Honor 20 Pro, the latest “affordable flagship” option from the Huawei outwear, is here. With its strong specifications and flashy design, the Honor 20 Pro may interest you if you are looking for a modern phone that costs no arm and leg. However, the competition is fierce and the Honor 20 Pro is not flawless. And as crazy as it may sound, geopolitical tensions have also put a spanner in the works. Do you have to make Honor 20 Pro your new phone? Here is our Honor 20 Pro Review.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Design
- 6 x 73.97 x 8.44mm
- The fingerprint sensor in the power button
- Glass back
Say what you like about Honor, the company gets industrial design. Honor phones are rarely pioneers, but they are always on-trend. The Honor 20 Pro continues this tradition. The front of the phone is almost full screen. The bezels aren’t the smallest we’ve seen – especially the lower ones – but they are fairly close. The punch hole camera in the upper left corner gives the phone a bit of a futuristic touch, without impeding the viewing experience. It only has a diameter of 4.5 mm. A discreet earpiece is embedded in the upper ring.
The only thing that stands out on the rounded sides is the on/off button, which sits in its own small notch. This is not just for appearance, because the button contains the fingerprint sensor. It is a very fast and easy-to-use sensor, and I am quite happy that Honor wants to avoid the in-display trend of the fingerprint sensor for this. You can unlock your phone in a fraction of a second by touching the sensor with your finger, or you can set the button to actually be pressed. The touch-to-unlock method is very useful but can lead to unintended unlocking. No problem anyway.
The fast camera-based face unlock function is a nice addition to the fingerprint scanner. The Honor 20 Pro is probably the easiest to unlock from any phone I have used. Seamless security is the best form of security, so a compliment to Honor for his work here. The Honor 20 Pro comes in two trendy color versions: Phantom Black and Phantom Blue. I have to judge the Phantom Black and, let me tell you, this is not a boring old black. It is shifting from black to purple, to blue, and it’s beautiful.
We are all used to large camera bubbles, but the bump on the Honor 20 Pro protrudes a few millimeters from the housing of the phone and is quite large. The bump is home to three of the phone’s four rear cameras, plus a sensor for laser-based autofocus. The aesthetics aside, the protruding camera will suffer the most from wear and tear, so buy a cover that protects it – I already have it several times after a week of use.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Display
- 6.26 inches
- 2340 x 1080 Full HD+
Some phones in the price range of $ 400 – $ 500 (see: Pixel 3a) have switched to OLED, but unfortunately the more expensive Honor 20 Pro has not followed. There is nothing wrong with the Full HD + LCD that you get, but it is not an OLED; so no ink-black colors, no battery-saving dark UI mode, and no always-on screen. The lack of dark mode is astonishing because many users prefer it, even if this does not save the battery, such as when using an OLED screen.
Colors and viewing angles are good. The display gets much brighter for normal indoor use, but the quality deteriorates in bright sunlight. Again, this is an inherent shortcoming of LCD technology, rather than a problem with the Honor 20 Pro. Honor nevertheless opted for LCD over OLED.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Software
- EMUI 2.1.0
- Android 9 Pie
Honor’s Magic UI is similar to Huawei’s EMUI and the version that runs on the Honor 20 Pro is based on Android 9 Pie. This is not the most polished or uncluttered Android skin there is, but it is certainly not the worst. Magic UI gets all the basics right and offers many customization options. I wish Honor would have included an option for a dark mode; maybe the arrival of Android Q by the end of the year will solve this shortcoming. I didn’t like the standard icon set, but there is limited support to change it from the theme section.
A strange problem I encountered was that you cannot press the home screen for long to view the settings, change the background or even add a widget. The Honor 20 Pro uses a classic three-button navigation menu as standard, but I strongly recommend trying the gestures. Swiping from the edges takes you back to the interface, while a long swipe from the bottom opens the recent apps menu. It soon becomes second nature.
While we were reviewing the Honor 20 Pro, the US government prohibited US companies – including Google – from doing business with Huawei and its affiliates. The ban was then limited to hardware components, which allowed Google to provide security updates for existing Huawei and Honor phones. At the time of writing, it is unclear whether the Honor 20 Pro will receive security updates. If security is high on your priority list, you should probably view other options. We will update this section of our Honor 20 Pro review if the situation changes.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Audio
- No headphone jack
- Single speaker
The Honor 20 Pro lacks a 3.5 mm audio connection. Here are a lot of arguments about why that is a bad idea. It is especially strange considering some direct competitors of the phone tend to have a 3.5 mm port, and even Huawei’s own P30 has the function. The phone comes with a 3.5 mm to USB-C adapter, but these adapters tend to be littered with compatibility issues. The sound coming from the bottom speaker of the phone is fairly clear and loud. The small grid openings, however, make it too easy to cover and mute the speaker with your hand. I don’t normally find it a problem, but in this case, it is rather annoying.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Performance
- Kirin 980
- 8GB of RAM
- 256GB of storage
- No microSD
Honor does not skimp when it comes to unprocessed specifications. The processor, RAM, and storage are flagship level, no qualification is required. It may not be the very best right now – the Snapdragon 855 contains that title – but the processor is the same as the Mate 20 Pro and the P30 Pro. It is also a head start on the Snapdragon 600 series or 700 series that you get from a number of Honor 20 Pro competitors. Real-world performance is lag-free, and gaming is silky smooth. I have not experienced any performance issues when playing PUBG Mobile.
