro. It has a single speaker below the phone and the earpiece on the notch acts as the secondary speaker.

Excellent speaker quality!

But it is even louder and fuller sounding compared with the Mate 10 Pro speakers! It is actually even louder and than the Galaxy S9+ speakers overall.

On landscape mode, the sound is a bit better with more detailed separation in my experience. In portrait mode, it is still good, but I just like the sound coming from the landscape mode better.

Overall, speaker quality is crisp, well detailed and separated, and can produce lows (bass) better than any other phone we tested yet.

Like the Mate 10 Pro, the P20 Pro doesn't have a 3.5 mm headphone jack slot anymore. Instead, the way you can access the 384K/32-bit HiFi DAC is via USB Type-C. So, dongle is life.

Headphone audio quality is great as expected. It is well balanced and can produce most of the audio spectrum from lows, mids, and highs properly. It has a bit of an emphasis on the mids like the regular P20. Vocals are crystal clear.

My only concern is the driving power. It is a bit weaker compared with other Huawei high-end devices.

On the microphone part, it has a noise-cancelling mic on top and a primary microphone below. Quality is great for calls and respectable for recordings. As expected, it can record audio in stereo quality.

Overall mic quality is decent, but personally, I would have liked it better if Huawei had something like a triple mic setup.

Battery Life

Good battery scores!
Good battery scores!

Huawei also added a big 4,000mAh battery on the P20 Pro. Usually, the 4,000mAh battery are only found on the Mate series. This is the first time we saw the 4,000mAh battery on a P series phone.

Battery life is good for a flagship device!

It clocked 10 hours and 24 minutes on PC Mark's work battery life test and 4 hours and 35 minutes of screen on time under heavy usage.

In real life, it can last for up to 1 day and half of a day on a single charge. Under my daily heavy usage which include 4G data or hotspot on all the time, it lasted for 9 hours and 50 minutes in our test.

As usual, Huawei's A.I. tech can optimize battery performance and even improve battery life its life over time.

For example, this phone can automatically close and app when you are not using it to save power. It will also notify you if some of the apps you are using are draining your battery quickly.

It also has power saving modes which can limited background app activity, ultra power saving mode (only cenrtain apps are available), smart resolution (automatically adjust the resolution from HD+ to FHD+), and darken interface color mode.

Lastly, this phone is also equipped with the 
5A TÜV Rheinland certified safe Super Charge USB wall charger. 

It can consistently fully charge the device in just 1 hour and 15 minutes from 0 to 100 percent. It never gets warm while charging as well.

It has no wireless charging support though.

Camera

Triple Leica camera monster!
Triple Leica camera monster!

The MAIN highlight of this device is its triple Leica camera system. It has a 40MP f/1.8 RGB sensor + 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor + 8MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto sensor.

Related: Huawei P20 Pro Triple Leica Camera Explained

The 40MP f/1.8 RGB sensors has a whopping 1/1.73-inch size. It is one of the largest ever placed on a smartphone yet. In comparison, it is twice the size of the Galaxy S9's 1/2.55-inch sensor.

Huawei flexed its R&D muscle in the camera department!

It uses a 2 x 2 pixel unit data binning which results to a 10MP output. It combines 4 pixels into a single large pixel for better and sharper output. But, you can also use the regular 40MP output without the zoom when needed.

It is accompanied by the 20MP f/1.6 monochome sensor for better details, low noise, and strong contrast. The last sensor is the 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with OIS with up to 3x optical zoom.

According to Huawei all the sensors are working together and can produce up to 5x lossless hybrid zoom.

Huawei also added the 4D predictive focus, AIS, 5x zoom, 4K video recording, 960 fps slow motion, and dual tone LED flash.

The new feature here is the AIS. It is Huawei's A.I. assisted stabilizer for photography and videos. It's actually the only camera I know that can shoot up to 6 seconds handheld night shots properly.
The camera UI and settings
The camera UI and settings

This phone also has all the usual Huawei camera modes like the HDR, Leica color filters, regular filters, aperture mode (f/0.95 to f/16), portrait mode w/ artistic bokeh and face beauty up to level 10, good food mode, document scanner, 3D panorama, panorama, light painting, and night shot.
The pro camera mode
The pro camera mode

It also has Huawei's robust pro mode with ISO from 50 up to 3200, shutter speed from 1/4000 to 30s, -4 to +4 EV, focus, and WB from 2800K to 7000K. It also has grids, fibonacci spiral, and RAW format.

