Huawei P20 review

GSMArena team, 17 April 2018.


Here is something you don't see every day - a phone that's instantly recognizable because of its style. We have seen a lot of notched screens and dual-cameras, but those catchy paint jobs are the P20's unforgettable trait and potentially the next big trend.

Huawei P20 review

The flashy paint was a brilliant idea for an otherwise ordinary and conventional design. Dual-glass body reinforced with a metal frame is the popular choice this season, so if it weren't for the paint's charm, the P20 would have been just another notched glass phone.

Huawei P20 reviewApple iPhone X and Huawei P20

The P20's design is an obvious departure from the P10. The metal unibody is gone for good, at least for now, and so are the screen bezels. Behind the screen glass sits a big but notched 5.8" display, a massive jump from the 5.1" unit on the P10, yet the growth in size is pretty negligible - just 4mm in height.

Huawei P20 reviewHuawei P10 and Huawei P20

The P20 is noticeably heavier, though, due to switch of materials - it has gained a good 20g over the P10 up to 165g.

And while we are comparing siblings, the other notable change is the camera orientation. It seems the iPhone X didn't just kick off the notch trend, but the vertical camera configuration, too.

Huawei P20 reviewHuawei P10 and Huawei P20

Back to the Huawei P20. Both of its glass pieces are slightly curved, matching nicely with the frame's chamfers. The metal frame is smooth and polished. Admittedly, this works well for the good looks, but hurts the grip - the P20 is as slippery as it looks.

Unlike the water-tight P20 Pro, the P20 is just IP53-rated for moderate dust and light-splash resistance. And while this fact was officially announced at the launch event, you won't find this mentioned anywhere on the official P20 pages.

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Huawei P20

This omission is baffling, as the P20 phones have virtually identical bodies, slots, holes, and everything, and yet only the Pro got the ingress protection. The P20's case is not helped by the fact that all current flagships and premium mid-rangers are water-protected. What's up with that, Huawei?

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Huawei P20

The missing audio jack doesn't help the P20 either. While this could have been explained with the aqua-shielding on the Pro, it's merely a missing feature on the P20.

The front-mounted fingerprint scanner is here to stay - it's an always-on one and is used for system-wide navigation. On the opposite side of the screen is the notch housing a circular grille for the earpiece and the 24MP selfie camera. The earpiece is not centered, which may look odd to some. A tiny status LED is also around.

Huawei P20 reviewComparing notches: iPhone X vs. P20

The vertically-oriented dual-camera is on the back occupying a small hump. It has kept the previous 12+20 MP specs but packs a new color sensor and new lenses. Next up are the dual-LED flash and the laser-AF sensors. The Leica logo is not as boisterous as before, but it's there.

Huawei P20 review

So, the Huawei P20 is a glass phone like any other. There is nothing special in its bill of materials, the credit for its coolness goes to the clever paint jobs. But that's enough to make it one of the best-looking devices this season and the fashion-conscious might grab it just for that. Slippery and often smudgy, the Huawei P20 has to be polished and cleaned quite often to look its best, but beauty always comes at a price.

Reader comments

  • Happyernest

I own this phone for almost 3 years now. Its incredible Im really bummed Huawei got blocked from Google services because i really wanna buy only Huawei phones from now, its durable, doesn't lag, battery charges incredibly fast, haven't ha...

  • KingInTheNorth

So like every modern phone battery ever ?

  • Anonymous

Not recommended Need to take the phone to a service centre to replace the battery. Deliberate design to charge for Labour as well as the battery.