How to get Android Q beta 3 on compatible non-Pixel phones

It’s great to see Android Q beta 3 with so many new features, but it’s also great to see the beta open up to non-Pixel phones. Here’s how to get Android Q beta 3 for compatible non-Pixel phones.

Asus Zenfone 5Z

Zen UI

According to Asus, known issues include SD cards with exFAT format not being supported and no beep when the volume up or down buttons are pressed.

  1. Turn off your Zenfone 5Z.
  2. Hold down the Power and Volume Up buttons until your phone reboots.
  3. Connect your Zenfone 5Z to your PC.
  4. Download and decompress the Android Q’s image file.
  5. Double-click on “update_image.bat,” which starts the flash image command
  6. When the flash finishes, hit the Enter key to restart your Zenfone 5Z.

Essential Phone

Before we start, make sure to download the factory image. Also, download the fastboot tool from the Android SDK Platform-Tools package and add it to your path so the flash scripts can find it.

Finally, turn on OEM Unlocking and USB Debugging from within Developer options. To get to developer options, tap the build number multiple times until you see the “You are now a developer!” pop-up message.

  1. Connect your Essential Phone to your PC.
  2. Use the ADB tool to run the command adb reboot bootloader
  3. Reboot your phone while holding the Volume Down button.
  4. Unlock your bootloader.
    1. Run the command fastboot flashing unlock
    2. Use the Volume Down button to go to the YES option and press the Power button to confirm
    3. While your Essential Phone is rebooting, press and hold the Volume Down button to return to Fastboot mode.
  5. Flash your factory image.
    1. Unzip the previously-downloaded factory image and go to where you unzipped the files.
    2. On Windows, run the command flashall.bat
    3. On Linux and MacOS X, run the command flashall.sh
  6. Relock your bootloader
    1. You don’t have to re-lock your bootloader, though doing so improves security.
    2. Run the command fastboot flashing lock
    3. Go back to Fastboot mode and run the command fastboot flashing lock_critical

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The twilight back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Keep in mind that you must have released at least one app on the Google Play Store and use a Huawei Mate 20 Pro to qualify. Also, your Huawei ID must be registered with the same email address used for your Google Play Store developer account.

Finally, the beta is available from tomorrow, May 8 through June 30. After registration, the first version of Android Q beta 3 will be pushed out this Saturday, May 11. Following versions will be pushed out every Tuesday and Thursday.

You can go here to learn more about possible restrictions.

  1. Open this link on your Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
  2. Download and install the Beta app from the aforementioned link.
  3. Log in to the app with a Huawei ID registered with the Google Play Developer account’s email.
  4. Sign up for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro Developer project.

LG G8 ThinQ

LG G8 ThinQ Review display

Before installing Android Q beta 3, LG advises device owners to do a factory reset of their devices. Also, known issues include the camera with limited functionality, SD cards over 32GB not being recognized, Wi-Fi hotspot not working, voice calls over a Bluetooth headset not working, and some apps on the Google Play Store not working due to Q-OS compatibility issues.

Finally, you’ll have to use LG Beta Downloader every time there’s an update.

  1. Download and install LG Beta Downloader v1.0 or later (only works on Windows).
  2. Start LG Beta Downloader and follow the displayed instructions.

Nokia 8.1

The Nokia 8.1 screen.

Note that the beta only supports models TA-1119, TA-1121, and TA-1128 and associated 00WW images. Also, you must go here to sign up for a Nokia account and add the Nokia 8.1 to your account. From there, you can request Android Q beta 3 for your device.

Nokia is cagey on exact instructions, so make sure to have a compatible Nokia 8.1 device and follow the on-screen instructions.

OnePlus 6/6T

Even though the OnePlus 7 series also supports Android Q beta 3, the phones aren’t out yet. We’ll update this section with any new steps once the OnePlus 7 phones launch.

  1. Download the latest ROM upgrade zip package from the specified server, which you’ll find below.
    1. OnePlus 6
    2. OnePlus 6T
  2. Copy the Rollback package to the phone storage.
  3. Go to Settings -> System -> System Updates.
  4. Tap the top right icon, then tap Local upgrade.
  5. Tap on the corresponding installation upgrade, then tap Upgrade -> System upgrade completed to 100%.
  6. After the upgrade is complete, tap Restart.
  7. Your phone will reboot into recovery mode to format user data, then reboot again after updating.

Oppo Reno

Oppo Reno Hands On rear glass panel

Oppo hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Oppo Reno. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Realme 3 Pro

Realme 3 Pro back of the phone

Realme hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Realme 3 Pro. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Sony Xperia XZ3

Sony notes that only versions H8416, H9436, and H9493 of the Xperia XZ3 support Android Q beta 3. Also, Sony advises that device owners factory reset their devices before flashing the software.

  1. Go here to download the latest version of the Xperia Companion app on your PC.
  2. Start the Xperia Companion app.
  3. Hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and click on Software Repair on the homescreen.
  4. Tick the checkbox My device cannot be detected or started, then click Next.
  5. Wait for the initialization to complete, then follow the on-screen instructions.

Every subsequent software update for Android Q will be an OTA update. As such, you don’t have to use the Xperia Companion app unless you want to return to factory settings.

Tecno Spark 3 Pro

Press render of the Tecno Spark 3 Pro.

Tecno hasn’t yet posted instructions on how to get Android Q beta 3 for the Spark 3 Pro. We’ll update this section once that changes.

Vivo X27

Press render of the Vivo X27.

Vivo notes that the first version will be released this month, with the second version releasing in early July. Once Android Q is available to the public, Vivo will no longer release beta updates.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo X27.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Vivo Nex S

Vivo Nex

As previously mentioned, there will be an update in early July. Vivo will end the beta program once Android Q is publicly available.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo Nex S.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Vivo Nex A

As previously mentioned, there will be an update in early July. Vivo will end the beta program once Android Q is publicly available.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Vivo Nex A.
  2. Copy the firmware package to the root directory of the Vivo X27’s storage.
  3. Tap on the software package, then select Start Upgrade when prompted.

Xiaomi Mi 9

Xiaomi Mi 9 hero shot

Xiaomi notes that there are seven known issues with Android Q beta 3 for the Mi 9. You can read the known issues below.

  • Alarm does not ring when the device is switched off.
  • Device restarts after user selects wireless projection device in the Wireless display.
  • Settings app stops running after user deactivates shortcut to mute device.
  • Settings app stops running when Gesture is selected in Settings.
  • File app stops running after refresh.
  • Unable to switch screen color in Settings.
  • Unable to add a fingerprint.

Also, you must opt-in through the fastboot method that’s listed in the steps below.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Xiaomi Mi 9.
  2. Download the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool.
  3. Unlock your device.
  4. Turn off your Mi 9.
  5. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons to enter Fastboot mode.
  6. Connect the Mi 9 to your PC.
  7. Double-click the downloaded firmware to decompress it.
  8. Open the file folder for the decompressed firmware and copy its path on the PC.
  9. Once the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool is installed, open MiFlash.exe and paste it into the address bar the firmware file folder path copied in the previous step.
  10. Click the first button (circled out in yellow) to refresh.
  11. Click the second button (circled out in red) to flash the firmware to your Mi 9.

If these steps don’t help you, you can download the Mi PC Suite. From there, put your Mi 9 in Fastboot mode, connect the phone to your PC, and select the firmware.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G logo

Xiaomi notes that there are seven known issues with Android Q beta 3 for the Mi Mix 3 5G. You can read the known issues below.

  • Alarm does not ring when the device is switched off.
  • Device restarts after user selects wireless projection device in the Wireless display.
  • Default print service stops after device connects to Wi-Fi to print photos from gallery.
  • Settings app stops running after user deactivates shortcut to mute device.
  • Settings app stops running after user selects “Gestures”.
  • File app stops running after refresh.
  • Unable to switch color in settings.
  • Settings app crashes after Automatic brightness is selected.

Also, you must opt-in through the fastboot method that’s listed in the steps below.

  1. Download the Android Q beta firmware for the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G.
  2. Download the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool.
  3. Unlock your device.
  4. Turn off your Mi Mix 3 5G.
  5. Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons to enter Fastboot mode.
  6. Connect the Mi Mix 3 5G to your PC.
  7. Double-click the downloaded firmware to decompress it.
  8. Open the file folder for the decompressed firmware and copy its path on the PC.
  9. Once the MIUI ROM Flashing Tool is installed, open MiFlash.exe and paste it into the address bar the firmware file folder path copied in the previous step.
  10. Click the first button (circled out in yellow) to refresh.
  11. Click the second button (circled out in red) to flash the firmware to your Mi Mix 3 5G.

If these steps don’t help you, you can download the Mi PC Suite. From there, put your Mi Mix 3 5G in Fastboot mode, connect the phone to your PC, and select the firmware.


And that’s it! Let us know in the comments if you have any of the devices listed here and plan to install Android Q beta 3.

Huawei P30 Pro vs Mate 20 Pro: Is the better camera worth it?

The Huawei P30 Pro is the photography king of 2019 (so far). With four cameras and a massive arsenal of advanced features, it’s flashy enough to make you forget about Huawei’s other flagship, the six-month-old Mate 20 Pro.

Huawei P30 Pro review: A phone with superpowers

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: The best phone for power users

The Mate 20 Pro has almost the same features as the P30 Pro, except for the super advanced camera. On paper, the newer phone should comfortably win, but the Mate 20 Pro could be the better choice for most people due to one simple reason: it’s cheaper.

