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Honor 20 Pro first take: Quad camera P30 Pro cousin with side fingerprint scanner and price less than a OnePlus 7

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Written by Matthew Miller on
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Huawei Honor 20 Pro

Most of the Honor phones we have seen in the past were affordable Android phones that offered much of what their respective Huawei cousins did for hundreds less. Honor announced its first quad rear camera phone as the Honor 20 Pro and I've been using one for about a week.

The Huawei P30 Pro, see ZDNet's full review, was recently released, setting the bar for smartphone cameras. As I spend more time with the Honor 20 Pro and the P30 Pro, it will be interesting to see if the more affordable phone can stack up to the high end flagship champion.

See also: Honor 20 Lite review: Budget smartphone with good cameras, but competition is fierce

While it is unlikely we will ever see the Honor 20 Pro in the US, it is available throughout the world and can be imported if you desire. The £549.99 price for the 256GB model is about £400 less than a comparable 256GB Honor P30 Pro. Comparing the "flagship killer" OnePlus 7 priced at £649 shows that the Honor 20 Pro is a great choice in this price range with a better quad camera system than the triple rear camera OnePlus offers.

Specifications

  • Processor: Kirin 980
  • Display: 6.26 inch 2340x1080 pixels resolution (412 ppi)
  • Operating system: Magic UI 2.1 based on Android 9
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB internal with microSD card slot
  • Cameras: Rear quad camera system with 48MP f/1.8 OIS, 16MP super wide (117 degrees) f/2.2, 8MP telephoto OIS with 3x optical zoom, and 2MP macro for 4cm capture. Front 32 megapixel f/2.0 camera.
  • Battery: 4000 mAh with 22.5W SuperCharge
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Dimensions: 154.6 x 73.97 x 8.44 mm and 182 grams

While there is a quad camera system and initial testing indicates it helps you take good photos, it is not quite as capable as the quad camera system on the P30 Pro that also has Leica certification. However, at nearly half the price, it's hard to argue with some of the trade-offs made for the lower price. Solid optical zoom, 960 FPS super slow motion, and wide-angle photography is supported.

Hardware first thoughts

The Honor 20 Pro is available in Phantom Black and Phantom Blue. I was sent a Phantom Blue one to test out that is a gorgeous teal color while photos clearly show the Phantom Black one is a beautiful purple color. Honor identifies the back glass design as Dynamic Holographic, constructed with multiple layers of glass to create a magnificent look on the phone. It will clearly stand out from the crowd.

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Look to the upper left corner to see a vertical arrangement of the three main cameras: 16MP on top, 48MP in the middle, and 8MP on the bottom. The 2MP macro camera is positioned above the LED flash just to the right of the vertical camera stack.

Similar to Samsung, Honor incorporates a hole punch front-facing camera solution, but instead of Samsung's placement on the right you can find this camera on the upper left tucked a bit further in the corner. Looks like I'll have to find new wallpaper images that incorporate this camera.

The SD card slot in on the upper left, a microphone is on the top, and the USB-C port, mic, and speaker are on the bottom. A volume button is on the upper right with a side fingerprint sensor, like the Galaxy S10e, on the middle right side. I personally like using these capacitive fingerprint sensors in comparison to the scanners positioned under the front display.

Honor 20 Pro first take: in pictures

Software first thoughts

Magic UI 2.1 looks almost the same as Huawei's EMUI 9.1, but in my early trials it appears to be closer to stock Android than EMUI. You can have your Google Discover feed appears as the left screen panel and there are very few additional apps/utilities included on the device.

The Huawei ID service option is present, along with Huawei App Gallery, Huawei Health, HiCare, and Honor Store. These cannot be uninstalled, but I just throw them in a drawer and don't use them.

A very functional camera application is present, functioning nearly the same as the app found on the Huawei P30 Pro. You can swipe between different camera modes, tap or pinch to zoom to various levels, tap on the top row of icons to access settings or other advanced features.

Artificial intelligence is enabled in the camera app by default, but you can simply tap it to turn off this function. For most imaging scenarios I've tested to date, I've preferred using the camera with the AI enabled. The labeling on the back of the P20 Pro labels the camera as an AI Quad Camera. 30x digital zoom is also present on the phone with the Huawei P30 Pro offering 50x zoom.

See also: Huawei P30 Pro review: Superb quad camera system puts Huawei's flagship ahead of the pack

The 4000 mAh battery is proving to be a workhorse and I have easily been able to go a full day with lots of photography and regular use. It's a gorgeous phone and offers nearly everything the P30 Pro offers at a much more affordable price. I'm now beginning to question the $1,000 I paid for the P30 Pro.

As I spend more time with the phone, please leave any specific questions on its capabilities and performance in the comments below and if I receive comments then I will test and report back in my upcoming full review.

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