Here are the top 5 OnePlus 6T features

The #phonepocalypse is nearly over, but OnePlus wants to close out this year’s smartphone silly season on a high with the OnePlus 6T.

Between headphone jack drama and launch date hopskotch, there’s been a lot of controversy in the run-up to the phone’s full reveal.

Now the OnePlus 6 successor is finally here, does the latest T-series represent a new high benchmark for the Chinese brand? Here are the top five OnePlus 6T features to help you decide.

OnePlus 6T in-display fingerprint sensor

In-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock

Prior to launch, OnePlus hyped the launch of its latest flagship with the rather cumbersome tagline “Unlock the Speed.” We already know that OnePlus phones always blisteringly fast — the OnePlus 6T comes with up to 8GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 845 SoC — but the “unlock” part initially raised a few eyebrows.

CEO and co-founder Pete Lau eventually confirmed that the OnePlus 6T would feature both an in-display fingerprint sensor and OnePlus’ face unlock technology. This gives OnePlus 6T users a number of ways to secure and protect their device and removes the need for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor cluttering the sleek glass design.

In theory, having both face unlock and an in-display sensor puts the OnePlus 6T on par with the feature-stacked Huawei Mate 20 Pro when it comes to unlocking the screen. We’ll just have to wait for our full review to find out if the technology is capable of hanging with the best.

OnePlus 6 vs OnePlus 6T display notch

Display (and that tiny notch)

Just over seven months ago, all the Android community could talk about was OnePlus’ divisive decision to stick a huge notch on the OnePlus 6.

Fast forward to today and we have a new OnePlus phone with a yet another notch, but one that’s easily one of the tiniest cutouts we’ve seen on a notched phone to date.

The tear/waterdrop-style notch, inherited from BBK stablemates like the Oppo R17 series, houses an ambient/distance/RGB sensor and a 16MP selfie camera all in one tiny droplet.

The OnePlus 6T features easily one of the tiniest cutouts we’ve seen on a notched phone to date.

The diminutive notch leaves enough room for a 6.41-inch AMOLED display with a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, and a tasty 86 percent screen-to-body ratio.

While it’s not quite the complete rollback some OnePlus fans were hoping for, it’s one of the least intrusive notches on any smartphone and leaves enough room for a large, vibrant display. Plus, if you don’t like the notch, you can always turn it off in the phone’s settings.

OnePlus 6T specs

OxygenOS 9.0

OxygenOS continues to go from strength to strength both in terms of features and popularity. That’s still true with the latest iteration based on Android 9.0 Pie, OxygenOS 9.0, which ensures the OnePlus 6T offers one of the best, purest Android experiences you can get.

All of the awesome new features from Android Pie are present and correct, including navigation gestures which feel a little iOS-inspired on OnePlus’ latest flagship.

OxygenOS 9.0 also comes with a few exclusive software tweaks of its own. Gaming Mode will now intercept incoming messages and calls from third-party apps and show them as smaller notifications so you don’t get distracted from a heated round of Fortnite.

In addition, OnePlus says a new feature called Smart Boost will improve app cold start speeds by up to 20 percent through some clever use of RAM, meaning you’ll be able to get back in the game faster than ever.

OnePlus 6T battery life

Battery life

If you’ve read our OnePlus 6T hands-on (and if you haven’t go do it now!) you’ll know that Android Authority’s David Imel has been incredibly impressed with the OnePlus 6T’s endurance.

The OnePlus 6T battery has jumped from 3,300mAh on the OnePlus 6 to 3,700mAh, which is a respectable leap, but nothing to write home about on paper. In real world tests, however, the OnePlus 6T managed to hit ridiculously impressive screen-on times of up to 8 hours.

These early results show that there’s almost certainly some heavy optimization going on under the hood with OxygenOS 9.0. As David himself says, “This is probably the best battery life I’ve ever seen in an Android smartphone, proving that battery capacity doesn’t tell the whole story.”

OnePlus 6T price availability

Availability

Okay, so this isn’t technically a feature of the phone itself, but the fact that you’ll soon be able to walk into a T-Mobile store in the U.S. and walk out with a OnePlus 6T in your hand is a huge deal.

Not only that, but the OnePlus 6T is also fully certified to work on Verizon Wireless for the first time ever.

Related: T-Mobile will accept your old OnePlus devices as trade-ins

These are both monumental changes and could greatly impact OnePlus’ visibility in one of the largest, most tricky-to-crack smartphone markets on the planet.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., OnePlus has also confirmed the OnePlus 6T will be sold via multiple carriers for the first time, once again showing that the Chinese brand is aiming much larger with its latest flagship.

For release info in the rest of the world, be sure to check out our price and availability post here.


That’s the OnePlus 6T’s top five features! Of course, there’s plenty more the phone has to offer, as we’ve barely touched upon the OnePlus 6T’s beastly raw specs or the improved camera.

We’ll be bringing you a detailed review of the OnePlus 6T that touches on all this and more very soon. In the meantime, be sure to let us know your favorite OnePlus 6T features in the comments.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: The phone for power users

Let’s get it out of the way. You’ll probably want to buy the Mate 20 Pro. It’s sexy, it’s powerful, it’s one of the best phones you can get right now. The real question is if you should pay no less than 1,050 euros (~$1,205) for the privilege of owning it. Or should you “settle” for one of the many great alternatives and save some money in the process?

