Huawei P20 review

GSMArena team, 17 April 2018.

Display

Huawei opted for a notched display design this generation, which can be a double-edged sword. While we can't speak for prospective buyers, as far as we are concerned, Huawei is one of the few manufacturers out there to make proper use of the odd display cutout. That is to say, it is not merely an attempt to copy the Apple aesthetic, but is there as part of the pursuit to maximize screen real estate. The P20 still has a pretty wide bottom chin, but it hasn't sacrificed its home button either.

Huawei P20 review

Notch aside, Huawei has put a lot of effort into the displays of both the P20 and P20 Pro, trying its best to offer a consistent experience. The rounded corners, for instance, are present on both and do make for a modern, albeit not necessarily more functional, profile. Unfortunately, market segmentation is the reason the regular P20 lacks the AMOLED panel of its bigger sibling.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Nokia 8 0.382 703 1840
Huawei P20 (Max Auto) 0.481 695 1445
Apple iPhone X 0 679
Huawei Mate 10 (max auto vivid) 0.468 667 1425
Samsung Galaxy S9 (Max Auto) 0 658
Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Max Auto) 0 647
Apple iPhone 8 (Max Auto) 0.468 640 1368
Samsung Galaxy S8 Max auto 0 618
Sony Xperia XZ2 0.431 618 1434
LG V30 (Max Auto) 0.032 616 19250
Huawei P20 Pro (Max Auto) 0 582
Apple iPhone 8 (Standard) 0.399 566 1419
Huawei P20 0.328 477 1454
Huawei Honor View 10 0.278 453 1629
Samsung Galaxy S8 0 440
OnePlus 5T 0 437
Google Pixel 2 0 432
Huawei Mate 10 (normal) 0.3 415 1383
LG V30 0.002 414 207000
Huawei P20 Pro 0 412
Samsung Galaxy Note8 0 412
Samsung Galaxy S9 0 370
HTC U11+ 0.19 309 1626

The LTPS IPS LCD it got, however, is quite decent. Well, it has its ups and downs. Opting to hide the notch entirely from the UI is not exactly as convincing on an LCD because the black line is not as deep as on an AMOLED.

It doesn't help either that even at its minimum brightness level, the P20 still shows some notable light bleed in the black.

Still, the screen is not too shabby. Combined with a decent maximum brightness of 477 nits (only achievable in vivid mode), it adds up to a perfectly usable contrast ratio.

Sunlight legibility is not record-breaking, but the P20 remains perfectly usable outdoors. Plus, the LCD in the P20 has an incredibly bright Max Auto mode, which can help when battling sunlight.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
    4.537
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • Google Pixel 2 XL (pre-update)
    4.234
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei P20 Pro
    4.087
  • Google Pixel 2 (pre-update)
    4.023
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    3.842
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Sony Xperia X Compact
    3.694
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Huawei P20
    3.683
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
    3.675
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
    3.58
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
    3.445
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Archos Diamond Omega
    3.305
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Oppo R11s
    3.153
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • HTC U11 Life
    3.108
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL
    3.019
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Motorola Moto X4
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • LG Q6
    2.987
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    2.951
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    2.938
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • Huawei Honor View 10
    2.896
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Nokia 2
    2.752
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus
    2.737
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Huawei Honor 7X
    2.734
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • vivo V7+
    2.671
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.654
  • Oppo F5
    2.653
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Huawei P Smart
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • HTC U11+
    2.556
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2.556
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • BlackBerry Motion
    2.494
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Vivo V7
    2.404
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • Razer Phone
    2.328
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Sony Xperia L2
    2.266
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • HTC U11+ (EU)
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

As for the really positive aspects of Huawei's LCD of choice, it is really color accurate, with an average deltaE of just 2.1 and a maximum of 3.6. Interestingly enough, these numbers were achieved using the default factory settings in Normal mode. The P20 also offers a vivid mode, as well as an interface to fine-tune the white point. Despite our best efforts, we couldn't get better results fiddling with the settings. So just leave it on normal for color accuracy and vivid for a punchier color pallet.

Battery

Huawei has never been one to skimp on the battery capacity in general. Still, a smaller body does mean less room for everything. In the case of the P20, the reduction is down to 3,400 mAh, instead of the full 4,000 mAh, the P20 Pro gets. A 15% drop, or so, but still, and adequate capacity.

