Huawei’s ascendancy has been monumental over the past two years in particular, and the improvements Huawei has made just in the last year alone is stupendous. Earlier this year they wowed us with the P20 Pro, in particular, that provided an incredibly compelling camera experience, and Huawei is upping the ante exponentially with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. Both phones are launching with the new Kirin 980 SoC, the first-ever processing package built on the 7nm process. This new, smaller process has allowed Huawei to pack in more logic circuitry than ever before, including an improved neural processing unit design, and a brand new processor design overall. Following in the footsteps of the big.little architecture, Huawei is launching big.middle.little to help distribute loads even more and Huawei is citing that this improves power use by 40% and performance by over 50%. There’s also two NPUs on this processor now, jumping AI performance up 134% and making it 88% more power efficient.
On top of these processing efficiencies, Huawei is increasing the battery size on both phones, essentially guaranteeing the best flagship battery life out there. The Mate 20 Pro ships with a new 40W Super Charge brick that charges the giant 4,200mAh battery to 70% in just 30 minutes. It’s also got 15W Super Fast wireless charging, and doubles as a wireless charging pad for your other wireless charging accessories, or of course your friend’s dead phone if you want to show off. Those performance improvements are present throughout EMUI 9 too, with Huawei focusing on simplifying EMUI even further by making options easier to get to, as well as increasing speed significantly. Huawei cites that EMUI 9 is 400ms faster than the competition, which is achieved through a combination of consolidation of options and lightening the load on the UI, as well as adding in hardware-based features like GPU Turbo 2.0
One of the only problems we had with the P20’s camera configuration was the placement. Residing on the top left side just isn’t a great position; it’s just too easy to accidentally block with fingers when just trying to hold the phone in landscape. It also makes the design unbalanced, especially when there’s a camera hump, and makes the phone rock when placed on a table. The Mate 20 solves this problem by moving the cameras back to the center, this time in a square configuration, sporting one module in each of its four quadrants. Two of them are identical to the P20 Pro that released earlier this year: the main sensor is a 40MP sensor with f/1.8 lens, and an 8MP camera behind a 3x zoom f/2.4 telephoto lens. The monochrome sensor has been replaced with a 20MP RGB sensor behind a 106-degree wide-angle lens instead, and Huawei is citing that they don’t need the monochrome lens anymore, as they’ve been able to replace it with algorithms instead of needing the additional image data. That fourth module is a dual-tone flash, not an actual camera, as was previously surmised in the leaks.
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