It’s not an easy question — we’ll spend this in-depth Huawei Mate 20 Pro review trying to answer it. Buckle up!

huawei mate 20 pro twilight variant

About our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

I wrote this review after spending around ten days with a Mate 20 Pro review unit supplied by Huawei. The phone (model LYA-L29) was the Twilight dual-SIM version, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It ran EMUI 9.0 out of the box, with the October 2018 security patch and build number C432E10R1P16. I used it mostly on my home Wi-Fi network, as well as Orange Romania’s 4G+ network.

Technically, the software on the review unit was non-final, but Huawei said it’s indicative of the final release software. According to the company, features like 3D Live Object Modeling and AI Color, will roll out to the phone over the next weeks. We will update this Mate 20 Pro review when these features become available.

My colleague David Imel spent a similar amount of time with another Mate 20 Pro review unit. You can watch his video review at the top of this post.

What’s in the box

huawei mate 20 pro retail box

usb type-c headphones that are bundled with the huawei mate 20 pro twilight
the supercharge fast charger brick bundled with the huawei mate 20 pro

The Mate 20 Pro comes in a simple black box with a charger, a pair of white USB Type-C earbuds, a USB Type-C-to-3.5mm audio adapter, and a basic silicone case.

Editor’s Pick

The charger can go up to 40W and it’s very fast (more about that later). The transparent case will do fine for the first few days, but it gets very grimy so you’ll probably want to pick up something nicer. The wired earbuds look a lot like Apple’s. They are very light and they don’t insulate noise from outside, but they sound surprisingly good, with nice bass and clear highs. Definitely give them a try before you throw them in a drawer.

Design and build quality

Huawei is one of the elite few phone makers competitors tend to copy. The company has been putting out great designs for years, even while its software has struggled to keep up. That doesn’t mean Huawei shies away from copying others when it suits it. The Mate 20 Pro embodies both approaches: the front takes cues from Apple and Samsung, and the back is uniquely Huawei.

Huawei Mate 20 screen

The Mate 20 Pro’s front looks like every other flagship that launched this past few months. There’s a big notch up top — not as big as the Pixel 3 XL’s thankfully — with rounded corners and thin bezels on the sides and bottom. The edges of the screen curve down into a thin aluminum frame, much like the Galaxy S9 Plus.

The Mate 20 Pro’s triple-camera boldly positions Huawei as a design leader

The symmetrical tapered edges of the phone are also very Samsung-like. The thin power button and volume rocker are on the right-hand side. They’re nice and responsive, but placed a little too close together, and can result in accidental screenshots. On all color options, the power button is a lovely orange-reddish hue. It’s a nice accent that gives the phone more personality.

the colored power button on the side of the huawei mate 20 pro twilight

The back of the Mate 20 Pro is dominated by the square camera module. Huawei calls it “Simply Iconic” and boasts about the resemblance it bears to the headlights of certain luxury cars, particularly Porsche.

back of huawei mate 20 pro twilight with water droplets on it

Editor’s Pick

I personally love it. It’s fresh and it instantly sets the phone apart from anything else out there. Others will hate it — I heard the term “kitchen stove” from a couple fellow reviewers. Regardless how you feel about it, the Mate 20’s triple camera is a big, bold statement meant to show Huawei is a design leader, not a follower. It remains to be seen if others will embrace this design, as triple cameras go mainstream.

Color options

The Mate 20 Pro is available in five versions: Pink Gold, Midnight Blue, Emerald Green, Twilight, and Black. My favorite is Emerald Green, which is a gorgeous bluish-green hue. Emerald Green and Midnight Blue both have a textured pattern on the back, but you won’t really notice it unless you scratch the surface with your fingernail, which gives off a satisfying rattling noise. The texture helps stave off fingerprints, which are a pain on the non-textured color versions. Regardless, it’s still glass, so you’ll want a good case on it. Twilight and Pink Gold feature Huawei’s distinctive shifting paint jobs. I am not a fan personally, but if you enjoy attention, these are the versions to get. Finally, Black is just black.

Mate 20 Pro in Midnight Blue and Emerald Green held in hand

Mate 20 Pro in Midnight Blue and Emerald Green

The Mate 20 Pro is a relatively hefty phone. It weighs 189 grams and I found myself having to shift it around after holding it in one hand for more than a few minutes. The good news is it’s narrow enough to use with one hand without constantly worrying about dropping it. It also feels very nice in the hand, thanks to the thin rounded sides.

Display

The OLED screen on the Mate 20 Pro is expansive, beautiful, and bright. I had no problems using it at roughly 40 percent brightness indoors.

the front of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro showing the notch

The tall 1,440 x 3,120 format is a mixed blessing. You can use the 6.39-inch phone with one hand, but at the same time it can be hard to balance it in the palm of your hand — especially if you prefer the classic navigation bar instead of navigation gestures.

The Mate 20 Pro’s OLED screen is expansive, beautiful, and bright.

If you really care about high pixel densities, make sure you go into settings and change the resolution to QHD+. Otherwise, the phone uses the default Smart setting, which changes the resolution dynamically in order to save power. In my experience, I didn’t see any real difference between QHD+ and Full HD+, so the latter is a good compromise between power consumption and image quality.

the curved screen of the huawei mate 20 pro twilight

By default, the Mate 20 Pro uses the Vivid color setting, which amps up the colors. You can switch to Normal, for a more true-to-life experience, and also customize the color temperature, from cool to warm and everything in between. There’s also a setting to automatically adjust colors based on ambient light, offering a “paper-like experience,” but I really didn’t see a difference.

