Price (RRP): $1099
The Huawei P20 Pro arguably has the best smartphone camera on the planet right now. The question is how good is it as a smartphone? Holistically?
We start (and end) reviews very much in a positive frame of mind. Our goal is to identify the P20 Pro differences and innovations that make it special. That is the glass-half-full attitude of GadgetGuy.
Just how much difference is there between say, the Samsung Galaxy S9+, HTC U12 Pro, Google Pixel 2 XL, Sony XZ2, LG V30+ ThinQ (or V7), or for that matter OPPO’s edgy Find X? I am not leaving Apple iPhone 8/X out – it is just that we need to compare Androids with Androids.
Spoiler alert. Yes, it has the best camera to date (with some minor caveats). But as a flagship smartphone other options can do a little more. It comes down to your needs. We can say the Huawei P20 Pro will not disappoint. Read on.
Review Huawei P20 Pro Model CLT-L09
The CLT-L09 is the ‘global’ dual sim version of the P20 Pro line-up. It has certification to operate on Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australian networks. Industry gossip is that the cost of certification to meet all three carrier’s requirements is well north of $250,000 per model.
None of the carriers sells it showing just how full the flagship space is. In fact, Telcos are drastically reducing the number of brands/models to essentially the top two (Samsung and Apple) and perhaps one or two lower/mid-market brands.
That creates distribution dilemmas for most smartphone makers.
The dilemma is that the only safe place to buy Huawei is an official retailer – either online at Huawei, or in a retail store at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman.
Pretty well everywhere else is selling a grey market, parallel import of an overseas model. There are many variants
- CLT-L09C –Australia (Carrier lock so there is hope a Telco will pick it up)
- CLT-L29 – Global dual sim
- CLT-L29C – Global dual sim
- CLT-L0J – Japan
- CLT-L01J – Japan (Carrier lock)
- CLT-T01 – Hong Kong (CDMA and carrier lock)
- CLT-TL01 – Hong Kong and South East Asia
- CLT-AL00 – China Telecom / China Unicom (CDMA)
- CLT-AL01 – China Mobile (Carrier lock and CDMA)
- CLT-L04 – Canada
- CLT-L04C – Canada (Carrier lock)
Also, Huawei must provide over 70 regional firmware that are independent of the variants/sub-models of the P20 Pro. Australia has C706 firmware. Source: xda-developers.
The main differences with overseas models are fewer LTE bands (and that mainly affects Telstra coverage), dual or single sim, 64/128/256GB and CDMA.
Why am I making such a fuss? Because parallel imports don’t have Huawei Australian warranty (meaning you deal with the company you bought it from), and often only work adequately on the Optus network. I hope you get the message.
In the box – Huawei P20 Pro
- P20 Pro
- Smartphone clear cover
- Screen protector film
- Hi-resolution USB-C digital earbud/mic
- Proprietary Huawei fast charger 4.5V/5A, 5V/4.5A, 5V/2A
- USB-C to USB-A cable (may be proprietary to the fast charger)
- USB-C to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
The first impression is an 18:9 ‘glass slab’ with a very Samsung’esque’ Galaxy S7 front fingerprint reader.
The review unit is coloured Twilight. Its purplish hue changes colours as you move it. Very stylish and the fashion conscious should love it. Interestingly Samsung tells me its Lilac Purple S9+ outsells all other colours.
Huawei also has a P20 model. The main differences are 4GB RAM, 5.8-inch ISP LCD screen, dual camera 12/20MP (no third lens but bigger 1.55um pixels) and 3440mAh battery.