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?

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Price vs value

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs OnePlus 6T back

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost certain to be one of the best selling phones of 2019. It’ll also be one of the most expensive, but what if there was a premium smartphone you could buy instead that didn’t carry a premium price tag? Plenty of OEMs deliver affordable flagship smartphones, but none have garnered the same cult following as OnePlus — the Chinese brand from the BBK group that promises to “Never Settle,” delivering phones with top specs and stunning designs at relatively modest prices.

Editor’s Pick

The Android champion is returning to the ring with a whopping four Galaxy S10 phones, but we’ve decided to pit the vanilla Galaxy S10 against the OnePlus 6T to see whether the best value phone of 2018 can hang with Samsung’s marquee flagship.

It’s the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T! Who will win? Let’s find out! 

Editor’s Note: Yes, we realize the Galaxy S10e is probably a closer comparison (price, etc) and we’ll likely be making that comparison in the not too distant future. Still, the S10 is considered the ‘base’ model, so we thought it would be an interesting comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Specs and features

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is an absolute powerhouse and on paper is one of the most impressive phones in terms of raw specs to come from the South Korean giant to date. The OnePlus 6T is no slouch, though. OnePlus’ latest may be five months older than the S10, but it still boasts an impressive specs sheet.

Here’s a look at the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T specs:

  Samsung Galaxy S10 OnePlus 6T
Display 6.1-inch AMOLED panel
3,040 x 1,440 resolution
551ppi
19:9 aspect ratio
6.41-inch AMOLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
402ppi
19.5:9 screen ratio
Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Processor 8nm octa-core Exynos 9820 / 7nm octa-core Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Adreno 630
RAM 8GB 6GB/8GB
Storage 128GB/512GB 128GB/256GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 512GB No
Cameras Rear:
16MP f/2.2 ultrawide +
12MP f/1.5 and f/2.4 dual pixel with OIS +
12MP OIS telephoto f/2.4

Front:
10MP f/1.9 dual pixel

Rear: Dual-cameras with 16MP and 20MP sensors

Front: Single 16MP sensor

Battery 3,400mAh
Non-removable
3,700mAh
Charging Fast Wireless Charging 2.0
Wireless PowerShare
Warp Charge
Security Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner, 2D face unlock In-display fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock
IP rating IP68 No
Headphone jack Yes No
OS Android 9 Pie with One UI Android 9 Pie with OxygenOS
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5
NFC, MST
Cat20 LTE, 7CA, 4×4 MIMO
Wi-Fi: 2×2 MIMO, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
Dimensions and weight 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm
157g
157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm
185g

The most obvious differentiator between the two phones is the processor. The Samsung Galaxy S10 series is one of the first phones to bring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC to the masses in the U.S. (Europe gets the Exynos 9820).

The OnePlus 6T, like so many from 2018, runs on the Snapdragon 845. The Snapdragon 845 is still a powerful mobile platform, but its successor does offer a tangible upgrade, though not quite the massive leap we’ve seen between previous Snapdragon flagship SoCs.

For the rest of the core specs, however, the OnePlus 6T goes pound-for-pound and sometimes beyond the Galaxy S10. The base model OnePlus 6T comes with 6GB of RAM, but this can be upgraded to 8GB RAM, or even 10GB RAM if you opt for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Speed Edition.

While you can go up to a ridiculous 12GB RAM on the S10 Plus, the regular Galaxy S10 sticks with 8GB for all variants. Turns out you don’t actually need more than 8GB RAM anyway, so there are no real complaints to be made here. The S10 has 128GB expandable storage as standard, which the OnePlus 6T matches (with no MicroSD card slot).

The Galaxy S10 has a 3,400mAh battery with fast wireless charging (15W) support. You can also reverse charge other phones and accessories — such as wearables or Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds — via Wireless Powershare. The OnePlus 6T doesn’t offer the latter, but it has a larger 3,700mAh cell and 20W fast charging the brand calls Warp Charge.

That’s the dull internal stuff out the way! Let’s talk features.

