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Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review

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Huawei has definitely emerged as one of the most valuable smartphone brands in the industry today. The company clearly made a lot of improvements in their recent releases and we definitely appreciated that.

The company came up with smartphones that have great designs, capable performance, and killer cameras. On top of that, all of those devices come with really reasonable price tags.

Their previous flagship, the Huawei P20 Pro, is hailed as one of the best camera smartphones in the market today. It also offers great value for the price thanks to its stunning build and a performance that can pretty much nail anything you throw at it.

Now, the tech giant is stepping it up further as they announce the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro. This device will try to surpass the achievements made by its little brother. So, here in our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review, we’ll see if they were able to keep the title that was set by the P20 Pro.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Specs

  • Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9.0
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby (nano format)
  • 6.53-inch RGBW QHD+ AMOLED Display, 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution, ~538 ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass protection, HDR10
  • 2.6GHz HiSilicon Kirin 980 octa-core processor, Dual NPU
  • Mali-G76 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable via nano SD
  • In-display fingerprint scanner, Dynamic Pressure Sensing
  • 24-megapixel front camera
  • 3D face unlock (Dot projector, Flood illuminator, IR camera)
  • 40-megapixel (f/1.8, 27mm, wide-angle) + 20-megapixel (f/2.2, 16mm, ultra wide-angle) + 8-megapixel (f/2.4, 80mm, 3x telephoto)
  • 3D object modeling, 3D Live Emoji
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi hotspot, Dual-band
  • 4G LTE, Cat.2.1, 1.4GBps
  • Invisible dual speakers
  • GPS, A-GPS, BDS, GLONASS
  • Dimensions: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6 mm
  • Weight: 189 g
  • Colors: Emerald Green, Twilight, Midnight Blue, Pink Gold, Black
  • 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, Wireless reverse charge
  • 4,200mAh non-removable Li-Po battery

Design and Build Quality

The P20 Pro is definitely a stunning device. It even pioneered the gradient color design, which we are now seeing in tons of other devices like the OPPO F9, Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite, and pretty much every smartphone that was released this year.

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But with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the company has outdone themselves once again. The back panel has this carbon fiber-like pattern, which Huawei is calling as the Hyper Optical Pattern. It also uses a special glass that the company claims is anti-slip and less prone to fingerprint marks.

On the downside, this pattern is only available in the Midnight Blue and the one we have here, the Emerald Green. Black and Twilight variants of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro doesn’t have the pattern.

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During my time with it, the device definitely doesn’t feel like it would easily slip out of my hands. Although, it still attracts smudges, but not as aggressive as what other glass-on-glass devices. Moreover, the handset is water and dust resistant for some extra protection against accidental water splashes and whatnot.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro also feels more comfortable, lighter, and compact than the P20 Pro, despite having a larger screen thanks to its curved sides and edges. Without a doubt, it clearly took a lot of inspiration from its predecessor, the Huawei Mate 10.

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Just like the ergonomics, the camera system was also kept in the middle. But despite that, the entire back panel has been drastically redesigned. The triple Leica cameras and the flash are caged inside a square entraption in a 2×2 arrangement, making it appear like it has a quad-camera setup at first look.

But whatever the case may be, it definitely provided a really unique and signature aesthetic for the device.

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On the downside, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro still has a notch on top. But despite that, it’s still one of the most gorgeous-looking devices we’ve seen thanks to its almost non-existent bezels, with the curved screen melting on the sides. Huawei was able to eliminate the thick bottom bezel by removing the physical fingerprint sensor, and finally implementing an in-display fingerprint scanner technology for their smartphones.

Huawei-Mate-20-Pro-Specs

Before we move on, let’s do a quick rundown on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s hardware.

On the front, we have the aforementioned 6.53-inch FHD+ OLED screen with an embedded fingerprint scanner. While the notch on top houses the 24-megapixel selfie camera and the sensors for its 3D face unlock technology.

At the top, there’s the noise-canceling microphone and the IR blaster. While on the bottom you can spot the USB Type-C port, the SIM tray, and two more built-in microphones.

