The thumb rests naturally on the sensor and the phone unlocks in a jiffy.
Magic UI 3.0 (Android 10) beta starts rolling out for the Honor 20 and View 20
In fact, using the power button-cum-fingerprint sensor is so organic and snappy that face unlock rarely comes into play. You get a single speaker grille on the bottom next to a Type-C port.
Despite the compact design, the Honor 20 packs in a good amount of display. You get a 6. Honor is able to offer so much display because the bezels are remarkably thin. Bezels are thin on the top and sides while the chin is barely noticeable. The panel gets a small circular cutout on the top left corner to house the front camera. The hole on the top left corner measure 4.
Dynamic range and white balance are excellent here. This is easily one of the sharpest displays in the market and definitely in its price point. You can also switch to Normal colour mode in Settings for more toned down colours and a warmer screen.
Brightness levels are good indoors, but it doesn't hold extremely well under harsh sunlight and that's probably the only nitpicking I would do here. The Oppo Reno 10x Zoom, which I was reviewing simultaneously, offers better brightness levels in comparison, but the Honor 20 trumps the Oppo phone when it comes to colour reproduction and clarity. All of this sounds sufficient to offer a fast and smooth performance. A quick browsing of the UI felt smooth and fast while apps opened in a snap.
Out of the box, the Honor 20 delivers some seriously great speeds. You can fire up a bunch of apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook or a web browser with very little animation and maximum zip. While gaming, the phone never got warm and battery drain was minimal.
The gameplay experience is so smooth that you won't even have to enable 'Performance mode' in Battery settings, which delivers maximum performance possible from the chipset that will result in battery level to drop faster and the phone heating up. Overall, the Honor 20 is as fast as they come in and the Kirin chipset not only delivers in speed but battery efficiency as well. The software is a tricky thing to talk about right now. Huawei has lost Google's support following the US government's mandate banning US companies from doing business with Huawei and by extension Honor as well.
Which do you prefer?
While future Huawei and Honor phones will not come with Android support, the Honor 20 does. It's nice to see the Honor 20 run on Android Pie and the company has stated that all existing Huawei and Honor phones will receive security updates, but it remians to be seen whether the Honor 20 will get updated to Android Q. Our Honor 20 review unit was on the May 5, security patch, so that's comforting to see.
Magic UI 2. You get similar square-shaped app icons, lockscreen magazine, some battery saving modes and Digital Balance which is essentially Digital Wellbeing. Some of them, like Vigo which is sort of a TikTok-like app, will push spammy notifications unless you disable it. The good thing is that you can uninstall most of these apps if you don't wish to use them and want to clean up the interface.
The Honor 20 also gets a quad camera setup like the Pro mode, but with some subtle changes. There is a megapixel super wide-angle camera as well. The third and fourth cameras come with 2-megapixel sensors each where one is used for depth sensing while the other is a macro lens. On the front, it gets a similar megapixel selfie camera like the Pro model. Daylight photography is the best time to test out the versatility of the cameras. The primary 48MP sensor captures some stunning stills with rich colours and high detail in the default 12MP pixel binning mode.
You can, of course, switch to the 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode to capture ultra high resolution pictures, which will retain a lot of detail even after zooming in.
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This mode is best used in daylight, but the default 12MP mode is largely suggested for most lighting conditions. Dynamic range with the primary camera is fantastic. Colours are vivid and oversaturated with the AI mode enabled. If the camera detects food or flowers, it automatically boosts saturation levels to make colours pop out. Sometimes it looks a bit too much on the Honor 20's display, especially on Vivid mode. During daylight conditions, you can switch to the ultra wide-angle or super macro mode to capture wide landscape or up close shots, respectively.
They look decent but colours tend to look washed out and sharpness takes a hit when you switch to the 2MP sensors. The 2MP macro camera can take some really attractive close up shots in daylight, but macros indoors will look noisy and soft. Low-light performance is decent, but nothing close to what the Pixel or Huawei P30 Pro can do. The Night mode is great for capturing brighter and clearer low-light photos.
You have to wait for a few seconds and keep your hands as steady as possible for a blur-free low-light shot, but the result is often satisfactory.
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Pictures look brighter for sure, but largely soft and lack detail. This refers to the reflective effect on the back, where ripples of color appear to sit deep below the surface of the phone. The less curvy body makes the phone more uncomfortable to hold; I found myself gripping it too much, out of fear it would slip out of my hand. On the other ergonomic end of the spectrum, the side-mounted fingerprint sensor is excellent. The hole-punch camera continues to be a brilliant feature, as it effectively disappears when playing games in landscape orientation, and is small enough not to be intrusive or distracting at other times.
Honor has made the body 7. Honor has dropped the telephoto zoom feature on the Pro model for the Honor 20, replacing it with a 2-megapixel depth sensing sensor. This makes the camera less versatile than with the 8-megapixel telephoto lens, and unable to match the impressive zoom capabilities. But it can still take some really excellent photos. Night mode is great, capturing realistic colors with an effective white balance for natural-looking low-light photos.
Like the Honor 20 Pro, there were a few problems with focusing and over-exposure of overcast skies, but this is likely a software issue that will be cured in the future. It has to last you a couple of years, so why not get the best? Because internally the Honor 20 is basically the same as the Honor 20 Pro, the same downsides exist with the software.
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There are too many pre-installed apps, including Amazon Alexa as an alternative voice assistant to Google Assistant. Visually Magic UI 2. But in my time using the Honor 20, it has been swift, smooth, and trouble-free experience. The performance is helped by the top-of-the-range Kirin processor, which is a star inside the Honor 20 Pro and the Huawei P30 Pro too. I experienced no problems playing games or carrying out everyday tasks on the Honor