The OnePlus 6T was one of the first phones to hit the market touting an in-display fingerprint sensor. This initial batch of sensors, most made by Goodix, have been hit and miss across various phones. Samsung says it’s solved the problem and added further anti-phishing protection with an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S10.

Samsung’s variation is slightly more consistent, but the OnePlus 6T’s implementation was far from the worst offender in the first place and has had multiple software updates since launch to improve its functions even further.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of speculation that the internal space taken up by the sensor was partly to blame for OnePlus ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack — a decision that stirred up no small amount of controversy.

Editor’s Pick

The Galaxy S10 may be bundled with true wireless earbuds for pre-orders, but Samsung still opted to retain the jack, which is a huge boon for audio connoisseurs. OnePlus users have to live with inferior USB-C audio, but it at least comes with an adapter and Dirac HD technology.

Elsewhere the Galaxy S10 inherits a bunch of hardware features from its predecessors, which OnePlus doesn’t try to match. These include Samsung DeX support, heart rate monitoring, and IP68 protection against dust and water, to name but a few.

The S10 also has a massive technical lead in the camera department and builds on the success of the Galaxy Note 9. We found the results to be a little soft in our review of the larger S10 Plus, which mirrors results from the S10, but there’s every chance this will be fixed in software updates.

Samsung’s flagship has a triple camera module which consists of a 12MP telephoto lens (f/2.4), a dual-pixel 12MP wide-angle lens (f/1.5 and f/2.4) with autofocus, and a 16MP ultra-wide lens at f/2.2 with fixed focus and a 123 degree FOV.

In addition, the S10 shooter is bolstered by AI via a neural processing unit (NPU) and can shoot video in 4K with an option to record in HDR10+. The selfie camera, meanwhile, is a dual-pixel 10MP snapper.

OnePlus made great improvements to the photography experience on its phones in recent years, culminating in the OnePlus 6’s dual-camera, with a 16MP main lens (f/1.7) with OIS and secondary 20MP depth-sensing lens, which is the same set-up found on its successor, albeit with a few post-processing tweaks.

Related: OnePlus 6T vs OnePlus 6: The many differences (and many similarities)

The camera is one of the few areas where the gulf between the two phones begins to show, but don’t be fooled: the OnePlus 6T has a perfectly solid camera. However, if you’re a pixel-peeper the S10 is the clear winner.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Design and display

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs OnePlus 6T at an angle

With the Galaxy S10, Samsung attempted to avoid any backlash against a notch with a variation on its Infinity Display design it calls Infinity-O, though it’s already widely called a punch hole display.

Samsung has essentially cut a hole in the display to house the selfie camera. It’s certainly a novel way to reduce the overall bezel size — the S10 has a huge 88.3 percent screen-to-body ratio — but it’s also drawn a fair amount of scorn from some prospective buyers.

The OnePlus 6T is the second OnePlus phone to launch with a display notch, however the second iteration slimmed the cutout down to a “waterdrop” style design borrowed from its BBK stablemate Oppo.

Punch holes still don’t completely fix the selfie camera issue facing bezel-less phones.

Display interruptions of any kind are a touchy subject for smartphone fans and you could quite happily argue neither option fixes the selfie camera issue facing bezel-less phones. This one comes down to personal preference and I’d strongly suggest you check out both phones in the flesh before parting with your cash.

Otherwise, the Galaxy S10 display is a 6.1-inch, 19:9 aspect ratio, Quad HD Plus AMOLED (550ppi), while the OnePlus 6T sports a slightly larger 6.41-inch AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 1,080 x 2,340 resolution (402ppi). Both are constructed from Corning Gorilla Glass 6, but the Galaxy S10 wins overall with HDR10 and always-on display support.

Editor’s Pick

In terms of overall design, each device has a glass back and a metal frame, although the OnePlus 6T is slightly chunkier and far heavier than the Galaxy S10, weighing in at 185g versus the S10’s 157g.

You also get far more color variety with the Galaxy S10, which comes in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, or Prism Blue. The OnePlus 6T is only available in either in the shiny Mirror Black or the matte Midnight Black, or Thunder Purple in selected regions.

