Huawei has announced its 2018 flagship P-series devices, replacing the Huawei P10 with the Huawei P20. Why the big change in number? Because this is a massive change, according to Huawei, that deserves a bigger step in numeration.
The Huawei P20 and the Huawei P20 Pro form the new top-tier pairing, changing up the design and build quality to be more competitive and promising to take down all rivals from big name manufacturers like Samsung and Apple. Want to buy? Check out the best Huawei P20 deals.
Now that the Huawei P20 is official, here's everything you need to know about it.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro: Design
- Looks a lot like the iPhone X
- Notched display
- Full range of colours with graduated Twilight the highlight
- No 3.5mm headphone socket
The Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro don't look a bit like the P10 models that they replace. The design has been totally changed and it would be fair to say that it looks like the iPhone X. There's a metal core which forms the edges of the phone sandwiched between a glass front and back, which both softly curve into those edges.
Imitation aside, this is probably the highest build quality that we've seen on Huawei devices so far. The Huawei P20 carries an IP53 waterproofing, while the Huawei P20 Pro bumps that up to IP67.
These phones are both slim, at 7.65 and 7.8mm thick respectively. Both also cast off the 3.5mm headphone socket in the process.
But the real talking point - apart from the similarity to the iPhone X - is likely to be the colours. They come in a glittering array of colours, the most eye-catching of which is Twilight, which moves from blue through to purple, like the twilight sky. It's a beautiful phone - and we've loads of images over in our initial review of the P20 Pro if you want to see more.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro: Display
- P20: 5.8-inch, LCD, 2244 x 1080 pixels, 18.7:9 aspect
- P20 Pro: 6.1-inch, OLED, 2244 x 1080 pixels, 18.7:9 aspect
- Both have a notch, but you can hide it
Huawei has long been a fan of Full HD displays, often avoiding the temptation to chase the specs and move to higher resolutions. On the P20 and the P20 Pro, Huawei has adopted a new aspect for the display which comes out at 18.7:9.
This gives the phones that taller but not wider display, with a Full HD+ resolution which works out to be 2244 x 1080 pixels.
The Huawei P20 display is 5.8-inches on the diagonal and uses and LCD panel, while the Huawei P20 Pro is 6.1-inches on the diagonal and uses OLED. There's a slight colour difference between the two, with the OLED looking a little warmer, which is often the case.
Both displays also have a notch at the top, housing the front camera and speaker. This is smaller than the iPhone X notch, but Huawei also gives you the option to hide the notch. In the display settings for the devices, you can opt to flank the notch with black, so it practically disappears.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro: Hardware specs
- P20: HiSilicon Kirin 970, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, 3400mAh battery
- P20 Pro: HiSilicon Kirin 970, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, 4000mAh battery
- Front fingerprint scanner on both.
For Huawei, this next generation of phones is all about AI, or machine learning. We saw the Kirin 970's launch in the Mate 10 series, and now this is in the P20 and P20 Pro too, complete with its "Neural Processing Unit". The Huawei P20 gets 4GB RAM and the P20 Pro gets 6GB. Both will come with 128GB of storage at a base level, but without microSD - so there's no storage expansion option.
Battery life is what Huawei is becoming known for and it looks like the P20 and P20 Pro could have plenty of stamina. The Huawei P20 gets a 3400mAh battery, which is pretty generous considering its size. The Huawei P20 Pro, however, gets itself a 4000mAh battery, which is larger than average for this size of device. It could be the 2018 battery king.
The batteries can be charged quickly using the USB Type-C on the bottom of the phone. As we mentioned, you'll also have to use that for wired headphones as there's no 3.5mm headphone socket.
Both these phones also have a fingerprint scanner on the front. It's at the bottom of the display and supports swipe controls as previous Huawei devices have - so if you can reach to the top of the page you can swipe down on the scanner to see your notifications. Huawei say they wanted it on the front of the phone because it's more practical than rear scanners.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro: Cameras, all of them
- P20: Dual rear Leica camera, 12MP RGB sensor f/1.8, 20MP monochrome sensor f/1.6, 24MP front camera
- P20 Pro: Triple rear Leica camera: 40MP RGB sensor, 20MP monochrome, 8MP 3x optical zoom with OIS f/2.4
Huawei's recent high-end phones have seen the manufacturer partner with Leica to develop the optics, and that continues in the Huawei P20. There's a dual camera system on the regular Huawei P20, which pairs an RGB sensor with a monochrome sensor. The aim of using two sensors is to give you better image quality, as well as supply more data for depth maps for bokeh effects and so on.
The Huawei P20 RGB sensor is a 12-megapixels with an f/1.8 aperture and large 1.5µm pixels. The monochrome side has a 20-megapixel f/1.6 camera. These camera work in unison a lot of the time. There's also a 24-megapixel front facing camera with f/2.0 aperture.
There's plenty of AI in the cameras, with the ability to spot the scene and apply the best settings, with a choice of 19 different modes. Focusing is aided by a laser autofocus system and there's a colour temperature sensor to ensure the white balance is correct across the whole image.
The camera app is fully loaded with functions, including a pro mode with manual controls, lighting effects, 960fps super slow motion and a whole lot more.
Huawei P20 Pro
The P20 Pro will be equipped with a triple-camera setup built in co-operation with Leica and this is where most of the attention is focused.
On the back of the phone there are three camera lenses, two of which are arranged together, with a third lens sitting below them.
The RGB camera in this case is a 40-megapixel sensor that's a large 1/1.7in, while the monochrome sensor is 20-megapixels again. These two will work in tandem as they do on the regular P20, aiming to give you better quality.
However, the 40-megapixel sensor offers more. It uses Pixel Fusion technology to combine the pixels and offer a larger area for light capture - 2.0µm - and will shoot at 10-megapixels as standard. Low light shooting is boosted by AI with the ability to take long exposure shots up to 8 seconds without a tripod.
The third lens offer 3x optical zoom with optical image stabilisation and f/2.4, so it's likely to be best for bright conditions. In addition, there's a 5x Hybrid zoom that uses information from all the sensors. In these conditions, the 40-megapixel sensor crops to give you a closer image.
You also get plenty of manual controls, laser autofocusing, a colour temperature sensor and the ability to shoot super slow-motion at 960fps, at 720p.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro: Software
- Android Oreo with EMUI
The Huawei P20 and P20 Pro will launch on Android Oreo and come with Huawei's own custom interface, called EMUI. This is close to the version that was in place on the Mate 10 Pro, offering a range of tweaks to standard Android, but no where near as aggressive as it has been in the past.
Huawei is also talking up the AI in this phone and again this plays into the photos you take, with smarter categorisation of your images to make it easier to find photos in your gallery.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro: Price
- P20: £599
- P20 Pro: £799
The Huawei P20 and P20 Pro are also available to buy SIM free on a variety of contract plans. Priced to undercut the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 - and packing in some impressive specs - the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro are strong competitors.
Check out the Best Huawei P20 and P20 Pro prices and deals