There's a new type of phone in town: the Honor View 20 is the first outside of China to feature a hole-punch camera. It's an interesting alternative to the notch which ought to garner a lot of attention. But is it really necessary, or is a simple dewdrop notch, like that in the well-established OnePlus 6T, a better overall solution?
Design & Display
- Honor V20: 6.4-inch IPS LCD; 1080 x 2310 pixels
- OnePlus 6T: 6.41-inch AMOLED; 1080 x 2340 pixels
- Both devices: Dual SIM, no microSD
- Honor V20: 8.1mm thick, 180g
- OnePlus 6T: 8.2mm thick, 185g
- Honor V20: 3.5mm headphone jack
- OnePlus 6T: No headphone jack
Both these devices are on similar ground: a give-or-take 6.4-inch screen rules the design footprint, but the OnePlus uses an AMOLED panel, which is the better solution for deeper blacks and punchier colours. The resolution of both panels is much the same - you won't tell the difference by eye.
One of the Honor's bonus points comes in the form of a 3.5mm headphone jack up top - something that OnePlus has done away with in favour of wireless connectivity or a USB-C dongle to use conventional wired headphones.
We couldn't miss out colour options in this section, with the Honor offering reflective glass in bright red or blue options (there's a black one too, but it's less fun). Very eye-catching. The OnePlus goes simpler, with a mirror/'midnight' finish that's certainly fetching, but a more subdued visual - if you want something more unusual then Thunder Purple or the fancier McLaren Edition are the ones to look at.
- Honor V20: 48-megapixel rear with TOF depth sensor
- OnePlus 6T: Dual real: 20- and 16-megapixels
- Honor V20: Front-facing hole-punch camera, 25MP
- OnePlus 6T: Front-facing camera, dewdrop notch, 16MP
It's impossible not to spot the Honor's front-facing camera, as the first phone outside of China to ditch the notch idea entirely and move the camera to the upper left side, within the screen, as a 'hole-punch' style solution where the screen extends all around it. The OnePlus doesn't have a massive notch, though, with its centralised camera in a dewdrop black-out form ensuring the screen dominates.
If it's resolution you want then the Honor is the first phone to deliver a 48-megapixel rear sensor. Its results are pretty good, too, although some oversharpening and inevitable limitations in low-light conditions can cause it issues. By comparison the OnePlus uses a lower resolution 16-megapixel camera, but it has larger 'pixels' which help with quality, while the second 20MP is only there to gather data. Both devices use their second lenses for Portrait mode and the blurred background effect.
Hardware & Software
- Honor V20: Kirin 980 chipset (octa-core: 2x 2.6GHz, 2x 1.92GHz, 4x 1.8GHz), 6/8GB RAM
- OnePlus 6T: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (octa-core: 4x 2.8GHz & 4x 1.7GHz), 6/8/10GB RAM
- Honor V20: 4000mAh battery, USB-C with fast-charge (5V)
- OnePlus 6T: 3700mAh battery, USB-C with fast-charge (5V)
- Honor V20: Android 9.0 (Pie) with Magic UI 2.0 (which is Huawei's EMUI 9.0)
- OnePlus 6T: Android 9.0 (Pie) with OxygenOS 9.0.5
On the power front the OnePlus 6T comes with three RAM variants. There's the entry lebel 6GB model, the 8GB versions and then there's the McLaren Edition which comes with a massive 10GB. That puts the 6T a whisker ahead, although in use it's nigh-on impossible to tell the difference between the Qualcomm and Kirin chipset choices, in terms of real-world speed.
Battery life is where the Honor V20 gains some ground. And not just because it's got a more capacious battery in terms of the numbers, simply because it lasts for an incredibly long time. The OnePlus offers good innings, but it can't stretch quite as far in our experience.
On the software front both devices use Google's Android 9.0 operating system as a base, but both re-skin this with their own solutions: Magic UI 2.0 for Honor, OxygenOS 9.0 for OnePlus. There are ups and downs to both, with the OnePlus solution the cleaner option in our view. Also, Magic UI is just Honor re-naming Huawei's EMUI 9.0 software to try and differentiate itself for its parent company.
- Honor V20: £499 (128GB/6GB) / £529 (128GB/8GB) / £579 (256GB/8GB)
- OnePlus 6T: £499 (128GB/6GB) / £529 (128GB/8GB) / £579 (256GB/8GB)
The OnePlus handset has always been a flagship offering without a truly flagship pricetag. The 6T is the priciest launched, but it's under the crucial £500 mark for the base model - which makes it a great deal for those not wanting to spend double on the latest Apple or Samsung device.
The Honor V20's price is identical to that of the OnePlus. We were convinced it would be a critical £30+ less to attract a wider potential range of buyers. There are obvious benefits: its long-lasting battery and stand-out hole-punch camera solution are eye-catching, but without an in-screen fingerprint scanner or AMOLED screen the Honor might lack some of the core features that people are likely to want.