Each phone also has its own unique design quirks. The Galaxy S10 has a (mercifully) remappable Bixby button, while the OnePlus 6T has a handy alert slider.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Software

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T camera

Samsung has seriously stepped up its software game with the Galaxy S10. It’s one of the few Samsung flagships to launch running the latest major Android update out-of-the-box. In addition to Android 9.0 Pie, it also features Samsung’s latest attempt to create the ultimate Android skin, dubbed One UI.

We’re a long way from the dark old days of TouchWiz. Samsung’s new UI has built on Samsung Experience to deliver an even more intuitive and less bloated skin.

There are still some niggles, however — most notably the continued presence of Samsung’s proprietary assistant Bixby, which isn’t exactly the most beloved digital assistant out there. Bixby received upgrades like predictive Bixby Routines, and the Bixby Home “feed” also returns on the left homescreen. Google Assistant is also jammed in there too.

Related: Galaxy S10 Plus vs Pixel 3 XL: The battle for Android’s soul rages on

In the other corner, OnePlus’ OxygenOS skin has been one of the main reasons people buy OnePlus phones since it debuted in 2014.

The OnePlus 6T’s stock-like look and feel continues that legacy, with truly helpful extra features like improved gestures, an app locker, parallel apps, and much more. That’s in addition to the best of Android Pie, as well as Google Assistant as the phone’s sole friendly AI companion.

OnePlus strives to keep its phones as up-to-date as possible, while Samsung has a patchy history with delivering updates on time. OnePlus is also incredibly open about upcoming updates, often ports new software features from its latest phones to older models, and is very welcoming to community feedback on its forums, Reddit, and other social platforms.

Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T: Price and which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus vs OnePlus 6T back on shelf

If you’ve come this far you’ve probably spotted the gargantuan elephant in the room: I haven’t talked about price.

The Galaxy S10 range maxes out at an eye-watering $1,599 for the largest Galaxy S10 Plus model. That max total will no doubt rise even higher when we get price confirmation for the Galaxy S10 5G.

The base model regular Galaxy S10 costs $899, which looks far more reasonable in relative terms. Until you see the OnePlus 6T’s price tag.

The cheapest OnePlus 6T variant is priced at $549, or if you want to match the Galaxy S10’s RAM count, that figure increases to $579. That’s still a whopping $320 savings over Samsung’s new phone. Even if you factor in the free Galaxy Buds available to pre-order customers, you’re still looking at almost $200 extra over the OnePlus 6T.

The million dollar question (or in this case the $320 question) is: does the Samsung Galaxy S10 earn that higher price tag? Yes for some. No for others.

You’re getting one of the best Android phones money can buy, no matter your budget.

It all depends on what you want from your phone. If you want an incredibly powerful handset that delivers, and then some, on all the essentials, with a stylish design and streamlined, yet highly customizable software, the OnePlus 6T offers far more bang for your buck.

Value is relative, however. For so many millions who flock to the Galaxy S series every year, the Galaxy S10’s triple-lens camera, industry-leading display quality, and overwhelming quantity of innovative, often best-in-class hardware features will once again justify the extra premium.

Whichever you choose, know you’re getting one of the best Android phones money can buy, no matter your budget.

What about the Galaxy S10e?

Before we close out I want to give a brief mention to the Galaxy S10e, Samsung’s cheapest Galaxy S10 variant and a brand new addition to the S family tree.

Compared to the regular Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus, the S10e ditches the telephoto lens in favor of a dual rear camera. Its smaller 5.8-inch display also receives a bit of a downgrade, going from a 1,440 x 3,040 resolution to 1,080 x 2,280. This, along with a few necessary overall design changes, reduces the retail price to $749.

If you desperately want a Samsung Galaxy S10, but can’t stomach the price jump between an affordable flagship like the OnePlus 6T and the regular model, the S10e is worth considering.

