Huawei P20

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 4/5

Not to be outdone by a certain rival’s direct leap from model 8 to 10 (or X), Huawei went from P10 to P20 with its latest mobile release. But does it reflect a similar move in terms of the tech? Launched earlier this month, the P20 and P20 Pro phones are the Chinese manufacturer’s newest flagship series.

The Financial Mail reviewed the P20 Pro, which incorporates a third lens on the rear of the camera for a triple-lens system that is grabbing all the attention from tech media — and rightly so.

The P20 Pro has achieved the highest DxOMark score for cellphone cameras. DxOMark is a respected independent company that ranks cameras based on the amount of information captured by a lens, as well as how the lens and camera perform together.

Right now, the P20 Pro is its top-scoring mobile device (with a score of 109), followed by the P20 (with 102, despite the lack of that third lens). The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus is third, followed by Google’s Pixel 2 and Apple’s iPhone X.

The triple-lens system means sharp, detailed images with excellent contrast, vastly more light and better zoom. The P20 Pro is particularly impressive in low light.

And it’s not just the lens doing the hard work. Huawei has incorporated artificial intelligence into the camera workings to recognise objects and adjust to conditions (such as stabilising for a long-exposure shot), so you really can take spectacular snaps.

The only downside is that the lenses create a bump on the rear of the device, meaning the phone rests on these when placed on its back.

So is it all bigger and better? There are some areas that haven’t out-specced the competition. The P20 Pro offers an OLED screen of 6.1 inches with full HD rather than Quad HD as embraced by some. To the naked eye, the screen is more than up to the task — with remarkable clarity and vivid colour.

It uses a Hisilicon Kirin 970 chipset, which is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 but just slightly underperforms it in benchmarking. The P20 Pro fights its way back with its whopping 4,000mAh battery that will get you through the day and into the next in typical use.

And price? A cash price of R15,499 isn’t cheap, but it’s not as expensive as some competing flagships when they first hit the market. There is also a P20 Lite device in the series.