We already know the Huawei P20 first hand. And not only that, I have been testing it as if it were my own personal mobile for a whole week. A terminal that does, imitates the iPhone X in some things: like its notch or island on the screen with hardly any frames or the lack of a headphone port. But it also attracts attention thanks to its design with bright colors on the back. All this with a Kirin 970 processor that has already tested its capabilities in the Huawei Mate 10 and that comes loaded with artificial intelligence. And with a competitive price of 650 euros .
|screen||5.8 inches, 2,244 x 1,080 pixels FHD +, LCD, 428 dots per inch density|
|Main chamber||Dual camera:|
- 12 megapixel RGB sensor, f / 1.8, Full HD video
- 20 megapixel Monochrome sensor with f / 1.6
|Camera for selfies||24 megapixels, f / 2.0, Full HD video|
|Internal memory||128 GB|
|Processor and RAM||Kirin 970 with NPU (Neural Processing Chip), 4GB RAM|
|Battery||3,400 mAh, fast charge|
|Operating system||Android 8.1 Oreo / EMUI 8.1|
|Connections||BT 4.2, GPS, USB Type-C, NFC|
|Design||Metal and glass / black, blue, pink and multicolor|
|Dimensions||149 x 70.8 x 7.65 mm, 165 grams|
|Featured Features||Dolby Atmos sound, 4X4 MIMO|
|Release date||Now available|
Perhaps talking about the rebirth of photography in the Huawei P20 is a hyperbole more typical of marketing, but it is clear that Huawei has managed to surpass itself in the photographic aspect. The P20 does not have three cameras like the P20 Pro, but it maintains the quality and takes advantage of what was learned by the artificial intelligence of the Huawei Mate 10. It is these sensors and the possibilities that this added intelligence offers that stands out above all . I tell you in detail.
Photography with artificial intelligence
The Huawei P20 has been scored by the photographic rating website DxOMark with 102 points . According to this test it would exceed the 99 achieved by the Samsung Galaxy S9, one of the best mobiles of the year. Well, after using it for a week I can only say the P20 has a great camera, although with several asterisks to look at the fine print. And it is that the Huawei P20 does not achieve as good results automatically as the Samsung terminal, although its photographs are of quality and you can take great advantage of the cameras if you know how to use them .
I mean, specifically, to take advantage of its great Night Photo Mode, which seems hidden within the camera application. Or do the same with super slow motion. Items that are out of hand when most needed by the design of the application . These modes get great photos and videos, but when you know how and when to apply them. And it is that artificial intelligence is there and helps, but the system is not completely polished.
For example: I have been able to visit the Harry Potter: the exhibition, a fairly dark and dimly lit environment to take pictures. Well, the Night Photo mode has saved most situations with outstanding . Details such as the definition of the feathers of the famous hippogriff from Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, are unthinkable in a photo without flash (they did not let me use it during the visit).
I have even gotten photos where you can see details and part of the exposure that, in a photo without flash, would directly be a black spot. Of course, every time I wanted to take a good quality photograph with the Night Photo mode, I have had to enter, manually, in the More section of the camera application modes. Wasn't artificial intelligence supposed to be there to fix this automatically?
Apart from this, I have verified that what was seen in the Mate 10 has been developed in this Huawei P20. Now there are more intelligent automatic photography modes . Just by pointing to the sky, a dog or a document, the mobile knows what it is framing and how it should react in that circumstance: a little extra saturation to make the food look more tasty, a more intense HDR for a striking sky, a little blur to draw attention to man's best friend… All of this is done instantly and automatically. Here yes. Even when it comes to documents within scenes (see a certain magic card that non-Muggle children receive at age 11), which captures and modifies the perspective to make it look like a scanned sheet, despite being tilted in the original photograph. .
