Huawei Mate 20 Review : Water Drop Notch Display with Triple Leica Camera

Huawei Mate 20 was announced back in October 2018 alongside with Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Mate 20 RS. We are glad to review the new Huawei Flagship Smartphone Mate 20.

Unboxing

Mate 20 comes with a pretty simple box. Inside the box, we get a Mate 20 6GB + 128GB variant, a TPU case, a USB Type C cable, Sim Card Injector, a 3.5mm earbuds and a 4.5A/5V SuperCharge Charger.

Design

Mate 20 comes with dual-glass metal frame. At the front is a 2.5D glass protected by Gorilla Corning. The display is a 6.53″ RGBW HDR IPS LCD that carries 1080 x 2244 px resolution translate into 381ppi and waterdrop notch on the top. On top of the notch is a very sim bezel with spotted the speaker grill. Both edges of the screen are almost bezelless. At the bottom of the display is a 3mm bezel.

On the bottom of the phone is where the primary speaker located with. USB type C located at the usual spot at the middle of the metal frame. The primary mic can be seen at the side of the USB C port. Moving to the top of the device, a 3.5mm audio port which support FM radio, an IR blaster and mic holes.

The volume rocker is located on the right of the frame. The power button is painted in mild red and located at the bottom of the volume button. Moving the left of is a hybrid sim card tray. The sim card tray come with rubber at the edge. Mate 20 supports two Nano-sim standby. If you need additional storage, the sim 2 slot can be replacing with Huawei inhouse Nano Memory card with is almost have the exact side like Nano sim.

Moving to the back is where all the focus about. Leica Triple camera is design in a square of 2×2 along side with the dual tone LED flash light. The fingerprint scanner is located just below the triples lenses which also mean Mate20 did not ship with under display fingerprint scanner like Mate 20 Pro. The back-glass panel is now come with vinyl design that comes with matte finishing between the line. The vinyl is a good addition to the design and it added some grip to prevent the phone from “too” slippery.

Mate 20 is measured 158.2 x 77.2 x 8.3 mm in size. As compare to Mate 10, Mate 20 is equally wide and thick but is 8mm longer. Mate 20 weight at about 188gm. After holding both phone in hands, we feel like Mate 20 is more comfort on hand as the edges of back grass come with bigger angle of curve. Using Mate 20 using one hand is not possible, but fingers are difficult to reach the whole display.

Display

Mate 20 features a 6.53” IPS LCD. It is larger and taller than Mate 10. However, the resolution is now 1080p instead of 1440P. The PPI (Pixels per inch) is now reduce from 499 to 381 density. Switching from Mate 10 to Mate 20 The screen of Mate 20 has the same configuration as the Mate 10, the same RGBW underlying matrix, HDR10-certified and support larger DCI-P3 colour space.

By default, Mate 20 comes set on vivid options, and there are three color modes, Default, Warm, and Cold. The display is capable to hit 780 nits in bright light under auto setting and as low as 1.4nits at dark.

Overall, Mate 20 is a decent display, of course some of us may prefer OLED over LCD. Mate 20 display is comfortable under sunlight and in the dark. The colour reproduction and accuracy is fine too.

Speakers

Just like Mate 20 Pro, Mate 10 Pro and P20 Pro, Mate 20 comes with the same stereo speakers. We could prefer a second dedicated speaker instead of the tiny squeaky earpiece.

The stereo effects is still poor especially the bottom speaker fire up at higher volume while the earpiece fire at lower volume. The loudness is pretty good, but we found that Mate 10 has louder volume.

Battery

Mate 20 have the exact same battery’s capacity as Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. It is powered by a large 4,000mAh battery that support SuperCharge at 5V/4.5A. From Zero, it took 30minutes to filled up 58% of the juice and about 93 minutes to reach 100%.

With mix of WiFi & Mobile Data, we manage to hit 5 and the half Screen On Time (SOT). It is enough for daily usage without needed to charge in between the day & night.

Software 

Mate 20 runs on the latest Android 9 Pie and Huawei in house EMUI 9.0. The software surface is clean. EMUI 9.0 comes with GPU TURBO 2.0 and it is now supporting more games than ever. The games supported by GPU Turbo include PUBG Mobile, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, NBA 2k18, Rules of Survival, Arena of Valor, and Vainglory. More are expected to join this list soon. Password Vault is the new feature found in the latest EMUI.

Navigation dock is now come with full screen gesture. Three option available, Gestures, Three-key navigation and Navigation dock. The Gestures work like IOS. Swipe from the side to middle as Back key, swipe up from the bottom to go home, Swipe up from the bottom and pause to enter recent task, and Swipe from the corner to access Google Assistant.

EMUI Easy Projection is now getting wireless support. You can now browse in desktop mode via wifi connection, without docks. There are two easy projection mode, Phone Mode and PC Mode. The PC mode is a good to have feature. The PC mode is still a little sluggish.

