One year with Huawei P20 Pro: aged like a fine wine
A year has passed since the launch of the Huawei P20 Pro and its successor is already on the market. But how is it doing today, considering the new competition? Battery, general performance, updates - that's what you need to know.
From one year to the next, the design of smartphones can change a lot. It is not the case, however, if we look at the devices released at the beginning of this year and those of 2018. In terms of design, materials and assembly, the P20 Pro does not look bad next to the competition and the P30 Pro itself maintains the same style even if it introduces some new features.
Compared to some of the latest devices on the market, the P20 Pro keeps the fingerprint reader on the front and not under the display but is still able to impress with its mirror body and ergonomics. It's not a compact smartphone, but in some cases, when compared to new devices always extending that display diagonal, it fits your hand better.
Among the cons remain the fingerprints easily visible on the body and the protruding camera compartment that makes the smartphone slip slightly when placed on a flat surface and showing some small scratches. The scratches are concentrated in the body, along the edges, but considering the falls it has faced in a year, overall I can say that the P20 Pro is not only a smartphone still fashionable, but also durable!
Updated and performing
The Huawei P20 Pro came to market with Android Oreo and EMUI 8.1. Today runs Android Pie and EMUI in version 9.0. The update to the latest Android version came at the end of 2018, normal for a flagship. The update has created in some cases a bit of confusion with some applications, small problems solved later. The security patches are currently updated to 1 March.
The P20 Pro still responds quickly to the opening of apps, with multitasking and does not disappoint in everyday use. The Kirin 970, supported by 6GB of RAM, does not seem to slow down the pace and the responsiveness is still one of its qualities. You won't regret the absence of the latest Kirin 980!
A great camera
The P20 Pro's triple camera, consisting of an 8MP sensor, 40MP RGB and 20MP monochrome, continues to be one of the best on the market. Taking good photos with the P20 Pro is also easy for users who don't like to make dedicated settings in manual mode.
The tip and click are good, the camera app is intuitive and fast, the AI can be turned off in case you prefer more natural colors. Excellent results in low light conditions, portraits with bokeh effect and black and white shots.
Sure, the P20 Pro lacks the wide angle lens, introduced on the Mate 20 Pro and P30 Pro but, despite this, it offers a great camera that can challenge the competition head-on. If you take a look at the DxO Mark ratings you can see that at the top of the ranking there is the latest Huawei flagship with 112 points, followed in second place by Mate 20 Pro, P20 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10+ all three with 109 points.
The 4000 mAh can still keep my P20 Pro alive for a day. When I use my smartphone a little less for video or with my camera, I can get there the next morning. Faced with the autonomy offered by its successor, which manages to stay alive for two days thanks to the 4200 mAh battery, the P20 Pro isn't quite as good but still falls within the norm.
I tested the battery again on PC Mark where it got a result of 12 hours and 46 minutes: the upgrade to Android Pie has slightly improved performance.
Is it worth buying the Huawei P20 Pro in 2019?
My answer is yes, it's worth it. If you are looking for a good top of the range, ergonomic, well made and able to offer good performance, you have found it for about 500 euros or 530 GBP. And the price is likely to drop further given the recent release of the P30 Pro. If the camera is also an important feature for you, with the P20 Pro you can put one of the best cameraphones on the market in your pocket. It costs a little more than the Xiaomi Mi 9, but the latter can't match it at night.
You'll have to compromise with the presence of the notch, more visible than the drip type adopted by many manufacturers in recent months but still deactivated by the settings, and a fingerprint reader positioned on the front that then steals some 'display. If you use wired headphones, you will miss the headphone jack but you will still have to get used to it, it is endangered.
For the rest, you'll find a smartphone that's beautiful to look at, pleasant to use, and equipped with some convenient features such as dual SIM and NFC. If you are comfortable with the interface of the house, the Huawei P20 Pro will not disappoint you.
Lots I like about mine, with two glaring deficiencies. I'm stuck on EMUI 8.0 and the best Huawei could suggest is to get a SIM card from another country to get it updated! Major fail there. I also hate EMUI, so strike 2. As long as they don't provide updates in the US, I'll pass on future Huawei devices.
If you want buy an Android device, I suggest Google Pixel or One Plus. Xiaomi smartphones are also great value for money. Xiaomi might not be available in your country but they are expanding, growing fast even amid slowdowns. So is Oneplus. These are very good smartphones. Stock Android running on good hardware with regular updates is very nice. MIUI is one of the better Android skins, not bad, though intrusive, in case you decide not to buy Xiaomi's Android One smartphones.
My P20 Pro is running Android 9 but the security update is 1st November.Tells me my phone is up to date..Loads of complaints on Huawei UK forum on how slow they are with security updates
It is true that Huawei's smartphones doesn't slow down over time. Their I/O is class leading. But I don't like EMUI.
Jessica Maam thank you for the long term review of Huawei P20 Pro.