Huawei may have been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently but the company tried its best to ignore the uncertainty surrounding the future of its smartphone business to launch not one but three smartphones for the global markets earlier this week. George Zhao, the CEO of Huawei's sub-brand Honor, took to stage in London on Tuesday to unveil the Honor 20, Honor 20 Pro, and Honor P20 Lite, at an event where the audience could've been forgiven — and indeed those on stage — for having a lot on their mind.
On Sunday, news broke that Google was suspending business relations with Huawei to comply with a US government order that blacklisted the Chinese company. The move meant Huawei would have lost access to updates to Google's Android operating system, a potentially damaging move to the company's prospects outside of its home market of China.
"No matter what happens, no matter what kind of challenges... just smile and overcome them," Zhao said while introducing the phones on stage. Out of the trio, the one that grabbed the most attention was quite understandably the Honor 20 Pro.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with what's Zhao called a three-layered design, with a depth layer, a colour layer, with the glass layer on top. All this combines to offer coloured finishes that look different as light shines upon them, continuing the trend we've seen in many recent smartphones. The phone will be available in Phantom Blue, which is kind of a mix between blue and green, and Phantom Black (black and purple) finishes.
The highlight of the Honor 20 Pro of course is its four-camera setup at the back. The main camera is a 48-megapixel sensor with four-axis OIS with f/1.4 aperture, which Honor says is the widest ever for a smartphone camera. This is backed by an 8-megapixel telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture and four-axis OIS as well as a 16-megapixel "super wide angle" camera with f/2.2 aperture. Finally, we have a 2-megapixel macro camera with f//2.3 aperture.
On paper, that sounds like a super lineup and as you would expect, Zhao and other company executives spent a considerable amount of time showing off the capabilities of the smartphone, including a DxOMark score of 111. Gadgets 360 had a chance to spend some hands on time with the Honor 20 Pro after the launch event, and click a few pictures just to get a feel of the camera app and its performance.
We noticed that the scene detection worked as expected outdoors, detecting "Blue Sky" and "Greenery" during the course of a couple of shots. The image quality looked pretty decent on the phone's screen, but we would reserve our judgement until we get to test out the Honor 20 Pro and its siblings as part of our detailed review process.
We did not that the Honor 20 Pro take a couple of seconds to save the final image (see image below). It's worth pointing out that the units on display weren't running retail firmware that will ship in India, so we hope this is something that the company can resolve in the final builds, otherwise it will get annoying pretty quickly.
The Honor 20 Pro feels solid in hand, and though it's listed at 182 grams, it felt reasonably light for its size. With that said, the glossy finish means the phone is definitely a bit of a fingerprint magnet.
The 6.26-inch display looks great and we didn't face any problems even while using the phone outdoors. The phone is powered by HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC alongside 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and as you would expect, the general performance was pretty snappy in the brief time that we spent using the phone.
Since the launch event earlier this week, Huawei has got a 90-day extension to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets, but a company executive could not confirm if the Honor 20 line of phones will be classified as "existing devices" and get future software updates.
The company is also said to be deliberating which of the three smartphones to bring to India, which should all become clear on June 11, the day the company is set to bring the Honor 20 series to the country.
Disclosure: Honor sponsored the correspondent's flights and hotel for the event in London.