Personally, I don’t think the price reduction is significant enough to lose any ground in the two areas (display and camera) Samsung phones have excelled at, it’s by far the best value Galaxy S10 model pound for pound.


Which phone would you pick in the Samsung Galaxy S10 vs OnePlus 6T showdown? Let us know in the comments!

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Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch Series 4: Which smartwatch is right for you?

Two of the most popular smartwatches on the market are the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa. While Apple has been making smartwatches for years, Fitbit is still relatively new to the space. Even so, the Fitbit Versa was one of the sleeper hits of 2018.

Can Fitbit really compete with the new Series 4 Apple Watch? Which is best for you? Find out in our Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch comparison.

About this comparison: I’ve been using the Fitbit Versa on and off since it launched in 2018, and it’s recently been paired with my Google Pixel 3. It’s also running the latest Fitbit OS 3.0 (version 32.33.1.30) software. I’ve been using the Apple Watch Series 4, paired with an iPhone X, for roughly two weeks. My Apple Watch has been running watchOS version 5.1.3 (16S535).

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Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Design and hardware

Both the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa have very approachable designs that will appeal to a lot of people. 

The Apple Watch features a more rectangular case with rounded corners, with a digital crown and a single physical button on the right side. The Versa has more of a squircle-shaped case, with a square display and three physical buttons.

They don’t exactly look like each other, but it’s hard not to notice a few Apple Watch-esque design cues in the Versa. It wouldn’t be too farfetched to call the Versa sort of an Apple Watch Lite.

The Apple Watch comes in two sizes — 40 and 44mm — and comes with the appropriate sized strap to fit your wrist. The Versa has one sizing option, but ships with both small and large bands in the box. The Versa is a bit thinner than the latest Apple Watch, though — it’s just 11.2mm. Apple claims the Series 4’s thickness is 10.7mm, but I don’t think it includes the heart rate sensor in that measurement. My Versa is overall thinner than my Apple Watch, despite Apple claiming otherwise.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch

As mentioned, both support interchangeable straps, though both implementations are proprietary. Apple has a slew of different styles of watch bands, including silicone, nylon, stainless steel, and more. Fitbit has many of these options too, but not nearly as many color or material choices as Apple.

Also, it’s a small thing, but changing Apple Watch straps is a breeze — the company’s proprietary locking mechanism is really well thought out. Changing straps on the Versa is actually really frustrating. Have fun getting the leather straps attached without throwing it across the room.

Fitbit Versa step counter

Now is as good a time as ever to mention overall build quality. While both watches have their similarities, the Apple Watch feels extremely well built compared to the Versa. It might cost a few hundred dollars ($400 to be exact), but Apple clearly does something with that money. Literally every part of the watch — the aluminum case, the OLED display, the rotating crown, and especially the haptics — feels great.

The Fitbit Versa feels great, as long as you don’t compare it side by side, which is understandable. This is about half the price as the Apple Watch after all. One can’t expect the same build quality. It’s not bad, just not in the same league.

Apple Watch notifications

Don’t miss

That level of quality extends to the displays as well. The OLED Retina screen on the Apple Watch is fantastic. You’ll get deep blacks and vibrant colors, and the panel also supports Force Touch. The large and small screens also have a higher resolution — 368 x 448 or 324 x 394 — than the Fitbit’s 300 x 300 screen. Again, the 1.34-inch LCD screen on the Versa isn’t bad, but you’ll notice a big difference between the two if you put them side by side.

Despite the battery-saving properties OLED has over LCD, battery life is where things take a turn. The Apple Watch lasts around a day on a single charge, maybe a day and a half. You might even have to top it up sometime during the day if you want it for sleep tracking. That’s probably why Apple doesn’t even bother with developing sleep tracking tech — the Apple Watch won’t track sleep out of the box, but some third-party apps will do the trick.

The Versa lasts a bit over four days on a single charge, and that’s with activity tracking, sleep tracking, and the heart rate sensor activated at all times. I can’t wait until all smartwatches last this long.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Smartwatch features

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch

Apple’s and Fitbit’s approaches to software are entirely different. Again, that has a lot to do with how much experience company has in the smartwatch space.