While it does look simple, there is actually a lot of things going on in this side of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. For one, if you notice, it doesn’t have speaker grills. That’s because the sound is firing out of the Type-C port itself. That’s apart from the audio coming out of the earpiece, as this device comes with a stereo speaker setup.

Next, we have the odd SIM tray. If you’ve been following the news, Huawei introduced Nano memory cards, or NM cards for short, together with the Mate 20 series. This will replace the traditional microSD cards as it has the same size of a nano-SIM card, so you can use the secondary spot on the SIM tray for another SIM card or for storage expansion.

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This is the first time that NM cards were implemented so don’t expect that you can find them easily. Huawei did say that they are working with other storage brands to produce NM cards. They also added that this feature might come to their future devices, even the more affordable ones.

Moving on, the left side is clean, while on the right corner we have the lock/power switch, which is painted in red. Above it is the volume controls. Both buttons feel very tactile and satisfying to press and are positioned just right so you can reach them even with one hand.

To sum it up, it’s evident the Huawei surely knows how to design a smartphone. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro was able to achieve a stylish design without having that fragile feeling when held in the hands.

Display Quality

I’ll say it right away, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro doesn’t have the best display on a smartphone. That’s a title that we might have to reserve on other more expensive devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

But that doesn’t mean that the screen in here is bad. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a 6.39-inch QHD+ OLED screen, with a 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution, ~538ppi, and a DCI-P3 coverage. That long list of features clearly says that this thing packs a punch.

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Just like most OLED panels, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has vibrant colors and deep blacks. However, it’s contrast is a little lacking when compared to other flagships in the market today. On the upside, it projects images with realistic colors.

The sharpness is also pretty solid. But in the settings menu, the screen resolution is set to “Smart”, which means the phone decides what resolution it will use (HD+, FHD+, WQHD+), depending on your battery status.

A normal eye would barely notice, but if you really want to maximize the provided screen resolution, you can set it manually to WQHD+. Although expect the battery to drain fast.

Hardware and Performance

Being a flagship device, you shouldn’t really have to worry about the performance on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. But if you’re still wondering, we have the answers for you.

Before we go on to further detail, let’s see first what we are working with here. This handset comes with the new 7nm Kirin 980 octa-core processor, dual NPU system, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a 10-core Mali-G76 MP10 graphics with GPU Turbo 2.0.

Benchmark test results

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There’s really nothing much to say here. The chipset can easily breeze through any tasks you throw at it. Applications load and run fast, browsing through the interface is seamless, and taking pictures is really quick.

It also goes without saying that games run impressively well on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Titles like Mobile Legends and Asphalt 9 are playable with stunning graphics and fast refresh rate. However, in PUBG Mobile, you can not set the graphics to the highest level due to some software restriction. But we can surely expect a software update to fix that soon.

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Still, the game is decently playable, but the graphics quality could really use an improvement. Having a large screen and a mind-blowing stereo speaker setup also helps to improve the overall gaming experience.

Sound Quality

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro clearly has the complete package. Other than all of the impressive things that this device has, Huawei also gave a lot of thought on the audio department. Something that a lot of companies tend to overlook.

For one, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is equipped with stereo speakers. The earpiece acts as a secondary channel, while the second one was cleverly hidden inside the USB Type-C port to give more room for all the other components that we have on the bottom.

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It does provide a great stereo separation, well-balanced sound, although the volume is not the loudest. Also, if you’re worried, you can’t almost notice the difference from the sound coming out of the Type-C port when you plug in the charger.

Oh, and of course, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro also comes with Dolby Atmos sound support which is one of the reasons why both its loudspeaker and headphones performance are good.

Security

2018 is the year when we heard buzzwords like “3D face unlock” and “in-display fingerprint scanner” in smartphone’s specs list. And that’s to be expected as both of these technologies are the future of biometric security on mobile devices.

With that, we’re seeing both of these features on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Actually, both features are some of the features separates the “Pro” version from the standard Mate 20.

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Both security methods worked extremely well. The in-display fingerprint scanner can detect my fingerprint correctly in a jiffy, as if I’m using the traditional, physical sensor.