Let’s begin our Huawei P30 Pro vs Mate 20 Pro comparison.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side twilight and aurora

The big picture

The Mate 20 Pro and P30 Pro are Huawei’s latest flagship phones. Released every fall, phones in the Mate series tend to offer the best performance and the latest technology from Huawei. Effectively, the Mate is Huawei’s answer to the Galaxy Note. The P series, meanwhile, is designed to counter the Galaxy S line, with one big twist — a strong focus on photography. Phones in the P series are typically built on the same platform as the previous year’s Mate.

Design

P30 Pro

  • 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm
  • 192g

Mate 20 Pro

  • 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm
  • 189g

P series phones used to be smaller than Mates, but the trend towards larger screens has chipped away at the difference. This year, the P30 Pro eclipsed the size of the Mate 20 Pro, which itself is quite a handful. On a side note, if you can’t stand large phones the Huawei P30 may provide some relief, though you won’t get quite all the bells and whistles from the P30 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side in hand 23

The P30 Pro is a millimeter wider than the Mate 20 Pro, and you can actually feel it. I find the Mate 20 Pro to be easier to hold and handle. Its top and bottom edges are pleasingly tapered. The P30 Pro’s bottom is much flatter, so it doesn’t sit as comfortably in the hand.

The Mate 20 Pro feels nicer in the hand, but the P30 Pro arguably looks nicer

Both phones feature notches, but they couldn’t be more different. The Mate 20 Pro’s notch is wide and packed with sensors. The P30 Pro goes the minimalist route and it’s an improvement, in my opinion. Visually, the small “water drop” notch is less intrusive and it doesn’t mess with the status bar as much. All your icons are in their “usual” place, which is not the case with the Mate 20 Pro’s cramped status bar.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side notch close up

The P30 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro both look like Galaxy phones a bit, thanks to their curved display edges, but there’s no mistaking them for any other phone if you look at the large, flashy camera modules on their backs.

The Mate 20 Pro feels nicer in the hand, but the P30 Pro arguably looks nicer thanks to its stunning color options. The most striking is the fiery-orange Sunrise, but I also really liked the Aurora model (pictured). The darker Twilight colorway on the Mate 20 Pro is still beautiful, but maybe not as fresh looking.    

One more note on usability: the power button and volume rocker are a little too close together on the Mate 20 Pro, resulting in accidental presses. Huawei has addressed this small problem on the P30 Pro.

Display

P30 Pro

  • 6.47-inch OLED
  • Full HD+ 2,340 x 1,080 pixels 

Mate 20 Pro

  • 6.39-inch OLED
  • Quad HD+ 3,120 x 1,440 pixels

The displays on the Huawei P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro are about the same size, but the Mate features higher resolution. That’s according to the spec sheet; in real life, the Mate 20 Pro runs in Full HD+ by default in order to save battery life. That’s the same resolution as the P30 Pro, and you’ll have to look very closely to see a difference in sharpness between the two.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side notches

I did notice a difference in the two panels’ color balance. The Mate 20 Pro’s screen is ever so slightly warmer and more yellowish than the P30 Pro. You can tweak both phones’ displays to your liking from the display settings.

The in-display fingerprint sensor on the Mate 20 Pro is hit and miss. It works correctly about 70 percent of the time. On the P30 Pro, the sensor is placed lower on the screen, and it’s also slightly larger and faster. I found it to be more reliable, but it’s still not as solid as a standard reader. The Mate 20 Pro scores a point here thanks to its laser-based face unlock system. It’s faster and more reliable than the P30 Pro’s camera-based version. It’s also more secure – you can’t bypass it by showing it a photo of the owner, like you can with the P30 Pro.

Performance

P30 Pro

  • HiSilicon Kirin 980
  • octa-core: 2 x 2.6GHz, 2 x 1.92GHz, 4 x 1.8GHz
  • Mali-G76 GPU
  • 128/256/512GB of storage
  • 6GB/8GB RAM

Mate 20 Pro

  • HiSilicon Kirin 980
  • octa-core: 2 x 2.6GHz, 2 x 1.92GHz, 4 x 1.8GHz
  • Mali-G76 GPU
  • 128/256/512GB of storage
  • 6GB/8GB RAM

You won’t see any real-life difference in performance when comparing the Huawei P30 Pro vs the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. That’s not surprising: both phones feature the same processor and memory, and very similar software. Modern high-end devices rarely have any performance issues to speak of, anyway.

In benchmarks, the P30 Pro pulls ahead of the Mate 20 Pro, possibly due to its new filesystem, which is supposed to accelerate app loading times and data transfer speeds. In Gary’s Speed Test G for instance, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro completed the course in 2m:01s, compared to the P30 Pro’s 1m:45s. In AnTuTu, the Mate 20 Pro hits around 280,000 points, compared to 290,000 for the P30 Pro. Respectable performances, though not something to write home about.

Huawei P30 Pro screen (55 of 60)
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Battery

P30 Pro

  • 4,200mAh
  • 40W fast charging
  • 15W fast wireless charging

Mate 20 Pro

  • 4,200mAh
  • 40W fast charging
  • 15W fast wireless charging

Battery life is excellent on both the Huawei P30 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro. With both, you’re getting 7 to 9 hours of screen-on time. In my experience, I had slightly better screen-on time on the P30 Pro, though you could chalk up the disparity to different usage patterns.

Battery life is excellent on both the Huawei P3o Pro and the Mate 20 Pro.

The two phones have identically-sized batteries and the same functionality. The highlight is, without doubt, the very fast charging. Using the bundled charger and cable, you can replenish the battery up to 70 percent in just 30 minutes. It’s truly impressive.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side cameras 3

Both phones have reverse wireless charging, which can be useful for emergency situations or when you need to charge up small gadgets like wireless earbuds or smartwatches. It works with any Qi-enabled device, but it’s very slow. Don’t rely on it for anything critical.

Camera

P30 Pro

  • 40MP f/1.6 standard
  • 20MP f/2.2 wide
  • 8MP  f/3.4 telephoto with 5X optical zoom
  • Time-of-Flight sensor

Mate 20 Pro

  • 40MP f/1.8 standard
  • 20MP f/2.2 wide
  • 8MP f/2.4 telephoto with 3X optical zoom

The P30 Pro is the camera phone of 2019, but don’t dismiss the Mate 20 Pro too quickly. It has many of the same features, and image quality is quite good.

Both the P30 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro come with a 40MP (pixel-binned) standard camera, a 20MP ultra-wide camera, and an 8MP telephoto camera. While the basics are the same, the P30 Pro pulls ahead thanks to better optical zoom and superior low-light performance.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro side by side rear 2

Where the Mate 20 Pro is capable of 3X optical zoom, the P30 Pro goes up to 5X optical zoom (and up to 10X lossless zoom). The ability to really bring the subject close affords you a lot of creative freedom — not only can you capture more detail, you can also frame the subject in ways that are just not possible without optical zoom. The deep zoom is made possible by the P30 Pro’s use of a periscope-style design that rotates light towards a set of lenses hidden inside the body of the phone.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro 5X zoom Huawei P30 Pro 5X zoom Huawei Mate 20 Pro 5X zoom

Huawei P30 Pro 5X zoom

The P30 Pro is also the better phone if you take a lot of pictures in very low light. The phone has a very light-sensitive RYYB sensor (compared to the conventional RGGB sensor on the Mate 20 Pro), larger aperture, and better optics. Thanks to these features, the P30 Pro can almost see in the dark. You can get similar results using the Mate 20 Pro’s Night Mode. However, the P30 Pro delivers better pictures and is easier to use, as you don’t need to switch to the dedicated Night Mode to get good results.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Huawei P30 Pro Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro

Another key difference between the two cameras is in Portrait Mode. The P30 Pro features a Time-of-Flight sensor on its back, which lets it measure the distance to objects in the scene. This results in a more natural, progressive bokeh effect compared to the Mate 20 Pro. This applies to the cameras on the back – there’s no Time-of-Flight sensor on the front.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Huawei P30 Pro Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro

With either phone, you get some extremely versatile cameras that give you more ways to express your creativity than most any other phone out there. If you’re a “regular” user, both will serve you just fine, but if you really want the best camera, the P30 Pro is clearly the first option.

Huawei P30 Pro camera review: Next level optics, low-light king

Software

P30 Pro

  • EMUI 9.1
  • Android 9 Pie

Mate 20 Pro

  • EMUI 9
  • Android 9 Pie

Despite a change in version number from EMUI 9 to EMUI 9.1, the P30 Pro’s operating system is largely unchanged compared to the Mate 20 Pro. There are a couple of user-facing differences worth mentioning: the Always-on Display now shows notifications from third-party apps, not just calls and messages; and Google Assistant is now easier to access by pressing and holding the power button. Huawei also added a few integrations with third-party products on the P30 Pro, such as the ability to open and start your Audi with your phone (Audi sold separately).

Other than the small changes on the P30 Pro, EMUI is the same as always: feature-packed, customizable, and a bit unpolished.

The P30 Pro is the better phone all-around, by a small margin.

Specs

  Huawei P30 Pro Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Display 6.47-inch dual-curved OLED display
19.5:9 aspect ratio
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
398ppi
6.39-inch OLED display
19.5:9 aspect ratio
3,120 x 1,440 resolution
538ppi
Processor Kirin 980 Kirin 980
RAM 6GB/8GB 6GB/8GB
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Nano Memory Card expansion
128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Nano Memory Card expansion
Battery 4,200mAh
40W Supercharge
15W wireless charge
Reverse wireless charging
4,200mAh
40W Supercharge
15W wireless charge
Reverse wireless charging
Cameras Rear:
40MP 27mm f/1.6 (RYB sensor)
20MP 16mm f/2.2 Ultrawide
8MP 5x optical periscope prism 125mm f/3.4
Huawei TOF (time of flight) camera

Front:
32MP f/2.0

Rear:
40MP 27mm f/1.8 (RGB sensor)
20MP 16mm f/2.2
8MP 3x optical 80mm f/2.4

Front:
24MP f/2.0

IP Rating IP68 IP68
Audio No headphone jack No headphone jack
Security In-display fingerprint In-display fingerprint
Software EMUI 9.1, based on Android 9 Pie EMUI 9, based on Android 9 Pie

Value for the money

Unsurprisingly, the newer phone comes out on top in this comparison of the Huawei P30 Pro vs the Mate 20 Pro. That said, the Mate 20 Pro plays catch-up when the price tag comes into discussion.