Deep in the display settings you’ll find a way to “hide” the notch, basically turning the area around the notch black at all times. It’s great if you find the notch an eye-sore, but it won’t do anything about the cramped status bar, which is the biggest offense I take when it comes to notches. At least Huawei put the notch to good use. The black strip houses the front-facing camera, the earpiece (which doubles as a secondary speaker), and the emitters and sensors for the 3D face unlock system.

huawei mate 20 pro with notch set to hidden
huawei mate 20 pro with visible notch

Core specs

Just like smartphone design, smartphone specs have been converging — especially at the high end of the market. However, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro stands out for a couple of reasons.

Read: Huawei Mate 20 and 20 Pro specs: There’s a clear winner

The Mate 20 Pro runs on a Kirin 980 processor, designed by Huawei’s own HiSilicon division. That alone makes the Mate 20 Pro stand out from virtually all other 2018 Android flagships, which use Snapdragon 845 chips from Qualcomm.

huawei mate 20 pro review - core specs

Huawei’s control over the processor allowed it to focus heavily on AI. The Kirin 980 has two neural processing units (NPUs) designed for real-time photo manipulation, live translation, and other AI-reliant tasks. AI is used in multiple areas of the Mate 20 Pro, but most users will only interact with the AI imaging features. We’ll talk more about them in the camera section of our Mate 20 Pro review.

Editor’s Pick

The Kirin 980 is an octa-core chip built on the state-of-the-art 7-nanometer manufacturing process, which packs transistors closer together, resulting in better performance and smaller power consumption compared to older processes.

The Mate 20 Pro is available with 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage, depending on the market. The phone comes with a new type of expandable storage called Nano Memory, instead of the popular microSD. We don’t know many details about this new type of memory card, other than it supports capacities of 256GB and write speeds of up to 90MB/second.

The problem is Nano Memory has no obvious benefits for consumers (unless it turns out it’s much cheaper than microSD) and one obvious disadvantage: you can only buy it from Huawei. While the company’s CEO told Android Authority Huawei wants to make Nano Memory an industry standard, no other company has pledged to support it so far.

huawei mate 20 pro twilight with empty hybrid tray for nano memory and SIM

Because the card is exactly the same size as a nano-SIM card, Huawei was able to use a tiny, double-sided hybrid tray for SIM and memory, saving internal space in the process.

Nano Memory is a Huawei exclusive for now

Side note: Huawei placed a microphone right by the Mate 20 Pro’s SIM tray. Make sure you don’t poke your microphone with the SIM tool, like this hapless reviewer did.

Huawei Mate 20 USB Type C port

Performance

The Mate 20 Pro runs just as smoothly as you would expect from a current high-end phone. I haven’t encountered any lag episodes worth mentioning, though David noticed a few snags on his unit, especially when switching apps. Performance during gaming and general use was blazing fast.

Blazing gaming performance and snappy general use.

Let’s talk about benchmarks for a minute. Huawei was recently caught gaming benchmark results by setting its phones to “Performance Mode” when running popular benchmarking apps. This peak performance wasn’t actually accessible in real life applications, as Huawei programmed its devices to throttle themselves in order to save power. After the news broke, the company pledged to drop this misleading practice and to make the Performance Mode accessible to all apps as part of EMUI 9.

The Mate 20 Pro lets you enable Performance Mode from the battery settings and it has a noticeable effect, but only in benchmarks.

Running AnTuTu with Performance Mode on and off results in a massive difference. Without it, the Mate 20 Pro barely manages to rank among AnTuTu’s top ten fastest phones, scoring between 240,000 and 280,000 points. With Performance Mode enabled, my Mate 20 Pro review unit hit over 304,000 points, ranking first and beating dedicated gaming phones like the Asus ROG or Xiaomi Black Shark.

huawei mate 20 pro review antutu benchmark with performance mode on and off

Left: Performance Mode off. Right: Performance Mode on.

In non-benchmarking use, I haven’t seen any real improvements in the speed or smoothness of the Mate 20 Pro with Performance Mode on. Considering this mode has a noticeable impact on battery life, most users will want to keep it off.

Other hardware features

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the first major, mainstream phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor. We’ve previously seen the feature on Vivo phones, and OnePlus is getting ready to release the OnePlus 6T with an in-display fingerprint reader at the end of the month.

Huawei’s implementation works very well, and it’s definitely a step up over the Vivo X21, which I reviewed back in May. The phone unlocks very fast, though it’s still not as fast as some conventional fingerprint readers. The only times I had issues with the reader was when touching it with the sides of my thumb — in these cases, I had to press harder for the fingerprint to register.

in-screen fingerprint reader showing on the screen of the huawei mate 20 pro twilight

You probably won’t need to use the fingerprint reader much if you enable the face recognition function on the Mate 20 Pro. The phone projects an array of infrared dots on your face, forming a 3D map that is compared to the reference data collected during setup — similar to the iPhone X’s feature.

The feature is usually fast and accurate, though a little inconsistent. Sometimes, the phone unlocks almost instantly, others times it takes one or two seconds. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s a little jarring when you have to wait.

