Huawei Honor 20 Review-Is It The Best Budget Flagship From The Brand?

by posted in Mobile Reviews

Honor, Huawei’s affordable subsidiary is continuously upping its game to take hold of the Indian Smartphone segment. To battle the rapid growth of other Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Oppo in the Indian diaspora, Honor is doing its best to get hold of the consumers. The latest revelation from the brand is Honor 20.
The Honor 20 is a mid-segment android phone that is targeting to take on the OnePlus 7. Just the OnePlus 7, there is a flagship Pro version of this Smartphone also available, but not in Indian markets. Now as the fate of Huawei hangs in the balance because of the US dispute, Honor 20 series might be the last line of Android devices from the brand.
But, let’s focus on the Honor 20. A premium phone with top of the line SoC, modern design and quad primary camera setup, this Smartphone does make a worthy opponent for most mid segment devices right now in India.
Let’s find out if the all-new Honor 20 is strong enough to fend off the competition in the brutal mid-segment Indian market.

Honor 20 Quick Specifications
Display6.26 inches IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 980 (7 nm)
Storage128 GB Internal/6 GB RAM
Camera48MP+16MP+2MP+2MP
Battery3750 mAh
SensorsFingerprint sensor,Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer
OSAndroid Pie 9.0
Network ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11, b/g/n, Bluetooth v5, 4G Volte, microUSB 2.0
Dimensions154.3 x 74 x 7.9 mm
Price in India₹ 32,999

Our Verdict-8/10r-8
Honor 20 is the Huawei’s answer for the OnePlus’ 7 in the Indian mid-segment market. The Smartphone comes with the trending hardware along with powerful camera setup. However, the camera performance is inconsistent. But if you are looking for a budget gaming phone, Honor 20 is a value-for-money Smartphone.

Pros:Cons:
Excellent performanceNo wireless charging
Powerful batteryInconsistent camera performance
Attractive design
Quad camera setup

 

Honor 20 Design & Display

Honor 20 Display

Honor 20 has the dual-glass design that is similar to most mid-segment Smartphones, but the signature dual colour gradient effect sets this device different from others. The Chinese brand has done it all to make the aesthetics on this device appear to be extravagant. Available in Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black colours, it will not be hard to identify the Honor 20 among other gradient designed Smartphone due to its unique design.
The 2.5D curved edge display along with the rear glass panel blends seamlessly with the metallic rim running across the edges. On the right side, you will find the power and volume buttons alongside the side-mounted fingerprint sensor.

Honor 20 Design

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is a very impressive development as it sits right at the place one would place his finger while grabbing the Honor 20. In-display fingerprint scanners are all a rage right now, but if we are honest, the side-mounted fingerprint scanner that can also be a sleep-wake button is a much more practical design for us. Here we would like to mention that the fingerprint sensor on this Smartphone is insanely quick, unlike any other device in this price range.
At the top, there is IR emitter and the secondary microphone and the earpiece is squeezed between the display and the metallic frame. On the left side, you have a dual-SIM tray that can accommodate two Nano-SIM cards. There is no slot for microSD card, which implies there is no memory expansion available. At the bottom, you will find the primary microphone, USB Type-C port and the loudspeaker.
The overall design of the Honor 20 feels premium and the manufacturer has not cut corners in build quality. You get a 91.7 percent screen-to-body ratio because of no side or top bezels and a very thin chin. The quad camera set up at the back results in a huge bump that makes it impossible to place this phone flat on a surface.

Honor 20 Display

Speaking of the display, the Honor 20 comes with a 6.2inch LCD panel that offers 2340×1080 pixel resolution which means you will miss the deep colour depth of the AMOLED panels that devices like OnePlus 7 Pro are offering. However, at its price tag, the display is good enough in comparison to similarly priced Smartphones. Plus, it also gives Honor scope to male improvements to other hardware while keeping the overall cost low.
You will notice the Honor 20 has the familiar punch-hole display just like the Samsung Galaxy M40. We like the punch-hole display on this device that entirely eradicates the need for a notch. You will have a distraction-free experience with Honor 20 display.

Honor 20 Hardware & Software

Honor 20 Hardware

Honor has picked the various industry trending hardware and crammed them into this device. It has side-mounted capacitive fingerprint reader just like the Samsung Galaxy S10e that also doubles up as the sleep-wake button.
On the back, there is the quad camera setup that comes with a 48MP Sony IMX 586 main sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. Most of the other hardware is the same as Honor P30 Pro i.e. the Kirin 980 chipset, 128 GB internal storage and 6GB RAM.
The in-house HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC used by Huawei for this smartphone is competent enough to take on the most mid-segment Smartphone in terms of performance. It packs four ARM Cortex-A76 cores alongside four Cortex-A55 cores and dual Neural Processing Units. For graphics, it uses the Mali G76-GPU.
The biggest upgrade Honor has made to its mid-segment Smartphone is to provide it with a pack of four rear cameras. The 48MP main sensor uses the same pixel binning that Huawei calls 4-in-1 Light Fusion to capture a much brighter photo at 12MP resolution combining four adjacent pixels to make one larger pixel. The main sensor is teamed with a 16MP super-wide-angle sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture and a 2MP macro camera with f/2.4 aperture. On the front, you get a 32MP selfie shooter with f/2.0 aperture.
For power Honor 20 relied on a 3,750mAh battery.

