HONOR 20 Pro: raising the bar for smartphone low-light photography
One of the hottest topics in the smartphone industry in 2019 is undoubtedly the launch of the HONOR 20 Pro in Paris in May.
This smartphone brought a plethora of world’s firsts onto the table when it was announced, attracting attention from mass media and smartphone aficionados alike.
Following the trend of previous HONOR Number series, the HONOR 20 Pro is a smartphone that comes with trendy looks and unmatched power, especially in the camera department.
From the HONOR Number series’ early two-camera setup, to triple cameras, and now quadruple cameras, HONOR 20 Pro is set to raise the bar once again in smartphone photography, especially in the low-light department.
Let us bring this beast of a smartphone under the spotlight to see what camera tricks it has under its sleeves, shall we? Let’s go!
Ranked 2nd in DxOMark with an overall score of 111
If you are into smartphone photography, DxOMark shouldn’t come foreign to you, as it is one of the, if not THE most authoritative smartphone photography reviewers in the industry.
After their rigorous and thorough testing of the HONOR 20 Pro, they awarded the smartphone with an overall score of 111, coming in 2nd in all of the phone cameras they have tested, just behind the Huawei P30 Pro.
In their review, DxOMark stated that “The Honor 20 Pro makes it very close to the top of our DxOMark Mobile ranking, thanks to good Photo and Video performances across the board and no significant areas of weakness.”
Industry-leading f/1.4 aperture + Ultra-sensitive ISO + custom-made Sony IMX 586 sensor
A glimpse at the spec sheet of HONOR 20 Pro, and it becomes obvious why this smartphone excels in what it does best.
The main snapper is none other than the famous Sony IMX 586 48MP sensor, but the one on the 20 Pro is custom-made by Sony specifically for this smartphone.
This particular camera module is coupled with the world’s first and industry-leading f/1.4 aperture, with 4-axis Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), and of course the 586’s admirable Quad-Bayer pixel-binning technology.
The extra-large aperture allows up to 50% more light to pass through the lens onto the sensor, thus enabling excellent photo output, especially low-light photos.
In the latest Over-the-Air (OTA) update, HONOR 20 Pro procured the ability to achieve 204800 ISO sensitivity, which is leagues above the average highest-supported 10000 ISOs on other flagship smartphones nowadays. With this level of ISO, the Pro has yet another trump card in the night scene game.
The other 3 cameras in the quad-cam setup is a 16MP f/2.2 Ultra-wide camera, 8MP optically-stabilised f/2.4 zoom camera, and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens for close-up shots.
Needless to say, this camera kit is very versatile and is undoubtedly one of the highest specs one can get in their smartphones.
Enough of all the tech smack, let’s get on to the actual photo samples.
As seen from the comparison shots above against the most expensive smartphones in the market, HONOR 20 Pro managed to surpass the competition by a huge margin.
In low light scenic photos, HONOR 20 Pro is able to retain much better details and exposure, while keeping the whites in check, while the competitor struggles to keep up in either aspect.
When shooting objects, the competitor once again is crippled by the lack of light, losing focus on the flower. On the other hand, the Pro handled it like a champ, not only does the end result delivers a much brighter image, but also captures more details on the background and the flower, while keeping the focus where it should be.
In order to compensate for the light shortage in night shots, most smartphones and digital cameras will extend the exposure time to capture more light. It is a reasonable decision, until something starts to move in the frame.
As shown from this fountain shot, longer exposure will cause dynamic objects to blur. Notice how the water drops from the water jet became a blurry water fog.
As for the HONOR 20 Pro, it is able to keep the motion blur to a minimum.
Dual-OIS Stabilisation + Dual ISP，Dual NPU AI
As mentioned above, the main camera and zoom camera on the HONOR 20 Pro are optically stabilised across 4 axis.
Powering the HONOR 20 Pro is the flagship 7nm Kirin 980, which is coupled with dual image signal processors (ISP) and Dual Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for sophisticated AI processes.
This, in turn, gives the Pro an edge in recognising scenes, photo optimisations, HDR-stacking and AI-powered image processing.
An all-around solid performer with quad-camera setup, flagship internals, and long-lasting battery
Besides reigning supreme in the low-light photography department, HONOR 20 Pro also excels in its versatility, giving DSLR cameras a run for its money.
Up first is the OIS-enabled telephoto 3x zoom camera. This module provides up to 5x hybrid zoom and 30x digital zoom, which is very useful when it comes to capturing distant objects.
OIS also effectively solves the common problem of blurry photos caused by hand shaking when using zoom lenses.
Ultra-wide cameras are always appreciated by photographers for their ability to capture more under the same condition. On HONOR 20 Pro, the ultra-wide camera provides just that, while also capable of eliminating the barrel effect on the edges of the photos caused by the ultra-wide lens, thanks to the powerful AI working behind the scenes.
Last but definitely not least, is the innovative 2MP macro lens, which is still relatively rare (and expensive) in smartphones officially available in Malaysia.
This particular camera can shoot objects as close as 4cm, and is certainly a blessing to have when users are in need of shooting macro photos.
Cameras aside, HONOR 20 Pro also packs a punch in raw performance. With a 7nm Kirin 980 onboard, teamed up with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, this smartphone is easily on the top-end of the spectrum.
Feature-wise, the MagicUI 2.1 that the HONOR 20 Pro runs on, provides a smorgasbord of innovative functions and optimisations, such as X-BT Bluetooth technology which is capable of up to 200m of connectivity, GPU Turbo 3.0, and more.
Powering all these is a 4000 mAh battery that supports HONOR SuperCharge 22.5W fast-charging tech, while the core components are constantly cooled by a graphene cooling sheet, maximising the phone’s battery efficiency.
HONOR 20 Pro is an obvious upgrade in most aspects to the already impressive HONOR 20.
The smartphone sports trendy industrial design, powerful performance, incredible battery endurance, and unmatched photography excellence.
What’s more, the Pro expected to launch with a very attractive price tag. If you want the best performing shooter in its price range, the HONOR 20 Pro is a no-brainer.
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