Honor 20 Pro Review

Introduction

Honor is technically an independent brand that sells phones at amazing prices, but realistically, it’s an offshoot of Huawei, so you should not be surprised that its brand new flagship the Honor 20 Pro looks and feels a lot like a Huawei phone.

Honor 20 Pro is a looker, it’s got the flagship-grade Kirin 980 chip by Huawei, a whopping 256GB of storage in the base model, a large, 4,000mAh battery, and did I mention the world’s first camera with f/1.4 aperture for better low-light photos? And all of that comes at an appealing price.

Design

This phone has got the looks. It features a new design that Honor calls holographic and it uses tiny prisms in the back to reflect light in stunning patterns and create a unique sense of depth. We have never seen something quite like that before, it really is a mesmerizing look and shows just how far Huawei and Honor craftsmanship has gone.

All the buttons are on the right side, within easy reach, but what we find inconvenient is that the power key is recessed. The fingerprint reader is actually embedded in it, and it’s extremely fast, but it’s again the side position that is a bit annoying as you often get random vibrations when you are just fidgeting with the phone in your pocket. Speaking of the fingerprint scanner, it’s of the traditional type, and it works faster and more reliably than many modern fingerprint readers embedded under the screen.

A nice little extra that you don’t get on many other phones these days is the infra-red (IR) blaster at the top that you can use to control your TV or AC unit. And if you are looking for that LED notification light… well, it’s here, but cleverly hidden at the top, inside the in-call speaker. And on the bottom, you have the USB-C port for charging and the loudspeaker.

Display, Battery Life, Loudspeaker, Audio Quality

Looking at the front, you get a 6.26 inch LCD screen with a punch hole camera and very minimal bezels. The resolution is Full HD+ and everything looks perfectly sharp.

The screen does not quite have the vibrancy of AMOLED screens, but it’s one very good looking LCD display. Just make sure to go into settings and change the display mode to Natural while leaving colors balance at the default setting. At this mode, colors are very well balanced and everything looks very pleasing. And yes, the punch hole is here, but it’s really quite small and does not get much in the way.

One curious detail is that you have a couple of wallpapers by Honor itself that play with that cutout, and that’s a nice little touch.

On the battery front, the Honor 20 Pro comes with a large, 4,000mAh battery cell and in our experience it would easily last most users around a day and a half, and even two days with lighter use.

Unfortunately, we could not run our proprietary battery test on the Honor 20 Pro. Just like most other Huawei and Honor phones, the Honor 20 Pro does not support fully manual brightness control. What this means is that even when you switch off automatic brightness adjustments, the brightness will still fluctuate significantly. For our test, it is crucial that screen brightness remains truly fixed to ensure that we have equal conditions for all phones that we test. Unfortunately, that was not possible on the Honor 20 Pro.

Camera

The big feature here is the world’s largest aperture on a phone. The main 48-megapixel camera uses an f/1.4 aperture, while the closest competitors have only got f/1.6, so theoretically, this should give Honor a big advantage in low light photography.

We also get a 3 times telephoto lens, plus you also have a 5 times zoom option with the help of the main camera. Zooming any further just uses digital zoom.

The summary of all the cameras on board:

48MP main camera, f/1.4 aperture, 1/2-inch sensor, has OIS, AIS, EIS
16MP ultra-wide camera, f/2.2
8MP 3X telephoto camera, f/2.4, OIS
2MP macro camera, 4cm (1.6”) ideal focus distance, f/2.4
32MP selfie camera, f/2.0

Alternatives, Pros and Cons, Verdict

The Honor 20 Pro does not quite have the camera chops of the P30 Pro, nor the vibrant AMOLED screen, and it lacks a few of the tricks like an in-screen fingerprint scanner, but it gets most things right: the long battery life, an LCD screen that still looks very good, the fast and smooth performance, and certainly – the looks.

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