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One year with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro: still a top smartphone

huawei mate 20 pro 1 year
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Just under a year ago (October 16, 2018, to be precise), Huawei unveiled the Mate 20 Pro, so I've been using this smartphone for almost a year. A long enough time to take stock of what was considered one of the best smartphones when it was released. Is it still holding up well against the competition in 2019? Are there any technical problems? Here's everything I liked and disliked about the phone.

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Excellent design and comfort at all times

I admit, I'm superficial when it comes to a smartphone. I don't like to protect my device with a case (which is sometimes a serious mistake). And on this point, the Mate 20 Pro is perfectly successful. The design is something subjective but for me, the Huawei smartphone is still just one of the prettiest smartphones on the market today.

The smartphone has pretty curved curves on the sides and keeps a rather compact size with its 6.39-inch screen. Thus, the Mate 20 does not reach the gigantic sizes of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max or Huawei P30 Pro. As a result, handling it feels excellent.

Certainly, the smartphone has a notch more than visible and the device may seem too ugly on the front for some of the more bezel-less screen enthusiasts like my colleague Shu. But it is also a security issue because the smartphone incorporates 3D facial recognition, which is extremely effective even in poorer lighting conditions.

huawei mate 20 pro 04
The notch is not discreet but facial recognition is at its best / © NextPit

What about photos and battery life?

I use my smartphone a lot and the camera is a feature I appreciate: three focal lengths, resolution up to 40 megapixels: the Mate 20 Pro's triple camera is excellent. The speed of focusing, improved Artificial Intelligence, 5x zoom, and ultrawide-angle allow you to obtain very precise shots, even in low light situations. With the arrival of the new generation, the Mate 20 Pro can only blush with the results obtained in night mode and the slightly less powerful zoom.

The battery life of the Mate 20 Pro is also always excellent. I've never been disappointed here, if what you're looking for is a smartphone with good autonomy that, with intensive use, only needs to visit the charging in the evening before going to bed, the Mate 20 Pro is a good choice, and the battery charging speed is also important. Thanks to the 40 Watt charger supplied in the box, the Huawei phone can be recharged from 0 to 70 percent in 30 minutes.

huawei mate 20 pro 10
Some people made fun of the Mate 20 Pro's camera module, but other manufacturers, including Apple, did the same / © NextPit

A fingerprint reader under the capricious screen

On the other hand, if there is one thing I don't like about this device, it is the fingerprint reader under the screen. Despite Huawei's software updates, it still takes some time to unlock the phone. The Chinese manufacturer had opted for this solution for aesthetic reasons but also to innovate. However, on this occasion, Huawei lost sight of the interest of users and favored the new, mainly for marketing reasons, technology in my opinion. The scanner is quite imprecise and sometimes it is necessary to try it several times to get into your phone.

If aesthetically the result is successful, I am skeptical about its effectiveness on the Mate 20 Pro's fingerprint scanner

In short, the user experience is rather bad and I came to miss a regular fingerprint sensor that we see on much more affordable smartphones. Facial recognition may be excellent, but that was no reason to choose a reader like this.

EMUI is sometimes annoying

One thing is certain: the EMUI system is fast on a daily basis, and the Mate 20 Pro does not show any signs of weakness at a software level, even after a year spent with it. However, the software is not perfect, as my colleague Steffen pointed out during his first assessment after 100 days, the Mate 20 Pro's software interface, although fast, still suffers at times from too aggressive application management for multitasking. The smartphone closes applications under the pretext of saving battery power in a direct and random way. I have missed messages sent to the Telegram messaging app, dor example. To avoid this type of inconvenience, you must go to the settings to remedy this concern. Too bad.

The other unknown on this device concerns future updates. Trump's ban on American telecommunications companies from working with so-called "high-risk" Chinese companies does not make Huawei's work in this area any easier. The Mate 20 Pro obviously has Google certification and Huawei has promised that the smartphone will benefit from Android 10 and security updates, we can always doubt the situation. As the conflict between China and the USA has not yet been resolved, a new episode even more unfavorable to the Chinese manufacturer cannot be ruled out, unfortunately.

huawei mate 20 pro 03
While the Mate 20 Pro is very easy to handle, the same cannot be said for the fingerprint reader below the screen / © NextPit

Conclusion: Should you buy a Huawei Mate 20 Pro today?

