[REVIEW] HUAWEI Mate20 – Brilliant Camera Setup & Powerful Yet Efficient Flagship Processor

HUAWEI Mate series has been labelled with big screens and big batteries, this year HUAWEI unveiled their latest HUAWEI Mate20-series, bring screen size up to 7.2-inch and 5,000mAh juice; HUAWEI Mate20, Mate20 Pro and Mate20 X.

We have gotten a review unit of HUAWEI Mate20 a few weeks ago and did a quick first impression and hands-on before I bring it for a spin on my holiday in Guilin, China.

I won’t be talking much on the design and built as I’ve covered on my previous post. I’ll be focusing on the performance, cameras, battery life and as well as the user experience.

Performance

The HUAWEI Kirin 980 based on 7nm process, probably the most powerful SoC in the Android operating system; at least from the benchmarks tests**;

  • AnTuTu 3D Benchmark – 301,780 points
  • Geekbench 4 CPU – 3,366 single-core/10,116 multi-core
  • AndroBench – 903.49 MB/s

** test on 6GB + 128GB configuration

It beats all the 2018 Android flagship including the ASUS ROG Phone – on paper. The Kirin 980 has advantages by having Dual NPU (Neural Processing Unit) that handle the artificial intelligence features and Dual ISP (Image Signal Processor) that take care of the photos/videos processes.

In general everyday use, the phone is snappy and never encounter any lags, delays or what so ever thanks to the latest GPU Turbo 2.0. Gaming is buttery smooth without any sign of poor frame rate but it does tend to get heat up when I enabled the “Performance Mode”.

The performance on the HUAWEI Mate20 Pro and Mate20 X are likely the same, powered by the same SoC and differ by RAM and storage size only.

Cameras

Camera performance is one of HUAWEI stronghold and it’s gotten way better with the Mate20. It comes with a triple rear camera setup that consists of a 12-megapixels f/1.8 aperture lens, an ultra-wide 120-degree 16-megapixels f/2.2 aperture lens and a 2x telephoto 8-megapixels f/2.4 aperture lens. The different focal gave different angles how we take photos.

The A.I. Master, works seamlessly in the camera app and detects what the best settings for different sceneries.

What we like the most is the Super Night Mode where it leaves the shutter open for a few seconds and stabilized the images to capture more lights and details. No more shaky photo in night mode except the moving objects like human/cars and etc.

For normal use, you would find the photo look excellent, clear and sharp. Which what smartphone users would like to have, simple point and shoot. As for pro-photog, they would find the images are over sharpen and have too high dynamic range.

Edge detection on Portrait & Aperture modes works like charm especially on bright lighting environment.

As for the selfie camera, it has a 24-megapixels f/2.0 aperture camera. The portrait mode (front & rear) has a set of lighting effects where you can change the bokeh shape to hearts, swirl and discs.

Here are some photos that I took during my trip in Guilin, China (A.I. Master enabled)

Personally, the A.I. Master works perfectly for anyone who wants to shoot like a pro by just a tap on the shutter button. If the A.I. is not your thing, you can disable the A.I. Master and even use the “Pro Mode” that gave more accessibilities on the camera controls like; Shutter, ISO, Exposure, Focus and as well as White Balance.

Battery Life

The Mate20 packed with 4,000 mAh battery in sleek 8.3mm thickness glasses. The 7nm process Kirin 980 not only gave an impressive performance also great power efficiency. With heavy use, about 7 to 8 hours SOT, the phone ended at 30% to 35% battery left. Not forgetting, the huge 6.53-inch IPS also take in accountability of the battery drain.

The HUAWEI SuperCharge 22.5W able to charge the 4,000 mAh juice up to 80% under an hour.

EMUI 9.0 (Android 9.0 Pie)

Out-of-the-box, the HUAWEI Mate20 runs on the company latest EMUI 9.0 based on Android 9.0 Pie. EMUI may not be everyone cup of tea’s UI but I would suggest you give it a try. The new Android 9.0 Pie gesture swipes is available on the EMUI 9.0 that give you more full view navigations and experiences.

Besides that, there are a few useful features like; Knuckle Gesture (Open apps, take a screenshot, split screen and much more), Screen Record, Desktop Mode (use your Mate20 like a full-on computer) and etc.

 

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HUAWEI Mate20
  • Design
  • Build
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Battery
  • Value
4.9

Verdict

HUAWEI proof to us that they listen to what consumers want. Their home-grown Kirin 980 processor probably the most superior SoC in 2018 after Apple’s Bionic A12. It delivered performance without compromise power efficiency. The triple rear camera setup and A.I. Master is simply brilliant IMHO. It could turn a noob to a Pro with the A.I. assistant.

Pros:
• Powerful Processor
• Huge & High-Quality Display
• Superb Battery life
• Brilliant Cameras
• 3.5mm Audio Jack

Cons
• Use HUAWEI uncommon NM (nano Memory) card

Among the trio Mate20 series, I would propose the Mate20 over the Pro and X due to few factors;
1. Value over Performance
2. Overkilled 40MP camera on the Mate20 Pro and Mate20 X
3. IPS Display is not prone to Ghosting/Burnt in Display
4. Faster Fingerprint Scanner over Mate20 Pro In-display Fingerprint Scanner
5. Perfect form factor. Mate20 Pro slightly smaller but has a huge notch & Mate20 X has is a non-pocket friendly 7.2-inch display

The HUAWEI Mate20 is the cheapest among the trio, MSRP RM 2,799 and available now at all HUAWEI’s authorized store and HUAWEI e-commerce partners; Vmall, Lazada Malaysia and Shopee.

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