At the time of publication, the P30 Pro is available on Amazon for 899 pounds (~$1170). The phone is still brand new, so we don’t expect this price to go down by much in the next couple of months.

Meanwhile, the Mate 20 Pro costs 715 pounds (~$930) on Amazon. That’s 185 pounds (~$240) lower, which is enough spare change to accessorize your Mate 20 Pro with several nice cases or maybe to buy a Huawei Watch GT or a pair of wireless earbuds.

huawei p30 pro vs huawei mate 20 pro rears side by side 19

Huawei P30 Pro vs Mate 20 Pro: Our verdict

The Huawei P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro are premium flagship phones that are packed with the latest mobile technologies. They rival the best products from Apple, Google, and Samsung.

The P30 Pro is the better phone all-around by a small margin. Get it if you want the best smartphone camera, or simply want the latest and greatest in mobile technology. The Mate 20 Pro is a step behind when it comes to the camera, but it’s arguably a better deal thanks to its lower price. Your call. 

And that’s a wrap! Which phone would you pick between Huawei P30 Pro vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro?

These are the best Android phones for power users

A photo of a man using the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, one of the best phones for power users.

Smartphones are incredibly useful tools no matter which way you look at them, packing plenty of features into a compact form factor. But what if you specifically need a device for productivity purposes? Or maybe you need a Swiss Army Knife that offers a feature for every eventuality?

There are plenty of Android phones for power users out there, so here are the devices you should be adding to your wishlist.


Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Samsung Experience Homescreen

Our 2018 Best of Android smartphone of the year is also one of the best Android phones for power users too, and there are plenty of reasons why.

The integrated S-Pen stylus enables some nifty functionality, such as controlling your presentations (if your phone is connected to an external screen) and jotting down notes. The former is a pretty handy use-case too, reducing the need to lug your laptop to work for that pitch meeting.

Editor’s Pick

The Galaxy Note 9 also offers a 4,000mAh battery that should give you plenty of juice for the day (with some to spare). It also marks the biggest battery in the Note range yet, while trouncing the Galaxy S9 Plus.

Core specs are cutting-edge too, offering a Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chipset, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 512GB (!) of expandable storage, and a 6.4-inch 1440p OLED screen. Toss in IP68 water resistance, a headphone jack, and wireless charging, and you’ve got one of the best flagships of the year. Just make sure you look around for a good deal, because the device starts at $999.


Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro took an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach, cramming almost every imaginable feature into its frame (save for a 3.5mm port). The biggest highlights are the triple rear camera setup (ultra wide, normal, telephoto), reverse wireless charging, and an in-display fingerprint sensor, but it also packs a few more useful features.

The 4,200mAh battery is probably the largest you’ll find in a mainstream flagship phone today, giving you a day and a half to two days of usage. But it also packs the fastest charging you’ll see, period, going from zero to 70 percent in just 30 minutes. So if you over-slept or simply don’t have time to fully charge your phone, it’ll work particularly well.

The biggest downside is that the phone ordinarily starts at 1,049 euros (~$1,217), making it $200 more expensive than Samsung’s flagship phablet. The lack of a headphone jack is also disappointing, but it’s tough to argue that you aren’t getting one of the better phones for power users and productivity in general.


Google Pixel 3

Google’s latest phone doesn’t have the biggest battery, the most storage, or the most cameras, but it has one massive advantage over Huawei and Samsung’s phones. Yep, you’ll be getting stock Android as well as the latest and greatest updates.

Read: Here are the best smartphones running stock Android

Even if you don’t care for pure Android, it’s tough to argue with Google’s commitment to feature and security updates. The company generally commits to two years of feature updates, and three years of security patches. The latter should provide for some peace of mind if you need a (figuratively) bullet-proof phone in your line of work.

But the Pixel 3 series also stands out thanks to its camera experience, offering a 12MP single rear camera and a dual-camera pairing up front. The Mountain View company’s photography efforts also earned it a gong in our best of Android awards.


OnePlus 6T

OyxgenOS Android Skin

OnePlus had a stellar 2018, and this is in large part due to the excellent critical and commercial reception to the OnePlus 6T. The phone definitely makes a few compromises compared to the more expensive devices on the list, but it’s tough to argue against its inclusion nonetheless.

The OnePlus 6T offers a speedy Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB to 8GB of RAM, and 128GB to 256GB of storage. This puts it on similar footing to the OnePlus 6, but the brand has also tossed in an in-display fingerprint sensor and a 3,700mAh battery (compared to the older phone’s 3,300mAh pack). 

But one of the best things about the phone is its OxygenOS skin, offering a feature-filled yet lightweight take on Android. Toss in the company’s commitment to updates and the developer community, and you’ve got another phone worth adding to the list.


BlackBerry Key2

blackberry key2 held in hand

Was there ever any doubt that the BlackBerry Key2 would make the list? TCL’s 2018 device cracks a nod based purely on the fact that it has a QWERTY keypad — a rarity in this day and age. Sure, virtual keyboards are often faster for many people, but the ability to assign apps to specific keys is pretty smart.

The phone also has a dedicated shortcut key (be it for the camera shutter, Play Music or Google Assistant), LG-style system profiles that change your settings depending on location, and a 3,500mAh battery that keeps on chugging. In fact, reviewers Jimmy Westenberg and David Imel both said they averaged between five and seven hours of screen-on time, while Jimmy said he’d regularly end the day with 40 percent capacity remaining.

Now if you consider a power user to be someone who needs the fastest, the Blackberry Key2 obviously doesn’t hold its own as well in this department. The addition of a mid-weight Snapdragon 660 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB to 128GB of expandable storage makes for a big improvement over the KeyOne‘s budget specs. But it’s far from a performance beast. Still, if your definition of a power user is someone who lives on his or her phone and needs it to fuel their productivity, the Key2 is hard to beat. 


Do you know of any other great phones for power users? Give us your picks in the comments! 

Three months with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Still worth the money

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is certainly one of the most popular flagship phones of 2018, and it isn’t hard to see why, thanks to its stacked spec sheet.

We were pretty happy with the phone in our original Huawei Mate 20 Pro review back in October, but how does the phone hold up to real-world usage? Well, I ended up buying one shortly after release, and here are my thoughts after using it since then as my daily driver.

For this real life Huawei Mate 20 Pro review I used the single-SIM (LYA-L09) model in Twilight running on the Cell C network in South Africa, packing 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’s running EMUI 9.0.0 with build number 9.0.0.171 (C316E11R1P16) and the December 2018 security patch.

Hardware

The twilight back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The good

The Mate 20 Pro’s overall design is still aesthetically pleasing after all this time — at least when it’s out of my flip case. Between the curved OLED screen, relatively thin form factor, and the Twilight glass back, it certainly feels like a premium device. I would’ve loved to see the hyper-optical pattern back here, with its neat texture and oleophobic nature. Speaking of oleophobic, the Twilight back definitely attracts prints, but keeping it in a cover is a simple solution.

Since I started using the Mate 20 Pro, I’ve dropped it a couple of times, but always while using the flip case. Thankfully, the phone doesn’t look worse for wear for the most part. I’ve also taken the phone into the pool several times for a few selfies (don’t judge) and it hasn’t shown any signs of trouble. So it doesn’t seem fragile if you take the proper precautions.

The bad

Durability is pretty solid then, but I have noticed that a super-slim rubber lining of sorts (between the display and bottom frame) has appeared and received some wear in the bottom left corner. I’m not sure if this lining is related to water resistance, the display, or something else, but it’s definitely odd. For what it’s worth, I only noticed it when shooting the linked photo.

Editor’s Pick

The Mate 20 Pro’s notch was one of the dominant design decisions back at launch, and it felt out of date even back then. I’ve hidden the notch since I received the phone, and the only time I see it briefly is when swiping down the notification shade. However, the addition of 3D face unlock means even a “removable” notch is a small price to pay. I enabled the notch at the time of writing this Mate 20 Pro review for the fun of it, and all I can say is I’m sure glad I can hide it.

Aside from the notch, I also shared the feelings of our own Bogdan Petrovan in his original Mate 20 Pro review on the power and volume keys being too close together. My initial time with the phone saw me accidentally taking screenshots (or hitting volume) when I meant to press the power button. Fortunately, I’ve adapted pretty well since then, and haven’t given it a second thought.

The ugly

Something I didn’t get used to, however, is the lack of a 3.5mm port. I would usually switch between listening to stuff on my work laptop and the phone, but the constant dongle juggling made me think it was only a matter of time until I lost the adapter. Since USB-C is a mess right now, you’re better off going with Bluetooth or using 3.5mm-equipped headphones via the dongle.

Software and performance

image of huawei mate 20 pro review unit in hand

The good

Performance is one of the biggest factors to look out for in a longer term review, as the phone’s storage tends to get clogged up. The Mate 20 Pro still feels just as fast as the day I received it. Whether you’re flicking through home screens, hitting the home button during a game, or scrolling in Chrome, I never really saw any jerkiness or slowdown. The same applies to games, as Hitman Sniper, Nascar Heat Mobile, and PUBG all turned in smooth performance.

