Huawei Mate 20 review

GSMArena team, 2 November 2018.


The Huawei Mate 20 is arguably the better-designed Mate as it is looking less like a Galaxy and, well, more like a Mate. The flat screen glass and the thicker frame are friendlier for grip and handling - things we hope many still consider essential.

Huawei Mate 20 review

The Mate 20's droplet-like notch is also a pleasant sight. The extra pixels are present only because the advanced 3D face scanning isn't. But some of us still prefer the old-school fingerprint readers instead of bleeding-edge tech that more often gets in the way rather than pushing the experience forward. And we do mean under-display sensors, too.

The Mate 20 isn't breaking from the flagship herd and adds yet another glass-sandwich built to the mix. The dewdrop notch and the square camera on the back add character to the Mate 20 and it's not only unique in its own way but also very different from the old Mate 10.

Huawei Mate 20 reviewMate 10 and Mate 20

Speaking about good looks, the Mate 20 is available in glossy Black and gradient Twilight colors. It also comes in the new signature Midnight Blue option, which has a grippy vinyl-like texture on the rear curved glass. Hyperoptical pattern, they call it.

Huawei Mate 20 review

The Mate 10 had its fingerprint reader at the front, right below the screen, but the Mate 20's edge-to-edge screen made that impossible. So, Huawei moved the scanner on the back, and it's still as useful and fast.

Huawei Mate 20 reviewMate 10 and Mate 20

The Mate 20 has a slightly larger screen than the Mate 20 Pro, but it's not an OLED one and has a lower 1080p resolution. Huawei is still using a premium panel, though, and a very bright one at that with a special RGBW matrix and HDR10 support.

The small cutout isn't as an eyesore, and inside it packs the selfie camera and a bunch of sensors. The earpiece is outside the screen, etched in the frame, and it doubles as a second speaker.

Huawei Mate 20 review

The primary speaker is once again at the bottom, but it's not within the USB port as it is on the Mate 20 Pro! What's even better is the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio port at the top of the phone - again unlike the Mate 20 Pro.

Huawei Mate 20 review

So, the Mate 20 has an audio port (and FM radio!), a smaller notch, conventional speakers, and it even feels more secure in hand than the Mate 20 Pro. But these niceties come at the price of ingress protection. The Mate 20 is only IP53-rated for (some) dust and splash resistance, while the Mate 20 Pro has an IP68-certified dust and water-tight shell.

Then there is the tri-camera, which on the Mate 20 is less impressive compared to the Pro model. It has a 12MP main sensor behind f/1.8 lens, an 8MP cam with f/2.2 telephoto lens, and a 16MP snapper with f/2.2 17mm ultra-wide-angle lens. The monochrome shooter is gone for good, but we can't imagine someone missing it badly.

Huawei Mate 20 review

The 80mm zoom lens and optical stabilization for the telephoto camera are reserved for the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate 20 only gets 2x optical zoom, and there is no OIS at all.

The camera is still a major step forward over the Mate 10, no two words about it, though slightly disappointing when you've seen the alternative.

Huawei Mate 20 review

The good news is Huawei's AIS stabilization is here to stay, and it should be at least as good as on the P20. The Night Mode from the P20 phones is another goody available on both Mates, so the Mate 20 isn't losing those cool long-exposure handheld photos.

Huawei Mate 20 - Huawei Mate 20 review Huawei Mate 20 - Huawei Mate 20 review Huawei Mate 20 - Huawei Mate 20 review Huawei Mate 20 - Huawei Mate 20 review
Huawei Mate 20

For better or worse, the Mate 20, just like the Mate 20 Pro, is pioneering the hybrid SIM slot with a new type of Nano-Memory Cards. These cards are invented by Huawei and have the shape of a nanoSIM, while packing up to 256 gigabytes of storage. Unfortunately, they are so new that you can't really buy them anywhere. We can list a lot of reasons why the NM cards just don't make sense, but we think most, if not all of you are already on the same page.

Huawei Mate 20 review

Huawei Mate 20 has a large 4,000 mAh battery, but it can do neither 40W wired nor any wireless charging. The Mate 20 does come with support for Huawei's 22.5W SuperCharge, which should be more than enough anyway.

Huawei Mate 20 spreads at 158.2 x 77.2 x 8.3 mm - that's as tall as the Mate 20 Pro but 5mm wider. The Mate 20 is also 8mm taller than the Mate 10, but equally wide and thick. Finally, all three of these Mates weigh the same at about 188g.

The Mate 20 is as slippery as it looks, which is worrisome for such a big device. Sure, the thicker frame and the grippy 'Hyperoptical' surface finish on the Midnight Blue option do add some grip, but nothing as major as you can imagine. And while the regular Mate 20 feels more secure in hand than the Pro, the extra silicone case, if available, would help a lot.

Reader comments

  • JM
  • 07 Jan 2022
  • vxk

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  • 01 Dec 2021
  • K1L

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  • Anonymous
  • 09 Nov 2021
  • uHV

Been using this incredible phone for 3 years. Great flat screen for an IPS display, solid rear camera, most importantly outstanding battery life. Video shots and selfies could be better, but they are not the priority tools used in my daily life. ...