Stunning looks, great performance and a superb camera: The Huawei P20 presents itself in the test as a true high-end smartphone without serious weaknesses. Although it clearly misses the top 10 at the time of testing, it is an alternative within the premium class to the significantly more expensive P20 Pro at a reasonable price.
Very good camera quality
Strong display quality
Pretty fancy impression
Memory card slot missing
3.5 mm jack socket missing
No memory variants
Performance & Display
The Huawei P20 is the little brother of the P20 Pro, costs about 250 Euro less at the time of the test (for price comparison) and is one corner smaller in terms of the case. In terms of performance, however, Huawai’s high-end newcomers from 2018 take little notice. Inside the P20, the Kirin 970 chipset from HiSilicon is in service. The eight CPU cores, four of which are designed for performance and four for power-saving efficiency, clock at 2.4 GHz and are accompanied by a full 4 GB RAM and a Mali-G72-GPU with twelve processor cores. The high performance potential, together with the slim EMUI interface based on Android 8.1, ensures a butter-soft operation without any jerks or annoyances.
The mass memory is quite lavish at 128 GByte, but cannot be expanded using a memory card. Furthermore, Huawei does not offer any memory variants. So if you need more space, for example for videos, photo archives or offline music, you’ll have to retrofit awkwardly via external storage media or cloud service. Since the Huawei P20 has a USB Type C connector instead of micro-USB, the now relatively inexpensive sticks are not a suitable option.
The 5.8-inch display covers almost the entire front. Only the “Notch”, already known from the iPhone X, breaks through the display design and leaves room for the front camera, speakers and sensors. Normally, information about the mobile network, WLAN and other notifications are displayed to the left and right of it. If you want, you can also have black bars loaded into it to create a kind of artificial frame.
The technical data and measured values of the IPS-LCD are strong. With a resolution of 1,080 x 2,244 pixels, the device achieves a pixel density of 429 ppi (pixels per inch). The display brightness (without ambient light) of 445 candelas per square metre is good, but remains visible below the top values achieved by the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus, for example. Furthermore, the Huawei P20 has no discernible weaknesses in our measurement results, which is why we give the display a very good average rating at the time of testing.
Camera & Mobility
Apart from more or less big differences in equipment or display, the smartphone camera on the back has become one of the most important differentiating criteria in the smooth Android world – especially if you look at the high-end faction. The P20 features a dual camera on the back, consisting of a combination of a 12-megapixel RGB sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. Theoretically, images with 20 megapixels at the top are possible, but very good lighting conditions are necessary for good image quality. Huawei therefore sets the default setting to 12 megapixels. Our test recordings are always made with the manufacturer’s default settings and not with the maximum possible resolution. A double LED flash provides sufficient artificial light if necessary. In camcorder mode, the P20 records videos at a maximum 4K resolution. The setup is rounded off by a front camera with a full 24 megapixel maximum resolution. Our experts from the CHIP test laboratory give the photos they took a very good rating.
At the time of this test report, the P20 “only” received a good overall rating in the battery rating, but in relation to the other models tested in the smartphone leader list. The results obtained are very practical in themselves. At 3,500 mAh, the capacity of the battery, which cannot easily be replaced, is on average that of the direct Android competition. Our measurements yield a very respectable 10 hours running time in an online scenario, whereby we reload a specially developed test page including integrated video every 90 seconds. This allows us to create a realistic and up-to-date websurf scenario on a smartphone. It is also good that Huawei delivers the P20 with a quick charging power supply and the complete charging time of the battery is therefore a tolerable 2 hours. Since the P20 weighs only 163 grams and is laudably slim at 9.1 millimeters, the mobility of this model is generally at a high level.