This speed extends to 3D Face Unlock, which is still extremely fast and accurate in almost every condition. Just make sure to toggle the setting that requires eye contact to unlock the phone, so people can’t unlock your phone by pointing it at your face while you sleep.

Read: 10 features from other platforms/ROMs/skins we want in stock Android

EMUI itself tends to get a lot of hate from Android enthusiasts due to Huawei practically tweaking everything. It’s been toned down lately, and the Mate 20 Pro’s skin isn’t nearly as offensive it used to be. Between the app drawer toggle and Google feed, you should actually feel at home if you’re coming from a Western brand. It’s got handy features like scrolling screenshots, app and file locker integration, screen recording, a dark theme, and a Samsung-style password vault.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has certainly enjoyed software support too. I’ve received at least two significant updates since launch. The first update delivered AI video filters and AI Zoom, while the second offered improved photo quality and biometric authentication. My unit still doesn’t have updates like the one with a dedicated super macro mode, but I hope my network catches up soon.

The bad

I occasionally noticed Chrome reloading after a while, as I juggled about half a dozen apps in the recents menu. It never occurred often enough to be an inconvenience, let alone a major annoyance, but it’s not something a power user would expect from a flagship with 6GB to 10GB RAM.

What’s more annoying is face unlock seems to occasionally have a weird glitch where it takes me to the lock screen, even when I’ve set it to immediately unlock the phone. It doesn’t happen even 10 percent of the time — maybe once a week . Hopefully Huawei knows about this, because I feel like I’m questioning my sanity trying to reproduce the issue.

Huawei has tweaked the behavior of the recents menu, and it takes some getting used to.

EMUI also has a weird quirk when multitasking. Hitting the recents button doesn’t only minimize the app you’re currently in. Instead, the current app gets minimized and the phone automatically puts the previously used app in the center (rather than the current one). If you’re in the gallery, then launch WhatsApp, then hit the recents key, the recents menu will put the gallery front and center. It was very jarring at first, but it’s interesting and I’ve mostly gotten used to it. However, the lack of a toggle for this behavior is disappointing, especially if you’re coming from, say, any other Android phone.

Camera

The back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, showing a camera bump.

The good

One of the biggest reasons to get the Mate 20 Pro is its versatile triple rear camera setup, which offers a camera for each situation. Being able to go wide or get a closer shot is certainly extremely handy.

Photos taken by the Mate 20 Pro deliver plenty of dynamic range, vibrant colors and a healthy level of resolvable detail in most conditions. Use the standard camera at night and you’ll get pleasant results — even before you switch to the light-sucking Night mode.








The other two rear cameras are pretty great during the day as well. The phone’s zoom capabilities allows you to get Instagram-worthy shots you might not get on other phones, thanks to the 3x zoom factor (as opposed two 2x on standard telephoto cameras) and the 5x hybrid zoom option. Meanwhile, the ultra wide angle rear camera can deliver some great, vibrant daytime results too. You’ll want this if you’re a keen traveller (or if you want an eye-catching perspective in general).

Switching to the front, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s selfie camera often surprised me with its dynamic range. The so-called AI HDR feature meant it coped very well in backlit scenes like sunsets.

The bad

Aside from the aforementioned dynamic range, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s 24MP front-facing camera isn’t particularly great. Images can be pretty washed out during the day, and a healthy level of detail isn’t always guaranteed. You can get some bright shots at night, but I often found low-light selfies lacked detail (being blurry or having that smeared effect). You can still get decent results when the sun goes down, but you’ll need to take plenty of shots to get that one keeper. The Pixel 3 series this is not.

Moving to the rear, the standard camera is an excellent performer when the light goes down, but ultra-wide and zoomed in results are noticeably worse. This isn’t unexpected, but you will definitely see noise and a lack of detail when zooming in or going wide at night. That isn’t to say that you can’t get some pleasant shots in these situations, but you’ll want to take a shot with the standard camera too. Trying night mode with these cameras will usually deliver a brighter shot, but also reveals a ton of noise.

Editor’s Pick

Sticking with the rear, Huawei’s underwater mode is a neat but flawed addition. The mode lets users take photos in a pool with your volume keys, and locks down the screen to prevent water-based interference. It doesn’t do a perfect job keeping the screen locked, but a bigger problem is the inability to use the other cameras or tweak video quality settings. It works well enough for a day in the pool nonetheless, but it could’ve been so much more.

The final minor complaint I have with Huawei’s camera is its Master AI mode. It’s generally reliable and delivers some helpful prompts, but it’s high time the company gives us more granular control over the mode. The ability to toggle what the mode suggests, as opposed to simply turning it off, would go a long way to catering to photographers of every skill level.

The ugly

The company added an AI Zoom feature for video after launch, and it didn’t take long for me to realize it’s pretty pointless. I used it to film friends at a skate park and it often lost track of the subject. This seems to be a distance-related issue, as it often lost the subject when they moved away from the camera. Still, you’re better off controlling the zoom yourself — the automatic option can be more trouble than it’s worth.

Read: Team AA — What would we like to see from smartphone cameras in 2019?

Huawei also promised 3D scanning capabilities after launch, via a 3D Live Maker app. Unfortunately, it’s awful beyond words. The app calls for you to place the object on a table and then hold the phone in landscape orientation, at 45 degrees above the object. Once you’ve managed to convince the app everything is in order, you can click the button to start scanning. Unfortunately, the scanning process is incredibly buggy (with constant flickering), and the progress bar doesn’t seem to progress very far. I’ve given it a go several times and still haven’t finished a single scan.

In-display fingerprint sensor

The good

Huawei’s latest take on in-display scanning is definitely faster than other devices I’ve tried (namely the Mate RS and Vivo V11 Pro). It’s also quite accurate once you get a hang of the sensor’s location. I seldom had issues with my fingers going unrecognized.

The bad

The in-display fingerprint sensor is clearly less convenient than the traditional rear scanners of earlier devices. Between the lack of tactile feedback, the small focus area and the slightly slow nature, it’s definitely still early days for the tech.

I’ve largely grown accustomed to it, much like how I got used to the Galaxy S8‘s weird scanner placement. If you gave me a Mate 20 Pro with a standard rear scanner (the Mate 20 X, I guess?), I’d go after that in a jiffy.

Battery life

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro charger.

The Huawei SuperCharge adapter, included with every Mate 20 Pro, delivers some ridiculously fast charging speeds.

The good

Bogdan felt that the battery experience was the real selling point in his Huawei Mate 20 Pro review, and I agree. At 4,200mAh, the Mate 20 Pro beats most of its arch-rivals in sheer capacity.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro generally has no problem lasting for a day and a half.

Real-world endurance is to be commended as well, as six hours of screen-on time is usually the bare minimum I’d get (with auto-brightness and a dark theme). However, more conservative usage (i.e. less YouTube and gaming) generally put me past the seven hour barrier. To give you a better idea of typical usage, the phone generally has no problem lasting a day and a half. In fact, I often got away with charging my device mid-morning as I never doubted that it would be off come alarm-time.

Speaking of charging, the addition of 40 watt fast charging fills up the battery from empty in just over an hour. You can reach 70 percent juice in just 30 minutes. I never really felt anxious about needing to leave the house soon and with the battery at 40 or 50 percent.

The bad

Huawei decided to use the USB-C port for one of the speakers, pumping out audio from this port. It’s a pretty interesting move, but muffles audio when charging. The earpiece speaker does a great job picking up the slack, but you’ll definitely notice the reduced volume if you’re listening to something soft to begin with.

The ugly

Reverse wireless charging is a neat feature, but its slow charging speed means quickly topping up a friend’s phone isn’t really an option. You’re better off using this for earbuds with a wireless charging case, and your friend is better off charging his phone via a wired charger for five or ten minutes.

Am I happy with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro?

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro certainly brings a stacked list of features. It’s one of the better no-compromise smartphones out there. Between the flexible camera setup, ridiculously fast charging, long endurance, great face unlock, and powerful chipset, the phone definitely held up well after three months. It’s even received several significant updates since then, showing Huawei isn’t content to leave it in the lurch.

Editor’s Pick

Several annoyances from our original review remain, like the inconsistent image quality (especially with the selfie camera and for close-up shots), and the lack of a 3.5mm headphone port. The company could also give us more granular control of the Master AI mode, as personalized AI camera recommendations seem like an overdue next step.

Personally, after using it as a daily driver and paying for it with my own money, I still think the Mate 20 Pro is an incredible phone. In fact, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s biggest problem after three months is that the next Huawei flagship is set for a reveal soon. The P20 Pro delivered a superior camera experience and offering the same battery size as the Mate 10 Pro. If you like the idea of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, it wouldn’t hurt to wait six weeks or so to see what else Huawei has up its sleeve.

For everyone else, however, it’s tough to have buyer’s remorse when you’ve got a versatile phone that doesn’t need an overnight charge.

NEXT: OnePlus 7 — Here’s what it needs to take on the best

And that’s a wrap. Thoughts on this long-term Huawei Mate 20 Pro review? Let us know in the comments!

Three months with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Still worth the money

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is certainly one of the most popular flagship phones of 2018, and it isn’t hard to see why, thanks to its stacked spec sheet.

We were pretty happy with the phone in our original Huawei Mate 20 Pro review back in October, but how does the phone hold up to real-world usage? Well, I ended up buying one shortly after release, and here are my thoughts after using it since then as my daily driver.

For this real life Huawei Mate 20 Pro review I used the single-SIM (LYA-L09) model in Twilight running on the Cell C network in South Africa, packing 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’s running EMUI 9.0.0 with build number 9.0.0.171 (C316E11R1P16) and the December 2018 security patch.

