The Honor View 20 starts in 2019 with a strong start. It is powerful, competitively priced and the punch-hole display is a good example of what we can expect from smartphones in 2019.
- Beautiful design
- Excellent build quality
- Hole-punch is well executed
- Great camera quality
- Long lasting battery
- No IP rating
- No wireless charging
The Honor View 20 is one of the first major flagships of 2019 and wants to set the tone for what we will see from Honor, the parent company Huawei and other manufacturers for the rest of the year. Instead of a notch, the phone has a hole in its display, which brings us a step closer to the reality of having a full-screen smartphone. To what extent does the hole viewer change the smartphone experience and is this for better or worse? Well, we’ll find out in our Honor View 20 Review.
Honor View 20 Review – Design
The Honor View 20 is available in a number of striking colors, such as the blue model we received for evaluation, and it also has a very striking “V” pattern etched in the back glass. Despite the simplicity, it is something that we have never seen before and it looks different from other smartphones. It is a beautiful pattern and it really shines when the light reflects from the back panel. The rest of the design of the Honor View 20 is initial for the course. It has glass panels at the front and back, with a metal frame that wraps around the edges.
The View 20 is reasonably manageable in one hand and is comfortable to hold because it makes good use of rounded corners and tapered edges. The curves also give the View 20 a modern look that suits many smartphones on the market. Around the device, there is a single USB-C port on the bottom, accompanied by a single speaker and a microphone. The right side of the phone has the usual volume and volume buttons, the left side of the SIM card slot, and the fingerprint sensor on the back.
At the top of the Honor View 20 is a headphone jack. This feature has disappeared from flagships, so it’s great to see Honor keep it. Another feature that you might be surprised at View 20 is the IR blaster. IR blasters on smartphones were a fairly short-lived trend a few years ago, but Honor may try to bring them back. Honor also contained one in the recent Magic 2. With the IR blaster, you can use the Honor View 20 as a remote control for operating your TV, junction box and other peripherals in your home.
Honor View 20 Review – Display
The cutout or hole punch in the View 20 screen is probably one of the most discussed functions. It contains the front camera and is located in the upper left corner of the screen. According to Honor, it pushed the recess as far as possible into the corner, although it looks like it could go even further. The recess replaces the notch that adorned the front of many smartphones in 2018. We expect to see this perforation hole design in 2019 on more smartphones.
Although this is the first smartphone I have used with a punch hole display, I can already say that I prefer it over a notch of any size. The recess is smaller and darkens less of the screen. Coming from the use of the Pixel 3 XL, which contains one of the largest notches, the view from View 20 was a refreshing experience. If you are concerned about the impact of the hole punch on apps, games or software in general, do not do that. It shifts elements such as the carrier logo, signal bars, and the WiFi indicator further to the right, but otherwise most apps, games and user interface elements remain unaffected.
Occasionally an app or game will not take the hole into account and you might lose a little bit of content, but I found this quite rare. The same applies to watch the video. Because the hole is so small, I did not find it very disturbing. Moreover, you can see a lot more content than when the View 20 helped a bit. I can not imagine that many people will have problems with the perforation, but the use of dark wallpaper is a good way to mask it when necessary. As an alternative, Honor included a software function that “hides” the hole punch by blackening the top portion of the screen.
The overall quality of the screen itself is fantastic. The Honor View 20 has a large, 6.4-inch 19.25: 9 screen with minimal edges around the sides. The LCD screen is vibrant, colorful and bright enough for comfortable outdoor viewing. With a resolution of 2,310 x 1,080, this is not the sharpest screen on the market. Unless you are pixel-squeaky, you will not notice that it is a 1080p screen.
Honor View 20 Review – Software
The Honor View 20 runs Android 9.0 Pie with Magic UI 2.0. Magic UI is essentially an updated version of Huawei’s EMUI with some tweaked aesthetics, so Honor devices have their own looks and future. As I said before, Magic UI is not my thing. It is not very intrusive, and I love the flat look and colorful aesthetics, but it is too much like iOS for my taste. If you happen to like EMUI, you have no problem with Magic UI on View 20.
I appreciate that Magic UI is not undermined by a plethora of features or pre-installed apps. Many of the functions of Magic UI are practical and useful. There is a single-handed mode for easier on-screen content and a handful of gesture gestures to quickly launch apps or create screenshots. I also enjoy the Party mode app, which lets you synchronize music playback on multiple phones to create a surround sound effect. It’s a great party trick, especially if you do not have Bluetooth speakers or something more powerful to make your music pop.
Honor View 20 Review – Hardware
The core hardware features of Honor View 20 are focused on liquid cooling, more accurate GPS and better Wi-Fi. Honor calls the liquid cooling system The Nine. We do not know exactly what the name means, but the system uses hardware and software to maintain the right temperatures. A liquid cooling hose connects the chipset, the time of the flight (TOF) sensor, the camera, the battery, and the loading chip to dissipate heat. A cooling algorithm, supported by AI, monitors and predicts overheating problems. Resources are automatically assigned to optimize the View 20 OS in real time.
