Honor 20 Pro Review

We're putting the Honor 20 Pro smartphone to the test to find out if this mid-range device, with its reasonable price, can take on and conquer the premium smartphone market.


|  Honor 20 Pro in Camera Phones
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Huawei Honor 20 Pro
 

Quick Verdict

The Honor 20 Pro is designed well both inside and out with some clever technology as well as cool, modern looks and eye-catching design. The screen is an excellent size and the colours the Honor 20 Pro is available in are certainly worth a mention. Plus, for a smartphone that's priced at just over £500, the camera is pretty impressive. In fact, for a mid-range smartphone, it certainly has a premium-like feel to it that can actually, in places, run just as well, as the smartphones with pricetags approaching £1000. Some will be concerned by the on-going Huawei problems still being talked about in the media but the company do promise to keep supporting customers so we've just got to wait and see. Plus, things are looking slightly better for the tech giant, too. Overall, the Honor 20 Pro certainly puts up a good fight in a very crowded market and is certainly worthy of featuring on our 'best mid-range smartphone' list. 

+ Pros

  • Excellent display 
  • Good image quality  
  • Good price  
  • Great specs (for the price)
  • Four camera set-up 

- Cons

  • Huawei issues can't be ignored 
  • Still room for improvement with low light images
  • 48MP images only slightly better than the 12MP images
  • Reds/Greens can be oversaturated 

 

The Honor 20 Pro smartphone is an impressive looking device with features that share similarities with the more expensive Huawei P30 Pro. Plus, it has a punch-hole front-facing camera as well as a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and we've not even mentioned the 4 cameras and f/1.4 aperture yet...

OK, you probably get that we're, so far, nodding in approval at the Honor 20 Pro but can the smartphone impress us with its performance just as much? As, surely, with its £549 price tag, Honor must have made some cost-cutting actions somewhere along the line? Shall we find out? 

Before we do, we do need to mention the on-going USA vs Huawei debate/issue as, at the time of writing, we still don't know how it's going to end or if Huawei will be able to use the Google app store again. Honor is a Huawei sub-brand and even though Honor is trying to reassure customers that Honor smartphones will continue to receive security patches and Android updates, it's still going to be a worry for some. 


Honor 20 Pro Features

Huawei Honor 20 Pro
 

As with many of Huawei and Honor smartphones, there's a big emphasis on photography with the Honor 20 Pro, with the most impressive feature being the f/1.4 aperture lens on the main 48MP camera - the brightest aperture seen, to date, on a smartphone! There's also a new macro mode but it's only 2MP so we'll see how well it actually works in our performance section.

As with the Honor 20 we've already put to the test, you get a 16mp, f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens and a 48mp, main camera but the main camera features 4-axis OIS - something the Honor 20 doesn't have, and it will improve image quality as shots will be steadier. You also get an 8MP 3x telephoto camera, with 4-axis OIS, so when you need to zoom in on detail, image quality should be much better. The 2MP f/2.4 macro lens is the same as found on the less expensive Honor 20 which focuses to 4cm. The final rear camera is a 2MP, f/2.4 depth sensor. 

On the front is an in-screen 32MP f/2.0 selfie camera so there's no top-notch cutting into the 6.26-inch display providing a 91.6% screen-to-body ratio. 

Other interesting features include a Super Night Mode, Kirin 980 Processor, side-mounted fingerprint sensor, NFC, 4K video, Android 9.0 Pie and a 4000mAh battery. An AI (Artificial Intelligence) Ultra Clarity mode is built-in along with plenty of clever camera tricks to help you capture bokeh-filled portraits and wide-angle images with a 117-degree angle of view. 

A cool feature that makes it very eye-catching is the multi-dimensional, Dynamic Holographic glass back (it doesn't improve the Honor 20 Pro's performance, but it does look great). Basically, it's a technique which allows light to be reflected/refracted in all directions and the purple version we have on test is particularly lovely. You can buy a Phantom Black version should you prefer something more discreet. 

The memory comprises of 8GB RAM and 256GB ROM.

Honor 20 Pro Key Features:

  • 16mp ultra-wide-angle camera, f/2.2
  • 48mp main camera, f/1.4 with 4-axis OIS
  • 8mp 3x telephoto camera, f/2.4 with 4-axis OIS
  • 2mp macro camera, f/2.4, 4cm macro focus
  • 32mp f/2.0 front selfie camera, in-screen
  • Super Night Mode
  • 6.26inch screen
  • Kirin 980 Processor
  • Fingerprint sensor and NFC
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie

 

Compare the Honor 20 Pro with the Honor 20: 

