Confirmed: Huawei Nova 4 with circular camera cutout set for December 17 launch

huawei nova 4 samsung camera cutout

  • The Huawei Nova 4 will be revealed on December 17, according to Huawei’s Weibo account.
  • Huawei’s latest phone is poised to offer a circular camera cutout in the screen.
  • Other manufacturers are also working on phones with this particular camera cutout.

The Huawei Nova 4 has been teased by the Chinese company for a couple of weeks now, featuring a circular camera cutout instead of the dreaded notch. Fortunately, it looks like the teasing won’t be going on for too long.

Huawei revealed a December 17 launch date for the device on its Weibo account (as spotted by MySmartPrice). This means the company is likely going to be first to launch a phone with the unique camera cutout.

A teaser for the Huawei Nova 4. Huawei

We don’t know much else about the new phone, save for a leaked image which purportedly showed a headphone jack. The Nova phones usually pack mid- to upper mid-range specifications, so don’t be surprised if a Kirin 710 or Kirin 980 chipset is in the Huawei Nova 4.

The Nova 3 sports two selfie cameras, but the Nova 4’s circular camera cutout seems rather tiny. So we’d expect Huawei’s new phone to only offer a solitary selfie camera. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Google shows us there’s still plenty you can do with a single camera.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei isn’t the only company set to launch a phone with a circular camera cutout, as Samsung revealed its take on the technology last month (calling it an Infinity-O Display). Additionally, serial Samsung tipster Ice Universe reckons that the Galaxy A8s will be the first Samsung phone with the technology.

More recently, a leaked video has apparently shown off a Lenovo phone with a circular camera cutout too. And with a spate of slider phones in recent months, it looks like the mobile industry is desperately looking for alternatives to the notch.

NEXT: Google Play names 2018’s best apps, games, movies, TV shows, and more

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


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

Here’s an early look at everything Huawei will discount for Black Friday

The Huawei logo.

Huawei has revealed its plans for Black Friday and there are some good deals on a variety of the company’s devices, but not so much in terms of its smartphones. Just one lower-end phone will be discounted, as Huawei focuses on its wider range including deals on its laptops and tablets.

The offers will be available at a number of outlets including Amazon, Walmart, and B&H. All the Huawei Black Friday offers will begin on November 18 and run until Cyber Monday on November 26. Let’s take a look at what’s up for grabs.

Huawei Mate SE

The only phone Huawei will discount is the Mate SE and you will be able to pick this up for $219, $30 off the list price of $249. Now, this doesn’t necessarily result in a $30 discount on the current price — you can pick one up now for $244 on Amazon — but it’s s a nice little saving on an already affordable phone. Click the button below to check the phone at Amazon.

Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei will also reduce the price of the Intel Core i7 version of the MateBook X Pro laptop by $150. This means you’ll be able to buy the device for $1,349.99. Hit the link to see the laptop on Amazon. Our colleagues at had good things to say about the MateBook X Pro in a review, with one negative the cost. That’s now less of a problem, and the Amazon reviews are pretty good, unless you use a webcam regularly.

Huawei MediaPad M5

Huawei MediaPad M5 and M5 Pro review-30

Additionally, the 8.4-inch, 10.8-inch, and 10.8-inch Pro versions of the MediaPad M5 tablet will be reduced by $40. While the larger versions will be more expensive, you’ll be able to pick up the cheapest version for only $279 in the sale. Not bad for a tablet we called a “perfect companion for both work and play.” That’s a decent deal on one of the few Android tablets from a name brand.

Huawei Watch 2

Finally, the Huawei Watch 2 Sport and Huawei Watch 2 Classic will be available with $90 and $100 off respectively. Depending on your choice of strap or band, the price drops to somewhere between $133 and $179.99. While these watches are no longer the latest smartwatches from Huawei, the discounts are quite a sizeable percentage of the overall price. They are also still the latest Huawei smartwatches you can actually buy in the U.S. 

Next up: Black Friday 2018: Best tech deals and promos you should know about

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

Q3 2018 smartphone shipments are in: how much longer before Huawei claims top spot?

huawei p20 pro vs samsung galaxy s9 quick look aa (10 of 10)

  • The latest smartphone shipment numbers from Counterpoint show big year-on-year gains in market share for Huawei and Xiaomi.
  • Despite a drop in shipments, Samsung is still number one by a fairly large margin.
  • HMD Global, owners of the Nokia brand, had the largest year-on-year percentage increase.

Huawei and Xiaomi were the big winners in Q3 2018, according to smartphone shipment figures from Counterpoint Research. While the numbers say Samsung is still the number one OEM in terms of market share, a 13 percent year-on-year decrease in shipments combined with a 33 percent increase from Huawei saw the Chinese company close the gap.

Smartphone-Shipment-Q3-2018 Counterpoint

Samsung’s total share of global shipments is now 19 percent, while Huawei has 13 percent, according to Counterpoint. The company says Xiaomi, the fourth OEM on the list, saw shipments increase by 25 percent, giving it a nine percent share of total shipments.

Apple is third on the list with 12 percent. While Apple saw only very slight growth year-on-year, Counterpoint says iPhone revenues grew 29 percent due to the iPhone lineup’s average selling price of $793.

 Smartphone-Shipment-Q3 Percentage-2018Counterpoint

The company that saw the biggest year-on-year growth by percentage was HMD — the makers of Nokia phones. It saw sales grow a massive 71 percent when compared to Q3 2017, says Counterpoint. The list suggests HMD is now the ninth biggest smartphone maker globally, continuing an incredible rise that started when HMD released its first Nokia branded Android device in 2017.

