About a month ago, on a day as similarly hot as it is today, I was down in London attending the launch and announcement of the Honor 20 series. Whilst I was there I was mostly focused on the biggest brother in the lineup – the Honor 20 Pro. That phone has not been released as yet, but we have managed to get hold of the Honor 20 which shares a lot of the features of its more expensive sibling. It is an equally interesting device and is well worth a look, so let’s get into it.
As is the case when we get a new device in for review, it goes through our unboxing and we record a quick and (in my case anyway) unscripted video for you. Here from my back garden instead of my usual office, is that video for you to enjoy.
The usual glass and metal slate design has been adopted here for the form factor, with some very nice curves to the top and the bottom corners. The screen is an all-flat affair – unlike the Pro version of the phone. It also does not have the same AMOLED screen tech that the Pro version has, which is a shame as it does make it hard to see in direct sunlight. However, these compromises do help keep the cost down so I understand the reasoning behind them. The actual size of the screen is 6.26″ across, with a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340.
We also have a hole punch cutout for the forward facing camera instead of the more common notch. This houses a very good 32 MP camera. If it’s the same as the one found on the Huawei P30 Pro, then I expect good things.
Having the camera off to the side allows the Honor 20 to have a separate earpiece speaker instead of having to use the screen vibration system of the P30 Pro devices. This will please people who sometimes have difficulty hearing, so it is good to see that being used for a phone of this type.
Onto the right-hand side, which is where we will find the volume rocker and the very clever power switch/sleep-wake/fingerprint reader.
I am really pleased to see this being used here as I did like this style of a button from my personal Xperia time a few years ago. The speed with which the fingerprint sensor reacts is up there with the best rear mounted readers we know and love.
On the left-hand side we have got a dual SIM tray and SIM eject pinhole. Basically nothing else to see here.
By placing the fingerprint reader on the side of the phone, it allowed designers to open up what could be done with the back of the phone. This is not just a simple glass back here folks, however before we explore that further – let’s talk cameras.
There is plenty to talk about here as we have got a few cameras to look at. The first one is the primary camera and this is a 48MP sensor from Sony. In fact, this camera uses the same Sony IMX 586 sensor as the Pro, only without optical image stabilization and behind a slightly slower f/1.8 lens. This lens system is now being used by many devices across the board and has been found to largely be reliable.
Next up is a 16-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide camera, which is the same as the one being used on both Huawei and Honor’s more expensive phones, so we know that is a good one. This is in turn supported by the 3rd camera, which is a 2MP depth camera to assist with getting those depths of field shots. Last up is a 2MP Macro lens. Alongside all of these is a flash for helping to illuminate your indoor and nighttime shots, not that you will need it with the sensors and the Honor AI systems in place.
The last place to look at before we explore that back panel is the bottom of the phone. Here you’ll find a USB Type-C port which is capable of Honor’s 22.5W SuperCharge standard, meaning you should be able to juice the phones 3750 mAh battery pretty quickly when using the included charger. This where you will also find a downward firing speaker which is loud and clear. This will be tested more over the course of the review.
That about finishes up the handset tour.
The last thing I want to cover is the rear of the phone. This is a specially crafted glass backed which will reflect the light back in different colours and tones creating a more fluid like look to the phone.
Well, that is the marketing speak bit done..
In reality, it is an absolute fingerprint magnet of a back panel and is about as slippery as butter on a sunny day. Whilst I can appreciate the design and the detail that has gone into making it look the way it does I am most likely to cover it as I have done with my previous 3 phones that all had the same slippery finish. What is good to know is that the back is made of Gorilla Glass so at least it should be durable!
Internally we have got the same all-powerful Kirin 980 processor that is being used in the P30 Series and this is ably supported by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. This doesn’t seem to be expandable at all, which is a shame. There is not an option for another variant of this with more memory.
Software-wise we are looking at Android 9.0 with Honor’s Magic Ui (essentially EMUI with a different name) skinning things. Now whilst there may have been and to an extent still is some uncertainty over what is going on with Huawei and Google, the phone still has full Google services support at the moment and we are hopeful that an Android Q update will be in the wings soon.
Last but not least the specs.
Resolution: FHD 2340p x 1080p
Frequency: 2 x Cortex-A76 2.6 GHz+ 2 x Cortex-A76 1.92 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 1.8 GHz
External: micro SD TM card up to 512GB
Standby: 505 hours
Talk time: up to 1260 minutes*
slot 2: Nano-SIM card or micro SD TM card
Ambient light sensor
Proximity sensorFingerprint sensor
Phone status indicator
NFC: supported USB connector: Micro USB-C
USB type: USB-C
USB features: OTG, tethering, charging
You can pre-order the Honor 20 now from Three and it will be delivered on the 24th of June.