The "1-Minute" Review
- No microSD support
- Clunky camera interface outside of auto
- No IP67 water-resistance
Offering all the power of their flagship model in a smaller, more affordable package, the Huawei P20 aims to provide a top-shelf experience at a fraction of the price. While it’s unlikely they’ll unseat the big names in smartphones, they’ve presented several compelling options before. Does the P20 keep this trend alive?
It features a thin, long rectangular design with a metal frame and glass back. Reviewers loved the iridescent color schemes available with their shifting colors and sheen. However, as with all phones with glass back panels, the P20 is a smudge and fingerprint magnet.
There’s also no 3.5mm jack -- a feature common on newer phones. But most newer phones claim it helps to improve water resistance. The P20 is only IP53 water resistant though -- so it won’t stand up to submersion or heavy exposure like much of its competition.
Around front, you’ll find a 5.8-inch 2244-by-1080 TFT LCD panel with a notch at the top and fingerprint scanner at the bottom. Many reviewers who weren’t fans of the notch on the iPhone X grew to like the one on the P20.
If you hate it, Huawei offers an option to hide it in a black bar on the screen.
The screen is a strong point on the phone. It’s plenty bright, has accurate colors, and is great from almost any angle. Reviewers also had no problem with adapting apps to the longer, slimmer aspect ratio of the screen. However, since it’s a TFT LCD, you won’t get quite the contrast in other flagships -- or the P20’s bigger sibling the P20 Pro -- with their AMOLED panels.
Huawei uses their own processors in many of their phones. The P20 sports a Kirin 970 octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM. Reviewers found it capable of keeping up with anything they threw at it. While it might not compete in the benchmarks with Samsung or Apple’s flagship phones, in real-world use no one had any complaints.
The phone runs Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.0 on top. While previous iterations of Huawei’s software made significant changes and piled on the bloatware, the latest version is more subdued. Reviewers liked the stock-like interface and found most of the bloatware could be uninstalled.
This is important since the 128GB of storage is all you get. There are no options for microSD expansion. Still, that’s a generous amount of space and will keep most users happy.
On paper, the dual lens rear camera with a 12MP RGB lens and 20MP lens for added detail and depth and 2x optical zoom and a massive 24MP front-facing lens looks like it should keep up with the competition.
Reviewers found that real-world performance was up to expectations. The AI-assisted camera modes made it easy to get great shots -- even in low-light. The analog zoom was great for getting up close shots. The front-facing lens took great selfies with balanced colors and detail that popped.
The only issue mentioned was that the camera app itself was rather cluttered and options were cumbersome to sort through. Fortunately, with the AI modes, they found they rarely needed to change things.
With a 3,400mAh battery and USB Type-C fast charging, you should never need to worry about running out of juice during the day. With the added power saving modes, you can stretch usage as far as 4 days on a single charge. However, for most a charge will last about a day and a half.
TechRadar reviewed the phone and said, “If you want a more affordable flagship that looks good and takes great photos, the P20 might be the phone for you.” Pocket-Lint was equally positive, saying, “It's compact, it's powerful, it has a lot to offer - and it's also looking like one of the highest quality devices that Huawei has built.”