It hasn’t been a great week for Huawei and sub-brand Honor (some might say that’s an understatement), with Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China seeing Huawei immediately banned from access to hardware and software from US companies. While this was later delayed to give a temporary 90 day reprieve, it still puts Huawei in a difficult position.
Honor issued a statement yesterday to reassure customers that the new phones announced today will be unaffected (as they are already Google certified, meaning access to the Play Store and Google’s services, like Maps, YouTube and Gmail will be protected both now and in the future) but it is understandable that some people may hold fire before investing in a new phone from either company.
This is a shame, as the new Honor 20 series phones announced today – in particular the Honor 20 Pro – should have been attracting attention for all the right reasons.
The flagship Honor 20 Pro from the new Honor 20 series (which includes the Honor 20 Lite that was announced a short while ago) has many of the features of the flagship Huawei P30 Pro, a £899 monster that everyone wants (or wanted before now) but could not necessarily justify financially.
Although at the timing of writing, Honor hadn’t announced pricing for its new flagship, it is widely expected to be sold at a considerable saving. The price will be added here once announced at the launch event in London’s Battersea Park.
Update: Pricing is €499/£399.99 for the Honor 20 with 6GB RAM/128GB storage (and for early customers a free Honor Watch Magic worth £179.99), €599/£549.99 for Honor 20 Pro with 8GB/256GB and €299/£249.99 for the Honor 20 Lite. Release dates were not given.
On paper, the Honor 20 Pro ticks an awful lot of boxes. It has the same Kirin 980 chipset of the Huawei P30 Pro, 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of UFS 2.1 storage, plus a 4,000mAh battery (down slightly from the P30 Pro’s 4,200mAh one). It’s also dual-SIM, but some may be disappointed to learn that it is without a 3.5mm headphone port – although it does have an Infrared controller.
Instead of the P30 Pro’s OLED display, the Honor 20 Pro has a 6.26-inch FullHD+ LCD display with the same hole-punch camera design as the View 20. Inside this hole is a 32-megapixel selfie camera, and the cut out is just 4mm in diameter.
On the back, there’s a quad-camera setup that is rather similar to the P30 Pro, but with a few differences.
Instead of the crazy, see-in-the-dark, image sensor of the P30 Pro, the Honor 20 Pro has the increasingly commonly used Sony-made 48-megapixel camera (the same as the View 20, the OnePlus 7 Pro and many more). The aperture is a class leading f/1.4, so will still allow in plenty of light to offer a good low-light experience.
This is accompanied by a 117-degree, 16-megapixel super wide-angle lens (f/2.2) and an 8-megapixel 3x telephoto lens with OIS.
Last but not least, a 2-megapixel f/2.4 camera for depth-sensing to aid bokeh/portrait photos.
Three of the cameras do stick out a fair amount, but will be flush when the phone is put in a protective case.
All of this is managed by Honor’s AI Quad Camera software, which has the usual array of scene detections and camera modes, including a professional mode that allows you to save pictures in the full 48-megapixel resolution if you prefer. By default, however, photos are saved at a 12-megapixel resolution with the data from 4 pixels being combined (pixel binning) to remove noise.
One of the great features of the new camera software on the Huawei P30 Pro is the AI enhanced digital zoom, allowing surprisingly clear photos at 50x zoom. On the Honor 20 Pro, given the lower level of optical zoom (3x instead of 5x), this is restricted to 30x but should still offer similar results.
Macro shots up to 4cm from the camera are also possible, and the phone also has super slow motion support.
- DxOMark awarded the Honor 20 Pro a score of 111.
Camera Samples (from Honor)
The Honor 20 Pro also comes with GPU Turbo 3.0 support, with support for 25 popular games, and Virtual 9.1 surround sound (on the phone itself, there is just one speaker).
Security comes in the form of face unlock or a side mounted fingerprint sensor that can unlock in less than 0.3 seconds.
There’s 22.5W SuperCharge support, getting from 0 to 50% charge in 30 minutes. The fast charger is also included in the box at no extra cost. It comes with Android 9 installed, but given the current situation there is no idea on when Android 10 may be offered, if at all.
Finally, it’s worth noting the rear design that has a dynamic holographic design made up of multiple layers and being so difficult to produce that only 20 of every 100 back covers make the grade when it comes to Honor’s high quality standards.
As you can see from the photos, it looks great. The photos don’t really do the phone justice in either of the colours shown, but Honor has been producing fantastic designs for some years now and this is no exception.
I am really looking forward to taking a review sample out and about to test out the camera when they’re eventually released, with direct comparisons to the Huawei P30 Pro, and you’ll be able to see photos on my open Google Photos album.
A full review will also come when I get a device, and hopefully in the coming days we’ll be able to what Huawei, and indeed China, says and does to try and resolve the situation that benefits nobody in the long run.
All of this could turn out to be Honor’s hardest sell yet, which is a real shame as the Honor 20 Pro with its quad-camera setup at a more affordable price really shouldn’t have had to carry all of this additional baggage.
More info: Honor UK