Editor’s Pick

Overall, the top ten smartphone OEMs make up 78 percent of total smartphone shipments, according to the figures. This leaves all the other OEMs — Counterpoint says there are 600 of them — fighting for only 22 percent of the market. Brands not in the top ten include those with high-profile phones such as Google, OnePlus, and Razer.

According to Counterpoint, overall global smartphone shipments fell three percent annually — the third quarter in a row that shipments have fallen. There has been much debate about why this may be — including on this site — but the tracking firm puts it down to improvements in smartphone build quality and a lack of meaningful innovation.

Next up: The most important Android smartphones since the Google Nexus 5

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: The phone for power users

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

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

huawei mate 20 pro twilight variant

About our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

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

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

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

What’s in the box

huawei mate 20 pro retail box

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

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

Editor’s Pick

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

Design and build quality

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

Huawei Mate 20 screen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Pick

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

Color options

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

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

Mate 20 Pro in Midnight Blue and Emerald Green

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


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

the front of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro showing the notch

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

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

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

the curved screen of the huawei mate 20 pro twilight

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

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

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

Core specs

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

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

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

huawei mate 20 pro review - core specs

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

Editor’s Pick

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

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

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

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

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

Nano Memory is a Huawei exclusive for now

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

Huawei Mate 20 USB Type C port


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

Blazing gaming performance and snappy general use.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other hardware features

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Pick

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

face enroll screen on huawei mate 20 pro

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

Battery and (very) fast charging

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

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

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

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

huawei mate 20 pro review twilight screen on time battery statistics

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

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

charging graph huawei mate 20 pro twilight

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

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

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

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

galaxy s9 plus reverse wireless charging from huawei mate 20 pro

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

camera screen on huawei mate 20 pro

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

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

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

Macro shot of moss on a tree

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

huawei mate 20 pro zoom in sample

Left: 1X. Right: 10X.

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

portrait taken on Huawei Mate 20 Pro

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

Stage Lighting shot on Mate 20 Pro

Stage Lighting shot on Mate 20 Pro

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

front view of huawei mate 20 pro twilight

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

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

huawei mate 20 pro twilight showing app drawer

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

Dark mode looks fantastic and helps save battery.

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

huawei mate 20 pro with open quick settings drawer

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

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

huawei mate 20 pro with a game on the screen

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps the most desireable phone on the market right now.

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

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

Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro

A note on U.S. availability

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

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

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

Which variant should you choose?

Editor’s Pick

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

Full specs

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

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

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

Huawei Mate 20 series: Quick overview

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

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

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

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

Huawei CEO confirms it is working on foldable phones with 5G

The Huawei logo.

  • Huawei has confirmed it is working on a 5G foldable phone.
  • CEO Richard Yu made the admission at the Mate 20 Pro launch event.
  • The release date, however, remains a mystery.

Huawei CEO Richard Yu has confirmed the company is working on a 5G foldable phone. When asked about foldable phones at the Mate 20 Pro launch event, the CEO answered: “We are working on foldable phones. Foldable phones with 5G,” reports Digital Trends.

We have long known that Huawei is working on both foldable phones and phones that support 5G. However, this is the first time we have seen the two technologies linked by the company.

Previous reports have suggested that Huawei could release its foldable phone at the beginning of next year. On the other hand, Huawei has said its first 5G compatible device won’t launch until June 2019.

Editor’s Pick

This could bring up the possibility that the company is working on two versions of its foldable phone: one with 5G support and one without. Alternatively, the release date of the foldable phone could quite simply have been delayed, something that wouldn’t exactly be unheard of in the world of foldable devices.

Giving its foldable phone 5G support makes a lot of sense for Huawei. The company is heavily invested in 5G technology and, as well as its phones, it is — sometimes controversially — involved in the supply of 5G infrastructure equipment.

The first 5G networks are currently set to begin operation by the end of the year. As well as Huawei, Samsung, LG, and ZTE are known to be working on phones that are 5G compatible.

Next up: 5G: When will your smartphone get it?

Are these the first photos of Huawei’s Mate 20X gaming smartphone?

Huawei Mate 20X leaked photo of the front of the device.

  • The Huawei Mate 20X design may have been leaked in some new photos.
  • The images are believed to show off the front and rear of the device.
  • They reveal a waterdrop notch and a triple rear camera setup.

The yet-to-be-unveiled Huawei Mate 20X may have been spotted out in the open. The gaming smartphone can apparently be seen in a couple of photos posted on Weibo recently (via Playful Droid) originating from China.

Huawei teased the Mate 20X on Twitter last week but didn’t offer a look at the handset itself. The images suggest it will house a waterdrop-style notch and a triple rear camera setup, and may feature a unique body shape (though it’s probably just inside a case).

Huawei Mate 20X leaked photo of the rear of the device.

The Mate 20X is said to carry a 7.21-inch OLED display and — as this is a gaming phone from the Mate 20 series — you can also expect a Kirin 980 chipset, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage.

Editor’s Pick

Meanwhile, Huawei’s tweet teased “#HigherIntelligence” and “#UltimatePerformance” from the Mate 20X.

Huawei is set to unveil the new smartphone at an event tomorrow alongside the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. You can hit the link to find out more on that, and let us know in the comments what you think of how the Mate 20X is shaping up.