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Huawei Mate 20 Pro – the world’s most advanced smartphone (update)
5.0Overall Score

The Mate 20 Pro is the latest in this tech giant’s quest for world smartphone dominance. It has a smartphone in every niche from value to flagship. And oh, what a flagship!

The Mate 20 Pro is the best flagship of 2018 by quite a margin. We suspect it will remain so for some time to come. Well, at least until the 2019 flagships arrive and frankly, they have much catching up to do. Let alone introduce as many innovations as Huawei has.

Update: HUAWEI Mate20 Pro Wins “Best Smartphone” at Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2019

The HUAWEI Mate20 Pro was named the “Best Smartphone” in recognition of its powerful performance, outstanding camera system, long battery life, innovative charging solutions and striking design. This coveted accolade serves as a testament to Huawei’s leading technologies and its commitment to delivering the best products and user experiences to consumers around the world.

GadgetGuy uses a well-developed and robust paradigm to avoid the temptation to compare Huawei with Apple

Well, the latter is a closed iOS ecosystem, so it is not fair to compare with Android anyway. We use paradigms to ensure the absence of brand bias. We are 100% independent, we don’t charge for reviews, and we abide by a strict Journalist Code of Ethics. We are not bloggers paid to write reviews!!!

Let’s just say that the Flagship paradigm has been fine for every comer to date including Apple’s iPhone XS/Max.

That was until the Mate 20 Pro added several innovations like three rear cameras; two AI neural processors; a 7nm System-on-a-chip; huge 4200mAh battery, fast Qi wireless and mains charging; in-screen fingerprint, dual-band GPS; and a morphing User Interface to make it easy to set up the phone as pure Android, Apple and Samsung ‘like’. That is clever and makes it easy to switch.

I am sure Huawei engineers and designers all sat around a table with the aim of bettering every other smartphone and in the process added true innovation. I am in awe of what the Mate 30 Pro will bring. Huawei has set the pace, and it is nice to see it leading instead of nipping at the heels of good old US ingenuity.

We are not just talking about hardware innovation.

OPPO’s Find X pop-up cameraphone is a great example of that. Alternatively, as an extension of a smartphones use – Lenovo’s Motorola Z series and Moto Mods is a wonderful example of lateral thinking applied to solve multiple problems.

Think back for a moment. When did we see real smartphone innovation that didn’t involve gimmicky animated emojis? No, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro stands well out from the crowd in software and hardware.

What is the Huawei Mate 20 Pro?

  • A luscious 6.39”, 3120 x 1440, 19.5:9, a HDR10/+ screen with an in-glass fingerprint reader
  • 7nm Kirin 980 dual AI super system-on-a-chip
  • Blazingly fast LTE Cat 21 modem
  • 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, nm card expansion
  • Dual 4G SIM slots
  • Leica Triple rear camera with a 40MP main snapper
  • Huge 4,200mAh battery with fast Qi wireless and USB-C charging
  • Android 9 and EMUI 9
  • IP68 water resistance
  • $1,599 in midnight blue or black
  • Australian website here
Mate 20 Pro

Reducing the Mate 20 Pro to tech specs takes away from the holistic experience of a flagship smartphone. What we mean is how well the whole exceeds the sum of the parts.

The purpose of any review is to find out where the compromises are and if they are deal breakers. Spoiler alert – this phone could be selling for a few hundred dollars more, and it would still be well ahead on points. And, if budget is an issue the Mate 20 version (image above) is $1,099 and has a few acceptable compromises.

In the box

  • Handset Mate 20 Pro LYA-L29
  • USB-C Earbuds and mic
  • 40W Fast Charger 5V/2A, 9V/2AS or 10V/4A
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • Protective clear plastic bumper cover
  • USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone DAC adapter (to get over no 3.5mm audio port)

The first impression

I am a bloke. I tend to buy big black phones. The midnight blue, however, is most appealing so consider it over the boring black.

Mate 20 Pro

OK, there is the Notch (I am not a fan of notches – ruins the symmetry) that contains a 24MP, 3D Depth Sensing camera. Huawei cleverly offers to turn the notch into a black top information bar. And it has one of the world’s first in-glass fingerprint readers – invisible!

The back has an upper-middle, 2×2 square camera with a slight bump to protect the three lenses and the flash. I found that position far more useful and less prone to finger intrusion over say the Apple and OPPO top left camera placement.

Huawei says the Hyper Optical glass rear finish is to increase grip and reduce fingerprints – it works far better than straight Gorilla Glass.

On the right below the volume rocker is the power/lock key. If you are not careful you can press the lock key instead of the volume rocker – that is why it is red.