Editor’s Pick

Biometric authentication works with the App Lock and PrivateSpace features, as well. App Lock lets you lock access to specific apps until the phone detects your face or fingerprint — great for keeping kids out of sensitive apps. PrivateSpace lets you set up a completely separate workspace that opens when you use a specific fingerprint. You could use this function to hide stuff from prying eyes or simply to keep your work and personal apps separate.

face enroll screen on huawei mate 20 pro

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro features IP68 dust and water resistance. The phone has an IR blaster at the top, and the preloaded remote control app is pretty good. Finally, the dual-SIM tray lets you use two cellular services, but only one of the SIMs can be used for data or voice calls at a time.

Battery and (very) fast charging

Without doubt, the battery is the highlight of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. If you care about battery life primarily, this phone is worth the premium for its huge battery and fast charging alone.

The Mate 20 Pro features a 4,200mAh battery — about five percent more than the Galaxy Note 9, 22 percent more than the Pixel 3 XL, 27 percent more than the LG V40 ThinQ, and 32 percent more than the iPhone XS Max. Battery life depends on other factors besides the capacity of the battery, but it’s hard to argue with these numbers.

The Mate 20 Pro is worth the premium for its record-setting battery and extremely fast charging alone.

I routinely got more than 7.5 hours of screen-on time out of the Mate 20 Pro, with medium usage, auto-brightness on, Performance Mode off, and the dark UI theme. With heavier usage, including gaming, running benchmarks, and more YouTube streaming, I got between six and seven hours of screen-on time. Light and medium users will probably only need to charge every two or two and a half days. Even if you’re a heavy user, this phone should easily last you a full day and then some.

huawei mate 20 pro review twilight screen on time battery statistics

The Mate 20 Pro charges incredibly fast with the 40W charger included in the box. Huawei says its goes from zero to 70 percent in 30 minutes. In my testing, it was even faster, hitting 73 percent in 30 minutes. The phone charges five percent every two minutes and doesn’t get exceedingly hot in the process.

We’ve seen fast-charging phones before, but the Mate 20 Pro also has the largest battery out of any mainstream device. That it charges so fast with the bundled charger — no need to spend extra on a separate one — is especially impressive.

charging graph huawei mate 20 pro twilight

As an aside, according to Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu, the company could have put an even bigger 4,500mAh battery on the Mate 20 Pro, but opted for the 4,200mAh unit in order to make the 40W charging possible.

The Mate 20 Pro is the first phone on the market to support 15W wireless charging. I wasn’t able to test this, but Huawei claims it’s significantly faster than the iPhone XS Max and other competitors.

The icing on the cake is the reverse wireless charging. You can use the Mate 20 Pro to wirelessly charge any Qi-enabled device. Just turn the feature on in the settings, place the device you want to charge on the back of the Mate 20 Pro, and off it goes.

However, reverse wireless charging is pretty slow. With a Galaxy S9 Plus, it took a few minutes for each percent of battery life. It’s a little finicky, too. You need to align the two devices closely, and charging stops if you move them too much around. You won’t be able to just throw the two phones in a pocket and forget about them.

galaxy s9 plus reverse wireless charging from huawei mate 20 pro

You’ll need to enable reverse wireless charging from battery settings every time you use it, as it auto-disables to save power if you don’t use it for a while. Also, you won’t be able to use it when battery life is below 20 percent.

It may be tempting to dismiss reverse wireless charging as just a cool party trick, but we all know how stressful an empty battery can be. In those situations, every little bit of juice helps.

Sound

There is no 3.5mm audio jack on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It’s one of the very few legitimately important features missing from the device. The bundled USB Type-C earbuds are pretty decent, and you can also use your favorite headphones with the bundled adapter.

usb type-c earbuds shipping with the huawei mate 20 pro

The Mate 20 Pro has two speakers cleverly hidden in the USB Type-C port and the earpiece. The one in the Type-C port is the main one, and gets a bit louder. Surprisingly, it only gets muffled a little when you plug in the Type-C cable to charge the phone.

The phone gets decently loud, though not as loud as the Galaxy S9 Plus. Sound is a little tinier than the Samsung flagship as well.

Don’t miss: The best headphones with USB Type-C

Camera

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera has plenty of great features and a few strong points, but also some weaknesses.

The Mate 20 Pro features three cameras on the back: a primary 40MP one with f/1.8 aperture; a telephoto 8MP with f/2.4 aperture and OIS; and a 20MP ultra-wide with f/2.2 aperture. On the front, there’s a single 24MP camera.

the three cameras on the back of the huawei mate 20 pro twilight

It’s a highly versatile camera system that lets you shoot everything from macro details to long-distance, zoomed-in scenery. It can be great in skilled hands, but can also turn out some mediocre shots if you just shoot in auto.

It’s an impressively versatile camera that lets you shoot everything from macro details to sweeping scenery

David got some great shots out of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. He noted he usually needed to lower the exposure manually, as the phone tends to overexpose in order to extract more details out of shadows.






I, on the other hand, just point and shoot in auto mode. I occasionally struggled to get good pics in low light.



The Mate 20 Pro is not terrible in low light auto mode, but I was expecting better. My Pixel 2, with its single camera, does a better job. It’s possible that Huawei’s auto algorithms are not as good as its hardware, and image quality could improve with future updates. If that happens, we’ll revisit this Huawei Mate 20 Pro review.

Inconsistent image quality aside, the Mate 20 Pro is a powerful camera phone. I love how you can switch between the different lenses with a simple swipe.

camera screen on huawei mate 20 pro

The wide-angle camera is great when you need to get more stuff in one shot, be it more people, an entire room, or a sweeping landscape.