I cannot give benchmarks because my Honor 20 Pro review unit does not allow me to install benchmark apps. Scores are probably similar to the P30 Pros. Expect something close to 1m: 45s in SpeedTestG and 290,000 points in AnTuTu. The included 256 GB of storage space should be enough for almost everyone, but if you need more, the Honor 20 Pro is not for you because it has no memory slot. Just like with Huawei’s flagships, you can choose to enable Performance Mode on the Honor 20 Pro to get top performance. That sounds like a good idea, but it really isn’t. The marginal performance gain comes at the expense of shorter battery life.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Camera
- 48MP main, f/1.4, OIS, laser autofocus
- 16MP super wide, f/2.2, 117-degree FoV
- 8MP telephoto, f/2.4, 3X lossless, 5X hybrid, OIS
- 2MP macro, f/2.4
Forget the hype. One camera is enough to take great photos. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at the current crop of Android flagships, or even ambitious second-tier premium phones such as the Honor 20 Pro. There are four cameras on the back of the phone. The most important is the apparently ubiquitous IMX586 48MP sensor from Sony (also seen on OnePlus 7 Pro, Asus ZenFone 6 and Realme X). In the standard recording mode, the camera empties 12MP images with pixels. The image quality is usually solid, but I did take some blurry photos in situations where I didn’t expect any problems.
You can switch to full-resolution 48MP images, but in most cases, you want to keep the default setting. You get larger and more detailed images, but the 48MP and 12MP images are very similar, even when viewed on a large computer screen. The 48MP AI Ultra Clarity function would add even more detail to the photo, at the expense of an exposure time of 3 to 5 seconds. The results did not make me “wow!”
The wide-angle lens does what the name says. It is perfect for large families and panoramic views. The tele-shooter offers you 3x lossless optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom, which means that it combines optical zoom with electronic processing. In the real world, you will be able to bring the subject closer and frame your recordings in ways that would not be possible without a telephoto lens camera.
The Honor 20 Pro is the first phone with a special macro lens. It is doubtful how useful this specialized tool is for most users, but it is there for all your medium-sized photo supplies. If you are nerdy like me, you are pretty cool. View this photo of a stag beetle that I took with the Honor 20 Pro – you can almost see my reflection in the eye of the bug! Too bad the resolution is only 2MP.
Another AI-supported feature is the AI Super Night mode – this is your typical night mode feature, as seen on multiple phones this year. It adds more light and details to low-light scenes, but it won’t save you if the light is very low.
Selfies made with the 32 MP camera of the Honor 20 Pro are generally fantastic, although a bit on the soft side. In general, the Honor 20 Pro is a capable and versatile shooter. The image quality can be inconsistent, especially if the light goes out. But the multiple lenses are a blessing for anyone who likes to play with the camera settings, rather than just pointing and taking pictures.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Battery Life
- 22.5W fast charging
The golden standard of 2019 for super premium telephone batteries is 4,000mAh. The Honor 20 Pro is not a super premium phone, but again, it surpasses its weight. That said, the battery life was shorter than I expected based on the size of the battery. I got about six hours of screen-on time with my medium-light use. For reference: the Mate 20 Pro and the P30 Pro (both with 4,200 mAh units) can easily run for eight hours. The LCD screen probably plays a major role in this discrepancy.
You get fast charging with the included 22.5W charger. Filling the battery up to 50 percent takes around 30 minutes. That is a very good figure, although not as good as the 75% of the P30 Pros and Mate 20 Pro in a 30-minute version. The Honor 20 Pro surpasses the Google Pixel 3a and ZenFone 6 in this statistic, but not the OnePlus 7 Pro. The Honor 20 Pro is not equipped with wireless charging. Unfortunately.
Honor 20 Pro Review – Conclusion
All in all, the Honor 20 Pro is an excellent choice for anyone who wants the best performance, a great camera, and modern design, without beating the couch. It is not immediately a recommendation because of the possible implications of an Android ban and the fact that it has strong competition. However, give it a chance if you feel tempted by Huawei, but it cannot really justify paying $ 900- $ 1000 for the brand name.
That’s it for our Honor 20 Pro Review.
Honor 20 Pro Review Rating – 8.7/10
Honor 20 Pro is a great choice for anyone who wants the best performance, a great camera, and a modern design without beating the couch.
- Attractive design
- Beautiful bezel-less display
- Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor
- A solid, versatile camera
- No headphone jack
- Battery life is a bit low for its size
- No OLED