The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the company’s latest and greatest. Featuring a fantastic display, under the screen fingerprint reader and high-resolution camera system, the Mate 20 Pro is a big step up from the Mate 10 Pro from last year.
The design of the Mate 20 Pro is great, it’s an all-glass construction but feels great to hold and isn’t slippery. The design does appear to take some “inspiration” from Samsung’s Galaxy line of products with the curved display, but the overall design of the Mate 20 Pro is still very much a Huawei phone. It is also IP68 dust and water resistant.
The phone isn’t a huge phone, but it still manages to pack in a 6.4” display whilst still being comfortable to hold and use.
The sides of the phone are a polished metal, which looks very nice and complements the glass on the front and back quite well. There’snot much on the sides of the phone, as all the buttons are on the right-hand side.
Despite the power button being a different colour, which helps highlight it, I found myself accidentally pressing the volume down button quite a lock instead of the power button to lock the phone. Personally, I would’ve preferred to see the volume rocker buttons on the left-hand side, but that’s me being quite picky. It’s not a deal breaker by any means.
On the bottom of the phone, there is a USB-C port. There’s no headphone jack, like last year’s model, but there is a pair of USB-C headphones and headphone adapter included in the box. Some phones have been removing their IR blasters, but the Mate 20 Pro has one on the top of the device to give you the ability to control a TV.
Jumping back to the bottom of the device is the SIM and Nano-Memory card slot. You have the choice between having a second SIM card in your device, or you can use Huawei’s Nano-Memory card to expand the devices inbuilt storage by up to 256gb.
On the back, is the rear camera array that features three different lenses. I shall talk about the cameras in a moment, but the positioning and design of the array help the phone sit well on a surface and it doesn’t wobble around.
You may have noticed how I haven’t mentioned a fingerprint reader yet, there isn’t one on the back and there isn’t a visible one on the front either. The Mate 20 Pro’s fingerprint reader is housed underneath the display and works even when the device is sleeping. It isn’t perfect, but it works fairly well and is relatively responsive and fast to recognise my fingerprint too.
The fingerprint sensor isn’t the only way to unlock the phone. The Mate 20 Pro also has a face unlock system that works like the iPhone’s own Face ID system. The system is housed in the notch for the device and works in the dark, too. The face recognition system is very fast, and I was very impressed by it.
I really wish that my personal phone had this as it is just so convenient. The recognition system starts looking for your face as soon as you pick up the device. Pick up the phone, swipe up and it’s unlocked.
The display on the Mate 20 Pro looks great. Coming in at6.39” with a 1440p resolution, the display provides a large and crisp viewing experience that is great for watching movies and playing games.
The display is an AMOLED panel that curves around the body of the phone. This means that there are deep and rich blacks and whites and itis also well saturated and vibrant, but not oversaturated. The display also supports HDR, so you can expect a great experience watching TV shows and movies.
If you’re someone that likes an always-on display, there’s an option in the Mate 20 Pro’s settings app to enable it. You can also hide the notch if you don’t want the screen to display any pixels around it.
The Mate 20 Pro comes with Android 9 Pie running Huawei’s EMUI interface on top of it. EMUI still feels like an odd hybrid between iOSand Android but it isn’t awful.
EMUI, for example, doesn’t have an app drawer by default like Android phones such as the Google Pixel. Instead, it uses a layout system like iOS. The app drawer can be enabled in the settings app, but it’s little things like that which make it seem more like a hybrid than simply just Android.
The Mate 20 Pro, unfortunately, comes with some bloatware and unnecessary apps installed too. I would have preferred for no third-party apps to be installed by default as I or the consumer purchasing the device may not want to use those apps.
The Mate 20 Pro has your typical Android navigation buttons on the bottom of the screen, but you can also switch those out for gesture navigation if you want to. The gestures are okay, but they aren’t as smooth as they could be.
I still think this is an improvement on my previous experiences with Huawei software, but there are still small tweaks and improvements that could be made to improve it.
Smartphones these days aren’t really laggy or slow anymore, and the Mate 20 Pro is certainly not lacking in the spec department.
The Mate 20 Pro is powered by the Kirin 980 processor, which is a Huawei processor. This gives Huawei a performance advantage over other Android phones as they are designing a processor for the software, like Apple and their mobile processors. Graphics are handled by the Mali G76 MP10 graphic processor.
The Mate 20 Pro performs well, being able to quickly load apps and use the phone without any stutters switching between multitasking. Games also perform well thanks to the graphics processor. This is thanks to the6gb or 8gb of RAM, which comes on the respective 128gb or 256gb models of the phone.
The device also has good connectivity options, with good connectivity to Wi-Fi, 5G-ready and Bluetooth 5.0. Face recognition is also fast and recognises me well.
The speakers on the device also sound surprisingly good with a good amount of bass. The speaker setup is split between the earpiece and the“bass” speaker. The bass speaker is located inside the USB-C port which is an interesting move and the treble speaker is in the earpiece, so it provides good stereo separation when listening to audio.
The Mate 20 Pro has three different cameras; a wide, ultrawide and telephoto camera each with a megapixel count of 40, 20 and 8 respectively.
The quality of the photos the phone takes is very good. There’s a good amount of dynamic range and sharpness, this is the best camera system on a Huawei phone I have used to date. Landscapes look great with a good amount of detail without over-sharpening
The camera also has a night shooting mode, which takes a3-second-long exposure that gives impressive results. I was concerned about how sharp a long exposure would be, and I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised, they’re not as sharp as normal photos – but considering the conditions they are pretty good.
The night shooting mode is also handy if you want to take a landscape, but have even more detail picked up in the shadows. Night mode isn’t magic. It’s not going to work in the pitch black, it still needs a minute amount of light to work.
Like previous Huawei devices, the Mate 20 Pro can shoot 1080p video stabilised which is very smooth. The amount of stabilisation that this phone can do makes the camera feel like it’s on a gimbal. It can also shoot 4K and higher-framerate 1080p video non-stabilized.
The one downfall of the Huawei cameras is that I find the skin smoothing is so aggressive, even when set to 0. It’s a shame because otherwise, this is such a great camera system. The front-facing camera is very good, discrediting the skin-smoothing, but if you’re planning on recording video with it – it does crop in quite a lot.
The camera app is also pleasant to use, with buttons to quickly switch between the different camera lenses on the back.
The Mate 20 Pro has a huge battery, coming in at 4,200mAh –which is bigger than the battery on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, which I recently reviewed.
The battery lasts all day easily on typical usage – which is browsing on some social media apps, listening to some music and maybe watching some videos. The device’s battery could last two days easily if necessary. There’re also some extra power saving modes as well.
The Mate 20 Pro supports fast wireless charging and fast charging, so if you’re running low on power it won’t take long at all to get you charged up again. Specifically, it takes half an hour to charge back up to 70%.
So, to summarise. The Mate 20 Pro is a fantastic phone and a great choice if you’re shopping for a phone. It’s been out for a month or so, at the time of writing, and it has a high-quality display and a great camera.
It’s not the cheapest phone out there at £899 off-contract, but it’s cheaper than many of the other high-end flagships that are being released this year from Apple and Samsung. I’d highly recommend the Mate 20 Pro and it’s a fantastic phone to consider.