By the way, I was very pleased that now this automatic recognition can be disabled from the settings . This way you can prevent this function from spoiling a good natural photo by recognizing some of the predefined scenes and applying its filters without wanting to.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Where the Huawei P20 really draws attention is in aspects such as image stabilization provided by artificial intelligence. Running with your mobile phone in hand or framing a detail in a video is now much easier and more professional results are achieved. Camera shake and rattle are virtually eliminated completely. And the same goes for predictive focus , which steps forward to define the moving details of the scene, and predicts where the subject is moving to get a clear shot. Now artificial intelligence is effective, comfortable and useful .
The super slow motion is also surprising, although here I have to put one of the asterisks mentioned above. Huawei P20 cameras capture 960 images per second for a few seconds. The result is a video of about 7 or 8 seconds in total length where you can appreciate in detail a movement or action in very slow motion. At this speed, and if the object and environment are well lit, the results are to be with your mouth open. Epic and surprising. Of course (asterisk), we have been able to see some bugs such as invented pixels or that do not respect the real image. In the video of the fidget spinner you can see how the colors of the body appear and disappear outside the natural trajectory of the toy. The result looks like a graphical glitch more typical of a sci-fi hacker movie. An element that tarnishes the final result in this type of video.
By the way, super slow motion is limited . Only three seconds are recorded, stretching up to 7 or 8 in the final playback. However, it is not possible to directly record video and apply this effect whenever we want. The good thing is that we can choose the slow motion mode we want to record: 120 fps, 240 fps or 960 fps. At speeds below 960 fps there is no time limitation. We can record in slow motion for as long as we want. We can even bring the slow motion effect to any second of the video . Of course, the results are not so striking.
But let's focus on the important things. The image definition in photographs in automatic color mode is outstanding . In bright environments we have no complaints about the capacity of the dual main sensor. White balance metering and sensitivity are balanced, and photos represent actual colors and scenes. The texture of the hair and the clothes can be seen in these well-lit photos. And also when there is indirect sunlight. In addition, the focus and the taking of pictures are really fast, so that nothing escapes. You can even take photos in 0.3 seconds with the mobile at rest by pressing the volume down button twice . Everything the average user needs at this point.
In the dark things are not going so well, of course, and some noise begins to appear . However, the results are bright and realistic. Definition is lost, of course, but to solve these problems we can use the Night Photo mode, which does not require a tripod to take a long exposure capture of up to 5 seconds . Of course, the function is hidden in a second carousel within the More option.
By the way, the Huawei P20 has a dual LED flash and a color sensor , so the light it emits respects the environment to ensure that the images and colors are not distorted. Of course, in our tests we have found results traced to the original in terms of color and representation.
The monochrome sensor also draws attention on its own. In the camera application there are several modes to take advantage of it in order to take portraits with bokeh effects, or to play with the aperture. Photography enthusiasts can even enjoy the professional mode of the monochrome sensor , so all options are available for retouching exposure, sensitivity and focus. The results, if you have a little eye, always come out well.
Regarding video, the Huawei P20 is capable of recording in 4K , although losing such interesting capabilities as image stabilization. And it is that we can only take advantage of this function if we record, at most, at 1080 pixels, and choosing the 25 FPS option (not the 60 frames per second option). Even so, if the lighting is good, the video does not suffer from noise or unreal colors.
In general, the photographic experience is really positive. Not as much as that of its older brother, the P20 Pro, but it solves the solutions correctly and with quality. Of course, it still remains to facilitate access to the extra functions of this mobile in an application that does not hide them . Or take advantage of artificial intelligence beyond the predefined automatic modes, knowing when to activate the Night Photo mode or how to access super slow motion easily or even automatically. Although he is on a very good path.
And the selfies? There is also cloth to cut here. The 24-megapixel camera is fine, but not surprising despite the number of megapixels. The software handling of the images is possibly the aspect that could be improved the most. With light there is no problem to see definition in details such as my beard hair . Color and scene are respected. So far nothing out of the ordinary. The problem lies in the bokeh or blur effect, which does not fully control the light, reflections and the glasses. Thus, we have found results that incorrectly define the contour of my glasses, for example. And let's not talk about the artificial lighting mode(3D) with which they have imitated Apple. In this case, if we want to cut out of the scene and leave the background black, the result is most likely amorphous and unrealistic. In my tests the thing does not improve even eliminating the bokeh effect. It's fine to include these features to show the power of the software, but it's not a useful feature at the moment. What improves with the learning of artificial intelligence is yet to be verified.
