Huawei P20 Pro
IF A GREAT CAMERA IS YOUR PRIORITY THEN MAKE NO MISTAKE: THIS IS THE PHONE YOU SHOULD BUY
The P20 Pro has no room for expandable storage, no wireless charging and no 3.5mm headphone jack. In the Pro’s defence, it comes with a hefty 128GB of internal storage and bene ts from full IP67 dust and waterproo ng.
In terms of design, everything else is positive: this is one of the most beautiful phones I’ve seen. The plain black and blue options are nice enough, but the multicolour shimmering Twilight nish is simply gorgeous.
Whichever colour you opt for, the P20 Pro is slim and stylish, with next to no bezel at all. While it does have an iPhone X-style notch, it’s substantially smaller than Apple’s and can be switched off in the settings, blacking out to become part of the bezel. When you do this, you can still use it to display battery life and noti cations.
Thanks to the now popular 18.7:9 aspect ratio, phones are increasingly tall rather than wide. So while a 6.1in screen may make the P20 Pro sound like a phablet, it doesn’t feel like one. The only problem is housing it in shallow pockets.
The P20 Pro has an 1,080 x 2,240 resolution, but don’t worry about it appearing less sharp: with a pixel density of 408ppi, this isn’t something you’ll notice without a microscope. It’s an OLED display. That means you’re looking at inky blacks and perfect contrast, with the bonus that it’s generally kinder to battery life. Image quality is brilliant, too.
The triple camera on the back means you can capture superb mono and zoom photos It covers 99.9% of the sRGB colour gamut when set to “normal” display mode (the default is the more garish “vibrant” setting), and its Delta E score is 1.11, meaning superb colour reproduction across the spectrum.
The Huawei P20 Pro has a HiSilicon Kirin 970 CPU clocked at 2.4GHz and 128GB of built-in storage to make up for the missing microSD card option.
What the P20 Pro does offer is excellent battery life. Huawei squeezes in 4,000mAh. In our standard battery test with a video playing on loop and brightness locked to a brightness of 170cd/m2, the P20 Pro lasted 14hrs 35mins.
We were disappointed by the P20’s camera, perhaps because of the high expectations set by its second-place ranking in DxOMark’s photography chart: a score of 102 is four more than the Google Pixel 2. The Huawei P20 Pro scored 109 points in the same tests, but this time around the plaudits are fully deserved. For static images, the P20 Pro is the best smartphone camera around.
Image quality is exceptional. Regardless of the lighting conditions, the Pro’s camera array captured everything from wispy layers of clouds to far-off brickwork and re ections in puddles.
It’s not perfect, though. In a bid to reduce noise it has a tendency to overprocess images, leading to a loss of detail. The automatic camera tools are a mixed bag, too: while it’s nice that the P20 Pro software can near-instantly identify whether you’re looking at food or, let’s say, a cat, and adapt settings accordingly, its choices aren’t always ideal and it can sometimes underexpose images as a result. Fortunately, the phone’s manual options are versatile enough that you can easily get spot-on photos with a bit of patience.
Where it falls behind the Galaxy S9 is video shooting. For example, while the P20 Pro can shoot super slow-motion video at 960fps and 720p, it doesn’t have an automatic motion sensor like the Galaxy’s
– this makes it more dif cult to capture interesting shots. But, as with the P20, the real issues are with regular video capture. On paper, the features sound good: the P20 Pro is capable of shooting 4K, 60fps and stabilised video. Unfortunately, it can’t do all of these things at the same time.
It’s a shame to end this review of the Huawei P20 Pro on a misstep because the phone makes so few of them. Video capture aside, the only serious quibbles I have are the lack of 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card slot.
Elsewhere, the Huawei P20
Pro oozes quality in every way. It looks great, the screen is terri c, the camera is superb and it’s nippy enough not to let you down over a standard 24-month contract. At $1,099, it’s certainly expensive, but if past form is anything to go by then the Huawei P20 Pro will soon be not only one of the best phones you can buy, but also one of the biggest bargains available on contract.
Octa-core 2.4GHz/1.8GHz Hisilicon Kirin 970 processor • 6GB RAM • Mali-G72 MP12 graphics • 6.1in OLED screen, 1,080 x 2,244 resolution • 128GB storage • triple 40MP/20MP/8MP colour/mono/zoom rear camera • 24MP front camera • 802.11ac WiFi • Bluetooth 4.2 • NFC • USB-C connector • 4,000mAh battery • Android 8.1 • 73.9 x 7.8 x 155mm (WDH) • 180g • 2yr warranty $1,099 • www.huawei.com/au