Honor 20 Software

In software, the Honor 20 runs on Android Pie masked by the Magic UI 2.1. If you have used any other Honor device that has EMUI then you will not feel any difference as the Magic UI 2.1 borrows the same design down to the icon style. We were disappointed to see such a large amount of bloatware both in-house and third-party preinstalled in the phone. The Magic UI 2.1 comes loaded with some cool gestures. Like tapping the screen twice with one knuckle will take a screenshot while doing the same with two knuckles will start video recording.
The Honor 20 comes preinstalled with usual Google apps suite along with Honor apps like HiCare for customer service, Honor Store, Honor Club, and a lot of utility apps like Weather, Backup, etc. Some of these apps are quite useful too. For instance, the Optimizer app allows you to clean the internal storage with a single tap. Among the third-party apps you get Netflix, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn Lite, Facebook and Booking.com preinstalled.
Digital Balance, an app similar to Digital Wellbeing monitors your phone usage and displays the statistics. You can use the app to set app time limits. The Bedtime feature lets you restrict the user-specified apps from disturbing you when you are sleeping.
Overall, the hardware specification of the Honor 20 is in line with the trends while the software is practical and competitive.

 

Honor 20 Performance

Running on the powerful Kirin 980 chip the Honor 20 is capable enough to handle any tough task you throw at it. Even with 15 apps running in the background, the phone performed flawlessly. Playing heavy games was stutter free and switching between the apps was fluid.
Game playing experience with Honor 20 is awesome as most heavyweights like Asphalt 9, PUBG Mobile and Modern Combat ran smoothly even at high graphics setting. However, the single speaker is a problem as it gets easily muffled when playing games. Huawei’s Game Turbo 3.0 feature is supported by the device, which is a feature that boosts game performance by optimizing power consumption and allocating system resources. The Game Turbo 3.0 supports both the usual games like Angry Birds 2 and Candy Crush Saga as well as the high-end games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9.
Just like OnePlus 7 Pro, there is Uninterrupted Gaming mode in this Smartphone that blocks on-screen notifications when you are playing. The audio is not that impressive in Honor 20. Even at peak volume, the sound is low and so is the bass output.

Honor 20 Performance

In benchmarks, Honor 20 scored 213,387 points in AnTuTu which is much lower than the devices using the Snapdragon 855 SoC. In Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests, this Honor device scored 3,296 and 9,593 respectively. The 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme test score was 2,070, while in the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test it scored 38,028.

Honor 20 Camera

Honor 20 Camera

Huawei is using the quad camera setup as the bait to push Honor 20 over other mid-segment Smartphones available right now in India.
By default, the primary camera captures images at 12MP, but you can manually switch it to the 48MP mode for more detailed pictures. The pictures taken with the Honor 20 camera come out to be sharp and punchy that looked great on the phone screen. However, there were few minor issues with the pictures like over saturation and inaccurate colours of the objects. The close-up shots even with the 48MP Sony IMX 586 sensor came to be inaccurate in colour content. The green looked dull while the reds were too warm and saturated. However, edge detection was good.
Even with a dedicated 2MP macro sensor, the Honor 20 is poor at taking closeup shots. Stability is paramount while taking macro shots because even the slightest movement is enough to ruin the picture.
The overall image quality has a good amount of detail and the Sony IMX 586 sensor is very much capable of capturing the details in the pro mode. For capturing the wide panorama shots, the 16MP wide-angle sensor comes really handy. There is minimal barrel distortion when taking panorama shots. In the camera app, you will find many features to play with like the slo-mo videos, time lapse, moving picture, AR stickers and panorama.
The 32MP selfie camera does a decent job at taking pictures with a good amount of details. You get bright pictures under daylight but low light selfies suffer in terms of colour accuracy and sharpness. Selfies taken in low light condition have a grainy texture and patchy elements.
Images taken with Honor 20:

Honor 20 Camera Picture
Honor 20 Camera Picture
Honor 20 Camera Picture

Image Credit: NDTV Gadgets
For video recording, you can use Honor 20 to capture 4K videos at 30fps. You can record 1080p videos up to 60fps. Video recorded with this Smartphone is clear with good audio but the lack of image stabilization proves to be a sore point. For stabilization, Honor 20 uses the artificial image stabilisation (AIS), to cancel the hand movements. The result is poor and nowhere in comparison to OIS-assisted image stabilization.

Honor 20 Battery

Honor 20 just like other Huawei devices achieves excellence in terms of battery life. Powered by a 3750mAh the phone easily lasts for a day and a half. On average usage involving calling and messaging, playing games for a few hours, internet browsing and social media activity the phone lasted the entire day with 30% battery left.
In the HD video loop test, Honor 20 battery lasted for more than 18 hours which is impressive. This phone comes bundled with a 22.5W fast charger that can charge the battery from 0 to 100 percent in one and a half hours. However, note that there is no support for wireless charging.

 

Verdict

Honor 20 is an impressive Android Smartphone at Rs. 32,999. Excellent battery life, unique design, punch-hole bezel-less display and quad camera setup, this phone has all the trending specifications. However, it lacks in the camera department where it struggled with colour accuracy and poor macro shots. The lack of OIS is also very disappointing.
Still, our biggest concern with Honor 20 is the trade feud its parent company Huawei with the US. If things go south Huawei can end losing support for Android from Google that causes a lack of clarity for its customers. However, we do hope things turn out well for the company so that it can keep providing hassle-free android experience to its customers.

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