Hands on: Honor 20 Review

A more affordable take on the Honor 20 Pro, the standard Honor 20 delivers a similar premium Honor experience while managing to stay under £400

First Impressions

Despite the uncertain future of newly-launched Huawei and Honor phones right now, the Honor 20 is here and translates most of the Honor 20 Pro experience into a more affordable package with aplomb.

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £399.99
  • 6.26-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD
  • 32MP front hole punch camera
  • Quad rear camera setup
  • 48MP main, 16MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth, 2MP macro
  • Kirin 980 processor
  • 6GB RAM/128GB storage
  • 3750mAh battery

Even though there’s a strange air of uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of Huawei’s and Honor’s smartphones, Honor has pushed ahead with the launch of the new Honor 20 Series.

You can already read Trusted Reviews’ full evaluation of the Honor 20 Pro, or stay here for my initial impressions of its lesser sibling, the Honor 20.

Editor’s Note: Due to the recent retraction of Huawei’s Android license, future Huawei and Honor phones won’t be able to access Google Play Services and as a result many Android apps including YouTube and Gmail. Both Huawei and Google have confirmed Huawei and Honor phones, like the one in this review, will continue to have access for this time being. Until we know more about the situation we’re leaving the scores on all our Huawei reviews, however as the situation changes we’ll revisit this.

The look and feel of the Honor 20 Pro, despite its lower standing

You’d be hard-pressed to tell the Honor 20 and 20 Pro apart at a glance. Like the Pro model, the Honor 20 comes fronted by a 6.26-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD panel, which is bright and clear.

Honor 20 hands on home screen angled front

There’s also a side-mounted fingerprint sensor set into its metal frame, instead of an in-display offering like you find in the Huawei P30 Pro, or the rear-mounted capacitive sensor found on Honor’s own View 20. It’s super responsive and the placement is perfect – so long as you’re right-handed, otherwise it’s a touch more cumbersome to use.

Like the View 20, the Honor 20 also sports a (32-megapixel) hole punch camera, set into the screen’s footprint. It’s a cleaner alternative to a notch and helps Honor slim down the 20’s bezels to give it an impressive 91.6 percent screen to body ratio.

Honor 20 hands on side button handheld

Flip the phone over and things become a little more distinct, namely, thanks to the reflective Sapphire Blue finish (pictured) that the phone comes in – a colour not available to the Pro model.

Don’t expect wireless charging, water resistance or even a headphone jack here, but appreciate the many-eyed camera setup the Honor 20 brings to the table.

A versatile shooter for the price

In the top left-hand corner of the Honor 20’s shiny back sits an expansive camera module, punctuated by three large lenses, with a smaller one off to the side.

That smaller sensor is an unusual inclusion – a 2-megapixel camera design specifically for macros, however, on initial inspection, cropping in on a shot taken with one of the phone’s other sensors from further away seems to yield better results.

Honor 20 hands on camera close up

Speaking of those other sensors, like the 20 Pro, View 20, Oppo Reno, OnePlus 7 and a bevvy of other smartphones, the Honor 20’s main camera is powered by a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor.

There’s also a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle sensor next to it and on the other side, in place of the 8-megapixel telephoto sensor found on the Honor 20 Pro, there’s a more conservative 2-megapixel depth sensor. While zoom is lossy as a result, the photo lets you quick-switch to 2x magnification with a full 10x maximum.

Honor 20 hands on handheld back 3/4 view

Overall, it should make for a capable alternative to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy A9, which also boasts as many sensors on the back.

Software does a lot of the heavy lifting for the Honor’s camera arrangement, with AI-powered scene detection possible thanks to the chipset at play and electronic image stabilisation (again with a sprinkle of AI magic) as, unlike the Pro model, there’s no optical image stabilisation system in place here.

A 7nm brain the same as the best

The AI smarts found on the Honor 20 are supplied by the dual NPU (neural processing unit) that serves as part of the Kirin 980 chipset. This 7nm SoC is one of the best and brightest pieces of silicon in the mobile scene right now and it’s found its way onto every Huawei and Honor flagship since the tail end of 2018, when it first launched.

Honor 20 hands on hole punch front camera

The Honor 20 pairs it with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage – ample for most, while there’s a fairly generous 3750mAh battery to keep the handset ticking over for up to a day and a half by my estimations. The best bit is that the Honor 20’s battery also support’s the company SuperCharge tech, with a 22.5W charger to juice the phone back up quicker than most.

Honor 20 – Price and availability

Although a launch date for the UK market is still up in the air, the Honor 20 has now appeared on the company’s UK site, available in Sapphire Blue or black. It’s currently listed as ‘out of stock’ and there’s a chance that may never change.

The Honor 10 was one of the best handsets you could pick up at around the £400 price point and with an opening cost of £399.99, it looks as though the Honor 20 is poised to take its place.

A ’hands on review’ is our first impression of a product only - it is not a full test and verdict. Our writer must have spent some time with the product to describe an early sense of what it’s like to use. We call these ‘hands on reviews’ to make them visible in search. However these are always unscored and don’t give recommendations. Read more about our reviews policy.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.