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Huawei P20 Unboxing and First Impressions

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Huawei just announced the prices of the P20 series and the PHP 34,990 price tag for the P20 may make it the affordable flagship to beat for photography.
Huawei P20 Unboxing and First Impressions
Meet Huawei P20

Coming from the Leica triple camera setup of the top-of-the-line P20 Pro, the P20 only has a dual Leica camera module at the back. 
But, based on DxOMark's rating, it is still above the rest of the competiting phones in the world except P20 Pro.

Inside, it houses the Kirin 970 64-bit ccta-core processor with neural processing unit and the i7 co-processor. The GPU is the Mali-G72 MP12 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB internal storage making this one of the best spec'd flagships to come to the Philippines.

Huawei P20 Specs

Display: 5.8-inch FHD+ 2244 x 1080 resolution w/ 3D curved glass and Gorilla Glass protection at 428 ppi
CPU: 2.36GHz 64-bit Kirin 970 octa-core processor w/ NPU and i7 co-processor
GPU: Mali-G72 MP12
RAM: 4GB
ROM: 128GB
Back Camera: 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor + 12 MP f/1.8 RGB 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: 3,400mAh 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, IP53 water and dust resistance, 384K/32-bit HiFi DAC, USB Type-C, stereo speakers, Colors: twilight, black, midnight blue, pink, gold
Dimensions: 149.1 x 70.8 x 7.65 mm
Weight: 165 g
Price: PHP 34,990

Disclaimer: Huawei seeded us with this unit, but rest is assured that this review will be unbiased.

Unboxing / Accessories

Huawei P20, box and accessories!
Huawei P20, box and accessories!

The Huawei arrived in the usual white box with the Huawei smartphone and the Leica Dual camera branding. There is no picture of the phone itself.

Huawei has included the Super Charger that outputs 5V/2A 4.5V/5A or 5V/4.5A. This promises a fully charged 3,400mAh battery in under 90 minutes.

It still has usual USB to USB Type-C cable, USB Type-C earphones with microphone, pre-installed screen protector, SIM ejector tool, jelly case and documentation. There is no more headphone jack hence a USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack. The dongle life.

Build Quality / Design

FullView 19:9 screen
FullView 19:9 screen

Like the P20 lite, this phone pushes the boundaries in aesthetics and design. The bezels are thin except on the bottom side where the fingerprint sensor is.

Elegant build and design!

The glass at the back and at the front is curved that gives it a unique shine to it that is only found in flagships. 

The elegant shiny metal frame to our eye looks better than the frame on the iPhone X. It is sandwiched with another layer that is colored differently to the glass panels at the back and front which adds another dimension to the looks of the phone.

The glass shines and transitions depending on how the light strikes the phone. It is prominently seen in the twilight color because of the two different shades of purple and blue. The blue colored one we got has the same effect but is more subtle because it takes a while for you to notice that it has two shades of blue against the obvious purple and blue on the twilight version.
Antenna bands and microphone
Antenna bands and microphone
No headphone jack
No headphone jack
SIM card tray
SIM card tray
Volume rocker and power button
Volume rocker and power button

The display is an immersive 19:9 screen aspect ratio 5.8-inch FHD+ 2244 x 1080 resolution w/ 3D curved glass and Gorilla Glass protection at 428 ppi. 

There is a large camera hump that houses the dual camera lens set up. The lenses are noticeably larger than most phones out there.

The phone is surprisingly lightweight being built of metal and glass. It is easier to hold than the Mate 10. In fact, It was easier for me to type using Swiftkey here than I ever did with my 6 months with the Mate 10. The only downside is that it is slippery and a fingerprint magnet.

The power button and volume rocker are both on the right side which is convenient for right handed people. I find it particularly easy to use though it would be great if the power button had a way to distinguish it from the volume rocker to prevent mistaking the power button to the volume rocker.

I just miss the headphone jack. I have my daily driver, the RHA and have to bring the dongle with me all the time if I wanted to use it.

Initial findings

Nearly 200K in AnTuTu
Nearly 200K in AnTuTu

1. The Huawei P20 is one of the visually stunning phone out there. The shiny metal frame which normally looks tacky in other flagships, is more elegant here. The twilight color is one of the best two tone color scheme since the coral and gold color from the deceased Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

The notch is significantly smaller than the iPhone X and it can be hidden well because of the higher quality IPS. The blacks aren't as deep as AMOLED but the notch nearly disappears. It is only noticeable when placed side by side with an AMOLED display.

2. The 2.36GHz 64-bit Kirin 970 octa-core processor w/ NPU and i7 coprocessor, Mali-G72 MP12 and 4GB RAM make this a monster for the price. It effectively produces nearly 200K in AnTuTu.

The Super Charger that is included ensures under two hours of charging which was consistent in the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. We expect it will be the same here.

3. Huawei's new EMUI 8.1 integrates with Google apps and services more neatly. They now use Google apps to avoid app duplication. An example is the Google Messages app and the Google Calendar app. We no longer have to put up with confusing and storage eating duplicated apps that was present in the Mate 10.

4. The 20MP f/1.6 monochrome sensor + 12 MP f/1.8 Back Camera RGB sensor has 4D predictive focus, AIS, 5x zoom, 4K video recording, 960 fps slow motion, and dual tone LED flash. The Images out of the box are stunning. The sensor is smaller than the P20 Pro and at first glance there isn't a noticeable difference. It is only when zoomed in and in low light do you notice the gap from the P20 Pro. We'll have to do more testing with other phones as well.

The selfie camera is a 24MP f/2.0 w/ A.I. face beauty and 3D portrait lighting. It has 10 levels of beautification and the bokeh mode that pushes to f/0.95 via software. The face beauty is turned on on default and even at level 5, it is noticeably artificial out of the box. 

It has the standard Huawei A.I. scene detection that can automatically detect the scene and it has the light fusion technology that helps with low light.

It uses the screen flash as a flash but oddly enough in photo or portrait mode, the only setting for the flash is auto and off. It may have the P20 lite's AI powered screen flash that has 11 different warming tones for the best flash for the situation.

5. The P20 has an LED notification, OTG support, speedy fingerprint scanner, face unlock, USB Type-C port, gyroscope sensor, proximity and magnetic sensor. It does not have an FM radio.

Related: Huawei P20: First Camera Samples

As of the moment

The P20 is Huawei's answer to the affordable flagship niche. It is one of the few phones priced at under 35K that can produce 200K in Antutu and with camera performance that is one of the best in the market according to DXOmark.

In addition to this is the more Google optimized EMUI, this may be the best Huawei phone yet along with the P20 Pro.

For our review: Huawei P20 Review - The BEST Affordable Flagship for Photography?
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