Huawei P20, P20 Pro and Mate RS hands-on review

GSMArena team, 27 March 2018.

Leica Dual and Leica Triple cameras

Huawei P20 Pro

The Huawei P20 Pro packs the new and undeniably more exciting Leica Triple Camera. The separated snapper is the 20MP f/1.6 monochrome camera that we know from the P10 and that's also present on the P20. Then a larger hump follows with a brand-new 40MP 1/1.7" RGB OIS sensor behind f/1.8 lens. Next to it is an 8MP cam with f/2.4 telephoto lens.

The big selling point of the P20 Pro is its 40MP camera, but it has the option to take 10MP photos. Here's a quick comparison between the two modes:

Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 40MP - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/898s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 10MP - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/657s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 40MP - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/900s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 10MP - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/232s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 40MP - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 10MP - f/1.8, ISO 64, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro camera samples: 40MP • 10MP • 40MP • 10MP • 40MP • 10MP

And don't forget the 8MP zoom camera. It's impressive how close to the subject you can get and the hit in image quality is only noticeable at the maximum zoom levels.

Huawei P20 Pro: zooming in - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/900s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro: zooming in - f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/248s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro: zooming in - f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/150s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro: zooming in

Even a large sensor 40MP camera doesn't do too hot in the dark, though. This is where the Night mode really shines. It's a night and day difference, if you'd excuse the pun and it's certainly the most impressive bit about the P20 Pro camera.

Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: 40MP - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/17s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: 10MP - f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/-0s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: 40MP - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/25s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: 10MP - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/-3s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: 40MP - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/25s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: 10MP - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/-3s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro low-light samples: regular • night mode • regular • night mode • regular • night mode

Huawei touted its AI and its ability to pick the best settings for a scene. Disabling it definitely made a difference.

Testing the camera AI: on - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/60s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Testing the camera AI: off - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/60s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Testing the camera AI: on • off

We're less impressed with the 24MP selfie camera. We'll spend more time with it at home, but all of the photos we took are quite soft - apparently out of focus.

Huawei P20 Pro selfies - f/2.0, ISO 80, 1/50s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro selfies - f/2.0, ISO 160, 1/45s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro selfies

Finally, here are some more camera samples from the P20 Pro:

Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/900s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/543s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/189s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 250, 1/30s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 80, 1/60s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/90s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 Pro camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/-3s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 Pro camera samples

The camera relies on 4 different focusing technologies - you get laser AF, depth detection, contrast-detect AF, and phase detect AF. A dual-tone LED flash with color-temperature sensor is around, too.

This new setup allows for 3x optical zoom and up to 5x lossless hybrid zoom according to Huawei.

Huawei P20 and P20 Pro hands-on review

Other notable capabilities of this new setup include the jaw-dropping maximum ISO of 102,400. Instant autofocus on anything that's as close as 3 meters and screen off-to-shoot time of 0.3s. There is also this promise for incredible low-light shots at 1 lux, but we'll believe that when we see them.

Huawei P20

The Huawei P20 has a dual-camera setup similar to what we saw on the Huawei Mate 10 - the Leica Dual Camera v2.0 Pro. This means we're looking at a 12MP OIS color and a 20MP monochrome imager sitting behind f/1.6 lenses each.

Huawei P20 and P20 Pro hands-on review

Numbers might be deceiving though, as Huawei has actually upgraded the main 12MP sensor. Yes, the resolution is the same as before, but the sensor is now bigger at 1/2.3" and its pixels are among the largest around at 1.55µm. To put things in perspective the Mate 10's 12MP sensor is 1/2.9" large with 1.25µm pixel size.

The 12MP sensor on the P20 (probably Sony IMX378) is 61% larger than the iPhone X's 12MP one and 22% larger than the 12MP main snappers on the Galaxy S9 duo.

The 20MP monochrome is the same as before, though.

Check out these camera samples from the Huawei P20:

Huawei P20 camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/339s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/318s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 80, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 80, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/50s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 camera samples

We tried disabling the AI and got the same results:

Testing the camera AI: on - f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Testing the camera AI: off - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/50s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Testing the camera AI: on • off

The P20 dual camera performs well in the dark. It's not too far behind its Pro sibling and its fancier setup.

Huawei P20 in the dark - f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/1s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 in the dark - f/1.8, ISO 400, 1/25s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 in the dark

Sadly, the selfies were out of focus again.

Huawei P20 selfies - f/2.0, ISO 80, 1/100s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review Huawei P20 selfies - f/2.0, ISO 100, 1/33s - Huawei P20 P20 Pro Handson Camera2 review
Huawei P20 selfies

Huawei P20 and P20 Pro hands-on review

This dual-camera setup offers 2x hybrid zoom and will be capable of 720p@960fps slow-mo video capturing.

Reader comments

  • Brian South Africa

We just bought the porche design phone and great phone, one of the best we had BUT it uses 1 g b data in four days. We done the normal auto updates, etc we had in at the shop and they also tried but still the same. Anyone with some advice please

Not really fond of the notch, but the status icons sit in that artificial bezel, so you get a little bit of extra space.

  • AnonD-751630

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