This is done to maintain the best temperature for a smooth and comfortable experience, especially during gaming. The Honor View 20 uses dual frequency GPS to better triangulate your position, which should be particularly useful in densely populated urban areas where GPS signals are difficult to obtain. Instead of using only the L1 frequency, which has a very narrow bandwidth and a margin of error of 300 m, the Honor View 20 uses the L1 and L5 frequencies together.
According to Honor this offers ten times more bandwidth and lowers the margin of error to 30m. For improved Wi-Fi reception, Honor added a third antenna under the glass at the back of the device. This improves Wi-Fi reception in the landscape mode, with your hands usually blocking the other antennas. The other two antennas are located on the sides near the camera on the front on the left and the battery indicator on the right. This is another attempt to improve the gaming experience.
The most critical missing feature of the Honor View 20 is waterproofing. Honor told us that the View 20 has a level of water resistance that is suitable for casual use, but it did not yield too many details. The phone can probably survive a water sprinkles but keep it away from the pool.
Honor View 20 Review – Performance
As a flagship, the Honor View offers many formidable specifications. The View 20 comes with 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB or 256 GB of internal storage. The processor is the best and most powerful Huawei, the Kirin 980 chipset. This is the same processor used in Huawei’s own, high-end devices, such as the Mate 20 Pro. The Honor View 20 performs very well, both in benchmarks and in real-world use. It launches apps quickly and multitasking and general navigation through the interface run smoothly and smoothly. The Kirin 980 is a first-class chipset. It deals with both average daily and energy-intensive tasks such as gaming without a problem.
Honor View 20 Review – Camera
The cameras are another striking piece of hardware on the Honor View 20. The front camera is a 25-megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture and a 78-degree field of view. At the back, the View 20 uses the latest 48-megapixel IMX586 sensor from Sony with f/1.8 aperture connected to a 3D TOF sensor. The 3D sensor improves depth perception for better portrait photographs and can also help with 3D modeling, 3D printing and augmented reality. The sensor can scan objects in 3D space up to one meter, depending on the size of the object, but 30-40 cm is the optimal range.
A new feature that uses the advanced depth detection of the 3D camera is called Shaping. You can find this function when recording in portrait mode or while recording video. This allows you to make yourself look skinnier. Honor describes it as a function that is meant to improve your body shape so that you can get the perfect look at any time. During my testing, my whole body seemed smaller, including my head. It is at least an interesting feature, but I’m curious how users react to it. The beauty mode is one thing, but introducing a function that changes the shape of a person’s body can create some controversy.
Both the front camera and the rear camera are suitable for portrait lighting, effects on the backlight and beauty mode for improving your selfie game. If you like selfies, the 25MP front camera is great. Images are sharp and rich in detail and the color reproduction is accurate with natural skin tones. With the 25 MP images, you can zoom and crop a lot without having to worry about much loss of detail.
The rear camera produces even more impressive results, although we admit that our expectations of this 48MP Sony sensor were very high. By default, the camera is set to 12 MP, so if you want the full 48 MP resolution, you must change it in the settings. However, when the camera is set to full resolution, you can use the digital zoom function too. Regardless of whether you take pictures with 12 or 48 MP, the camera takes beautiful pictures in daily use. The View 20 also supports 960 fps slow motion recordings with a resolution of 720p.
Honor View 20 Review – Battery Life
The performance of the Honor View 20 battery is equally impressive. A large battery of 4,000 mAh provides the View 20 with power and the phone goes incredibly long on one charge. I usually ended the day with about 40 percent remaining in the tank, which is a comfortable reserve if you forget to charge the phone at night. Screen-in-time easily hits the seven-hour sign, which is well above average and should be more than enough for even the largest power users.
There is no wireless charging on board, which is a shame, but the View 20 supports 4.5V/5A FastCharge. This allows the Honor View 20 to be charged up to 55 percent in 30 minutes. It is not as fast as some competing fast charging technologies, or even Huawei’s own 40W SuperCharge technology, but it’s still pretty fast.
Honor View 20 Review – Conclusion
The Honor View 20 may not be the most anticipated flagship of 2019, but it is a strong smartphone to turn things off. The phone is competitively priced and offers almost everything you could wish for in a high-end smartphone. It has great specifications with one of the most powerful chipsets on the market, dual frequency GPS, triple antenna Wi-Fi, long battery life and an excellent 48MP rear camera. It is also the first smartphone to come on the market with a perforation display.
The Honor View 20 is beautifully executed and hopefully will end smartphones. If you want to be watched early, it is an excellent starting point that is both powerful and affordable.
That’s it for our Honor View 20 Review. Tell us your thoughts on this smartphone in the comments box below.