I had been seduced when I got out of the device and my use for a year only confirmed my first impression. The Mate 20 Pro is an excellent everyday companion. With the price drop it has suffered and the release of the Mate 30 Pro which is still pending, the Huawei smartphone is one of the best deals of 2019.

Of course, you will have to make a compromise with the presence of the larger notch, a fingerprint reader under the screen or the absence of the P30 Pro's 10x optical zoom, but I'm not sure these small details are worth the difference of 300 pounds or more that separates the Mate 20 Pro from some of its competitors.

If you have any questions about this smartphone, feel free to ask them in the comments. If you have also purchased a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, feel free to share your experience with us.

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Pierre Vitré

Pierre Vitré
Head of Content

Pierre has a strong passion for new technologies and mobile since its first StarTac. Android user since 2011, Pierre became totally hooked. He never leaves his smartphone and smartwatch and still believes in the success of Google Glass. That's why he joined to be the head of content.

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  • 1
    R S Mathur Sep 30, 2019 Link to comment

    The Mate 20 Pro is a great phone. I only wish Huawei would release security updates , and firmware upgrades in a timely manner. I'm still on the August Security update and yet to receive DC Dimming feature.

  • 1
    Crazy Willy Sep 30, 2019 Link to comment

    I have a mate 20 x and think it is the best smart phone I have ever owned. With it's rear finger print reader I can open the phone easily and it works instantly 100 %of the time.
    I wanted a large screen so I could read books and watch videos and this is perfect. This is my 3rd Huawei phone and I have also owned 3 of their tablets.
    Bill USA

  • 1
    Honk Sep 30, 2019 Link to comment

    I have been using the Mate 20 pro for nine months. Still working with the camera to get new shots (portrait is awesome!). Started with the Mate 9 Pro three years ago, the Mate 10 pro two years ago, and plan to stay with the 20 pro until the dust has settled on Google VS Huawei.

  • 1
    chiarusha Sep 29, 2019 Link to comment

    Have been using my mate 20 pro for 5 months now.

    Its a good phone. Camera is top class.
    Its a very fast phone with a battery that lasts for a day and a half.

    Fast charging and future proof.
    With rooting it and customizing the kernel.
    And it has google apps!

  • 1
    huaweimatelover Sep 29, 2019 Link to comment

    I've been using my Mate 20 pro for a few months now, in fact I opted to switch to the Note 10 and found myself going back to my Pro, I did try the Mate 20 X for a little while but I just found it to be too large a phone and missed the LED notification light and the wireless charging which the Mate 20 Pro has.. As I am not a fan of iPhone, the Mate 20 Pro is my weapon of choice, only thing I feel that let's it down is the fingerprint scanner as it can take a few times (sometimes) to unlock the phone itself, but the sleek design of the phone and the powerful camera outweighs most phones on the market currently.

  • 1
    motocrosser Sep 29, 2019 Link to comment

    I an thinking of buying a Mate 20 pro and would like to know if the green screen issue has been solved?
    Thanks for the review.

  • 1
    Axon7fold Sep 29, 2019 Link to comment

    I never hear any praise for the mate 20,only the pro. Personally I think the mate 20 amateur is awesome

    • 1
      Riaan Van Der Merwe Sep 30, 2019 Link to comment

      Is there much difference between the two phones P20 pro and lite? As I have the Lite

  • marco sarli 39
    marco sarli
    • Admin
    Sep 29, 2019 Link to comment

    One year seems a long time nowadays but I would like to see something built to last many years.

  • 11
    Chris Laarman Sep 28, 2019 Link to comment

    I have had my Mate 20 Pro for some half year now (after the Honor View 10 revived my trust in the battery life of Android smartphones; I use them alternatingly).

    However, GPS logging drains its battery quicker than that of my iPhones.

    In general, I can hardly choose a single smartphone when leaving home: my acting Huawei or my acting iPhone.

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