The Apple Watch’s software is clean and fast, though it’s nearly too complex (more on that later). One press on the digital crown will bring you to the honeycomb (all apps) screen, while a long press will activate Siri. For as much as people like to hate on Siri, it’s way faster than Google Assistant on any Wear OS watch I’ve tried.

Apple Watch siri

Apple’s voice assistant has come a long way over the years. It’s definitely good enough to answer questions and perform simple requests with smart home devices, though its ecosystem notably lacks the breadth of smart home device support of Google and Amazon. It’s more than what the Versa offers, though. There’s no voice assistant baked into the Fitbit smartwatch, so you’ll have to do everything the old-fashioned way: by swiping and tapping.

To a point, that’s to be expected. Fitbit OS is only a few years old. While it has vastly improved from the version that launched on the Ionic in 2017, it’s not perfect. Even the latest Fitbit OS 3 lags while swiping through menus and pulling down the notification shade. It is an overall simpler OS though, so if you don’t need everything available to you right on your wrist, the Versa should fulfill your smartwatch needs just fine.

One good example of Apple going a bit overboard with this is the much-criticized honeycomb screen, its confusing version of an all-apps page. It displays all your apps in a honeycomb-style grid. You’re supposed to scroll around and tap the app icon you’d like. It’s not nearly as fast at finding apps in a list view, but luckily you can switch to list view pretty easily.

If your smartwatch use revolves around third-party applications and services, the Apple Watch is by far your best option. Popular apps like Audible and Runkeeper, as well as third-party weather apps like Dark Sky are all available on watchOS, but not on Fitbit OS. Fitbit’s app ecosystem is growing, but it’s still far behind what Apple offers now. Hopefully that will change soon — Fitbit recently gave developers access to two new APIs, which should allow them to more easily create higher quality applications.

Also read: Fitbit Versa vs Ionic: What’s the best Fitbit smartwatch?

Both smartwatches have music storage built in, as well as support for a handful of music streaming apps. The Apple Watch has about 2GB of space for local music storage, and you can also listen to Apple Music and Apple Podcasts from the watch.

The Versa has about 2.5GB of local music storage, as well as support for Pandora and Deezer playlists. There’s no streaming option though — you’ll have to download the playlists before you go out for your workout. That’s about it for music options, but Fitbit of course says more music partners will be added in the future.

fitbit versa quick replies

Google Allo Smart Replies on the Versa

Both smartwatches allow you to receive and respond to messages from your smartphone, but there are some limitations. While the Fitbit Versa is compatible with both iOS and Android, you can only respond to messages when paired with an Android phone. The Apple Watch has the advantage of a built-in microphone, so you can respond to messages with your voice, which is handy sometimes.

Read more: How to use quick replies on the Fitbit Versa and Ionic

Both smartwatches connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, and both support Wi-Fi. The Apple Watch is also available in a cellular variant, which is great news for those who want to leave their phone at home and still receive calls and messages.

Finally, we have mobile payments. Each company has its own contactless payment service. Apple Pay is obviously available on the Apple Watch, while Fitbit Pay is, you know, on the Fitbit. Apple Pay has been around for a long time now, and it shows — a ton of banks and card companies support it. Fitbit Pay’s list of supported banks and card companies is growing by the week, but as I mentioned previously, it’s a work in progress.

Fitbit Pay is only available on the special edition model here in the U.S., which costs $30 more than the standard model. I’m really hoping there’s just one all-encompassing model with the Versa 2, because it sort of feels like a cash grab to make people spend extra for this feature. The special edition Versa is still $170 less than the cheapest Series 4 Apple Watch, so I suppose that’s a win for Fitbit!

Fitbit Versa

It shouldn’t be surprising Apple still doesn’t allow third-party watch faces, so you get what Apple gives you. That’s not horrible though — especially with the Series 4, Apple includes plenty of great, customizable watch faces. My favorites are the Infograph Modular and Fire/Water faces. It’s also super easy to switch between watch faces. Just swipe left or right to select your favorites, or you can customize your own on the watch or in the Apple Watch app.

