The hole in the display seems to be the main focus of all the buzz around the new Honor View20. Honor's newly launched device on the international market once again focuses on the multimedia experience, but Sony's 48MP camera with IMX586 sensor almost seems to take a back seat compared to the question of design: the front camera placement.
New year, new trends?
A year ago, the notch sparked a real uproar. And that's regardless of the brand and device in question. Among the devotees of the iPhone to the always active community of OnePlus, passing through the fans of Huawei and Google: many have hated it, some have appreciated it, but all have commented. Even the more discreet teardrop design hasn't won many hearts.
The View20 takes to the catwalk for the 2019 winter collection with something new (even if announced by the endless rumors leaked prior): a small hole located on the upper left corner of the screen. Small and discreet. New year, new trend?
Even more display space
It may be too early to call this the next industry-defining trend (don't forget, however, the Samsung Galaxy A8s and the latest rumors about the Galaxy S10), but the choice to introduce "the hole" meets the need to leave more and more space to the display, eliminating any kind of frame (and notch) without opting for a pop-up mechanism for the front camera as some brands have done. Moreover, by not completely penetrating the 18-layer screen, even the quality of the selfies is not compromised.
But what does this 4.5mm diameter hole mean in the end? Its presence on the left moves the notification and status bar icons. The Chinese brand's apps fit this new design but in the case of third-party apps, in some cases, you'll see a black bar appear (if you have a smartphone with a notch, you already know what I'm talking about). Optimization of apps in this direction could come in the future, especially if Samsung's future flagship store integrates the hole.
However, I would say that overall the presence of this small hole does not limit the experience with the device: to watch a video on YouTube in full screen, for example, just zoom in and the black frames disappear. During the game in landscape mode, you will forget about the hole because it is hidden by your hand. Personally, the notch has never bothered me so much but with this move, Honor does better justice to the large Full View display with which the View20 is equipped.
Don't get too excited, the death of the notch has yet to come
Despite its more discreet and elegant look, the hole will probably not take the place of the notch. The notch offers more space, leaving room for a number and type of different sensors needed to enable functions such as precise face recognition. Honor's solution on the View20 is likely to be found on other devices from the brand and those from other manufacturers, but not on all new smartphones.
One of the best smartphones of 2019?
With the View20, Honor is looking to pack everything into one device: sleek, slim body, 25MP front camera, Sony's 48MP rear camera with 1/2" CMOS sensor, the 7nm Kirin 980 processor that has already proven to be a strong racehorse on the Mate 20 Pro, and even the mini headphone jack, for anyone who doesn't want to give up wired headphones, selfie sticks and gimbals. It is one of the few remaining to offer this feature still so much loved by users.
In practice, too, the View20 convinces, surpassing the Mate 20 Pro in the benchmark tests and in terms of range. However, it does not do so with the rear camera: the idea of aiming for a single 48MP sensor is there, but the results, although appreciable, I do not find them up to the last two flagships from Huawei.
Interesting is the presence of the ToF 3D camera that allows you to scan objects in real time, to turn your smartphone into a game console and, above all, shows how Honor is looking to the future and focused on a young target market that will have to engage, if not now, more and more often with AR. Integrating this camera instead of a more common dual or triple camera is part of a conscious choice, the intent to show the progress, potential and innovation of Honor itself is clear.
The Chinese producer has staged a View20 that almost acts as a flag. The company's new flagship store faces competition head-on, looks to the future and continues to focus on a young audience. As George Zhao said during the group interview held in Paris after the launch event, it's important to integrate new technologies that users can really use (you don't find the fingerprint reader under the screen on the View20 because in the end the one on the body is faster and more appreciated).
Too bad then for just one thing: the price. Honor has to scale its appeal of good value for money with its ambitions to climb ever higher up the premium ladder, and we're still not sure if the View20 gets the balance right. The device starts £499 for the 6/128 GB version in the UK, and about 550 euros for the same specs in Europe. Yes, we may be getting used to high flagship prices, but the View20 still lacks some ingredient to ask for a similar figure in return: IP68 certification, wireless charging and a stabilized camera. Ingredients that are not essential for all palates, certainly, and that are easy to overlook on a cheaper handset, but without them, the View20 lacks the premium flavor of its top-range competitors.
What do you think about the View20? Is Honor going in the right direction?