Huawei Mate 20 X – Camera
When it launched at MWC 2018, the P20 Pro’s tri-camera set the smartphone world ablaze. Which is the reason I’m pleased to see a similar, albeit slightly tweaked, version of it on the Mate 20 X.
The system has been co-engineered with Leica and is more akin to the Mate 20 Pro’s camera setup than the regular P20. It features a 40-megapixel main sensor alongside 20-megapixel ultra-wide and 8-megapixel telephoto lenses.
With prolonged testing, I found it offers equivalent quality to the regular Mate 20 Pro, which is no bad thing. By default, the camera will use the main 40-megapixel sensor and pixel binning (grouping pixel data for better image quality at the expense of resolution) to create 10-megapixel images.
On the whole, the tech works great and images taken in regular light look crisp and clear without being oversharpened. Colours aren’t oversaturated and look suitably realistic as well. The bokeh mode works okay, and is on a par with most flagships. You’ll see some discrepancies when you blow up images on a big screen, although this is an issue on all phone portrait modes I’ve tested.
Macro shots look great and the secondary sensors are super useful when shooting far-away objects, such as city landmarks and bridges. Finally, low-light performance is solid, albeit not at the level of the Pixel 3. Images retain an impressive amount of detail and in general, I didn’t notice any pixelation or noise creeping in. All-in-all, you won’t have any issue using the camera day-to-day.
The only thing I’m not 100% convinced by is the custom Master AI system that Huawei has loaded onto its camera app. This is one of many “AI” solutions on the market that aims to intelligently tweak the camera’s settings depending on what the sensor is pointing at. It will also shoot up recommendations when it thinks you should switch which sensor you’re using.
For the most part, the changes it makes aren’t terrible – boosting colours, smoothing skin tones, and so on. Occasionally it went too far, though, making colours look unrealistic or oversharpening a landscape shot. The issues aren’t common enough to be a huge issue, however, and even when they do crop up, image quality is still a cut above other gaming phones – on a par with competing flagship phablets.
The 24-megapixel front camera is a little less impressive. It’s fine for video calls but if you want to record captured footage there are no 4K or 60fps options. Selfies generally don’t look as good as those taken on the Galaxy Note 9 or Pixel 3 XL, either.
You can see some sample shots taken on the Mate 20 X below.