Hardware

The twilight back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The good

The Mate 20 Pro’s overall design is still aesthetically pleasing after all this time — at least when it’s out of my flip case. Between the curved OLED screen, relatively thin form factor, and the Twilight glass back, it certainly feels like a premium device. I would’ve loved to see the hyper-optical pattern back here, with its neat texture and oleophobic nature. Speaking of oleophobic, the Twilight back definitely attracts prints, but keeping it in a cover is a simple solution.

Since I started using the Mate 20 Pro, I’ve dropped it a couple of times, but always while using the flip case. Thankfully, the phone doesn’t look worse for wear for the most part. I’ve also taken the phone into the pool several times for a few selfies (don’t judge) and it hasn’t shown any signs of trouble. So it doesn’t seem fragile if you take the proper precautions.

The bad

Durability is pretty solid then, but I have noticed that a super-slim rubber lining of sorts (between the display and bottom frame) has appeared and received some wear in the bottom left corner. I’m not sure if this lining is related to water resistance, the display, or something else, but it’s definitely odd. For what it’s worth, I only noticed it when shooting the linked photo.

Editor’s Pick

The Mate 20 Pro’s notch was one of the dominant design decisions back at launch, and it felt out of date even back then. I’ve hidden the notch since I received the phone, and the only time I see it briefly is when swiping down the notification shade. However, the addition of 3D face unlock means even a “removable” notch is a small price to pay. I enabled the notch at the time of writing this Mate 20 Pro review for the fun of it, and all I can say is I’m sure glad I can hide it.

Aside from the notch, I also shared the feelings of our own Bogdan Petrovan in his original Mate 20 Pro review on the power and volume keys being too close together. My initial time with the phone saw me accidentally taking screenshots (or hitting volume) when I meant to press the power button. Fortunately, I’ve adapted pretty well since then, and haven’t given it a second thought.

The ugly

Something I didn’t get used to, however, is the lack of a 3.5mm port. I would usually switch between listening to stuff on my work laptop and the phone, but the constant dongle juggling made me think it was only a matter of time until I lost the adapter. Since USB-C is a mess right now, you’re better off going with Bluetooth or using 3.5mm-equipped headphones via the dongle.

Software and performance

image of huawei mate 20 pro review unit in hand

The good

Performance is one of the biggest factors to look out for in a longer term review, as the phone’s storage tends to get clogged up. The Mate 20 Pro still feels just as fast as the day I received it. Whether you’re flicking through home screens, hitting the home button during a game, or scrolling in Chrome, I never really saw any jerkiness or slowdown. The same applies to games, as Hitman Sniper, Nascar Heat Mobile, and PUBG all turned in smooth performance.

This speed extends to 3D Face Unlock, which is still extremely fast and accurate in almost every condition. Just make sure to toggle the setting that requires eye contact to unlock the phone, so people can’t unlock your phone by pointing it at your face while you sleep.

Read: 10 features from other platforms/ROMs/skins we want in stock Android

EMUI itself tends to get a lot of hate from Android enthusiasts due to Huawei practically tweaking everything. It’s been toned down lately, and the Mate 20 Pro’s skin isn’t nearly as offensive it used to be. Between the app drawer toggle and Google feed, you should actually feel at home if you’re coming from a Western brand. It’s got handy features like scrolling screenshots, app and file locker integration, screen recording, a dark theme, and a Samsung-style password vault.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has certainly enjoyed software support too. I’ve received at least two significant updates since launch. The first update delivered AI video filters and AI Zoom, while the second offered improved photo quality and biometric authentication. My unit still doesn’t have updates like the one with a dedicated super macro mode, but I hope my network catches up soon.

The bad

I occasionally noticed Chrome reloading after a while, as I juggled about half a dozen apps in the recents menu. It never occurred often enough to be an inconvenience, let alone a major annoyance, but it’s not something a power user would expect from a flagship with 6GB to 10GB RAM.

What’s more annoying is face unlock seems to occasionally have a weird glitch where it takes me to the lock screen, even when I’ve set it to immediately unlock the phone. It doesn’t happen even 10 percent of the time — maybe once a week . Hopefully Huawei knows about this, because I feel like I’m questioning my sanity trying to reproduce the issue.

Huawei has tweaked the behavior of the recents menu, and it takes some getting used to.

EMUI also has a weird quirk when multitasking. Hitting the recents button doesn’t only minimize the app you’re currently in. Instead, the current app gets minimized and the phone automatically puts the previously used app in the center (rather than the current one). If you’re in the gallery, then launch WhatsApp, then hit the recents key, the recents menu will put the gallery front and center. It was very jarring at first, but it’s interesting and I’ve mostly gotten used to it. However, the lack of a toggle for this behavior is disappointing, especially if you’re coming from, say, any other Android phone.

Camera

The back of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, showing a camera bump.

The good

One of the biggest reasons to get the Mate 20 Pro is its versatile triple rear camera setup, which offers a camera for each situation. Being able to go wide or get a closer shot is certainly extremely handy.

Photos taken by the Mate 20 Pro deliver plenty of dynamic range, vibrant colors and a healthy level of resolvable detail in most conditions. Use the standard camera at night and you’ll get pleasant results — even before you switch to the light-sucking Night mode.








The other two rear cameras are pretty great during the day as well. The phone’s zoom capabilities allows you to get Instagram-worthy shots you might not get on other phones, thanks to the 3x zoom factor (as opposed two 2x on standard telephoto cameras) and the 5x hybrid zoom option. Meanwhile, the ultra wide angle rear camera can deliver some great, vibrant daytime results too. You’ll want this if you’re a keen traveller (or if you want an eye-catching perspective in general).

Switching to the front, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s selfie camera often surprised me with its dynamic range. The so-called AI HDR feature meant it coped very well in backlit scenes like sunsets.

The bad

Aside from the aforementioned dynamic range, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s 24MP front-facing camera isn’t particularly great. Images can be pretty washed out during the day, and a healthy level of detail isn’t always guaranteed. You can get some bright shots at night, but I often found low-light selfies lacked detail (being blurry or having that smeared effect). You can still get decent results when the sun goes down, but you’ll need to take plenty of shots to get that one keeper. The Pixel 3 series this is not.

Moving to the rear, the standard camera is an excellent performer when the light goes down, but ultra-wide and zoomed in results are noticeably worse. This isn’t unexpected, but you will definitely see noise and a lack of detail when zooming in or going wide at night. That isn’t to say that you can’t get some pleasant shots in these situations, but you’ll want to take a shot with the standard camera too. Trying night mode with these cameras will usually deliver a brighter shot, but also reveals a ton of noise.

Editor’s Pick

Sticking with the rear, Huawei’s underwater mode is a neat but flawed addition. The mode lets users take photos in a pool with your volume keys, and locks down the screen to prevent water-based interference. It doesn’t do a perfect job keeping the screen locked, but a bigger problem is the inability to use the other cameras or tweak video quality settings. It works well enough for a day in the pool nonetheless, but it could’ve been so much more.

The final minor complaint I have with Huawei’s camera is its Master AI mode. It’s generally reliable and delivers some helpful prompts, but it’s high time the company gives us more granular control over the mode. The ability to toggle what the mode suggests, as opposed to simply turning it off, would go a long way to catering to photographers of every skill level.

The ugly

The company added an AI Zoom feature for video after launch, and it didn’t take long for me to realize it’s pretty pointless. I used it to film friends at a skate park and it often lost track of the subject. This seems to be a distance-related issue, as it often lost the subject when they moved away from the camera. Still, you’re better off controlling the zoom yourself — the automatic option can be more trouble than it’s worth.

Read: Team AA — What would we like to see from smartphone cameras in 2019?

Huawei also promised 3D scanning capabilities after launch, via a 3D Live Maker app. Unfortunately, it’s awful beyond words. The app calls for you to place the object on a table and then hold the phone in landscape orientation, at 45 degrees above the object. Once you’ve managed to convince the app everything is in order, you can click the button to start scanning. Unfortunately, the scanning process is incredibly buggy (with constant flickering), and the progress bar doesn’t seem to progress very far. I’ve given it a go several times and still haven’t finished a single scan.

In-display fingerprint sensor

The good

Huawei’s latest take on in-display scanning is definitely faster than other devices I’ve tried (namely the Mate RS and Vivo V11 Pro). It’s also quite accurate once you get a hang of the sensor’s location. I seldom had issues with my fingers going unrecognized.

The bad

The in-display fingerprint sensor is clearly less convenient than the traditional rear scanners of earlier devices. Between the lack of tactile feedback, the small focus area and the slightly slow nature, it’s definitely still early days for the tech.

I’ve largely grown accustomed to it, much like how I got used to the Galaxy S8‘s weird scanner placement. If you gave me a Mate 20 Pro with a standard rear scanner (the Mate 20 X, I guess?), I’d go after that in a jiffy.

Battery life

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro charger.

The Huawei SuperCharge adapter, included with every Mate 20 Pro, delivers some ridiculously fast charging speeds.

The good

Bogdan felt that the battery experience was the real selling point in his Huawei Mate 20 Pro review, and I agree. At 4,200mAh, the Mate 20 Pro beats most of its arch-rivals in sheer capacity.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro generally has no problem lasting for a day and a half.

Real-world endurance is to be commended as well, as six hours of screen-on time is usually the bare minimum I’d get (with auto-brightness and a dark theme). However, more conservative usage (i.e. less YouTube and gaming) generally put me past the seven hour barrier. To give you a better idea of typical usage, the phone generally has no problem lasting a day and a half. In fact, I often got away with charging my device mid-morning as I never doubted that it would be off come alarm-time.

