Huawei Mate 20 Pro first impressions review

Here’s what we think of the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro flagship smartphone.

Huawei has gone official with the Mate 20 flagship smartphone. We were there at the launch today and, as well as soaking up the atmosphere; we had plenty of time to get acquainted with the new device.

Read on to find out whether all the leaks were true and if the latest is the greatest.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro specifications

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

The dominating feature up front is that glorious 6.39-inch AMOLED HDR display. At the top is the now ubiquitous notch and there’s a slight chin bezel at the bottom. Resolution is peeper-pleasing 3120 x 1440.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

The screen gently curves over the edges handing the phone a bezel-less appearance. The phone has a slightly curious 19.5:9 screen ratio. Secreted beneath the display is a super-snappy fingerprint scanner. Huawei has obviously been tweaking this system since it appeared on their Porsche Design outing.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

As well as using your digit to unlock the phone, there is 3D face unlock too by way of the front facing 24-megapixel lens that’s paired with an IR laser system. In addition to unlocking your phone, you can use 3D face unlock to access hidden files and apps.

Check out our Mate 20 Pro full review!

Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

Flipping the Mate 20 Pro over and you come face-to-lens to the smartphone’s camera array. As is befitting a Huawei flagship, there’s a Leica-powered triple-camera system featuring a 40-megapixel (F1.8) wide angle, 20-megapixel (F2.2) ultra-wide angle, and 8-megapixel (F2.4) telephoto with OIS lens. Joining this trio of colour lenses is a dual tone flash. Breaking the tradition of in-line lenses, Huawei has formed this array in a square.

Hyper Optical case

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

Pick up the blue or green Mate 20, and you will notice the new ‘Hyper Optical’ pattern case. This is formed by hairline ridges that are hardly noticeable in your hand, but you can hear them when you drag a fingernail over it. As well as looking good, this finish also makes the device less like a bar of soap.

Under the hood

Pushing things along is a massive 4,200mAh battery which is replenished through wireless charging. You can even use the Mate 20 to charge lesser phones by using the reverse wireless charging feature. We were told that the Mate 20 should be good for two days in average use. Thanks to the 40w Super Charge a half-an-hour zap will see the phone up to 70% charged from empty.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

The Mate 20 Pro is armed with 6GB of 2133 MHz RAM and 256GB of storage. The storage can be augmented through the nano-SD card slot or using USB, NAS with SMB protocol or Huawei Cloud.

The phone is powered by Huawei’s latest 7nm Kirin 980 octa-core processor. The engine room spec list also includes a Cortex A76 CPU, Mali G76 GPU, Dual NPUs and a 1.4 GPS Cat.21 Modem. At IFA 2018 Huawei claimed that the Kirin 980 would offer massive speed and power efficiency improvements over both Huawei’s previous chips. Apparently, it will also give Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 a good run for its money too. Time will tell.

Rounding off the specs is IP68 dust and water resistance thanks partly to losing the headphone jack socket, and the latest Android 9 Pie running under Huawei’s EMUI 9.0.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro first impressions review

This is a desirable device, no matter which colour you choose. The long and narrow form factor does not look odd when held, and I had no problems in reaching any of the icons.

The fingerprint reader is excellent even managing to read my prints after I dunked a digit in water.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro hands on review

It looks like Huawei may have done it again with its camera. The ultra-wide lens makes macro shots even better. You can now focus up to 2.5cms close to your subject. The Master AI 2.0 has upped the number of scenes and scenarios it recognises from 500 to over 1500. So, if you’re unsure of the settings you need, chances are the AI will have you covered. Furthermore, the AI’s 4D predictive focus ensures that the right object is sharp in the lens.

huawei mate 20 pro green side

For video capture, the AI has a cinema mode that will tint your movies in classic cinema colours as well as selecting a 21:9 widescreen format. However, my favourite video mode is AI Portrait Colour. If you have watched the film ‘Sin City’ you will be familiar with the treatment. Here you have the main character in colour and all the surrounding background in monochrome. Amazingly, this is all captured in real time. Testament indeed to the Mate 20 Pro’s processing power.

As you have probably already worked out, I am very impressed by Huawei’s latest. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review after I have lived with the Mate 20 Pro for a while.