The 3D face unlock can also detect my face so fast that, when I lift it up and try to use the fingerprint scanner, the device is instantly ready for me to use as it already identified my face.

Due to its complex sensors, the scanner can still see your face even in a pitch black room. There’s also an option in the settings that will prevent the facial recognition from unlocking the device if it detects that your eyes are closed.

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You can also use these biometric features for the App lock feature, as well as the PrivateSpace function, which lets you create a separate private zone inside the the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. There’s also a File Safe feature for all your confidential media and other files.

Software and User Interface

To complement its impressive hardware, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a well-equipped software. This phone runs on Android 9.0 Pie with Huawei’s EMUI 9 custom interface on top.

Unlike its previous iterations, the EMUI 9 has a lighter interface and is smoother to use. However, it still feels more crowded than Android’s stock interface.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro lockscreen looks really minimalistic, so you can enjoy your wallpaper on its gorgeous display. Right at first boot, all of your apps are laid out on the home screen. Although you can opt to use a dedicated app drawer in the settings menu if that’s your cup of tea.

Huawei also retained the well-organized settings menu to help easily find what you’re looking for. You can also key in your Huawei account if you’ve already owned Huawei smartphones in the past bring back your old setup.

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It also boasts a Swiftkey keyboard that was tailored for Huawei. The keyboard is easy to get used to, with adjustable key sizes so you can customize it depending on your needs.

Huawei also developed a couple of features that are exclusive to their devices, specifically on the Mate 20 series. For one, you can fire up the HiVision feature on the camera app, and it will give you any information about the object, landmark, or even renowned paintings that you’re pointing your camera to.

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The company is also bragging about its advanced wireless projecting technology. Basically, you can project anything on an external display wirelessly, and still send texts or make phone calls exclusively on the device’s actual screen for privacy.

Overall, Huawei definitely improved the interface for the Mate 20 Pro, making the experience really enjoyable.

Camera

Well, this is going to be a long one. As you all know, Huawei has been really serious about their mobile photography game in recent years since their partnership with Leica. And with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the company has reached a new milestone.

Before proceeding, let’s get the specs out of the way. The Mate 20 Pro brags a 40-megapixel primary camera with a f/1.8 aperture, a 20-megapixel sensor with an ultra wide-angle lens, and another 8-megapixel telephoto shooter.

The camera system is also backed with laser autofocus, PDAF, contrast focus, optical image stabilization, and Huawei’s AI image stabilization.

Now, we can finally talk about the actual image quality. As expected, the primary camera produces images with great colors, contrast, and unbelievable dynamic range. Just check out the sample images below and judge it yourself.

Personally, I had more fun using the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s 20-megapixel wide-angle lens. I liked the aesthetic look that it provides. Plus, it allows you to cram more subjects on a single frame. However, the quality is a little different. The contrast is a bit messed up and the saturation is not as good as the primary shooter. But still, the images it churns out are still impressive.

Next stop, we have the crazy-good 8-megapixel telephoto camera. This one isn’t meant to take ludicrously good photos, albeit it gives you a chance to take images of faraway objects or macro shots.

As an example, the two images of a gigantic Christmas tree below are taken at the same exact location, with the latter snapped with the 10x hybrid zoom. As you can see, the image quality is still crazy good, as if it was taken closer.

As stated earlier, it can also take macro shots, which really allows you to frame tiny objects perfectly.

Moreover, Huawei also improved the AI scene detection on this new smartphone. Actually, all of the sample images above were taken with this feature enabled. And as you can see, the colors don’t look too artificial or overblown, like what some of their previous offerings do. The camera can also detect the scene you’re shooting much faster, so it can apply the right adjustments right away.

If you want a more professional, DSLR-looking images with crispy bokeh, the Portrait Mode on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro works incredibly well. It can intelligently separate the foreground from the background, without the cut-out effect that we see on other smartphone cameras. This creates a believable look with a really shallow depth of field.