In low light, definition suffers, although screen flash helps to solve this problem with closer faces or objects. Of course, if the darkness is pronounced, the lighting result can be reminiscent of a photo booth .
One more Android mobile with bangs
The screen of the Huawei P20 has bangs. Or notch. Or island. Or notch . Whatever you want to call it. This is so and applies to the entire P20 family of the Chinese company. And we fear that manufacturers will continue to bet on it. It is the way to solve that the panel reaches the very edge or upper frame without having to move the speaker and the camera for selfies from that place, as in the Xiaomi Mi 2S, to the bottom. Somewhat impractical.
In this case, the Huawei P20 notch is small compared to that of the iPhone X. Of course, Huawei has not included the same technology in this part of the mobile as Apple either. It's basically as wide as the notification bar, taking up just under a third of the width of the screen. In this way, you can see notifications on the left side and battery and time information on the right. The only problem is that some notifications appear a bit crowded or close to the notch. But visibility is not lost or the user experience is difficult.
Whether or not the notch is noticed in the usual terminal experience is personal. In my specific case, it goes completely unnoticed . I hardly needed a few hours to get used to his presence and get to ignore it. Especially since it is still the same space that the notification bar occupies on Android. Also, if we don't like it, Huawei gives us the option to hide it in the screen settings . That is, to black the entire strip that occupies the notch from side to side of the screen to pretend that it is not there. But while still taking advantage of this extra space to display notifications or battery percentage information. Very useful if you don't like this aesthetic fringe.
Almost all screen
And why a notch that is very reminiscent of the iPhone X in this Huawei P20? Well, it's something that only Huawei's engineers and designers can answer to. Of course, as a result of this decision we have a truly panoramic screen that takes advantage of the front of the mobile to the frames of its contour . Except at the bottom, where there is still a hole for a button.
In the case of the Huawei P20 we find a 5.8-inch diagonal LCD panel in 18.7: 9 ratio . It is very long, but handles very well with just one hand. After all, it is the lower part where the tabs, keyboards for writing, etc. are located. So there is no problem interacting with this panel. And neither is there at the time of viewing. Thanks to its proportion, hardly any content information is lostwhen leveraged from end to end. In applications like YouTube, the full screen leaves two side stripes black, but in games it is used practically up to the notch. So there is no important content missed by this feature. Something that makes me think that the notch is here to stay, and that Huawei has been very smart in its use with a ratio of 18.7: 9. The viewing experience is comfortable and very panoramic.
Now, it must be borne in mind that it is not an AMOLED screen like that of the Huawei P20 Pro, and this is noticeable in different sections. The colors are bright, but they do not look as bright as on a panel with AMOLED technology . And the same goes for the overall brightness. Of course, I have not had any problem to see the contents even with direct light on the screen while walking down the street. However, it is something to keep in mind if you want to enjoy the current highest quality in terms of images.
It must be remembered that an AMOLED panel remains completely off when black is displayed. This detail makes watching videos and photos offer a greater sense of quality, even if the screens have the same resolution. Also, having an LCD panel means having a higher battery drain. The Huawei P20 is a high-end terminal, but here Huawei has decided to cut in price and some quality. So now you know: for a better panel you have to look at the Huawei P20 Pro.
Regarding the experience of using the screen of the Huawei P20 I have no criticism. It is very responsive and responds instantly. In addition, although it takes advantage of almost the entire front of the terminal, the design and the small frame that surrounds it avoids any involuntary pulsation when holding the mobile . Something that I appreciate, above all, when I hold the mobile lying on the bed, without the flesh of my palm and fingers pressing on the screen.
