Huawei P20 review

GSMArena team, 17 April 2018.

Competition

The price! Everything boils down to the moment when you put those features in monetary context. The Huawei P20 is currently selling for 580 in Europe, which makes it one of the cheapest flagships around. This makes it easier to forgive its shortcomings.

Huawei P20 review

The Pro model is currently one of the most expensive offers on the market. Huawei has put a hefty price tag on the triple-camera, the AMOLED panel and that extra ingress protection - about 270 for a total of 850. Or more.

Yet, the Huawei P20's dual-camera is a great phone on its own and it would not allow being overshadowed by its three-eyed sibling. Beyond the capable camera, you also get an excellent screen, stunning design, and blazing-fast performance. And it's a bargain as far as flagship pricing goes.

The six-months old Huawei Mate 10 Pro costs as much as the P20 but has a bigger and notch-free screen and a larger battery. The Mate 10 Pro lacks the high-res selfie camera and 960fps slow-mo clips but makes up for those with a water-tight body and an eye-catchy AMOLED.

There are two notch-favoring smartphones that come close to the P20's specs and pricing - the Asus Zenfone 5z and the coming soon OnePlus 6. Big screens, glass designs, Snapdragon 845 chips, and dual-cameras that sound similar on paper, but we doubt they will deliver in quality. Both the Zenfone and 6 are yet to be released, and even announced, so there is that.

For some extra 80 over the P20 you could grab a notch-less Samsung Galaxy S9. Exceptional design and AMOLED screen is what you get in addition to even snappier theoretical performance, but the main camera is just one, sitting alone at the back, with limited artsy skills.

Then, there is the recently refreshed LG V30 ThinQ. It has a high-res P-OLED to impress, nice Moroccan Blue glass body, and regular + super-wide dual-camera opening some creative possibilities. The phone runs on the last year's Snapdragon 835 chip, which is still scoring flagship numbers though. This V30 costs a few bucks less than the P20 and it's worth checking out.

Huawei P20 Pro Huawei Mate 10 Pro Asus Zenfone 5z ZS620KL Samsung Galaxy S9 LG V30S ThinQ
Huawei P20 Pro Mate 10 Pro Asus Zenfone 5z ZS620KL Samsung Galaxy S9 LG V30S ThinQ

The Verdict

The Huawei P20 comes from a well-established flagship breed, which has never disappointed us. The focus on the camera this year didn't tip the scales against other features such as design and display. The P20 is as stunningly beautiful as it is powerful. And while the notched screen isn't everybody's favorite, it is the top pick of the season, and we can't argue with people's choice.

The dual-camera got a behind the scenes upgrade with a new sensor, better lens, 960fps slow-mo capturing, and some advanced machine learning to help you take the best snaps. The latter has some more learning to do, for sure, but it has already impressed us with that tripod-free long-shutter night shots.

Pros

  • Stunning looks and great build quality
  • Excellent screen, and you can hide the notch
  • Great main camera day or night, color or monochrome
  • Dependable performance
  • Feature-rich software

Cons

  • Smudges and glass don't go together
  • No IP67 rating, don't dunk it in water
  • Taking a sharp selfie is a tough job with this fixed focus camera

Sure, the Huawei P20 could have been better. Water-proofing would have made it on par with the competition, an audio jack would have made it easier to swallow the lack of the ingress protection. But the relatively low for a flagship price is what makes those omissions forgivable.

Huawei P20 review

The Huawei P20 turned out a well-rounded device, providing an excellent alternative to the more expensive P20 Pro. It's as beautiful and as powerful, while its camera isn't that inferior to the Pro's. Finally, the Huawei P20 price makes sense, and in a few months from now when it settles down even further, the smartphone has the potential to become the company's high-end best-seller.

Reader comments

  • 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)

A great phone in many ways but one glaring problem. Notification and Ringer volume controls are not separate. And for whatever reason Huawei refuses to fix it, a known issue for at least 6 months. A basic feature on any Samsung, Motorola or HTC Ive ...

At the beginning was ok. But now everyday i found a glitch. After fingerprint sensor replacement still not ok. After another 2 month it is loosing data connection des pite carrier sign is present. Need to toggle on and off with mobile data, and airpl...