First announced nearly a month ago, it became clear that the Honor View20 is a phone that is clearly trying to one-up the competition in several areas. A list that even includes its parent company, Huawei. At a glance, it looks like the phone has a lot to offer in terms of hardware and overall performance.
Lucky for me, I actually managed to spend some time with the upcoming smartphone. The first thing about the Honor View20 that catches my attention is, believe it or not, the feel and weight of the phone. Despite its size, the phone feels solid, and I have no trouble gripping it firmly. And that’s despite its glossy, all-glass back.
Speaking of which, the View20’s back actually houses an interesting design. When reflecting light off of it, the back shows off several arrows that are pointed downwards. Here’s the kicker to that design; if you angle it accordingly, it actually gives off the illusion that the arrows are moving in the aforementioned dimension.
There’s also the matter of the View20’s display. Gone is the dreaded notch that was prevalent with almost every other Android smartphone in 2018. In its place, a near bezel-less, edge-to-edge, 6.4-inch Full HD+ display is used, along with the infamous “punch-hole” situated at the upper left corner. Housing the phone’s 25MP front-facing camera sensor.
Beneath the display, the View20 is powered by the Kirin 980, Huawei’s own powerhouse chipset complete with a dual-core Neural Processing Unit (NPU). The phone also comes with a choice of either 6GB or 8GB RAM, and a gargantuan 256GB internal storage capacity. The trade-off in this situation is that the phone has no microSD card slot, meaning that its storage capacity cannot be expanded.
Powering all that hardware is a beefy 4000mAh battery. To be fair, the View20 isn’t the first device to ship out with such a battery, with other phones such as the Pocophone F1 having shipped out with the same battery capacity. That said, it’s clear that the battery capacity is slowly but surely becoming the trend for several other smartphone brands. Charging for the device is done via the phone’s USB Type-C port.
Honor’s endeavour doesn’t end there. Instead of using Huawei’s EMUI, the View20 now runs its own Magic UI, on top of the Android 9 Pie. A clear sign that Honor is making every effort to step out and away from Huawei’s shadow.
Of course, the highlight of the View20 most definitely that large 48MP main camera at the back of the phone. Honor refers to it as the 48MP rear 3D TOF camera, but if we to break that down, it’s basically Sony’s f/1.8 IMX586 image sensor that first popped up back during July last year.
Moving on, the performance of the 48MP camera does beggar a certain level of belief. Daytime photography is, like most smartphone cameras today, basically no issue for the phone. At 48MP, objects in frame retain alot of detail, and that’s even when you magnify specific sections of the same image.
The AI camera function is still present with the View20, but I should point out that the feature doesn’t always do justice to an image. In most pictures I took, the feature has a tendency of erring towards the side over-saturation. This in turn, made certain objects and subject stand out unnecessarily, even when I don’t them to.
On another note, the View20’s HDR function is now a separate camera function, hidden away in the interface’s camera settings. It’s a bit odd that Honor would do this, especially when you consider how it had worked so hard to make it an option in the camera interface of its other devices, such as the Honor 8X.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture and test the camera’s capabilities in low-light environment, as at the time of playing around with the phone, it was noon time, and the area I was in didn’t really have many areas that would legitimately constitute as low-light environments.
As far as first impressions go, I happen to think that the Honor View20 is a snappy looking device and a good start to the year for the brand. If anything, I’m actually looking forward to Honor sending a review unit soon, just so that I can fully and properly test out that huge 48MP camera that’s stuck in its back. Besides that, the only other thing Honor has yet to announce is its local pricing.