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Huawei Mate 20 Pro Test: The score gives, and the score takes away



Sometimes, an action intended to produce a positive result is associated with negative consequences. There is one yang for every yin; a bad one for every good; for everyone … you get the picture.

After spending the last few weeks with the latest Huawei flagship Mate 20 Pro, this is the only thought that reverbers in my head as I try to sum up the phone. By packing the device with some truly impressive intelligent capabilities, Huawei has another – and I would argue even integral functions.

But more on that later.

The Past History

  Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Rear View

Source: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

It's been three weeks since Huawei unveiled his ultimate flagship, and Some have referred to the device as innovative brilliance, while others have dismissed it as a camera with a phone.

On paper and in the office, Huawei's latest premium handset is a monster on almost every level. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro promises just about anything you'd expect from a smartphone in 2018, and more: long battery life, a high quality AI-enabled camera, an in-screen fingerprint reader and even a wireless charging bag, I'm not sure how many consumers requested the last one, but hey … we'll take it.

Before we get into much of what it's like to use the device daily, here's a quick overview of the phone's innards. Everyone likes specifications, right?

What lurks beneath: the specifications

Size (mm) : 72.3 x 157.8 x 8.6
Aspect Ratio : 19.5: 9
Weight : 189 grams [19659013] Screen : 6.39 inch OLED display (3120 x 1440)
SIM : Dual Nano SIM
Memory : 128 GB / 256 GB (expandable by a further 256 GB via the new Nano from Huawei memory card slot, which also serves as a secondary SIM card slot)
RAM : 6GB / 8GB
chipset : Huawei Kirin 980
Reversing Camera (Triple Leica Lenses) : 40 Megapixel Wide Angle, 20 Megapixel Ultra Wide Angle, 8 Megapixel Tele
Front (Selfie) Camera : 24 Megapixels
Water Resistance : IP68 [19659013] Operating System : EMUI 9.0 (Android 9)
Battery : 4.200 mAh
Connectors : 1 x USB-C

First Impressions [19659026] Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Front View ” width=”1024″ height=”505″ data-recalc-dims=”1″/>

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Front View [19659007] Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

Typically, within a minute, you can tell if a device pleases you when you see it and cancel. There is only something about the feeling, the aesthetics, the weight, the texture. Some phones will call "square," "fade," "violent," or a range of other descriptors that will put you on the wrong foot. And when that happens, it just gets a little harder to forgive minor imperfections.

Fortunately, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro does not suffer from it. It is really a nice phone. Aesthetically, my first impression was that this comes very close to one of the Samsung Galaxy devices, such as the S9 or Note9, with a slim body and a beautiful, curved display. However, the striking wide notch on the top also leads this phone into the iPhone X.

Thanks to the small bezels, Huawei was able to maximize the screen area, and although the screen appears large and bright, the device does not scream GREAT. It is easy to keep, certainly compared to many other flagship products on the market, and the form factor is one of the most striking facets of the device. The start is good.

Charging and Battery

As with most cell phones, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is partially juiced, so you can turn it on immediately. But out of habit, I like to fully charge things before they start – building anything after unboxing can be an energy-intensive process.

So that's a good point to talk about one of the most impressive aspects of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro: The Battery.

To illustrate how quickly the new flagship recovers its performance, Huawei displays the state of charge of the battery with two digits behind the decimal point. If you look at how the juice goes up (19459005] how we all love it, right? ), it rolls up fluidly and gives the impression of being charged super fast.

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Percent Charge

But this is more than just a trick – the Huawei Mate 20 Pro really charges incredibly fast. Thanks to the 40-watt cable SuperCharge function, the massive 4,200 mAh battery can rise from almost zero to 100 percent in a fraction of more than an hour. However, if you do not need a full charge – which you probably will not do, the battery will be nearly 70 percent, given the battery life.

It's worth noting that the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is also geared up for 15 watts of wireless charging, but I did not try that because I do not have a wireless charger. With the option to load SuperCharge over a cable, I am not sure if I would ever find a need to wirelessly populate it. This is a peripheral device without which I can not live.

In terms of battery life, I would say that the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has the best longevity of a phone I've ever used. In my first test, I charged the phone 100 percent on Sunday night, and on Wednesday morning, 10 percent was left. To be honest, I did not do any sort of battery-sapping activities, like streaming movies or albums, but I was not conservative either – just the usual phone-free phone a million times a day to Gmail, Slack and Google Maps, random Internet stuff, occasional YouTube videos, etc.