Fitbit offers a small set of its own watch faces, which are okay. They’re certainly not as well thought out or frankly as cool as anything on the Apple Watch. However, Fitbit lets third-party developers make their own watch faces, so the options are seemingly endless.

The only downside here is the Versa can’t load more than one watch face at a time, so you have to select a new one in the app and wait for it to transfer to your watch (which can take a long time). Even worse, you can’t choose from a “favorites” or “recents” section, so you actually have to go hunting for a watch face and customize it all over again if you want to go back to a previous watch face. As someone who changes watch faces all the time, this is a big headache.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Fitness tracking

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch - displays

Fitbit is one of the biggest names in fitness tracking devices, so it’s no surprise the Versa is a perfectly capable fitness tracker. Apple has also made strides in fitness and health tracking over the last few years, and it shows with the Series 4 Apple Watch.

Both devices will track your steps, calories burned, heart rate, and active minutes. Both can also track your sleep, but you’ll have to download a third-party app for the Apple Watch for sleep tracking.. Alternatively, the Versa is one of the best sleep trackers out there. Feel free to read about the specifics in our full review.

Both watches will also track a wide variety of different sport profiles. There are some differences, but both at least track basics like running, biking, treadmill, yoga, elliptical, and walking. They both track pool swimming too (thanks to their 5ATM water resistance ratings), but the Apple Watch can also track open-water swims. There are far too many sport profiles to list here, so you can check out the full list of Versa sport profiles here and Apple Watch sport profiles here.

I tested both smartwatches during a 48-minute cardio exercise (an Insanity video that was way too difficult), which you can see below. I also tested the watches against my Polar H10 heart rate strap as a control for the heart rate readings.

fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots
fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots
fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots
fitbit versa vs apple watch vs polar h10 heart rate screenshots

Overall, the Versa and Apple Watch’s heart rate sensors picked up on most of the big trends throughout the workout. A few minutes in, my heart rate shot up quite a bit — the H10 reported this spike at a max of 160bpm. The Apple Watch recorded it to be ~175bpm, while the Versa recorded it as a high 189bpm (my max is 193). Later on, the watches showed another heart rate peak topping out at around 170bpm, even though the H10 recorded it at 163bpm. The smartwatches were much more accurate when my heart rate wasn’t nearing peak. The H10 reported my average heart rate to be 133bpm, while the Apple Watch’s was 137 and the Versa’s was 136.

As we’ve reported previously, wrist-based heart rate sensors aren’t going to be as accurate as chest heart rate sensors. Too many factors can throw the numbers off, whether that be skin tone, body hair, or how tight the device is around your wrist. The important thing is they both picked up on the major trends.

For those wondering, calorie burn was also in the same ballpark for each device. I burned 549 calories according to the Apple Watch, 534 according to the Versa, and 571 according to the Polar H10.

If you’re unsatisfied with those heart rate numbers, you can pair a third-party heart rate sensor with the Apple Watch to get more accurate readings. The Fitbit unfortunately doesn’t have this feature.

Related

The Apple Watch is probably the better option for runners, as all models (after Series 1) come with a built-in GPS. The Fitbit Versa only has Connected GPS, so you’ll have to bring your phone on a run if you want accurate distance and pace metrics.

If you need to keep an eye on your heart health, the Apple Watch is, again, probably your best option. It has an FDA-approved electrocardiogram, and it’s one of the few consumer devices to have one built-in. ECGs can help users detect serious heart problems like atrial fibrillation (AFib), and warn you when you’re experiencing heart palpitations. Traditionally, ECGs are quite expensive at the doctor’s office, which of course makes it harder for people without insurance to get. By no means should this be a replacement for attending regular doctor visits if you do have heart problems, but it is still a nice feature to help keep an eye on things.

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch: Which is the better buy?

Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch side by side

Buying one smartwatch over the other, at least for this comparison, depends on one major factor: what smartphone you own. If you have an Android phone and aren’t keen on buying anything powered by Wear OS or the latest Samsung watch, buy the Fitbit Versa, or the Fitbit Ionic if you need something more powerful. The Apple Watch won’t work with your phone, so you’ll have to look elsewhere.

There’s no question: The Apple Watch is the clear winner. But at what cost?

Things become more difficult if you own an iPhone. Buy the Apple Watch if you want the best of the best. If your budget is $200 and not a penny more, the Versa is an incredible option. Just remember iOS users can’t respond to notifications from the Versa.

I can’t say which is the better smartwatch. Both are really great in their respective areas. The Fitbit Versa is a fantastic value for around $200, and the Apple Watch Series 4 is a fantastic all-around smartwatch if you don’t mind the cost. For you phone nerds, this is like comparing the Pocophone F1 against the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 — you can do it, but there are a lot of things you need to consider before claiming one is better than the other.

That’s it for our Fitbit Versa vs Apple Watch comparison. Do you own either of these smartwatches? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

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

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display front size

There are now a few choices if you’re in the market for a new smart display. The JBL Link View, Amazon Echo Show, Lenovo Smart Display, and the new Google Home Hub all pair the convenience of a voice assistant with the utility of a screen for even more useful features.

Lenovo recently rolled out an update to its Smart Display that includes much of the Google Home Hub’s functionality, including the Home View dashboard. With software parity now on the cards, which of these two Smart Displays is the better buy?

Spec showdown

  Google Home Hub Lenovo Smart Display
Display 7-inch, 1,024 x 600 resolution 8-inch, 1,280 x 800 resolution
10-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution
SoC Amlogic CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 624
(Android Things)
Speakers 1x full range speaker, 80dB SPL @1KHz 1.75″ 10W Full Range Speaker, 2 x Passive Tweeters
Microphones 2x mic array 2x dual mic arrays
Camera No 5MP wide angle, 720p video call resolution
Wireless Bluetooth 5
802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 Ghz) Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2
802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 Ghz) Wi-Fi
Dimensions 178.5 x 118 x 67.3mm
480g
263.2 x 142.2 x 111.4mm /
311.4 x 173.9 x 136mm
1kg / 1.2kg
Colors Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal Grey / Bamboo
Price $149 $199.99 / $249.99

At $149, the Google Home Hub is much more affordable than the larger Lenovo Smart Display. As such, it’s a little more basic in terms of specifications, with a smaller, lower resolution display, a more basic speaker setup, and no camera for video calls. I would argue just $50 more for the 8-inch Lenovo Smart Display offers good value for money, but $100 more for the 10-inch model feels a little expensive. The sheer size may also make it trickier for some people to find a good home for Lenovo’s behemoth.

Read: Google Home Hub review | Lenovo Smart Display review

The Home Hub comes in a wider range of colors, so you can probably find something you like to fit into your home. Lenovo is more limited here, locking the grey or bamboo options exclusively to the different sized models.

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display back design

Look and feel

There’s no escaping the large 10-inch, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution display on the bigger Lenovo Smart Display model — it takes over any room it’s in. The high pixel density lends itself nicely to displaying Google Photos in Ambient Mode and playing back videos with crisp clarity. Colors pop, brightness is great, and the 86-degree viewing angle makes sure you can see the display from virtually anywhere in a room. The smaller 8-inch version makes do with a 1,280 x 800 resolution, which still handily beats out the Google Home Hub’s 7-inch, 1,024 x 600 panel.

The Lenovo Smart Display is elegantly designed, boasting a curved bamboo back that lets you stand the display vertically as well as horizontally. Don’t let that sell you on this, though — the UI doesn’t shift into a portrait mode when the hub is on its side apart from when making video calls. This makes the whole design pretty much useless as I can’t see people flipping the hub up just to make video calls. I wonder if Lenovo had thought it might have been able to do more with the UI at some point in early development.

If you’re primarily looking for a picture frame or small castable TV, the Lenovo’s superior display makes it the better choice.