It’s also great for taking close-ups: In wide-angle mode, the Mate 20 Pro can focus on objects that are just a couple of centimeters away from the lens. That’s a unique feature on smartphones, as far as I know. If you enjoy macro photography, you’ll love this phone.

Macro shot of moss on a tree taken on Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Macro shot of moss on a tree

The telephoto lens’ 3X optical zoom is great for framing nice portraits or for closing in on distant details. You can zoom up to 10X in total, and it’s way better than what most phones can do.

huawei mate 20 pro zoom in sample

Left: 1X. Right: 10X.

Portrait mode is pretty great and you can couple it with the 3X optical zoom for a more powerful effect. Using aperture mode, you can play with the depth of field after you take the shot and you can also apply filters — e.g. make the background black-and-white, but keep the subject in color.

portrait taken on Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Night mode is meant for very dark conditions — you need to hold the phone as still as possible for four seconds, while the camera captures multiple frames at different ISO values and combines them into one image. It could help you get a picture in otherwise unshootable conditions.

Stage Lighting shot on Mate 20 Pro

Stage Lighting shot on Mate 20 Pro

The selfie camera is pretty good, though pics sometimes turn out too soft. You can play with some silly tools to spruce up your selfies, including an Apple-style stage lighting option.

There are many other camera features and options, like monochrome, live video filters, AR lens, light painting, time-lapse, and even an underwater mode. The camera app itself is well designed and easy to use.

You can also choose to enable Huawei’s Master AI mode from the camera settings. It attempts to recognize and apply the best settings for each scene (e.g. cat, historic building, greenery, clouds). I didn’t see a huge difference with or without it, but your mileage may vary.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera is feature-packed, powerful, and versatile. If you take the time to learn it inside out and tweak your settings for each scene, it will reward you with some great results. Let’s just hope Huawei works on the auto algorithm for low light.

Full resolution camera samples are available in this Google Drive folder.

Software

The first Huawei device I ever used, the Ascend Mate 7, had pretty bad software. It was busy, unpolished, and a little ugly. Four generations later, the software on the Mate 20 Pro is much improved. There are still some small issues and Huawei still needlessly copies Apple in some areas, but overall I really enjoy using the Mate 20 Pro.

The phone runs EMUI 9.0, based on Android Pie. Kudos to Huawei for offering Pie out of the box.

front view of huawei mate 20 pro twilight

You can choose between the conventional three-key navigation bar, a gesture-based interface, or a navigation dock. I liked the gesture-based interface the most: swipe up from the bottom to go to the home screen, swipe up and hold to go to recent apps, swipe from either edge to go back. It’s intuitive and easier to use on a tall phone than the navigation bar, though it tends to interfere with apps where you swipe from the sides to open menus, like Sync for Reddit or Slack.

You can choose between using an app drawer or just dumping everything on the homescreen. The app drawer itself looks great. The quick settings menu is pretty and functional. The settings section is generally intuitive — reorganized for EMUI 9 — though some settings are hidden in unexpected places.

huawei mate 20 pro twilight showing app drawer

You have lots of customization options, including my personal favorite, a system-wide dark mode that looks great on the OLED screen and also helps save battery.

Dark mode looks fantastic and helps save battery.

I recently started using Digital Wellbeing on my Pixel 2 to cut down on my phone usage, and I was happy to see similar functionality on the Mate 20 Pro. It’s called Digital Balance, and it actually has a few extra features, like granular usage statistics and a limit on your daily total screen time. Fun fact, I unlocked the Mate 20 Pro over 600 times in the making of this review, or every 16 minutes on average.

huawei mate 20 pro with open quick settings drawer

I noticed a number of small bugs and usability issues. Even with media volume set to zero, there’s a tiny “click” sound when loading autoplaying content in apps like Twitter or Chrome. You can’t swipe back from the app drawer. On the home screen, you can’t tap the names of apps to open them, but weirdly you can in the app drawer. The 3D emoji — an Apple feature Huawei basically cloned — are janky and sometimes fail to record your facial expressions. I also spotted a couple typos in the UI, though nothing egregious. We’ll revisit these issues once Huawei rolls out the promised update in a few days.

My Mate 20 Pro review unit came preloaded with a few Huawei utilities, as well as two third-party apps — eBay and Booking.com. In other words, bloatware isn’t too bad, though that tends to vary from market to market.

huawei mate 20 pro with a game on the screen

All in all, EMUI 9 is not flawless, but it’s clearly an improvement over previous versions. I still think the Pixel line has a better, more intuitive, and easier to use UI. That I’m even comparing them should be taken as high praise for Huawei.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review conclusion: Is it worth the money?

The Mate 20 Pro is a powerful, feature-packed, exciting phone. It looks gorgeous, it feels great in the hand, and it runs solid software. It charges wickedly fast and can chug along for days on a single charge. Its biggest issue is the inconsistent low-light image quality, but even that is offset by the sheer versatility of its cameras.

I personally love the Mate 20 Pro and I think you will love it too. But… I didn’t have to pay for the phone I reviewed. Would I spend 1,050 euros on a Mate 20 Pro? I don’t think I would, only because I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on any phone.

Lots of people don’t mind paying a premium for true quality. If you only change your phone every two or three years, it makes sense to get something nice. If you’re like that, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is probably the best phone you can get today.

Perhaps the most desireable phone on the market right now.

