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The Huawei P20 Pro (Check on Amazon.com) is a fantastic product. The first thing you will notice is its colors, a statement of courage, in a world dominated by rules always written by the usual suspects (Apple, Samsung). The second is the triple-sensor rear camera that shoots, under certain conditions, the best photos out there. And then there’s the Artificial Intelligence, which is more than a marketing gimmick.
In short, we will admit that the Huawei P20 Pro isn’t better than its two direct rivals, the iPhone X (Check on Amazon.com) and the Galaxy S9 (Check on Amazon.com), but among these three it will certainly give you the most bang for your buck.
In the package, you will find a 4.5A supercharger (for really fast charging), a USB/USB-C cable, good USB-C headphones, and a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack.
The P20 Pro’s beauty is to die for, with that Twilight back cover and the colors that change depending on the light – a truly courageous choice. It weighs 180g, but it comes with a 4,000mAh battery that can last more than a day.
The glass shell curves and converges towards the sides, making the device easier to grip. The fingerprint reader on the bottom lip is an eyesore, it is the most functional but also really ugly. In addition, I rarely use it since face unlock is lightning fast.
The display is also beautiful. It measures 6.1 inches in diagonal and uses a format ratio of 18.7:9. It is an OLED, with all the advantages that come with that, like details, colors, fonts, and the image it produces is a true wonder. This is also the first Huawei phone with a notch. Some like it, and some don’t.
Same old but trusted Kirin 970
The Kirin 970 works great with Android 8.1, it is blazing fast, and multitasking isn’t a problem. I played a bunch of demanding games and the P20 Pro didn’t even break a sweat, also thanks to the 6GB of RAM.
Storage space is plenty (128GB), but it is not possible to expand it further since the tray can accommodate “only” two nano-SIMs.
Some might twist their noses for the presence of Bluetooth version 4.2 instead of 5.0, but it is a compromise that doesn’t have a real impact on my daily usage. The higher transfer speed (2Mbps vs 1Mbps) would be useful, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
The autonomy has me smiling
The excellent 4,000mAh unit gets me home most nights with at least a 30% remaining charge and that is with medium use and in dual-SIM configuration.
The strongest suit of the Huawei P20 Pro is its triple camera array. The main one sports a 40MP RGB sensor. The second one is a 20MP monochrome sensor, while the third 8MP one is used exclusively as a telephoto lens.
Under normal light conditions, the results are excellent. Default photo quality is “just” 10MP but with a lot of detail, very well balanced colors and an almost always perfect exposure – however, there is also a Pro mode, which allows you to force the camera to shoot at 40MP.
Artificial intelligence does a great job of recognizing each scene and regulate everything accordingly. The only flaw is that it maximizes color saturation by default, which sometimes makes the photos seem unnatural.
But where the Huawei P20 Pro truly shines is in low light conditions where the three aforementioned cameras work together and produce wonders especially in Night Mode: in this mode, the device takes a series of shots with different levels of exposure and combines them together to ensure the best result. It takes 4 to 6 seconds to complete the job.
The thing we like most is this smartphone’s ability to shoot both dark and bright areas, like the neon lights of a nightclub, with equal effectiveness, and without creating a blurry mess. In addition, the excellent optical stabilizer compensates for the inevitable hand tremor.
The Huawei P20 Pro can shoot videos both in 1080p and 4K. In FHD mode the result is great, with beautiful colors, excellent exposure and the aid of optical stabilization. In 4K, the stabilizer doesn’t work and the end result is slightly shaky. We also have a 960p Slow Motion function which is fun to play around.
In theory, the front-facing camera (with flash) should also produce wonders. Pictures look good and have good quality but in reality, don’t add up to what we would expect from a 24 sensor.
The ear capsule is not the most beautiful to look at, but it has the great advantage of housing a second speaker. It works in conjunction with the lower speaker and provides superior audio quality.
The Huawei P20 Pro sells for (Check on Amazon.com), a particularly competitive price.
Yes, we do recommend you to buy this P20 Pro, it’s worth every penny. If you have any doubts go see the photos it can shoot at night, and you won’t think twice.
The Huawei P20 Pro vs. the competition
Huawei P20 (Check on Amazon.com): the features that make the P20 Pro so magnificent are absent here. It is equipped with a 12-megapixel rear sensor instead of the 40MP one. There is no telephoto lens. The screen is LCD, the battery is smaller and it has less RAM. If photography is critical to you, buy the Pro.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ (Check on Amazon.com): the night photography of the P20 Pro is what puts this phone above the Galaxy S9 Plus. However, if shooting in low light conditions is not a priority for you, the faster performance and the better screen of the Galaxy S9 Plus makes it the better choice. The headphone jack and the microSD card slot on the S9 are also worth consideration.
Read more: Samsung Galaxy S9+ review
iPhone X (Check on Amazon.com): It has an amazing design. It also sports an ultra-powerful all-around processor and a brilliant camera for almost all shooting conditions. The iPhone also has an innovative 3D face unlock. The P20 Pro is still the one to beat in low light conditions, and it’s way cheaper.
Read more: iPhone X review
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL (Check on Amazon.com): The Pixel 2s were the kings of low light photography before the advent of the P20 Pro. On the other hand, the Pixel’s Android interface is cleaner.