The Huawei P20 Pro is a technological marvel

Highs

  • Beautiful glass design
  • Edgy camera hardware and performance
  • Awesome 4000 mAh battery capacity

Lows

  • Hefty phone, especially with a case
  • Display could have higher density

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 9/10

Ubergizmo was in Paris on 3/27 for the launch of the new Huawei P20 Series of high-end smartphones with the Huawei P20, Huawei P20 Pro, and the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RSeditions. All three models share a common SoC platform based on the HiSilicon Kirin 970, and the same software framework. This series will constitute the new tip of the spear for Huawei in the high-end segment ($650+) and will compete with the Galaxy S9, iPhone 8/X, Google Pixel 2, etc…

Huawei P20 vs. P20 Pro vs. Mate RS: the main differences

Huawei P20

The P20 (~$680) is the baseline version of this new hardware. It defines a new design language and form factor (5.8” display), along with an improved software interface which has evolved from last year’s Huawei P10. The P20 has 4GB of RAM and an IP53 rating, which means that it is splash-resistant, but not submersible.

Huawei P20 Pro

The P20 Pro (~$920) is, in my opinion, the real star of this show. Created to address the large-display market (6.1” and ~11.5% more surface area), it improves over the P20 significantly in several areas. It has an OLED screen, a significantly larger RGB camera sensor with 3.3X more pixels and a third 3X optical zoom camera. Finally, it has a much larger battery (+18% capacity) and 6GB of RAM. These are the most critical differences in my view. The P20 Pro is IP67 rated and can survive a short immersion in water.

Porsche Design Huawei Mate Rs

The Mate RS (~$1800) could be viewed as a “deluxe edition” of the Huawei P20 Pro. Although the Mate Series is supposed to be different, there is much in common this time. The differences are that the Mate RS gets integrated wireless charging (with ~0.7mm of additional thickness), more storage (256GB vs. 128GB), dual-SIM and a lot of great accessories (better earphones, leather case, VIP card, etc…). The Mate RS is also IP67 rated and also has 6GB of RAM.

Industrial design: a leap forward

With the P20 Series, Huawei has launched a significant design change. Last year’s Huawei P10 was built with an aluminum unibody design with a sturdy all-metal chassis. In 2018, the P20 Series gets a dual-glass design and an aluminum metal frame.

This type of design was popularized (if not introduced) by Samsung with the Galaxy S6 series and is known to be very difficult to manufacture. The glass back makes the handset look “more premium” in the eye of many consumers, and the pull is so strong that even Apple switched to something similar with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

Huawei made the right choice by following the trend and adding its own twist with a stunning “Twilight” dual-tone blue/purple coloring. This is by far the most beautiful version of P20, and it will surely make people talk when your phone is on a desk/table. The Huawei P20/P20 Pro have rounded edges, but do not have the glass curve -as much- onto the edge of the phone. The fingerprint reader remains in front of the device -arguably the best location- but Huawei still manages to get 80.3% and 82% of screen-to-body ratio, a very high number.

The advantage of not having the curved glass and screen is that the phone should be less prone to glass cracks than the Galaxy Series 7-edge/8/9 and Note 8 phones. However, it may be a tiny less aesthetically pleasing to some users and the screen may appear a bit less “borderless.” You decide.

Huawei has removed the 3.5mm audio connector, and although the earphones are USB-C or there will be an adapter, this move might upset some potential customers. This is still a controversial topic.

Durability

With an IP Rating of only IP53, the Huawei P20 is not “waterproof.” The IP53 rating means: “Prevents moderate amount of dust from entering but is not dust tight. Protected against sprayed water at an angle of up to 60 degrees (from the vertical). Tested for 5mn at 0.7L/mn at a pressure of 50-150 kPa (no water immersion)”.

For the P20 Pro and Mate RS, IP67 means: Dust tight, no dust can penetrate. Up to 1-meter immersion for a limited duration won’t harm the device. Tested for 30mn.

None of the P20-Series handsets have passed the MIL-STD 810G certification. You can open the link we added to learn more, but this standard is a series of test used to ensure that military gears can survive a certain level of shocks and vibrations.

Looking at the design of the new P20-Series, we can say that it is at a similar risk of “glass crack” than many other “2-sided glass” high-end phones such as the V30, iPhone 8/X, etc… however, the Galaxy S8/9 series would be even more at risk because of the glass found on the Left/Right edges of the phone. Keep in mind that this is from a statistical point of view. All it takes is one severe drop in the real world.

Overall product rating: 9/10

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, Huawei, Huawei P20.

ProductP20P20 Pro
Display Diagonal (inches)5.8" (14.7cm)6.1" (15.5cm)
Megapixel Count12 Megapixel40 Megapixel
Battery Capacity (mAh)3400 mAh4000 mAh
Processor/Soc NameKirin 970Kirin 970
RAM Options4 GB,6 GB,
Street Price$570 Huawei P20 on Amazon$840 Huawei P20 Pro on Amazon
Link to full specsHuawei P20 Full specs and detailsHuawei P20 Pro Full specs and details
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