Other phones may beat the Mate 20 Pro in specific areas. The Pixel 3 XL can take better pictures with less effort. The V40 has better sound. The Note 9 is just as powerful and comes with the S Pen, a headphone jack and a non-proprietary memory slot. These are all great phones for power users, just like Huawei’s flagship. But then the Mate 20 Pro has a 40MP main sensor, good wide angle and telephoto lenses, reverse wireless charging, 40W rapid charging, 3D face unlock, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and crazy battery life. Where other phones lean on one great special feature to justify their price tags, the Mate 20 Pro has a bunch of them.

Bottom line, you won’t find a more desirable phone on the market right now.

Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro

A note on U.S. availability

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro may be a great phone, but it’s not good enough for the U.S. government. Suspicions over Huawei’s alleged ties with the Chinese government have caused an almost complete ban on the company’s smartphones in the U.S.

Huawei confirmed it would not be selling the Mate 20 Pro in the States, forcing would-be customers to look into importing a unit from other countries. That’s definitely an option, but prices of imported phones tend to be higher than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, potentially making the Mate 20 Pro even more expensive.

If you decide to import one or pick one up directly from an overseas store, make sure to check the supported bands (you can in see them in the specs table below) against the bands used by your carrier in the area you live.

Which variant should you choose?

Editor’s Pick

If it’s an option, we suggest getting the dual-SIM model, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, in either Emerald Green or Midnight Blue (fewer fingerprints). While some markets will get the model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as an option, the 6GB/128GB variant should be good enough for most users. You might be tempted to choose the slightly cheaper Mate 20 instead – while they look similar, the Mate 20 has a poorer screen, a less impressive camera, slower charging, and comes with a lower water resistance rating.

Full specs

  Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Display 6.39-inch curved OLED
3,120 x 1,440 resolution
538 ppi
19.5:9 aspect ratio
DCI-P3
Processor Huawei Kirin 980
Octa-core CPU (2 @ 2.6GHz, 2 @ 1.92GHz, 4 @ 1.8GHz)
Dual NPU
GPU Mali-G76 720MHz
RAM 6GB/8GB
Storage 128GB/256GB
NM (nano memory) card slot
Battery 4,200mAh
40W Huawei Supercharge
Can be used as a wireless charger for other Qi-enabled devices
15W wireless charging
Cameras Rear:
Main: 40MP sensor, f/1.8 aperture
Second: 8MP 3x telephoto sensor, OIS, f/2.4 aperture
Third: 20MP ultra-wide sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 16mm focal length equivalent
Front: 24MP RGB sensor
Network LYA-L29:
Primary SIM card:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40
4G LTE FDD: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B7 / B8 / B9 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28 / B32
3G WCDMA: B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 (Japan) / B8 / B19 (Japan);
3G TD-SCDMA: B34 / B39
2G GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)
Secondary SIM card:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40
4G LTE FDD: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B7 / B8 / B9 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28
3G WCDMA: B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B8 / B19
2G GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)

LYA-L09:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40
4G LTE FDD: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B7 / B8 / B9 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28 / B32
3G WCDMA: B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 (Japan) / B8 / B19 (Japan);
3G TD-SCDMA: B34 / B39
2G GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)

Connectivity 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (wave2), 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC and HWA Audio
Type-C, USB 3.1 GEN1
Type-C earjack
PC Data Synchronisation
IR blaster
GPS (L1 + L5 dual band) / AGPS / Glonass / BeiDou / Galileo (E1 + E5a dual band) / QZSS (L1 + L5 dual band)
NFC
Biometric security In-display fingerprint sensor
Dot projector, TOF proximity sensor, flood illuminator, and an IR camera for face-unlock
Headphone jack No
Dimensions 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm
189g
IP rating IP68
Software version Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9.0
Colors Pink Gold, Midnight Blue, Emerald Green, Twilight, Black

Huawei Mate 20 series: Quick overview

Something manufacturers do to sell more phones is launch “families” of phones with similar names and looks, but very different specs (and manufacturing costs). Huawei launched five Mate 20 phones, ranging from mid-range to super-premium, clearly hoping the prestige of the flagships would rub off on the cheaper models. Here’s a breakdown, for clarity:

  • Mate 20 LiteMid-range, cheaper processor, 2017 design. 399 euros (~$455)
  • Mate 20Great core specs, but lots of features missing compared to the Pro variant. 799 euros (~$925)
  • Mate 20X – Huge screen, geared towards gamers and power-users.  899 euros (~$1,045)
  • Mate 20 Pro – The top mainstream model, full of bells and whistles. 1,049 euros (~$1,215)
  • Mate 20 RS Porsche DesignLimited-edition luxury version of Mate 20 Pro, with leather back and extra storage. 1,695 euros (~$1,965)

That concludes our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review. Let us know what you think about the phone and our impressions.

Read next: Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro: Where to buy, when, and for how much

Bluetooth headphones are popular, but science confirms: mostly terrible

Look, we get it: Bluetooth headphones are convenient. Popular models like Apple’s AirPods are for all intents and purposes the K-cup coffee machines of audio. Just like those liquid sadness brewers, Bluetooth offers a disappointing, expensive facsimile of the real deal — but many enjoy it all the same.

Testing done for our sister site SoundGuys confirmed it’ll get you 90 percent of the way there — but not everybody is willing to accept the excuses behind ditching the headphone jack. Since USB Type-C headphones aren’t where they need to be, we have to examine the consumer audio technology’s performance in a world where the headphone jack is disappearing.

A photo of the Bluetooth toggle on the Android dropdown menu.