However, I should point out some ways Huawei achieves this extra life. The battery size is only part of the puzzle. One reason that the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is so durable is optimizing the apps that run on your phone to minimize unnecessary drainage. It took me a while to realize why I did not get as many push notifications as usual. The software from Huawei was the main cause. This is great for your battery, but not great if you are trying to keep an eye on the most important things in your life.

For example, Gmail and WhatsApp seemed to be fine with push notifications, but others, such as activity tracking apps, eBay, Twitter, Words With Friends, and the like, rarely hit the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. I've missed some important warnings as a result – but there is a way.

By default, Huawei takes control of all your app's background processes, and this seems to affect push notifications for many-if not most-apps. There's a section called "App Launcher" in the settings for the battery management, where you can manually control the performance of your apps. I've found that disabling auto-management enabled me to solve most of my push notification problems.

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: App Launch

I should add here that the battery did not suffer too much afterwards. I regained control of the background processes for the apps. I still enjoyed most of two full days on a single charge, even after making these changes.

But this whole sad episode also highlights one of the biggest crashes of the device: its aggressive software. I support every effort to maximize battery life, but if that means that notifications will not reach your phone, that's not great. But later more about the software.

In addition, there are two energy-saving modes that will bring you extra juice. Power Saver limits background app activity, disabling automatic e-mail sync and cutting off system noise and some of the visual effects, which should give you an extra 2.5 hours.

However, there is also an "ultra-power saving mode". That would buy you almost two extra days.

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Optimizing Battery Consumption

As you might expect, this mode limits the number of available apps greatly. By default, you can only use Dialer (phone), Messaging (SMS) and Contacts. However, you can manually add three more apps to the list. The more apps you consume in the background, the more impact they have on the battery.

Still, it's a nice touch and easy way to maintain basic phone function while saving battery power on long camping trips

Camera

  Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Leica Lenses

Above: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Leica Lenses

Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

The Mate 20 Pro is equipped with a Leica triple – a camera lens system arranged in a grid-like arrangement next to the flash. The lenses are 40-megapixel wide-angle, 20-megapixel ultra-wide-angle and 8-megapixel telephoto lens – Huawei has no special monochrome lens built into this camera, as was the case with the P20 Pro.

As a general observation, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro captures amazingly clear and detailed photos, including colors and low-light shots. We've previously written about how insane the camera is on the Huawei P20 Pro, and it's much more similar on the Mate 20 Pro. However, one of the main differences is that with the Mate 20 Pro we now have an ultra-wide-angle lens in the mix.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro really shines in low-light situations. However, I could not see much difference in the result between "night mode" and the normal photo mode, although "night mode" may have produced a slightly sharper picture. In any case, the quality of photos in dark environments was quite extraordinary.

These photos ("Normal" and "Night Mode") were taken in very dark, late-night situations. It looks like a spotlight is shining on the scene, but that was not the case. And you will notice that he also recorded the only star in the night sky.

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Normal Photo Mode at Night

Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Night Mode Enabled

Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

It's worth it to highlight some software features that do not end up on other devices on other Huawei phones. Software updates for the air (OTA).

A nice new tool is a video bokeh effect called "background blur," which – as the name implies – blurs the background while you're recording a video. This is a fairly common feature for smartphone stills, but it's interesting to see it appear in the latest Huawei flagship video.

From my tests, it generally gave great results, but sometimes it was a bit rough around the edges, with the blur defect not quite striking the mark – it was sometimes turned on and off, while the blur was sometimes a bit on the edges of the subject.

  Background blur in video

Above: blur background in video

Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

More exciting than Videobokeh is probably a new Sin City style that depicts the human motif colored while everything else stays in it The scene is black and white. Huawei calls this effect "AI color".

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Video Effects

Due to my testing, he was not always perfect – especially when there was more than one person in the picture and the color would sometimes turn on or off or even between characters in it to change a scene.

But on the whole it worked and worked well. Creating home-based artistic videos saves you a lot of work in desktop-based editing suites.

  AI color: Video isolation

Top: AI color: Video isolation [19659007] Photo credits: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

  AI Color: Color isolation in video

Top: AI Color: Color isolation in Video

Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

These effects are to be considered In the consumer version of the camera software not yet available, but Huawei said VentureBeat that they will be coming to the market in the near future.

At its launch event last month, Huawei has also annoyed a very cool new 3D object scanning tool, basically transporting a real object – such as a stuffed toy – into a moving digital representation. In fact, you can film your child in a scene where there is the very dearest teddy bear dancing together.

Unfortunately, this feature is not available in the pre-release version provided for VentureBeat, so we did not make it to test it yet.