But it's not only about battery capacity, it's also what you do with it that's important.

Huawei P20 review

Looking at the number breakdown in detail, we find the video playback and web browsing scores are barely affected by the lower capacity battery pack, compared to the P20 Pro. That's because the P20's smaller LCD is obviously more frugal in the screen-on tests. The 3G talk time has taken a more notable hit. Nothing too drastic, though.

The bulk of the endurance difference between the P20 pair manifests itself in standby time. Still, 75 hours is a strong showing, overall. Quite similar to what the Huawei Mate 10 Lite manages to squeeze out of its slightly smaller battery, with slightly less potent internals.

Despite its lower capacity, the battery in the regular P20 still offers fast charging capabilities. Huawei's custom solution requires using a compatible charger and special cable combo, which is kind of a bummer in 2018. Still, we can't be too cross, since the 4.5V/5A SuperCharge adapter can bring the P20 from 0% to about 65% in around 30 minutes.

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Huawei P20 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We've established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Loudspeaker

The Huawei P20 has a single bottom-firing speaker at its disposal. The lack of stereo is kind of a bummer. Then again, Samsung only recently made the push to a hybrid setup, so, Huawei is not exactly behind the curve on this one.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Huawei P20 (Film) 65.0 67.8 75.0 Average
Samsung Galaxy Note8 67.8 69.5 71.5 Good
Samsung Galaxy S8 66.2 70.5 72.5 Good
Sony Xperia XZ2 (ClearAudio+) 66.0 71.6 76.4 Good
Sony Xperia XZ2 66.1 71.8 78.1 Good
Apple iPhone X 68.9 74.0 76.2 Very Good
Huawei P10 67.7 70.0 83.6 Very Good
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 67.6 71.0 82.7 Very Good
Huawei P20 (Music) 65.1 70.5 86.6 Very Good
Samsung Galaxy S9 68.5 74.3 81.1 Very Good
Huawei P20 66.6 69.8 90.0 Very Good
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 70.1 73.8 84.2 Excellent
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 76.0 74.6 79.0 Excellent
Huawei P20 Pro 71.8 69.2 91.0 Excellent
Nokia 8 88.0 77.1 81.4 Excellent
Huawei Mate 10 90.6 73.7 84.0 Excellent

It's a decent speaker as well - a bit quieter than the P20 Pro overall. But that is more or less expected, given the phone's smaller body. The Dolby Atmos sound enhancement is always on with a few different modes available depending on your sound source but to really appreciate it, it's best to use headphones as the single speaker is hardly able to reproduce multi-channel audio well.

Audio quality

The Huawei P20 delivered excellently clean output with an active external amplifier, but much like its larger Pro sibling it was let down by its below average loudness.

It was mostly the same story when we plugged in headphones as the volume went further down, but overall output was still nicely accurate. A moderate hike in stereo crosstalk was all the clarity damage we observed, which isnít bad at all. So those using high impedance headphones might want to keep away from this one - everyone else should be pleased with it.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Huawei P20+0.01, -0.04-92.492.70.00230.011-92.7
Huawei P20 (headphones)+0.23, -0.06-92.092.20.00290.096-65.2
Huawei P20 Pro+0.01, -0.04-92.192.30.00500.012-92.1
Huawei P20 Pro (headphones)+0.25, -0.10-91.992.90.00210.117-65.9
Oppo R15 Pro+0.01, -0.02-93.793.50.00090.0065-92.0
Oppo R15 Pro (headphones)+0.46, -0.10-92.893.30.00790.290-56.6
Samsung Galaxy S9++0.01, -0.03-92.692.50.00120.0076-93.4
Samsung Galaxy S9+ (headphones)+0.03, -0.03-92.292.20.00170.042-76.3
HTC U11+0.05, -0.11-94.194.10.00170.0067-94.5
HTC U11 (headphones)+0.05, -0.02-93.793.80.00180.105-53.7
LG V30+0.02, -0.01-93.293.10.00080.0069-94.2
LG V30 (headphones)+0.03, -0.02-92.992.90.00570.051-68.1

Huawei P20 frequency response
Huawei P20 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Reader comments

  • giorgi

what is right distanse for self camera

  • JHE

not recommended phone

  • 1 year with the p20

1 year with the p20, playing Pubg everyday with no problems. if u are not interested in photography buy the mate 10 pro, more battery and better screen (oled)