Bluetooth is extremely convenient, but at a cost.

The findings

A more in-depth description of the testing process and findings can be found here, but here are the broad strokes:

  1. Every single Bluetooth codec has measurable quality issues, though not all significant.
  2. Not a single codec or set of Bluetooth headphones available can meet wired signal quality.

Bluetooth audio has come a long way since its noisy beginnings, but it’s still not ready to replace the headphone jack. However, most people won’t be able to hear the difference if they’re older than 24, have some form of noise-induced hearing loss, or are in the presence of outside noise. For this reason, Bluetooth headphones are best for those commuting, or in noisy situations. If you’re listening primarily at home — or in a quiet area — get a set of wired headphones.

Also read: AAC has limited bandwidth, AirPods not ideal on Android

By using an aggressive psychoacoustic model of compression like MP3 compression, AAC seeks to cut data where you wouldn’t normally be able to hear it anyway, but it’s sometimes a little too aggressive.

Pictured: The Apple AirPods in the hand.

AirPods may be trendy, but they have significant sound quality problems.

AAC has some advantages when it comes to latency, but we recommend avoiding this on Android phones if you care about audio quality. SoundGuys found high levels of noise, and lower than average frequency cutoffs — both unacceptable to audiophiles and younger listeners. Though the sound isn’t as bad as some may say, the shortcomings are noticeable to the human ear at normal listening volumes. In this light, wireless earbuds using AAC like the Apple AirPods aren’t ideal for Android phone use.

Pay close attention to what codec your true wireless earbuds use, as well.

AAC Bluetooth Noise Floor when playing back from an AAC source file, showing high noise in the audible range. This is why Apple AirPods are a bad pair with Android devices.

The noise for Android devices near 100Hz will audibly affect voice sounds, music.

Unlike with other codecs, AAC test signals from Android phones like the Huawei P20 Pro, LG V30, and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 all vary wildly. Though we can’t definitively say why each Android device seems to handle AAC encoding differently, we suspect some of the power saving features baked into the Android ecosystem’s varying hardware affect audio playback. Nowhere is this more apparent than Huawei’s power-sipping P20 Pro, which seems to cut out at around 14.25kHz. Our best guess is Android phones differ in how they handle task scheduling in the CPU, which has consequences for battery life and also fixes audio skipping problems with Bluetooth. AAC doesn’t hit the maximum range of audibility in any of the phones tested.

Related reading: Lossless audio only exists with LDAC 990kbps, but only sorta

LDAC is the only codec that truly attempts the hi-res thing, but it has perplexing issues with common phones. The bitrate defaults differ wildly from model to model. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 both default to 660kbps, and the Google Pixel 3 defaults to the lesser 330kbps. However, you can change this in developer settings.

A photo of the Sony WH-1000XM3 sitting on a stone wall.

The new Sony WH-1000XM3 uses LDAC as its main Bluetooth codec, but you might not be getting the best they have to offer.

Despite big promises from Bluetooth’s only Hi-res codec, the standard doesn’t really deliver, and it falls short with its basic 330kbps setting. Both the 660kbps and 990kbps connections offer decent quality, but the 330kbps setting has a lot of noise, and a comparatively poor frequency response with higher-def content — you probably won’t hear it, though. We recommend using 660kbps as a good middle ground between quality and connection quality.

Graph of Bluetooth codec signal strength vs dropped seconds of audio

Pocket-to-ear signal strength hovers around -45dB, but can vary when your arms or other objects get in the way.

See also: Most of Bluetooth’s issues are inaudible to older listeners

If you’re over the age of 24, Bluetooth headphones are more than likely good enough for you. Most people older than that cannot hear the audible effects of Bluetooth — outside of AAC’s shortcomings, and a certain level of noise.

LDAC 990kbps Bluetooth vs LG V30 Wired audio

Blue: LDAC 990kbps. Yellow: LG V30+ Hi-Res output. Data collected by Robert Triggs.

Every single Bluetooth codec out there exhibits a higher level of noise than wired audio, though only AAC, SBC, and LDAC 330kbps exhibit audible noise. Where wired audio can handle CD audio and 24-bit music, Bluetooth headphones simply can’t, though 24-bit is dramatic overkill anyways. If you like your music loud, Bluetooth will be noisier than wired listening, depending on how high you crank it.

More: aptX and aptX HD get close to CD-quality, but not quite as advertised

Of the tested codecs we met, aptX and aptX HD fared the best out of all our candidates. While that may seem strange to say, on the whole their results were right where they needed to stand in for a wire for commuters and listeners over 40. You’ll really only run into issues at high volumes (more than 90dB), so while aptX can’t quite keep up with CD quality, aptX HD gets extremely close to the mark with a little processing creativity. Both codecs fall short in the highest frequencies a human could potentially hear, but the vast majority of people can’t hear sounds over 18kHz anyway.

A photo of a phone supporting aptX and aptX HD playing music.

Audio connoisseurs will probably gravitate towards aptX and aptX HD, as it provides almost CD-quality dynamic range.

However, that software processing can’t fix noise issues in high notes. For best results you should listen at volumes below 90dB. Any higher and you’ll hear noise above 1kHz.

Before you ask: no, that’s not very quiet.

Good enough for most people, but not for everyone

Bluetooth headphones and earphones like the Apple AirPods may be good enough for most people, but it’s not good enough for everyone, and that’s a problem. While the benefits of high-bitrate music are largely academic, some flaws with Bluetooth audio prevent it from replacing the 3.5mm TRRS plug in all contexts. It’s a more expensive, less effective solution.