Huawei also improved its A.I. for photography. It now has the "Master AI" feature which allows the phone to automatically select the "best shooting" mode in different scenes.

It can automatically identify more than 500 scenarios in 19 categories and selects photography modes and camera settings for professional-looking images.

The UI looks different from the Mate 10 and P10 series. It now has all the modes found on your screen. There's the easy to toggle 3x and 5x zoom mode and all the other above-mentioned modes. It is easier to use now, but there's still room for improvement.

The best photography phone today, hands down!

Image quality in actual performance is mind-blowing for a phone! Shooting and focus speed is crazy fast.

For us, this is the first smartphone that can compete with big entry-level DSLRs and some of the older generation mirrorless cameras.

Note: Watch out for our photography comparison versus the Fuji XA-5 soon!

Daylight, indoor, and lowlight performance are amazing most of the time. It is very detailed with very low noise and accurate colors. By the way, it even has a ridiculous ISO 102,400 sensitivity.

Zoom quality is also very good. The 3x optical zoom is obviously better than the 5x hybrid zoom, but the 5x hybrid zoom is still more than decent in quality.

The depth of field on auto mode also looks better than all the Huawei phone we tested in the past. The software based bokeh mode is now cleaner and more natural looking as well.

Both are highy detailed on the 40MP and the 10MP mode. But, I personally tend to use the 10MP mode better as it has faster processing time, less noise, and better contrast even if it'll lose some resolution.

Like what we mentioned previously, this explains the 10MP default resolution when using Huawei's camera app.

However, it is not perfect. It still has few minor weaknesses. The A.I. could make your daylight shots too sharp and contrasty at times. There are times where I prefer to turn the A.I. off when I don't want to make the sky too blue or saturate my food subject.

But overall, this is the photography phone to beat!

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight blue sky
Daylight blue sky
Daylight HDR 1
Daylight HDR 1
Daylight HDR 2
Daylight HDR 2
Auto mode, this is moving subject (trust us)
Auto mode, this is moving subject (trust us)
Normal, 3x optical, and 5x hybrid zoom
Normal, 3x optical, and 5x hybrid zoom
Indoor well lit
Indoor well lit
Portrait mode food
Portrait mode food
Indoor dim
Indoor dim
3x optical zoom dim
3x optical zoom dim
Night mode 1
Night mode 1
Night mode 2
Night mode 2
Night mode 3
Night mode 3
Night mode 4
Night mode 4
Night mode 3x optical zoom
Night mode 3x optical zoom
Auto night
Auto night
Light painting mode
Light painting mode

The P20 Pro also has a 24MP f/2.0 front camera with A.I. face beauty and 3D portrait lighting. On paper, it is the largest sensor of Huawei yet for selfies.
24MP selfie camera
24MP selfie camera

It has 10 level face beauty and the 3D portrait mode works like the iPhone X. The bokeh blur effect is also a bit better than the Mate 10. It has no autofocus, but shooting and daving speed is fast.
Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

Pro tip: Only use up to face beauty level 3. Anything above that will just blur the rest of your face.

However, bigger sensor is always not better. Personally, I like the selfies taken with the Mate 10 better. Why? It is more consistent when it comes to taking sharper and well detailed photos.

The selfie camera of the P20 is inconsistent. There are times where it'll shoot really good selfies, but there are times where you'll get soft and blurry selfies.

But fortunately, its contrast and dynamic range is good. Lowlight performance is also decent. It has a bright type of screen flash as well.

We suspect that this could be premature software on the new 24MP hardware. We hope Huawei will seed an update to make its selfie camera better.

Selfie Camera Samples

Decent daylight selfie
Decent daylight selfie
Good portrait shot
Good portrait shot
Soft and blurry selfie
Soft and blurry selfie
Good background blue, but face beauty is too aggressive
Decent lowlight selfie
Decent lowlight selfie

For videos, the P20 Pro can shoot up to 4K 30 fps in quality. But again, stabiliztion only works in 1080p up to 60 fps.