Top: 3D Object Scanning: Dancing Panda Demo

Elsewhere on the camera, you have access to the usual features you undoubtedly know from other flagships, such as blur effects for your selfies, via portrait mode and 3D emoji Imitating your facial expressions. Children love it.

Top: 3D Emoji on AR Lens: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Unlock

If you want to back up your phone so nobody else can see the contents of your device, there are three ways to do it Unlock device.

There is a passcode option that requires six characters by default. However, you can edit the passcode option to use between four and 16 digits. However, this option is not immediately obvious. You can also opt for a sample or password.

Top: Editing Passcode Options

If you do not use passcodes, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is for you. The company has managed to load a fingerprint reader into the actual screen. This is by no means a first – the Chinese smartphone company OnePlus has launched the 6T last month with an in-screen fingerprint scanner, while Vivo, Xiaomi and Huawei have themselves introduced devices with in-screen fingerprint readers. But it is still a bit new.

The decor was simple. All you have to do is tap your finger on the sensor area a few times to register your fingerprint. Then a small circle appears in the lower third of the screen to unlock it. It worked pretty well. But I had the feeling that I had to press the sensor much firmer and more targeted than with conventional fingerprint sensors – a light tap does not work. Unlocking, however, only takes a second if your technique is right.

Above: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: In-Screen Fingerprint Reader

However, the jewel in the safety crown is 3D Face Unlock fast. Similar to the latest iPhones, 3D Face Unlock essentially projects thousands of dots onto your face to create a picture of the various curves and contours.

Top: 3D Face Unlock Setup: Doll for illustration. 😉

It's a super-fast way to unlock your phone, even though you still need to use fingerprint unlocks to authenticate apps.

Software: EMUI 9

As with other Huawei devices, the Mate 20 Pro ships with the EMUI software as part of the package. It's basically a thick skin plastered in addition to Android, and users have not always felt good about it in the past. In my opinion, EMUI contains a handful of nice little things, but on the whole it brings more trouble than good.

But let's start with a positive note.

One of the nice features that have been baked in EMUI for a while is something like App Twin. You can run two accounts at once in social apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.

Above: Enabling App Twin on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

This means that you can have a personal and business Facebook profile at the same time on your phone without having to sign in and out of the app repeatedly ,

Since the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a dual SIM phone, App Twin also means that you can have two WhatsApp accounts for two different phone numbers simultaneously on the device. This is not useful for everyone, but many who use the Dual SIM feature will probably love this feature.

Above: App Twin: Double Apps on the Phone

Overall, however, EMUI 9 has the impression that it comes in style and interferes unnecessarily with Android. I'm not going to use EMUI here – there are many online manuals that document the good and bad elements of Huawei's Android skin, but I'd like to highlight a few particularly awful elements.

An example is lock screen notifications, which just are not very functional. Instead of sliding my finger over a lock screen notification to read a message completely, I need to double-tap it at a specific location and then jump to the top of the screen. From there you can do nothing but wipe them away. You can not delete e-mails from Inbox on the lock screen.

Another annoying design flaw is that EMUI 9 does not offer an app drawer. This means that any apps you install are automatically added to the main home screen, much like iOS, which is not very good, frankly. App Drawers are useful for apps that I do not use very often but still want to install them on my phone. This is of course completely subjective.

But one of the most annoying parts of EMUI 9 is something called HiSearch. It is a search interface developed by Huawei for your apps and contacts. It automatically appears when you swipe down on the home screen. This happens all too often as the notch has removed alerts from the status bar (more on that below). I tended to swipe a lot from top to bottom to see what alarms I had – but if you miss the top of the phone by even a millimeter, you inadvertently turn HiSearch on. There does not seem to be any way to disable it.

Is it a function? Is it a mistake? It's really hard to say.

Above: HiSearech: Accidental activation 100 times a day

And that's the problem with EMUI in the end. It seems like you're being forced into too many unwanted functions without an obvious way to get rid of them.

I was informed by Huawei much later that the version of the software I own and not is the final release, meaning that it may be prone to error. So I can not really be sure what facets of EMUI errors were and what features There were certainly more than a few bugs – the phone, for example, would have the default configured SMS app that I had configured manually, randomly on the bundled messages Change app. It might seem like it once a week, and I've never figured out how to stop it.

The Score

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the yin-yang effect means that this is the case. A design decision that brings something positive into the mix can bring negative results.

So about to this point.

Huawei has offered the Mate 20 Pro a big, old note in a similar way to the iPhone X. Based on my rough measurements, it consumes about half of the top edge of the display.