Powerful, agile and smart
If you are a fan of Huawei phones, you will not find anything surprising under the hood of the Huawei P20. Here the Chinese manufacturer has not innovated, and has included its already well-known Kirin 970 processor . A chip manufactured in 10 nanometers (powerful and efficient) with eight cores (4 x 2.4GHz Cortex A73 and 4 x 1.8 GHz Cortex A53) and that is accompanied by a 12-core graphics processor. However, as I have said above, the key feature is that it is accompanied by a Neural Processing Unit, or an extra chip dedicated to introducing artificial intelligence functions.
In addition, like the Mate 10, the Huawei P20 includes 4 GB of RAM, more than enough to give fluidity to functions such as pop-ups, multitasking or the agility of demanding applications. I have not had any problems when changing applications or starting WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram. During the week of use the experience has been agile and, above all, satisfactory. Also with demanding games like PUBG.
I have played games, I have used Instagram and I have taken advantage of my many WhatsApp conversations. I have also passed the AnTuTu tests for this terminal, with results that exceed 200,000 points. There is no doubt that it is a capable terminal.
In terms of storage, the Huawei P20 has 128 GB of capacity. And no, it cannot be expanded via microSD card. A pity, although the space that comes standard is quite large, since you only have to subtract 8 GB that arrive previously occupied by the operating system and pre-installed applications.
I have to say that the Huawei P20 comes with the latest version of Android: Oreo 8.1. So there is no need to worry about security or the latest features of Google's operating system. And the same goes for Huawei's own customization layer, EMUI 8.1. Everything is customizable, and allows you to duplicate applications such as WhatsApp to use two accounts with the two SIM cards that can be inserted in the terminal.
Although what I liked the most in the software aspect has been the inclusion of facial recognition to unlock the mobile . Again, imitating the iPhone X. And it is surprisingly fast. I only had to register my face with a simple photo, without glasses and without direct light to distort my features. Just one second of scanning is enough to deactivate the terminal lock. Of course, the face must be illuminated, since it does not have any type of infrared recognition that works in the dark. The funny thing is that, only with the light of the screen in a dark environment, the camera for selfies has managed to recognize me. In addition, the system can be activated by simply taking the mobile and placing it in a vertical position. In the end I managed to unlock the mobile even when I just wanted to see the time on the screen. The system is really agile and comfortable, so much so that I have dispensed with registering more than one fingerprint and now I always use my face to access my mobile.
And what about the battery?
Huawei has managed to take advantage of the 7.65 millimeters of thickness of its Huawei P20 to the maximum. And it is that in this narrow body it has inserted a 3,400 mAh battery . It is generous in terms of figures, but we must not lose sight of the fact that it has to withstand the pull of a particularly elongated LCD screen and a powerful processor. In short: with normal use I have been able to endure the whole day without problems. Of course, if I take advantage of its powerful processor to play PUBG or Hitman Sniper for a long time, this autonomy may fall short.
The good thing is that, if this happens, it has fast charging technology. Its 3,400 mAh charge in just over an hour and a half . During these test days, only 15 minutes of charging have offered me those hours I needed to reach the end of the day without problems. There are also battery saving modes that limit some of the functions or the limit of applications open in the background. In my experience I have preferred to take advantage of the maximum resolution of the screen and the powerful possibilities of its processor and plug it in for a few minutes when I have needed it.
There is no doubt that the Huawei P20 is a great mobile. It is powerful, its design is attractive and it has a really good photographic section. It continues to take advantage of artificial intelligence, and it does it better than the Mate 10, although it still has a way to go to be the best mobile on the market. Nor should we forget that it is a mobile of 650 euros, below the prices at which the current high-end move. And without giving up details such as a fullview screen or a very capable double camera .
But it also has negative points. Although the package comes with a USB type C to 3.5 mm mini Jack adapter, we miss this port. We would also like it to be a dust and water resistant mobile . Also, a fullview screen like yours with AMOLED technology would be the icing on a really tempting cake, if it were possible to maintain that price.