Now you have my attention

A beautiful design and a top-notch triple camera setup make the P20 Pro a legitimate challenger for best Android smartphone.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

A beautiful design and a top-notch triple camera setup make the P20 Pro a legitimate challenger for best Android smartphone.

<b>Huawei P20 Pro</b>
<b>Huawei P20 Pro</b>

Huawei has steadily been improving its smartphones for the past few years now, but they’ve always been just out of reach of being a serious threat to Samsung and Apple’s dominance - but that might have changed with the new P20 Pro. 

The P20 Pro measures 155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm and weighs 180g, which makes it both thinner and lighter than your average flagship smartphone. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is 8.5mm thick and weighs 189g. Designwise, Huawei has opted for a safe but elegant look that obviously draws inspiration from the iPhone X, which includes a notch at the top of the display. The phone has a rounded aluminum frame with contoured 3D glass on the back. The back of the phone has a metallic, high gloss finish with a mirror-like shine. It’s worth noting that while the phone has a glass back, it does not support wireless charging.

The design elements on the rear of the phone are landscape-oriented to mimic the look of a camera. Back here you’ll find the first ever Leica co-engineered Vario-Summilux-H f/1.6-/f.24 triple lens camera module. On the bottom of the phone there’s a USB Type-C port, flanked by two speaker grills - which unfortunately means the phone doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack (although a dongle is included in the box).

The P20 Pro is unique among bezel-less smartphones as it keeps the home button below the display. The home button itself is very slim, and the chin on the P20 Pro isn’t any larger than the button-less Samsung Galaxy S9. The home button is also smarter than usual, as it also doubles up as a navigation sensor. You can press the home button to return to the previous screen, or long press it to return to the home screen. If you swipe along it, you’ll be able to view the recent apps screen.

The P20 Pro has a 6.1inch, Full HD+ 2,244 x 1,080 pixels resolution (~408 ppi) AMOLED display, giving it an unusual 18.7:9 ratio (the extra 0.2 is the notch). The display is very bright, and can be comfortably used under bright sunlight, and as with most AMOLED displays, has excellent contrast.

The real star of the P20 Pro is its triple lens rear camera setup. The main camera is a 40MP RGB f/1.8 lens. You also get a telephoto 8MP f/2.4 lens, which provides 3x optical zoom, and a 20MP monochrome f/1.6 lens to provide extra detail, which is digitally composited into the final image. Image quality from the P20 Pro is excellent with great detail retention, rich tones and vivid hues. There’s an impressive lack of image noise, even at high ISOs. The P20 Pro also features a number of camera features that will help you get the most out of its Leica hardware. AI scene recognition will automatically choose the best settings for whatever you’re shooting, whether it’s a portrait, food shot or landscape (or 16 other scenes), but it’s the new Night Mode that impressed me the most. Night Mode lets you take sharp and bright pictures in low-light environments without a tripod. It does this by using AI to stitch together multiple shots, emulating a 4 to 6 second long-exposure shot.

The P20 Pro is powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 970 processor. Benchmark performance was about on-par with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. While this is fine for now, new smartphones with the more powerful Snapdragon 845 processor will soon be available on the market. Battery life on the phone is excellent thanks to its power-efficient OLED display and a 4,000mAh battery. In our video looping benchmark, the P20 Pro lasted just under 12 hours.

The P20 Pro is the culmination of what’s been a long road for Huawei. Gone is the reliance on gimmicky features, and in its place is refinement and innovation - that’s something I never thought I would say about Huawei five years ago. If you’re interested in owning the best phone out there, it’s no longer enough to just consider Samsung and Apple, it’s time to pay attention to Huawei.

The P20 Pro has the world’s first
Leica co-engineered triple camera
The P20 Pro has the world’s first Leica co-engineered triple camera setup.
The fingerprint scanner doubles up
as a navigation bar.
The fingerprint scanner doubles up as a navigation bar.
Android 8.1 Nougatwith EMUI 8.1
Hisilicon Kirin 970
octa-core (4x2.4 GHzCortex-A73 & 4x1.8GHz Cortex-A53)
6.1-inches 2,244 x
1,080 pixels (408 ppi)AMOLED 18.7:9 ratio
Triple 40-megapixelf/1.8 OIS +
20-megapixel f/1.6 +8-megapixel f/2.4
155 x 73.9 x 7.8 mm