The HONOR 20 Pro is the company’s most ambitious smartphone to date. Sporting four cameras that are distinctly differing, a nearly bezel-less screen, with a huge capacity battery inside. This sounds like a pretty impressive smartphone, to pick up. And if we’re honest, we can’t believe that HONOR was able to put together such an impressive smartphone with such a low price. Almost half the price of other flagships with similar specs and features.
Disclaimer: At Android Headlines, we now review all phones from the “good” and the “bad” perspectives. We’ve designed our reviews to help readers get a clearer perspective on what makes a phone worth buying or avoiding without the little details getting lost. The “good” review focuses on the positives for the HONOR 20 Pro, while you’ll be able to find all the negative details in our “bad” review.
The first thing that’s going to catch your eye about the HONOR 20 Pro is indeed that beautiful display. It’s a 6.26-inch full HD+ display. That’s a resolution of 2340×1080. This display is calibrated pretty well. As it might make some people think that this is an OLED panel, when it is actually still an LED panel. The blacks are pretty dark, but not quite to the same level as an OLED display. All the colors are nice and vibrant, which is always good to see on a smartphone.
HONOR opted to put the camera in the display. So like its View20 smartphone, this has a hole-punch display. The camera is not smaller, so it fits in the notification bar, and doesn’t really get in the way. Not everyone will agree that this is better than a notch, but I believe it is. Since it’s smaller and in the corner, versus being in the center of the top of the phone.
Performance worthy of a flagship
This should come as no surprise at all. But the HONOR 20 Pro has pretty impressive performance. This is thanks to the Kirin 980 chipset that is paired with 8GB of RAM inside the HONOR 20 Pro. The Kirin 980 is not new to us, we’ve seen it in a handful of phones already, dating back to the HONOR Magic 2 that was released last fall. It’s a pretty impressive chipset, and can handle virtually anything thrown at it. Which should come as no surprise, given the fact that Huawei’s chips have become very battery efficient, and at times, can outperform the latest silicon from Qualcomm.
In day-to-day tasks, the HONOR 20 Pro was able to handle everything like a champ. Without slowing down at all. With 8GB of RAM included, the HONOR 20 Pro never really runs out of RAM, and never has to close apps that are in the background. Though, it does still close apps in the background, which we’ll talk about more later on.
Gaming is where the HONOR 20 Pro really shines. Not only in how great the Kirin 980 can perform, and how great that display looks, but also with GPU Turbo 3.0. Currently, this is only supported on a small number of phones, but it essentially allows the GPU to run at a higher speed, giving you a better experience, and more frames as well. This is particularly important when playing games like Fortnite.
We played Asphalt 9 on the HONOR 20 Pro, and it performed pretty well, but this does not support GPU Turbo 3.0 yet (it does support GPU Turbo 2.0, so it’s partially there). The graphics looked pretty incredible, especially for a 1080p display. Playing for a few hours did not even make the HONOR 20 Pro hot either. It did get a bit warm, but not too bad. That is thanks to the new Graphene Cooling Sheet technology that is being used. It is able to keep the phone cooler a lot better than the copper pipes that are used on other smartphones.
If you were worried about the performance on the HONOR 20 Pro because it is not running a Snapdragon chipset, and it’s price is about half of what the Huawei P30 Pro is, don’t. It’s a performance champ, and it actually runs the same chipset and RAM as the P30 Pro, but at a much cheaper price.
Almost a two-day phone
HONOR, like its parent company, Huawei, is pretty well-known for having smartphones with some pretty impressive battery life. The HONOR 20 Pro is no exception. It has a 4000mAh capacity battery, which doesn’t seem all that large in 2019. But given the fact that it has a full HD+ display to power, it does pretty well. You’re going to get at least a full day of usage out of this phone, and likely a bit more. In our testing, we were able to get through a full day and still have over 50-percent left, with over five hours of on screen time.
The battery life on the HONOR 20 Pro is not too surprising, especially if you have used an HONOR or Huawei smartphone in the past. That is because of EMUI, Huawei’s own proprietary software that is on top of Android. It works hard to close apps in the background, to maximize the battery life on this phone (and every phone). For most people, it’s not going to be a big deal. But those that need their notifications, this is going to become an issue. As you won’t be getting your notifications.
The HONOR 20 Pro does have pretty impressive battery life, and you can keep it from closing apps aggressively in the background too. But if you’re looking for something to beat the Huawei P30 Pro – the current champ – then this is not the one. But you won’t be dissatisfied with the battery life here.
