The Huawei P20 Pro is a stellar smartphone, and I’m certain you already know this if you’ve decided to read my review now – in June. I’ve been using it for a couple of months, and have travelled with it on my trip to NYC in May. An indication that a phone is this good for me personally is when I use the camera more than my own phone, which was the case with the P20 Pro – to an extent that I don’t feel like giving it back but alas it will be collected soon.
Image credit: Shutterstock
And if first impressions are anything to go by, most will agree that the P20 Pro is a stunning phone. I love the sleek look, and the Twilight colour is eye-catching and unique, but the blue is also pretty. As with most phones with sleek backs – you’re going to want to cover it up alas; can’t have it drop accidentally or slip out of a pocket. That said, I’ve been using it without a cover and managed to keep it unscratched.
I’m not going to make this a long and boring review where I go through everything like I’ve done in the past because smartphones these days are always an improvement from the previous-generation model and it’s a bit redundant going through it that way. I will focus on three key areas that most consumers care about when purchasing a phone.
The P20 Pro is powered by a Kirin 970 processor, with a built-in dedicated AI unit – a Neural Processing Unit (NPU). It was introduced in 2017 at IFA and we saw it on the Mate 10 Pro, as well as the Porsche Design RS, and a bunch of other handsets. So yes, the 2018 Huawei P20 Pro has a chip from 2017, along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
If you’re an everyday consumer, you are not going to know or care that it has a 2017 chip. It handles playing games, streaming, watching YouTube videos, browsing on Chrome and socials just fine, from my experience. You can switch between apps and just pick up where you left off without lag or feel like the phone is struggling. I opened basically all apps and switched between them.
I love testing how quick phones are by opening the camera and pressing the shutter button repeatedly to see how it handles that. The P20 Pro is fast; there’s no lag between the shots.
Speaking of camera, the P20 Pro is probably most famous for having a triple lens Leica camera on the REAR. All the amazing things you’ve heard about it is true. For me the single best highlight is the Night Mode; the result is unbeaten. It takes a 3-second shot but you can see the transformation on the screen as it happens. This mode isn’t new to the P20 Pro, it’s been on previous devices but the results are what matters.
Portrait Mode is also great. Though sometimes it can take a while to focus on the foreground, but when you are in a properly lit area it does not struggle.
The front-facing selfie-cam takes fantastic shots, obviously because it’s got a 24MP camera.
Here are some other shots of various things. While it does have an AI camera, I personally don’t need one of these yet or haven’t found an everyday use for it.
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The battery capacity on the P20 Pro is a whopping 4000mAh. That’s very big, and you will probably not run out in a single day of heavy use. It lasted me throughout my travels for over a day but I charged it at night when I knew I’d be out and about all day. This is a phone you don’t need a power bank for, if you charge it daily. If you don’t mind using it for a day and a bit or two days, then perhaps you should carry one.
It has a USB-C charging port and no 3.5mm headphone jack. You do get USB-C headphones in the box, as well as a headphone jack adapter.
The Huawei P20 Pro has a recommended retail price of R15 499. It does come with a premium price tag but this is on par with other smartphones in its class. There’s always the P20 to consider too, for R12 999.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 14 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org