The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has everything you need in a smartphone.
“Wow, she has the latest phone from Huawei,” I overheard someone tell his friend, prompting her to look at the Mate 20 Pro in my hand.
If life was a TV ad, it would’ve been my cue to break into a song and dance number about how much I loved using the Mate 20 Pro – it is a gorgeous phone to hold, absolutely great to use and takes amazing photographs.
Seriously, what is there not to love about the latest flagship device from the Chinese tech giant?
The review unit boasts the gradient Twilight colour on the back, introduced in Huawei’s P20 line earlier this year and now exclusive to the Pro version in the Mate 20 series.
On the front is a 6.93in curved Oled screen that gives the device a sleek and polished look. Though it is comfortable to make or receive calls with just one hand, the 72.3mm width and 157.8mm height make it slightly difficult to perform other functions without some help. So, it is best to rely on both hands when texting or using the phone for other purposes.
I opted for the “Gestures” navigation system – users can also choose the “Three-key Navigation” or “Navigation Dock” – that lets me control the device easily when I am forced to use just one hand. A swipe from the left or right of the edge of the screen acts as the “back” button, a swipe up from the bottom takes me to the home screen, and if I add a pause to this gesture, it would bring up all the recent tasks.
The in-screen fingerprint sensor is placed at a convenient spot on the phone. A tap on the screen brings out the “target” showing where you have to place your finger, and you need to add a little pressure for the sensor to read your print and unlock the phone. Or you can just use the 3D Face Unlock feature to get the job done.
The notch on the front (it can be hidden if it bugs you) stores a series of sensors – proximity, dot projector, 24-megapixel camera and IR camera – to increase the accuracy of facial recognition. Setting up is a breeze and so is unlocking your phone. I tested it on my mother – whom many say I am a spitting image of – and the sensors did a good job at not falling for the trick.
As one who watches Netflix on the phone, I was really happy with the 19.5:9 ratio 2K resolution (1,440 x 3,120 pixels). The video quality is vivid and clear, though I wasn’t impressed by the audio.
The Mate 20 Pro has two speakers – one in the earpiece and the other in the bottom-facing USB-C port (though you can still hear the sound when the charger is plugged in), but it just doesn’t get the party going, if you know what I mean.
What makes it work
The Mate 20 Pro runs on Android 9.0 Pie with Huawei’s EMUI 9 user interface, and is powered by the in-house Kirin 980 octa-core processor.
I didn’t get to run extensive games on the device – other than the usual trivia and puzzles – but there is no doubt that the Mali-G76 GPU is equipped to handle heavy high-end games without a hitch.
The 128GB memory and 6GB RAM ensure that there is ample space for more games to run with no lagging, and what’s more, you can expand the memory using Huawei’s latest Nano Memory card that will come in 128GB (RM298) capacity in Malaysia on Nov 15. It is 45% smaller than microSD and is identical in size and shape to the nano SIM card. So you can either opt to use dual-nano SIM cards on your device, or go with one nano SIM and a Nano Memory for added storage capacity.
If you’re one to always forget the charger or a power bank to juice up your phone, the 4,200mAh battery would probably put a smile on your face. With regular use – like snapping photographs, Waze, Spotify, and the whole social media grind – the battery lasts for over a day. And the 40 watt fast charging capability got a totally-flat battery up to over 60% of charge in just 30 minutes. It also has wireless charging capability, though you need to purchase the dock separately.
This is slightly gimmicky, but the Mate 20 Pro also supports “reverse charging”, which basically means that you can use the smartphone to charge other devices (regardless of brand) that has wireless charging capability. A quick test showed that it takes about 30% of the Mate 20 Pro’s own juice to get the other device’s battery up by 10%.
A reason to smile
One of the biggest draws of a smartphone is its camera, and here you can find three reasons to smile. The Mate 20 Pro has a 40-megapixel wide-angle f/1.8 lens, 8-megapixel f/2.4 3x telephoto camera and a 20-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens on the rear. These Leica lenses (absent in the front 24-megapixel camera) work together to create stunning photographs.
The ultra-wide angle lens, which replaces the monochrome sensor found in the predecessor, lets you take better shots without compromising the view, though if overly applied it can give warped edges to the photograph. The upside however is that my legs have never looked longer in pictures than they do when the ultra-wide angle camera is used. Night time photography is also a treat with the Mate 20 Pro, as the Night Mode lets you capture as much detail as possible in low-light situations.
There are also two new modes that come with the camera suite, such as HiVision which can “scan” a building or painting and give you more details about the subject, or if it is an item, where to buy them. This is based on machine learning so it would take some time for it to be fully reliable, but do expect some initial discrepancies like when the HiVision insisted that my steam iron is in fact a weapon before it finally recognised it for what it actually is. You can also use the HiVision to translate documents, and this could come in handy when you’re reading a menu in a language foreign to you.
Huawei also introduced 3D Qmoji in the camera app’s AR Lens mode, where you can create animated emojis using the pre-set characters.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is definitely everything it is hyped up to be and possibly even more. A powerful smartphone with excellent camera set up and display to boot, the Mate 20 Pro is worth the RM3,599 price tag, and is available in Twilight, Black and Green.
PROS: Wireless charging; ultra-wide angle camera; solid performance.
CONS: Unimpressive audio quality.
Mate 20 Pro
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 9.0 Pie
DISPLAY: 6.39in (1,440 x 3,120 pixels)
PROCESSOR: Hisilicon Kirin 980
CAMERA: 40-megapixel (wide) + 20-megapixel (ultra-wide) + 8-megapixel (telephoto) in the rear; 24-megapixel in front
MEMORY: 128GB storage, 6GB RAM
CONNECTIVITY: WiFi 802.11, Bluetooth, NFC
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 72.3 x 8.6 x 157.8mm
RATING: 4 stars
Review unit courtesy of Huawei Technologies Malaysia, 1800-22-3366