Probably one of the most striking camera features of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is its Night Mode. The device combines its pixel-packed sensor and the optical image sensor, to take long-exposure photos, even when done handheld. This creates a bright and colorful night-time photo.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s 24-megapixel selfie camera. It can obviously take great self-portraits, although the crown is still reserved for the OPPO Find X. The images taken can be a bit too bright, which slightly ruins the contrast and saturation — a typical scenario for Android devices.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s face beautification features works decently and creates a believable effect. However, I’m not super impressed with its lighting effects. The front camera and the 3D sensor can’t distinguish the edges well, thus creating the infamous ugly cut-out look.

Where the 3D sensor works really well is in the Live Emojis. This allows you to record special messages using different animated faces.

To sum it up, it’s clear that the camera department is one of the greatest strengths of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. If you’re looking for a camera phone that offers great flexibility for mobile photography, this is the one for you.

Battery

We’re almost done with this review, yet it looks like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is still not done on impressing us. As what you know by now, this device is complete with tons of incredible hardware. And with its equally impressive battery, you can enjoy using all those features for the entire day, with possibly even more to spare for the next morning.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a large 4,200mAh battery, which offers slightly better longevity than the other smartphones that have the same battery capacity.

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My day starts at around 10AM, and when it ended at around 1AM, I still had around 19% of charge. That’s a day of heavy web browsing, taking pictures, and watching Netflix. I even did a 1hr and 45mins of video call on Facebook Messenger and noticed that it only made a 2% dent from 18% to 20% on the battery charge. That’s a total of 5hrs and 45mins of screen-on time.

Of course, we ran PCMark’s battery stress test as a standard procedure. It scored a highly impressive screen-on time of 10hrs and 56mins. That clearly outshines all of the devices that we had reviewed before, which had an average score of 8hrs.

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Besides the battery itself, another mind-blowing feature about the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is its 40W SuperCharge technology. This charges the device insanely fast that every time you check on it the battery percentage is already far from where you left off.

Based on my testing, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s battery can go from 0% to 100% at around 1 hour and 10 minutes.

But if you want something more fancy and intuitive to use, you can also check out Huawei’s 15W Wireless quick charger. Just like the wired option, this one is also TUV approved for safety. It can recharge the device back to 100% at around 2hrs, which is 2x longer, but is actually what you can get from the traditional wired option in some devices.

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And if you think that’s all, well, this ain’t over yet. During the device’s announcement, Huawei surprised everyone when they introduced the Reverse Wireless charging on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, making it the first device to have this feature.

If you have a friend who has the latest iPhones or any wireless-charging capable device and they ran out of battery, you can share the Mate 20 Pro’s juice as it can act as a wireless charger. That’s a pretty nifty and useful feature.

We tried it on an iPhone X and it worked well. It’s not the fastest charger of all as it only gives 500mA, but in most cases where there’s someone who really needs a top up, this is a good thing to have.

Verdict

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is complete with all of the features that most people are looking for in a proper 2018 flagship smartphone and more. And clearly, Huawei has gone a long way after the P20 Pro, despite the fact that its only been a couple of months since we had fun with it.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers a large and vibrant display, a tough chipset that can handle everything you throw at it, and a battery life that can keep up with your busy lifestyle.

Huawei’s Mate line-up has always been geared towards business professionals and those who want to get work done. But now, the Mate 20 Pro is a is a testament that this series of smartphones can also be a great companion for photographers, gamers, and entertainment junkies.

As a cherry on top, it also comes with reverse wireless charging, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and a crazy-fast 40W charger — some of the things that prove that Huawei Mate 20 Pro is really innovative.

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If I’ll be nitpicking, I wish Huawei found a way to not disregard the headphone jack. Also, I’m not sure if their NM card storage solution will really take off. But other than those minor things, there’s really nothing much to complain here.

Without a doubt, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is one of the best — if not the best — flagship smartphone you can get in the market today.

Pricing and Availability of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is now available in the Philippines for a price of Php49,990. And if you get it until January 15, 2019, Huawei will be bundling the aforementioned 15W fast wireless charger that’s worth Php3,990.

Alternatively, you can get the device through Smart and Globe postpaid plans.

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Large, vibrant display
  • Reliable performance
  • Long battery life, Incredibly fast charging
  • Top notch cameras

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Proprietary NM card storage expansion

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