Speaking of charging, the addition of 40 watt fast charging fills up the battery from empty in just over an hour. You can reach 70 percent juice in just 30 minutes. I never really felt anxious about needing to leave the house soon and with the battery at 40 or 50 percent.

The bad

Huawei decided to use the USB-C port for one of the speakers, pumping out audio from this port. It’s a pretty interesting move, but muffles audio when charging. The earpiece speaker does a great job picking up the slack, but you’ll definitely notice the reduced volume if you’re listening to something soft to begin with.

The ugly

Reverse wireless charging is a neat feature, but its slow charging speed means quickly topping up a friend’s phone isn’t really an option. You’re better off using this for earbuds with a wireless charging case, and your friend is better off charging his phone via a wired charger for five or ten minutes.

Am I happy with my Huawei Mate 20 Pro?

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro certainly brings a stacked list of features. It’s one of the better no-compromise smartphones out there. Between the flexible camera setup, ridiculously fast charging, long endurance, great face unlock, and powerful chipset, the phone definitely held up well after three months. It’s even received several significant updates since then, showing Huawei isn’t content to leave it in the lurch.

Editor’s Pick

Several annoyances from our original review remain, like the inconsistent image quality (especially with the selfie camera and for close-up shots), and the lack of a 3.5mm headphone port. The company could also give us more granular control of the Master AI mode, as personalized AI camera recommendations seem like an overdue next step.

Personally, after using it as a daily driver and paying for it with my own money, I still think the Mate 20 Pro is an incredible phone. In fact, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s biggest problem after three months is that the next Huawei flagship is set for a reveal soon. The P20 Pro delivered a superior camera experience and offering the same battery size as the Mate 10 Pro. If you like the idea of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, it wouldn’t hurt to wait six weeks or so to see what else Huawei has up its sleeve.

For everyone else, however, it’s tough to have buyer’s remorse when you’ve got a versatile phone that doesn’t need an overnight charge.

NEXT: OnePlus 7 — Here’s what it needs to take on the best

And that’s a wrap. Thoughts on this long-term Huawei Mate 20 Pro review? Let us know in the comments!

Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera review (Video!)

This is the one you’ve been waiting for. Today we are taking a look at the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s camera performance. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Huawei has built quite a reputation in smartphone photography, so its latest and greatest entered the market with high expectations. Its triple-camera array, Leica lenses, high-resolution sensors, and wide feature set certainly put it out to be among the best, at least on paper. We are here to find out if the amazing spec sheet translates to equally stunning shots.

I took it out for a spin across continents, taking into account different settings, scenarios, lighting situations, moods, and environments. Here’s what I found.

Photos have been resized for quicker loading times, but that is the only editing these images have undergone. If you want to pixel peep and analyze the full resolution photos, we have put them in a Google Drive folder for you.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera specs

  • Main cameras
    • Wide angle: 40MP, f/1.8
    • Ultra wide angle: 20MP, f/2.2
    • Telephoto: 8MP, f/2.4
    • Autofocus: Laser focus, phase focus, contrast focus
    • Image stabilization: AIS (Huawei AI Image Stabilization)
    • Flash: Dual LED
    • Video: 4K at 30fps, FHD+ at 30fps, FHD at 60fps, 720p at 30fps
  • Front camera
    • 24MP, f/2.0
    • Support 3D Depth Sensing Camera
    • Video: FHD+ at 30fps, FHD at 30fps, 720p at 30fps

Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera app

Fans of Huawei smartphones will feel right at home with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It uses the same interface as the P20, P20 Pro, and other popular handsets from the Chinese manufacturer.

Editor’s Pick

I happen to like the app for its abundant features and ease of use. Unlike camera applications from other manufacturers, everything is pretty straightforward here. Aperture, Night, Portrait, Photo, Video, and Pro mode sit clearly between the viewfinder and the shutter button. Selecting the “More” option brings up advanced features like Watermark, Time-lapse, AR lens, Slow-mo, Document scanning, HDR, Panorama, and even Underwater (which requires a special case).

It’s all there; no feature is hiding in the settings menu or using weird secondary buttons. The only feature Huawei put in an odd location is the HiVision mode, which can scan QR codes, barcodes, texts, products, and objects. The mode can scan text to see a translation, point at a product to see shopping options, and more. It is quite fun and worked perfectly every time.

The rest of the app is pretty straightforward, but it can get a bit crowded. A lot of features have been thrown into this phone and the UI takes a hit. The few onscreen options change in every mode, and the settings can get confusing, since they also adapt to your current mode. However, the learning curve isn’t as complex as with other smartphones.

So many features have been thrown into the Huawei Mate 20 Pro that the UI takes a hit.

Edgar Cervantes

Master AI is less reliable, though. It can recognize the type of image you are shooting and automatically apply software enhancements to best fit the shot. I like what it can do when it gets things right. Shots with plenty of sky in the frame will get a more vibrant blue hue. Throw plants into the frame and the greenery will get more vibrant. You can learn more about it in our explanation post.

Regardless, I found it got things wrong about 25 percent of the time. Sometimes it thought I wanted to capture text when there was just large writing in the background. Sometimes it went into wide mode when I didn’t want it to. I decided to keep Master AI off (you can toggle it in the settings). It is a cool enhancement feature many of you will enjoy if you can get past its inconsistencies, but I prefer tweaking my images manually.

  • Ease of use: 8/10
  • Intuitiveness: 7/10
  • Features: 10/10
  • Advanced Settings: 10/10

Score: 8.8


Daylight

Daylight picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Daylight picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Daylight picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Daylight picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

Smartphone cameras get the best results in broad daylight, when the shooter doesn’t need to struggle for light. Direct sunlight can also make shots harder to judge though, as even mid-end cameras can output awesome photos with the right exposure.

More light also means stronger shadows, which usually tests the camera’s dynamic range. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro seems to have been great at recognizing differences in exposure and automatically turning HDR on. We can mostly see this in images one, three, and four.

The first image looks very uniform, equally exposed across the frame. There is plenty of detail in the clouds, as well as around the trees and grass. The third and fourth images show detail where I didn’t think they would, given the high contrast in light and direct sunlight within the frame.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is doing very well in the Daylight section, but not much better than the other great camera smartphones out there. The true differences will shine in other sections of the review.

Edgar Cervantes

My only real complaint in this section is that the second image is underexposed. It shows plenty of detail in buildings and moving cars, but it’s a bit dark. That’s disappointing, especially considering some of these images where actually taken in slightly darker environments.

Otherwise, colors are vibrant, detail is abundant, and dynamic range is quite surprising. So far the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is doing very well, but not much better than the other great camera smartphones out there. The true differences shine in other sections of the review.

Score: 9/10


Color

Color picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Color picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Color picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Color picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

Are those shrimp in the first image? Maybe mini lobsters? Whatever they are, they look appetizing, likely because their red hue really pops. The vibrant red stands out, almost to the point of looking artificial. This issue isn’t repeated in the other images, though, where bright colors pop without giving off an over-edited appearance.

The blue Porsche 911 GT3 RS is easily the best car I have driven in my life, so I am glad the picture does it justice by making it look shiny and vibrant.

Edgar Cervantes

The blue Porsche 911 GT3 RS is easily the best car I have driven in my life, so I am glad the picture does it justice by making it look shiny and vibrant. I also love how you can appreciate the water droplets and green grass. The same can be said about the fourth image, where the colors are uniformly vibrant, yet natural.

Even in foggy London, the yellow containers and bright red double deckers manage to stand out without looking out of place. Huawei seems to have found a way to make colors pop and still look natural, at least most of the time. However, even though vibrance and saturation are acceptable, these images’ contrast does lean more toward the heavier side.

I will say the second and fourth images look a tiny bit under-exposed, though. If you look at my face, you can see signs of over-softening and lack of detail. You can barely see detail in my beard. So while, colors are nice, I wish the camera got more detail.

Score: 8.5/10


Detail

Datail mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Datail mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Datail mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Datail mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

Fans of the Huawei P20 Pro will find something very important lacking in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro specs. The monochrome sensor is not in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and it’s a feature many of us will certainly miss, because it added all the detail to the legendary P20 Pro photo quality. The Monochrome mode is still there, but it no longer uses a dedicated sensor. It essentially just turns a regular photo black & white.

Where is the monochrome sensor? It’s not in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and it’s a feature many of us will miss.

Edgar Cervantes

The effects of a monochrome sensors are complex, but I will try to simplify it. Camera sensors are made of photosites, which capture light information. In color sensors, individual photosites only record one of the three specific basic colors (red, green, or blue). Meanwhile, in monochrome (black & white) sensors, photosites grab all light information they can, resulting in more minute detail.

The Huawei team swears software optimization can replicate the same level of detail as the monochrome sensor, but I disagree. I could see much more detail in Huawei P20 Pro shots.

Landscape mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back cameraIt’s not like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro can’t capture good detail, it’s just that the P20 Pro was exceptional. This one seems at least on par with the other high-end smartphones, when it comes to photo detail. Zoom into the locks, bird feathers, or wood. You will notice the image has been both over-softened and over-sharpened. This will result in a photo that looks great from afar, but all detail goes away once you look closer. I mean, just look at the 100 percent crop to the right. It is so over-softened it straight up looks like a painting.

I have to give Huawei a lower score in this section. Not exactly because it did badly, but because it took a step back by getting rid of the monochrome sensor. Replacing it with a super wide-angle lens, though, might bring some feature you will love, like macro functionality (more on that in a bit).

Score: 7/10


Landscape

Landscape mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Landscape mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Landscape mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Landscape mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is especially good at landscape photography. Its great dynamic range ensures a uniformly exposed frame, vibrant colors, and high contrast, and that super wide-angle lens really keeps everything is in frame.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is especially good at landscape photography.