Lenovo’s design certainly won’t be for everybody, but I prefer it to the Google Home Hub’s functional white plastic. The partially textured look will be familiar to anyone who owns other Google Home products, but if you’re not a fan of pastel colors, the design won’t be for you. Fortunately, the Google Home Hub is nice and compact, making it much easier to find space for — it sits nicely on a desk or side table. You definitely need to set aside some space for Lenovo’s model.

Smart Home Multi Room audio settings menu

Music and video all-in-one

Integrated Chromecast functionality is a major win for both the Lenovo Smart Display and the Google Home Hub. You can broadcast music and video from a wide variety of apps straight to the speakers with minimal hassle. Unfortunately, Netflix casting support is still absent from both products, but app support is otherwise the same as a regular Chromecast. Again, the bigger size and higher pixel density of Lenovo’s displays make them better products for watching back video, though the Google Home Hub is more than good enough for playing back YouTube music videos or following along with recipes in the kitchen.

Editor’s Pick

Speaking of streaming, both products now support multi-room music streaming. These display can be added to home groups, along with other cast enabled Home smart speakers. Speaker quality differs between the models though.

On the front on the Lenovo Smart Display there’s a large speaker grill housing the 10W full-range and dual passive radiator to direct sound out towards you. The speaker is loud, crisp, and packs plenty of bass. It’s certainly better than the regular Google Home, I wouldn’t recommend it over a decent hi-fi setup if you’re really into your music. The Google Home Hub still packs a decent punch for its little size and I’d ballpark the speaker quality in the range of the regular Google Home. It will certainly suffice as a basic home speaker, but the Lenovo has a slight edge.

One feature separating the two is the Smart Display’s inclusion of a front-facing camera for video calling. It’s nice for those that use Duo, which I personally don’t. The Google Home hub handles regular calls, sans video. Lenovo also included a shutter slider to block the camera, which the privacy-conscious will appreciate.

As a home entertainment system, the Lenovo Smart Display’s better specs give it a definitive edge.

The Google Assistant you know and love

If you’re familiar with Google Assistant, you’ll know what to expect from these Smart Displays. The familiar timer, weather, commute times, reminder, news, music casting, YouTube streaming, alarms, and other features are identical between the two Smart Displays. I might not be the most demanding smart home user, but I couldn’t find any unsupported common commands on these products.

At launch, the Lenovo Smart Display was missing a number of key Assistant features found in the Home Hub. As well as the aforementioned Multi-Room Audio feature, Lenovo didn’t have Continued Conversations and the Home View dashboard for managing other smart home products. Fortunately, these are all now accounted for and Lenovo has also increased the number of third-party smart home products supported by its Smart Display.

There are a few subtle software differences, such as Google implementation of a small LED to display when the mic is muted, while Lenovo sticks a black bar across the screen. Lenovo offers variable volumes for audio and alarms, while Google sticks with just a single setting. Even so, the software of these two Smart Displays offers the same core features, UI, and Assistant experience.

Google Home Hub showing feature menu
Lenovo Smart Display Speaker grill front

Google Home Hub vs Lenovo Smart Display: Which is worth a purchase?

I prefer the Lenovo Smart Display to the Google Home Hub, owing to the larger display for pictures and video, and the better-sounding speakers. The design certainly won’t suit everybody and the size means it can’t be a discrete part of your home, but overall I think it’s the nicer one.

As a home entertainment system, the Lenovo Smart Display’s better specs give it an edge.

If you’re looking for  extra multimedia capabilities, then Lenovo Smart Display is certainly worth a look. Thanks to a recent update, Home View isn’t an exclusive selling point for the Home Hub anymore, either.

However, those looking for a cost-effective, small panel from which to manage their existing smart home will still likely find the Google Home Hub a compelling purchase.

Ultimately, the right one for you will come down to how much you want to spend on a Smart Display. The Google Home Hub is the more attractive entry point for those dipping their toes into their first smart home purchase. Don’t count the JBL Link View out either, if you’re after something a little more music oriented.

What do you think? Which Smart Display would you buy?