The Mate 20 Pro is part of one of the two major smartphone announcements from Huawei in a year. We get the style-centered P series, which comes out around the start of the year, and then we get the even more feature-packed Mate series just in time for holiday shopping season. This time we’ve gotten our hands on the flagship Mate 20 Pro and here are our initial impressions of it.

Design

Straight out of the box, you’ll be greeted by the 6.39-inch curved OLED display of the phone along with its notch that houses its 3D depth-sensing array, speaker/earpiece, and the 24-megapixel front camera. How the sides of taper off remind me a bit of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The screen has excellent viewing angles and is adequately bright, even when used outdoors.

We still get that nod to Leica with the red power button off to the right side and right below the volume rocker. The IR blaster and mic are off to the top and then you mics at the bottom, the USB Type-C port that also works as a speaker, and the SIM tray (which lets you either put in two nano SIMs or Huawei’s proprietary Nano Memory card.

At the back, we get this new squircle format for the triple camera setup. Huawei centers the sensors at the top half of the phone, making it look like a stove top. It does lend a unique look to the phone and one you’re either going to love or hate.

Huawei is also using this new hyper optical pattern on the back and it has this sort of diagonal lines that run across the glass back. It’s supposed to make it less slippery, durable, and more fingerprint-resistant. It does feel better and less slippery in hand but you can still smudge it pretty easily with oily hands.

Performance

So far, I’ve got no complaints when it comes to performance. It can handle the daily use of social media apps, productivity tools, photo taking, browsing, and streaming. I still need to put it through its paces when it comes to mobile gaming, but I don’t see how it wouldn’t be able to handle it. Its face unlock feature does extremely well, too. The in-display fingerprint reader isn’t as slow as I expected. It does require you to press down firmly on the glass to get it to register your fingerprint though.

Fresh out of the box and before proper setup, the camera sort of choked on me a bit but after getting the necessary updates, it hasn’t glitched so far. (Plus, it must be noted that this is an advanced release, marketing unit, so some bugs it might experience won’t necessarily translate to real-world use.)

Camera

Huawei packs in a mean set of cameras in the Mate 20 Pro. It gets a 40-megapixel wide-angle lens with an f/1.8 aperture; a 20-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture; and an 8-megapixel 3x telephoto zoom lens with and f/2.2 aperture and OIS. The company ditched the monochrome lens for a more versatile ultra-wide angle lens.

Huawei’s been impressing us with its ability to shoot in low light but now it throws in a whole bunch of other things. For one it can take both wider viewing angles and achieve greater focal length for macro shots. The AI processing on the Mate 20 Pro doesn’t seem quite as aggressive as before either, it detects most scenes correctly and sticks to enhancing photos just a bit. I’ll play around with this more and share more shots in our full review.

Having Master AI on is a bit hit or miss. Sometimes it’s better with it, sometimes it isn’t.

The ultra-wide angle lens adds some drama to this rooftop shot. We’re going to take it out more to test it in well-lit areas.

This was taken in dark rooftop bar and the amount of detail you can see is pretty impressive

Portrait mode is also hit or miss

With selfie portraits, there’s work that still needs to be done. It does let you do things like change the shapes of how the light comes out in this bokeh effect.

The phone adds extra drama in Portrait Mode

This was taken with Night Mode from the same dimly lit bar. Not bad for a first pass.

Battery

A full eight-hour work day and more of the next day is easily achievable with the Mate 20 Pro. I’m going to put it through our video test and run PCMark’s battery test on it soon to see how it might work theoretically. But with this phone’s ability to even wirelessly charge other phones, battery life is probably going to be the least of your concerns.

Availability

The Mate 20 Pro goes for P49,990 with pre-order ending today. The phone is also available through a number of GigaX Plans on Smart, which you can check on this link. At the moment, Globe is offering the Mate 20 series as an online-exclusive, prepaid bundle, meaning you’ll get it at the same price as you’ll do from Huawei concept stores and authorized retailers. The company is finalizing its postpaid plans for the phone.

About The Author

Nicole Batac
Managing Editor

Nicole calls herself an accidental techie that has learned to love all things consumer tech since she started with this line of work around seven years ago. In her spare time, she devours books, TV shows, movies, and a large amount of Japan-related entertainment.