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro: The Notch

Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

The notch allows Huawei to slightly provide longer screen. However, the notch is as wide as it is, because under the facade are the camera and the 3D Face Unlock system, which consists of a point projector, a 24-MP RGC camera, a floodlight, a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor and an IR camera.

Top: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

That's all great, but meanwhile Huawei effectively removes all the important status bar notifications from the device. One of the strengths of Android is the notifications that make it easy to see what needs to be addressed.

But due to the notch of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, you can not tell at a glance if your alarm is set to swipe down; You can not see if you have been named on Twitter @. You can not see Gmail or New York Times which contain recent news alerts. Most of the time, you will not be able to see any notifications at the top of the screen.

As you can see, the lack of free space in the status and notification bar with battery indicators, watches and Wi-Fi icons shows Bluetooth icons, dual-SIM network status, etc., to leave a lot of room for notifications. You can move the battery percentage meter within the battery icon, giving you an extra slot to work, and sometimes a random Gmail or WhatsApp notification appears in the top bar.

I should also stress that you can conceal the score, but that's just an aesthetic change that makes it look like there's no score by bringing both sides together Fill in black. You can not really get rid of the notch, and there is now a way to move the status / notification bar down.

Above: Hiding the Notch on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Personally, I would prefer to have 5 mm less screen above and have access to visible notifications in the status bar. As a result of the score, I spend far too much time checking to see if I have any new notifications, and as I've already mentioned, all too often it starts HiSearch – something I do not want to use.

So yes – The Huawei Mate 20 Pro Notch offers a bit more screen space but loses an important Android utility.

The notch gives and the notch takes away.

The (No) Headphone Jack [19659034] If you are tired of people moaning over 3.5mm headphone jacks, you can skip this section. The removal of headphone sockets from mobile phones is the latest craze. But just because this is common on most flagship cell phones does not mean that I will stop moaning for eternity.

The reasons why Huawei removed the headphone jack from the Mate 20 Pro are pretty much the same reasons the headphone jack of the P20 Pro – it has allowed the company to improve the water resistance and introduce a larger battery in the device.

There are many devices in my house that need to be wireless, such as the TV remote control and music speaker for my phone / tablet / PC. I love my little wireless vacuum cleaner. However, a mobile phone is rarely more than the length of a headphone cable from the headphones, so a cable does not matter much. And wired headphones do not need to be charged.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a small headphone dongle so you can connect your regular headphones to the USB-C port, but I probably have to do it Buy lots of dongle so I'm sure always have one at hand. Yesterday, for example, I had to quickly make a Skype call on my phone, and when I plugged in my big headset, I suddenly remembered that the phone did not have a 3.5mm jack and the dongle was on the other side of the house another headphones connected.

But the overriding problem I have with removing the headphone jack is the reason for the removal. There's no question that the battery of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is amazingly good – the best I've found on any smartphone. But it also costs incredibly fast. So this begs the question: Does anyone really need battery life which is good when is charging fast? There is a valid argument to support the idea – but for me the removal of the headphone jack is not a worthwhile compromise.

The other reason given for picking up the headphone jack raises its own questions. Both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro have a dust and water resistance rating of IP68, but Samsung has managed to push a headphone jack into the phone. Go to the picture.

Verdict

After using the Huawei Mate 20 Pro for several days day and day, I can say that I have a love-hate relationship with the device. It is really a beautiful phone, the "premium" sprayed. The form factor is almost perfect for me, the screen is great and it has a lot of solid features. The camera is fantastic and also has a number of unique features. From a hardware standpoint, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is impressive.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is unlikely to be launched in the US shortly. However, if you use the Euro price as a guide, it is basically a device with a price of $ 1,100 – so we have to judge it. By comparison, the cost of the OnePlus 6T is about twice as high.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a top-of-the-line device at every level and expensive. So, after all the fanfare about great camera, battery life and unlock function, I'm just a little disappointed with the software and some design choices.

It is the small irritations that accumulate over a period of time that a device uses. I can not go over the notch – it's way too big, everything seems to be crammed and there's no room for notifications in the status bar. Occasionally it will display a Gmail or WhatsApp icon, but I've never figured out why that's sometimes the case.

Good hardware requires good software. There are just too many annoying elements of EMUI that can not be removed, and in some other cases I can not figure out exactly if it's a feature or an error. Remember that the software was told to me much later on the review unit is the pre-release version.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am also disappointed with the distance of the headphone jack. But so it is now in the smartphone world, so c'est la vie .

This may seem a minor matter to some, but they are not easily ignored for me. Together, they fundamentally changed how I use a phone. With a device over $ 1,000, I do not want to miss the annoying inconvenience – I want perfection.


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