Features Honor 20 Pro Honor 20 
Main Camera 48mp main camera, f/1.4 with 4-axis OIS 48mp main camera, f/1.8
Wide-Angle Camera 16mp ultra-wide-angle, f/2.2 16mp ultra-wide-angle, f/2.2
Telephoto Camera 8mp 3x telephoto camera, f/2.4 with 4-axis OIS No
Macro Camera 2mp macro camera, f/2.4, 4cm macro focus 2mp macro camera, f/2.4, 4cm macro focus
Zoom  3x optical, 5x hybrid, 30x digital  2x digital and beyond
OIS Yes No
Depth Sensor 2mp f/2.4 depth assist 2mp f/2.4 depth assist
Screen Size 6.26-inch 6.26-inch
Battery 4000mAh 3750mAh
Fingerprint Sensor Side-mounted Side-mounted 


 

Honor 20 Pro Handling

Huawei Honor 20 Pro
 

The Honor 20 Pro's price might make it a mid-range smartphone but the way it looks, along with its specs, certainly make it a smartphone that could fool you into thinking it's much more expensive. The metal frame, glass back/front combo combined with the edge-to-edge display and cool colours all tick the right boxes and the introduction of the cut-out selfie camera in the top left corner gives you a 91.6% screen-to-body ratio - impressive. 

As with the Honor 20, the rounded edges and recessed power/fingerprint sensor button make it a comfortable smartphone to hold and it doesn't feel overly big, either. You can easily hold the Honor 20 Pro, and navigate it, with one hand but we always recommend using two hands; especially when capturing photos.

The Honor 20 Pro's price might make it a mid-range smartphone but the way it looks, along with its specs, certainly make it a smartphone that could fool you into thinking it's much more expensive.

To prevent the Honor 20 Pro from accidentally sliding off surfaces, you may want to purchase a case as it will slide off things easily. You aren't given a case, as you are with some other smartphones, which is probably one of the ways Honor saves money. Another reason for popping on a case is to prevent fingerprints from appearing all over the smartphone. We know this is an issue with many modern smartphones but it really is quite annoying. 

The protruding camera unit on the rear means it doesn't sit flush when on a table, either, but the asymmetrical 'L-shaped' positioning of the four camera lenses allows for a 4,000mAh battery to be built in. 

Huawei Honor 20 Pro
 

A side-mounted fingerprint sensor isn't something you see every day but it feels rather natural when you use it as it's positioned where your finger rests anyway. Above the power button/fingerprint sensor is the volume control and to the bottom is a USB-C port and speaker. There's no headphone jack, annoyingly, although a USB Type-C to headphone socket adapter is provided in the box. 

The 6.26-inch screen isn't quite as good as the OLED found in the more expensive P30, or in the Google Pixel 3a for that matter, but it's bright and clear none-the-less. Plus, images are clear, sharp and colours are accurate which is all we ask for. 

There's no top-notch taking up space (not that they took up much room), bezels are small and as the fingerprint sensor is side-mounted, there's no chin either. 

Huawei Honor 20 Pro
 

We've already listed the impressive camera set-up in the feature section which we'll be putting to the test in the performance section of the review but it's worth noting that the 48MP shooter which uses Quad-Bayer Array technology to improve resolution and light sensitivity - something we're seeing in more of Huawei/Honor's less expensive smartphones as at one time, it was reserved for more premium devices such as the Mate 20 Pro. The technology is particularly useful in low light and at night as it uses 2x2 adjacent pixels in the same colour, increasing light sensitivity and keeping noise to a minimum and raising the sensitivity to a level equivalent to 12 effective megapixels. 

An AIS Super Night Mode can combine up to 16 exposures to form one clear image, shooting handheld without the aid of a tripod. We also get up to ISO204800 light sensitivity and even the wide-angle camera supports the AIS Super Night Mode.

Huawei Honor 20 Pro
 

AI-powered technology always features in Honor smartphones and it recognises scenes, adjusting settings to give you optimal results. It's also used when shooting with the 'Ultra Clarity' mode which, when selected (it's an option in the setting's menu) allows the camera to take several 48MP pictures at once which the best details are collected from and are combined to make 1 48MP photo. A clever algorithm then asses the overall look of the photo, adjusting and optimising results. 

The camera app is the same as you see on other Honor/Huawei smartphones, and is easy to use with various modes built-in. These include a panorama mode, night mode, handheld moon shot, pro mode and a portrait mode where you can adjust skin softness and background bokeh. 

A couple of other standout camera features include the f/1.4 aperture on the main camera which will aid in low light and the built-in Optical Image Stabilisation which you don't get on the less expensive Honor 20 smartphones in the range. 

 

Battery life - The battery is rated at 4000mAh which is excellent and there are several power-saving modes available to help you conserve energy. There's also a fast charger supplied so you can go from 0 to around 50% battery in half an hour or so. 

Antutu and Geekbench scores are as follows: 285681 (Antutu) and 3263 (single-core Geekbench), 9748 (multi-core Geekbench).

 


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