In my experience, the 4K video recording is a bit more stabilized on the Mate 10 Pro. Hopefully, Huawei will seed an update to fix its stabilization. But when you mount it on a tripod or a gimbal, picture quality on 4K video mode is really good.

For 1080p videos, we have no problem. Autofocus is fast and colors are mostly nice.

For selfies, it can shoot stabilized 1080p videos. But if you turn on the face beauty video mode, it is only up to 720p in quality. Not bad though.

Video Samples


Performance

Great scores!
Great scores!

Like the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, the P20 Pro has Huawei's own 2.36GHz 64-bit Kirin 970 octa-core processor w/ NPU dedicated A.I. chip, i7 co-processor, and Mali-G72 MP12 GPU. It also has generous 6GB RAM and 128GB of non-expandable storage.

Epic performance!

As expected it is still flagship grade in terms of actual performance. The benchmark scores on the Galaxy S9 is a bit better, but it doesn't mean that it is actually faster. In real life, we can hardly feel the difference in speed at all.


Moreover, Huawei has this promise of making your phone fast always unlike other Android phones. Thanks to the power of dedicated NPU A.I. chip.

Multitasking is really good and gaming performance is also outstanding. Playing gamings like PUBG and NBA 2K18 on max settings with high frame rates is very possible.

It gets warm under heavy usage, gaming, and 4G data all the time. But, it is completely normal and far from alarmingly hot.
EMUI skin is underrated
EMUI skin is underrated

The Android 8.1 Oreo based EMUI 8.1 skin is not for everyone, but for me it is one of the most underrated Android skins around.
Phone manager and health app
Phone manager and health app

It is not perfect and it has some minor bugs and learning curve, but it is smoother than most skins we tested in the past. Again, it is always fast.

EMUI 8.1 skin is not perfect, but it is always fast!

In addition, it is rich in features. It is now more integrated with Google. It can also go with or without the app drawer, it has a phone manager to keep your phone optimized always, comes with a health app (with steps and calorie counter), IR Blaster remote control mode, and gestures for shortcuts.

Those gestures include the nifty knuckle screenshot. It also has the usual twin apps mode, Huawei Share (Huawei to Huawei file transfer), screen recorder, and the A.I. assisted real time language translator.
IR Blaster remote and A.I. translator
IR Blaster remote and A.I. translator

It is not the most accurate translator around, but it works and could make you understandable to foreigners.
Easy Projection mode
Easy Projection mode

Like the Mate 10, the P20 Pro has an easy to use Linux-like PC function. fuAll you need is an USB Type-C to HDMI cable and connect your phone on a TV or monitor.

Then as expected, Huawei's fingerprint scanner is still the fastest in the business. Huawei also added a face unlock mode. Huawei's face unlock is easier to use (less steps before it unlocks your face) and faster than the iPhone X. Only the face unlock of the OnePlus 5T are faster.

Lastly, the P20 Pro has the usual great WiFi, 4G LTE, and telephony experience. Its LTE Cat 18 with super fast LTE support. In our Marikina speed test trip, we recorded an impressive over 100 Mbps download speed.

This phone also has Bluetooth 4.2 (still not on 5.0 yet) and gyroscope sensor. 

Pros - Beautiful build, blazing fast performance, really good battery life, strong connectivity options, feature-rich UI, mobile photography cameras to beat
Cons - No headphone jack, storage not expandable, no wireless charging, beautified selfie camera by default, 4K video stabilization

Verdict

The Huawei P20 Pro is like a photography phone from the FUTURE!

It changed the game! It is simply better than any photography-centric smartphone available in the market yet. It is not perfect, but other brands has a lot of catching up to do.

Moreover, it has most of the qualities of a great smartphone. Build and design is beautiful, screen quality is great, battery life is long, and the asking price of PHP 44,990 is just right.

Build / Design - 4.75
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4.75
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 5
Performance - 4.75
Average - 4.67 / 5
Powered by Blogger.
close
gizguide