Edgar Cervantes

The second image wouldn’t have been possible without the super wide-angle lens. There’s some distortion, but it made for the right composition. I was in a London Eye cabin, so I couldn’t really step back to get more into the frame. It was either the deformed edges or nothing!

As we mentioned in the Detail section, zooming in is where it all goes downhill. Otherwise, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro can take some great landscape shots, especially if you need to go wide and really get it all in frame.

Score: 8.5/10


Portrait mode

Potrait mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Potrait mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Potrait mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Potrait mode picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

Portrait mode simulates the bokeh effect (officially known as “blurry background”). We often see this effect in DSLR cameras using lenses with a wide aperture and shallow depth of field. Phones can’t do this naturally, so they use multiple lenses to figure out distance between the foreground and background in relation to the subject, and artificially add blur to things at farther distances.

The main issue with this is phones often do a bad job outlining the subject, getting confused about what is really in the distance. This results in blurring areas that shouldn’t be, or leaving background parts in focus. Sadly, this happened with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It is most obvious around the wind pipes and the glass behind David, where some spots are left in focus when they shouldn’t.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro can definitely take a nice shot in portrait mode, but it will get things wrong often. Gotta keep an eye on its mistakes!

Edgar Cervantes

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro portrait mode does a really good job when it gets things right, though. There are no significant mistakes in image one and four, and they look rather nice. The camera recognizes how far something is and blurs accordingly. In the image of me sitting in front of the ocean, you can see the beach is more blurred out than the boardwalk (which is closer to me).

In summary, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro can definitely take a nice shot in portrait mode, but it will get things wrong often. Gotta keep an eye on its mistakes!

Score: 7.5/10


HDR

HDR picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
HDR picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
HDR picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
HDR picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

High dynamic range (HDR) is used to evenly expose a frame with multiple levels of light. Traditionally it’s done by mixing photos taken at different exposure levels. The end result is an image with reduced highlights, increased shadows, and more even lighting.

In this phone HDR can be left in auto, turned off, or forced on. For this set of images we forced HDR on, just to make sure we got the best results.

When I first tried my hand at HDR on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro I was near the London Eye. I didn’t exactly walk out surprised, as plenty of detail under the tree was lost in the shadows. I was quite impressed by the high dynamic range mode once I started to play more with it, though.

I was especially impressed by the second image, which, despite having direct sunlight in the frame, managed to show quite a bit of detail around the people’s clothing, furniture, beach, and other elements. Of course, it’s all relative. We can really see it all in the image, but we were surprised to see much more than a silhouette. Given the circumstances, the phone did extremely well.

Furthermore, the picture of the stone bus decoration really showed us how much the camera can really do when you force HDR on. That dark alley was pitch black to the naked eye. Sure, the camera had some issues figuring out the white balance, but we also pushed it to its farthest limits.

Score: 8.5/10


Low-light

Night picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Night picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Night picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Night picture sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

In and of itself, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro does alright darker environments with its regular auto mode. You know the deal — higher ISO, wider aperture, and slower aperture can degrade the quality of the photo, affect the depth of field, and blur the image. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a little something up its sleeve, though.

Editor’s Pick

The phone’s Night mode will take multiple shots at different exposures, then grab the best from all images and turn them into a single, improved low-light shot. It actually works wonders. Exposure itself will be similar, but in Night mode images lack motion blur, noise, and other elements often seen in low-light shots.

As you can see, outdoor low-light photos look crisp and well exposed, with plenty of detail in both the shadows and highlights. Go to extremely dark situations and you can still somewhat appreciate the subjects, like we see in image two. It’s not the best shot, by far, but it is really good considering the situation. What mostly affects it is white balance.

Score: 9/10


Macro

Macro shots sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Macro shots sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Macro shots sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera
Macro shots sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro back camera

That super wide-angle lens is really cool for getting more content in the frame, but I for one am more excited about its macro photography capabilities. The new super wide-angle camera makes it possible to focus on your subject even as close as 2.5cm from the camera!

A super wide-angle lens is really cool, but I am more excited about its macro photography capabilities.

Edgar Cervantes

When you want to take a macro shot, just zoom out to 0.6x and close in on your subject. I could focus in on water droplets, a decaying lock, a tree, and a stuffed animal. The amount of detail you can get from such a close distance is stunning.

READ: 40MP shootout: Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs Nokia Lumia 1020

It sure is a fun feature to have! Detail is nice, but this gives you a level of functionality you won’t really find in other smartphone cameras. That is why it gets a perfect score.

Score: 10/10


Selfie

Selfie with Huawei Mate 20 Pro front camera
Selfie sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro front camera
Selfie sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro front camera
Selfie sample with Huawei Mate 20 Pro front camera in low light

To some of you, selfies are what smartphone cameras are all about. If you really care for selfie quality, you should probably look elsewhere. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s front-facing camera gets the job done, but it is far from being a main contender in the selfie department.

Editor’s Pick

With enough light you get nice results, like in image one and three. My skin is detailed, you can see much of my beard’s hair strands, and colors are nice.

Things stop looking so nice once the sun goes down, though. Just look at the last photo. There is no detail in the hair and the shot is very softened. The second shot even shows signs of motion blur.

Selfies will come out alright if you put enough effort into them, but we expected more from what Huawei claims to be the best camera smartphone in the industry.

Score: 7.5/10


Video

A beautiful sunset is a great test subject for a camera. There is usually plenty of detail to see in the sand and water. Not to mention the contrasting brightness does a great job at testing dynamic range in video. As you can see in the video below, people quickly turned into silhouettes when pointing the camera at the sunset.

Turn around to take a look at the boardwalk and it all changes, though. There is plenty of detail in the people, wood, and shrubbery. Colors are vibrant, yet well balanced (unlike the Huawei P20, which saturated colors to hell). Image stabilization isn’t exactly the best we have seen, but it is pretty good considering I am not the smoothest walker out there.

Score: 8.5/10


Conclusion


Huawei Mate 20 Pro rear triple camera setup

Overall score: 8.4

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a great camera and it might deserve a higher score, but I came into this review with high expectations. The Huawei P20 Pro had great detail and stunning colors — it was overall an amazing camera.

I am disappointed by the fact that I actually believe the Huawei Mate 20 Pro to be a step down in terms of camera quality.

Edgar Cervantes

I actually believe the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a step down in terms of camera quality, mostly thanks to the absence of the monochrome sensor (which brought more detail to images) — that’s disappointing. I for one would give up the macro capabilities and the wider angle lens for more detail in general images. Those features are really cool, but I think they’re fads many will forget about after the hype dies down.

Regardless, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is still among the best cameras out there, and we know some of you will believe it to be the king of smartphone cameras. You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong — it’s a seriously good performer. Dynamic range (and HDR) is up to par with the latest and greatest. It seems Huawei finally found a way to make colors vibrant without giving them an over-saturated, fake look. You can get stunning results in low-light with Night mode. If you are into macro photography, you can get some amazing results I never thought possible on a smartphone.

It’s not a bad investment, but I’m going back to the Huawei P20 Pro right after I am done with this review (which is now).

Huawei Mate 20 Pro update brings better face unlock, more natural colors in AI mode

Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera app.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is arguably the most feature-packed smartphone in the last 12 months, offering everything from a triple camera setup to reverse wireless charging. The company has delivered several noteworthy updates too, and it’s not quite finished yet.

Huawei has just issued another update, labelled 9.0.0.171, according to GSMArena. Huawei’s new update weighs in at 482MB, so what does it bring to the table?

For starters, the company has optimized face unlock for “certain scenarios.” In plain English, this should mean facial recognition is better in tricky conditions. But the improvements go beyond facial unlocking.

Huawei has also tweaked photo quality when using the Master AI option, saying photos should now have “more natural, authentic colors.” For what it’s worth, our own Bogdan Petrovan didn’t notice a big difference between AI and non-AI shots in his Mate 20 Pro review. Nevertheless, Huawei’s camera app also lets you switch between three color modes, so you can always go for a more saturated appearance if you prefer.

Editor’s Pick

The camera tweaks don’t stop there, as Huawei has also fixed discrepancies between the preview and the actual photo, as well as the camera failing to launch in “certain scenarios.”

Finally, the Chinese manufacturer has included Google’s December 2018 security patches in the update. You might have to wait a few days or weeks to see this update, especially if you’re on a carrier version of the Mate 20 Pro.

It marks the latest in a series of updates for the late 2018 flagship. Previous updates have enabled AI Zoom, better in-display fingerprint scanning, improved photo quality, and several video-related effects.

NEXT: Xiaomi MIUI camera app teardown reveals ultra wide angle support, beauty mode for body

Huawei Mate 20 Pro update brings better camera quality, faster biometric unlocking

A photo of a man holding the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

  • The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has received another system update, coming in at 523MB.
  • Notable changes include better face unlock, faster fingerprint unlocking, and better photo quality.
  • Huawei’s update also includes the November 2018 security patches.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro already received a meaty update over a month ago, but the Chinese brand isn’t finished for the year, as it’s delivered another significant update.

The update, listed as version 9.0.0.142 (build number C316E11R1P16), weighs in at 523MB and made its way to our personal device. And it brings plenty of improvements to the table.

A Mate 20 Pro system update notification.
A Mate 20 Pro system update notification.

For starters, Huawei has improved face unlock performance in “certain scenarios,” while the in-display fingerprint sensor should be faster too.