HONOR makes some beautiful phones
If there’s one thing that HONOR does really well, especially when compared to its competitors, it’s the build quality of its smartphones. The HONOR 20 Pro is a pretty inexpensive smartphone, in 2019, but it definitely doesn’t feel like it is an inexpensive smartphone. This is of course thanks to the Dynamic Holographic Design that it has adopted this year. Making the phone a bit thicker, but keeping a glass back.
The backside does change colors, based on how the light is hitting the phone. This isn’t new for HONOR. It has done this since the Honor 8, which debuted almost four years ago now. But it has refined the process, making it cheaper to do, and making it look even better than ever. Our model is the Phantom Blue. It does actually look blue, until the light hits it, then it looks green and it gives a really nice gradient to the back of the HONOR 20 Pro. The Phantom Black model also looks really good, with it turning purple when the light hits it properly.
HONOR kept the curved back on this one. This makes it feel really comfortable in your hand, and to be honest, it does feel comfortable. And despite it being glass, the curved back makes it less likely to slide out of your hand. Though you do still have to be careful, since it is indeed glass.
The sides are also curved, and there is the volume rocker on the right side, above the power button. The power button is concave, and it is also textured. The reason for this is because it is also a fingerprint sensor. So instead of opting to go for an in-display sensor – which have been universally bad – HONOR stuck with a capacitive sensor.
Front of the HONOR 20 Pro is almost all screen. There is a very minimal chin, and small bezels all around, with a hole-punch for the camera in the left corner. This gives the HONOR 20 Pro a 91.7-percent screen-to-body, and it looks amazing. Though this is not an OLED display, it does look incredible, as we mentioned before.
A working fingerprint sensor
Most smartphone makers have been opting for an in-display fingerprint sensor. And they are just absolutely terrible. They are slow, unresponsive at times, unreliable and it’s tough to find the spot for the sensor on the screen. Some phones have better in-display sensors than others, but they are almost all very terrible. HONOR decided not to use one, and instead have a side-mounted capacitive sensor. It’s unclear if HONOR did this to save some cash, or if it was because those in-display sensors are so bad. But we’ll take it either way.
During the time that we’ve been using the HONOR 20 Pro, the side-mounted fingerprint sensor has worked really well. It has almost always recognized our fingerprint, without any real issues. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Huawei has always had some very fast and reliable fingerprint sensors. And including it on the power button is a smart idea, as it’s one less step to unlock your phone.
A Camera for every shot
The HONOR 20 Pro has four cameras on the back. It offers many different cameras and focal lengths, essentially giving you camera for every shot possible. From the main sensor that’s a 48-megapixel lens, to the ultra wide-angle, to the telephoto and rounding things out with the macro lens. Meaning you have a camera for everything.
The main 48-megapixel sensor on the HONOR 20 Pro is a really good camera. It’s able to take some really good photos, even at night, and that’s thanks to the high aperture and megapixel count. It is able to bring in more light than some cameras on the market. When it comes to taking photos at night, the HONOR 20 Pro still can’t compete with the Pixel 3, which is pretty insane when you think about it. The HONOR 20 Pro has a larger aperture, more megapixels and multiple cameras, but it still can’t beat the single camera on the Pixel 3, for night shots.
There is a new camera on the HONOR 20 Pro that we haven’t really seen on another smartphone before. And that’s the Macro sensor. This is a 2-megapixel sensor, so it’s not that great, especially with that f/2.4 aperture. But it allows you to get some really close up pictures. You can get as close as 4 centimeters (for those of us in the US, that’s about 1.5 inches). That’s very close, close enough that you can get a single leaf on a tree in your photo, and get some pretty insane Bokeh effects behind it.
HONOR has a dedicated mode for it in the camera app too. It’s not the “Aperture” mode, but the “Macro” mode. The Aperture mode allows you to raise the bokeh, all the way to f/0.95 through software.
As always, HONOR has a ton of different camera modes available on this phone. So not only do you have a camera for everything, but you also have a mode for everything. This camera is pretty impressive, and for almost everyone, it will replace a DSLR.
You can view samples taken with the HONOR 20 Pro’s camera in the Flickr Gallery linked below. These were all taken with Auto, Macro or HDR modes on. No professional modes were used.HONOR 20 Pro Camera Samples - Flickr
There’s a lot to like about the HONOR 20 Pro. From the screen, to the battery life, to the price and everything in between. Those in the US should be pretty jealous that this phone won’t be coming Stateside. But it will be available in Europe and Asia later this month.