Performance

Mate 20 powered by latest Huawei in-house processor HiSilicon’s Kirin 980 chip. The soc is the first Android Chipset built on 7nm manufacturing process. It promises a a powerful yet efficiency performance.  Kirin 980 consisted an 8-core CPU design of 2x high-performance Cortex-A76 cores running at 2.6GHz and 2x Cortex-A76 cores clocked at 1.92GHz and 4x power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores that go up to 1.8GHz

Kirin 980 includes Mali-G76 MP10 GPU offers good performance and power efficiency. Kirin 980 support 2133MHz LPDDR4X memory. The Dual Brain Power refers to new dedicated dual NPU Chip which is 120% faster than last year Kirin 970. The new ISP (Image Signal Processor) deliver better multi-camera support that offer 46% increase in performance.

Benchmarks

Mate 20 is now one of the most powerful Android devices. According to GeekBench result, Huawei Mate 20 is top of the table with 9793 multicore score and second on the table just behind Samsung Note 9 with 3401 singlecore score. While for Antutu, Mate 10 reach a tremendous of 300k score with is above most of the Snapdragon 845 devices.

Androbench shows Mate 20 has excellent storage score up to 908.55MB/S sequential read and 185.86MB/S sequential write. Mate 20 is about 100MB/S faster than its predecessor in term of storage performance.

Camera

Mate 20 comes with similar camera lenses like the siblings Mate 20 Pro and Mate 20 X, but the lenses are different in configuration. It has a 12MP main sensor behind f/1.8 lens, an 8MP cam with f/2.2 telephoto lens, and a 16MP snapper with f/2.2 17mm ultra-wide-angle lens. The monochrome shooter which is the signature of Leica is now gone. What next missing on Mate 20 is Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and the 80mm zoom lens for the telephoto. That means Mate 20 is without OIS instead rely on AIS (Artificial Image Synthesis/Stabilisation) and EIS (Electronic Image stabilisation) which is a step down from Mate 10. Mate 20 support up to 2x optical zoom as well.

Under aperture mode, the depth of field effect is great. The object look 3D. Post image processing enhance the picture to another level, include adding effect such as grey depth field and highlight the key focus object.Mate 20 offers great low light performance. Under the Handheld night mode, without the OIS support, Mate 20 still manage to produce good image with the AIS support. Another great feature is the Slow-mo, it supports up to 32x or 960fps either under AUTO mode or Manual mode.

Auto Mode
Wide Aperture Mode with Grey Depth Effect
Night Mode
Wide Angle Night Mode

Mate 20 capable of capture 4K UHD resolution under H.265 or H.264 format. Under 1080p resolution it supports up to 60 fps. The video has the option with 0.6x, 1x and 2x zoom. The video quality is good but still lack of sharpness, perhaps upcoming software update will give a big bump.

The front facing camera of Mate 20 loads with a 24MP f/2.0 with 26mm wide angel fixed focus. With single lenses selfie, Mate 20 manage to do portraits with various effect. The dynamic range is turned on by default with its AI engine. Overall the selfie camera is great under good sunlight, and under low light condition, it utilized the screen back light act as “flash”.

Something Missing

What we found missing in the Mate 20 is as below:

  • Lack of IP 68 rating protection against water & dust.
  • Downgraded from QHD display resolution to FHD+ resolution
  • Lack of 40W Super Charge 2.0
  • Main camera lack of OIS
  • No auto focus on selfie camera
  • No dedicated second stereo speaker
  • Only support NM cards for memory expansion

Huawei Mate 20 Spec

  • Body: Aluminum frame, glass back with curvy edges
  • Display: 6.53-inch, 1080×2244; 18.7:9 aspect ratio; IPS LCD; 381PPI
  • Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), 1/2.3″ + 16 MP, f/2.2, 17mm (ultrawide) + 8 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), single LED flash, 4K30 video
  • Front Camera: 24 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide), 1080p30 video
  • Operating System: Android Pie 9.0 Oreo, EMUI 9.0
  • Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 980, 2+2+4 big.LITTLE CPU Octa-core (2×2.6 GHz Cortex-A76 & 2×1.92 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55)
  • GPU: Mali-G76 MP10
  • Memory: 6GB LPDDR4 RAM, 128GB UFS2.1 expandable storage via Hybrid SIM 2 (NM card)
  • Battery: 4000mAh, Super Charge 1.0 support 5V4.5A
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (hybrid), VoLTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, A-GPS, USB-C 2.0, headphone jack
  • Misc: Stereo loudspeaker, IR Blaster, Rear fingerprint sensor

Final Verdict

Huawei Mate 20 is among the siblings that carry the most affordable price tag. Overall our we have satisfactory experience using Huawei Mate 20. Huawei Mate 20 has great camera performance with less camera features compare to Mate 20 Pro & Mate 20 X. Mate 20 is the among the most practical device among the series. It has the right size, non-curvy display, 3.5mm headphone in-jack which is great for day to day usage. If you are not someone looking for curvy display and huge 7inch phablet, Mate 20 will probably be your preference flagship of 2018.