Other noteworthy tweaks include improved photo quality, better positioning in Google Maps, and a bug fix for Google Messages not displaying a notification badge. Finally, the update also brings Google’s November 2018 security patches.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei’s phone is probably the most feature-packed device of 2018, delivering a triple-camera setup, IP68 water/dust resistance, reverse wireless charging, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. In fact, our own Bogdan Petrovan said “you won’t find a more desirable phone on the market right now” in his Mate 20 Pro review.

The stacked list of features wasn’t enough for the device to win our smartphone of the year award though, as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 walked away with the gong. Nevertheless, Huawei’s device earned awards in the performance and battery categories.

NEXT: 15 best local multiplayer games for Android

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs LG V40: which wide-angle camera is best?

Huawei P20 Pro vs LG V40 cameras

If you’re after a mobile photography powerhouse, the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro and LG V40 ThinQ both offer compelling triple-camera setups designed to give serious photographers that added flexibility. Both offer wide-angle shooting options, something that’s become one of the most popular camera features packed into high-end smartphones.

LG has been experimenting with wide-angle lenses for a few generations now, so it has plenty of experience here. The Mate 20 series is Huawei’s first entry into the field. Let’s break down how they stack up.

Wide Angle Camera Specs Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40
Resolution 20 megapixels 16 megapixels
Aperture f/2.2 f/1.9
Pixel Size 1.0µm 1.0µm
Sensor Size 1/2.7″ 1/3.1″
Auto Focus PDAF & Laser NA
Equivalent Focal Length 16mm 16mm

On paper, there’s very little in it. Both offer an equivalent focal length, have 1.0um pixel sizes, and there’s not much detail difference between 16 and 20 megapixel images either. The LG V40 has a slightly wider aperture, hinting at a lead in low light performance. However, the Mate 20 Pro includes autofocus technology, which should make it more flexible for both near and distant shots. Let’s dive into some samples.

Also read: Google Pixel 3 camera shootout

Fitting more into the frame

The whole point of a wide-angle lens is to fit more into the picture than your regular camera. So how much more can you squeeze in versus both of these phones’ main sensors?

Both the V40 and Mate 20 Pro’s main cameras offer an equivalent focal length of 27mm, widening to 16mm when switching over to the wide-angle lens. As such, both cameras widen out their field of view by a virtually identical amount and should offer virtually identical frames.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro main camera (27mm) Huawei Mate 20 Pro wide-angle camera (16mm) Huawei Mate 20 Pro main camera (27mm)

Huawei Mate 20 Pro wide-angle camera (16mm)

LG V40 main camera (27mm) LG V40 wide-angle camera (16mm) LG V40 main camera (27mm)

LG V40 wide-angle camera (16mm)

The LG V40 offers a field of view of about 107 degrees. Although the Mate 20 Pro shares the same 16mm equivalent focal, it has a slightly larger sensor and therefore a slightly wider field of view. We can see this slight extra width in our example shots above and the ones below. It’s not a huge difference — maybe a few degrees — but the Mate 20 Pro does fit a tiny bit more in the frame.

Wide-angle lenses offer a “step back” from the regular sensors. Both cameras perform their duty well enough in that regard. Colors are bright and vivid, though more so with the V40, and exposure is pretty good in most scenarios too. It’s only when we begin pixel peeping that major differences appear.

Lens quality is hugely important

While both cameras look pretty good on paper, we still need to find out the quality of both lenses. This is particularly important with wide-angle lenses, as light capture without distortion and image curvature around the edges are more important here. The less-than-ideal lighting conditions of the rainy day are a pretty good way to see how the cameras perform in the real world. Here are a couple of full frame examples.

LG V40 Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

LG V40 Wide-Angle Full Frame Huawei Mate 20 Pro Wide-Angle Full Frame LG V40 Wide-Angle Full Frame

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Wide-Angle Full Frame

At full frame, there isn’t too much to tell between them. There are some exposure and color balance differences, but nothing you probably couldn’t even out in post. However, cropping into the details reveals some major differences in image quality. Let’s start with the center focal point of the picture.

LG V40 100 percent crop Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop LG V40 100 percent crop

Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop

Editor’s Pick

While the Mate 20 Pro may be a tad aggressive on the sharpening, it captures a lot more detail on both the brickwork and trees than the V40. This isn’t a megapixel issue, as these are 100 percent crops and the difference between the 20 and 16 megapixel images should be negligible. The V40’s lens setup just doesn’t allow for enough light and detail capture, which results in much lower resolution looking images than its sensor suggests. We can also see aggressive use of denoise across the V40’s image, which rubs out a lot of the detail too.

Overall, the V40 appears smudged by comparison and is almost out of focus on the background trees. This focusing issue has been a consistent problem in my experience with the camera, owing to the lack of autofocus. The focus and detail situation is even worse at the camera’s edges.

LG V40 100 percent crop Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop LG V40 100 percent crop

Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop

Here, the V40’s lack of focus is far more obvious. There’s no detail capture on the nearby wall or ivy, and it’s a similar situation when examining the distant bushes too. Few users will crop in on these wide-angle shots (you’d be better off using the main sensor), but serious photographers probably won’t be impressed when they come to print out these pictures.

While the lack of focus isn’t such an issue on a small smartphone screen or social media post, the loss of detail and poor focusing is much more apparent on larger displays and high-quality printouts.

Both lenses also suffer from some chromatic aberration (purple tint on high-contrast areas) towards the edges of their lenses. This is not unexpected for smartphone lenses, but the LG V40 still comes off worse in this regard too.

Few are ever likely to crop or blow up wide-angle shots, but when you do the results are night and day.

Super macro and low light

While not the main reason many will want a wide-angle camera, the Mate 20 Pro has an extra ability to focus in as close as 2.5cm in super-macro mode. So if you want to take some super close up pictures and capture fine details, the Pro’s wide-angle camera can actually be more useful than its main 40MP shooter.

The LG V40 doesn’t offer any autofocusing technology for its wide-angle camera, and the Mate 20 Pro offers both PDAF and laser options. The result is that the Mate 20 Pro can focus on super close up objects, while the V40 can’t.

LG V40 Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

This certainly isn’t a major use case for most people who will be shooting with a wide-angle lens. However, the Mate 20 Pro’s support for super macro shooting certainly makes it the more flexible shooter for the more serious photographer.

Low light is more likely to be a common use case for these cameras.

LG V40 Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Related

While the Huawei Mate 20 Pro might be a winner in terms of daylight clarity, the LG V40 is by far the better wide-angle camera in low light. Huawei doesn’t apply any of its usual low light trickery to the wide-angle camera, and as a result, the pictures come out very dark, lacking in color, and blurred from the combination of long exposure time and denoise algorithm.

The LG V40 take a little longer snap its pictures, hinting at some HDR magic to help boost the exposure. Although the result is still rather noisy, the V40 managed to capture much more color in low light. Even with HDR on, I couldn’t get the Mate 20 Pro anywhere near as good as the LG V40 in every low light situation I tried.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the better performer, but only just

The LG V40’s wide-angle camera is great for typical smartphone snaps. You’re unlikely to notice the focus or detail issues when viewing pictures on a smartphone screen or compressing them down for social media. The camera does its job, providing extra width for pictures just when you need it. It’s not the main camera after all.

The LG V40’s lack of autofocus lets the camera down when we go pixel peeping

Compared to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the LG V40’s wide-angle camera clearly isn’t as consistent or as flexible in most instances. The Mate 20 Pro isn’t perfect — the company’s heavy use of sharpening won’t be to everyone’s tastes — but it captures more detail and has better focusing capabilities. However, it is noticeably worse in low-light situations. If you’re regularly capturing wide-angle shots in the evenings you might want the V40.

Overall, the Mate 20 Pro is the better wide-angle camera in daylight, which is when most people will be capturing their wide-angle snaps. This might seem like a very harsh comparison, but we’re talking about $1000 smartphones boasting some of the best cameras in the business. The LG V40 cuts corners with its lack of wide-angle autofocus that might end up being a bugbear for those looking to get the most out of their camera.

Next: Best of Android 2018: The best Android smartphone cameras

Huawei Mate 20 Pro teardown: great phone, poor repairability

A disassembled Huawei Mate 20 Pro . iFixit

  • Gadget repair website iFixit has given the Huawei Mate 20 Pro a repairability score of four out of 10.
  • The website criticized the use of glue for the front and back glass panels.
  • It also criticized the presence of more flex connectors than average, increasing the repair time.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is certainly in the running for 2018’s best smartphone, packing loads of features into its frame. But those hoping to do some DIY repairs might be disappointed by the device.

Prominent repair website iFixit has disassembled the new flagship, giving it a four out of 10 score for ease of repairing. This is the same disappointing score as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and the LG G7. Then again, at least it’s not as bad as the Essential Phone‘s abysmal one out of 10 score.

The website’s criticism focused almost entirely on the phone’s glass design. It called out Huawei for its use of glue on the front and back glass panels, saying this increased the chances of glass breaking when opening up the device. Speaking of glass breaking, a screen repair will mean “a lot of disassembly while battling tough adhesive.”The Huawei Mate 20 Pro with its display detached from the body. iFixit

The screen-related complications don’t stop there, as it’s suggested that a broken screen will necessitate replacing the in-display fingerprint sensor too (and vice-versa). In other words, you’d better buy a great case or make sure the device is insured against accidental damage. The motherboard also uses more flex connectors than your average phone, the outlet noted, which means you’ll be spending more time repairing the device.

Editor’s Pick

It’s not all bad, however, as iFixit praised the use of modular components that can be replaced independently. Battery replacements aren’t needlessly complicated either, as you only need to remove the back panel and frame. Finally, the website welcomed the use of standard Phillips screws, as opposed to proprietary screws that require more specialized tools.

Do you take ease of repair into account when buying a smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

NEXT: New Nokia 9 leak gives us our best look yet at penta-camera beast