If you’re looking for commuting headphones, they’re great. Music lovers listening in a quiet environment will want something with a wire. Not only will it be cheaper, but it’ll work better too.

Pop quiz: Are you as tech-savvy as you think?

google pixel 3 vs samsung galaxy s9 display software

This week, we’ll test out just how tech-savvy you really are. The 10 questions in this quiz revolve around topics like Bluetooth, VoLTE, display resolution, and much more.

Do you think you know more about smartphone-related technology than the average Joe? Prove it by taking the quiz below — and don’t forget to share your result on social media at the end.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s widget.


This is the 14th quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take the other 13 via the links below:

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

Pop quiz: Is this an Android or iOS feature?

Pop quiz - iPhone XS Max and Google Pixel 3 XL

The 10 questions in this quiz revolve around popular smartphone features, and your job is to figure out whether they are available on Android, iOS, or both operating systems. To be more specific, we’re talking exclusively about stock Android and iOS running on iPhones, which makes the quiz a lot more challenging.

Do you think you know enough about the two operating systems to get a good score? Find out by pressing the Start button below — and don’t forget to share your result on social media at the end.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s widget.


This is the 13th quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take the other 12 via the links below:

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

MIUI info hub: Everything you should know about Xiaomi’s Android skin

MIUI on Mi Mix 2s.

Whether you just got a Xiaomi phone for the first time or are die-hard Mi fan, you’ll have interacted with MIUI.

The company’s take on Android is now on its tenth iteration, delivering a host of features and tweaks over the years. From updates and guides to new features and more, this is our one-stop shop for everything MIUI.

What is MIUI?

Simply put, MIUI is the theme Xiaomi has slapped on top of Android, adding a new visual style and more features to pure Android.

MIUI was actually Xiaomi’s first product, launching back in 2010 before the brand had any phones to go with it. The Android skin now has tens of millions of users, and while it hasn’t quite shed the iOS-inspired aesthetics, it offers plenty of features.

Which phones come with MIUI?

MIUI is largely designed with Xiaomi’s products in mind, with each of its phones running the software — except for the Android One-toting Mi A1 and Mi A2. The Pocophone F1, made by Xiaomi sub-brand Pocophone (or Poco in India), uses a version of MIUI that takes a few cues from stock Android.

The company and its community have also encouraged MIUI on other smartphones in the early years, but Xiaomi keeps a tight hold on its Android skin these days.

Keen to buy a MIUI-equipped phone? Then you can check out our recent Xiaomi reviews below:

Major features through the years

The Xiaomi Mi 4S.

MIUI has made tons of headway since launching roughly eight years ago, and it now has a rather comprehensive list of features.

Xiaomi is one of the first brands to come up with the idea of a phone management app (back in MIUI 5), serving as one place for functions like antivirus scanning, storage management, and battery saving features. Now, we see the likes of Samsung adopting this phone hub idea.

Editor’s Pick

Another noteworthy feature popularized by the brand (and Huawei) is the ability to download themes from a dedicated store. This is a feature stock Android still technically lacks, as you can download icon/font packs but there isn’t an entire theme store.

The early years of MIUI also introduced a few more solid features, such as a built-in data saver (MIUI 7), one-handed mode for big phones (MIUI 6), and a permission manager (MIUI 5/6). The last few years have also seen plenty of improvements.

MIUI 8

The arrival of MIUI 8 arguably heralded the biggest change for Xiaomi’s platform yet. Prominent features include scrolling screenshot support, a quick ball navigation setting for accessibility, and the second space feature to create a second profile on the phone.

We also saw the dual apps feature (allowing users to run two messaging accounts on one phone), a power-saving mode, an overhauled gallery app, a more vibrant visual design, and new fonts.

MIUI 9

We saw this update first hit phones in late 2017, delivering swipe gestures for navigation. These aped Apple’s iPhone X, as you swipe up from the bottom to go home and swipe laterally to go back.

Other than these gestures, MIUI 9 also brought “dynamic resource allocation” for better system performance, a smart assistant, and an improved notification shade.

MIUI 10

The most recent version is MIUI 10, which launched a few weeks ago. Some of the more prominent features include a redesigned recents menu and portrait mode for phones with single cameras.

MIUI tips and tricks

Xiaomi’s Android skin is pretty easy to understand, but it certainly holds more its fair share of secrets. We show you how to master the platform — check out our guides below.

If you have any MIUI questions, comments, or recommendations, sound off in the comments!

Pop quiz: Can you name an app just by looking at its logo?

Vivo V11 review - apps

This quiz will reveal just how familiar you are with some of the most popular apps out there. Your job is to look at the app icon in each of the 10 images and figure out the name of the app. There are four choices available for each question, only one of which is correct.

Are you up for the challenge? Press the Start Quiz button to get started — and don’t forget to share your result on social media at the end.


This is the 12th quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take the other 11 via the links below:

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

Opera Mini for Android updated with some major bug fixes

Opera has now officially updated it’s Opera Mini browser on Android. Opera Mini for Android is getting updated with app version 35.3.2254.129226 in the Google Play Store. The update weighs around 7.75 MB in the Google Play Store for our test device running Android Oreo 8.1. If we talk about the changes that come with…

The post Opera Mini for Android updated with some major bug fixes appeared first on Nokiapoweruser.