- Page 1 Huawei P20
- Page 2 Battery Life and Verdict
- Page 3 Performance and Camera
- Page 4 Screen and Software
Huawei P20 – Screen
The 5.8-inch near-edge-to-edge screen on the Huawei P20 is fantastic. To be more specific, it’s an 18.7:9 panel – similar to the screen ratio of the Galaxy S9, but in the Huawei’s case it’s LCD instead of OLED. The main advantage of using this ratio is that it allows manufacturers to squeeze more screen into a smaller handset.
Venturing down that route often results in the introduction of a notch – a small cut-out that’s used to house components that can’t be hidden behind the screen – and that’s exactly the case with the P20, much to the dismay of critics. But coming from the notch-clad iPhone X, I didn’t find its presence to be an issue.
Huawei had foreseen that not everyone will share the same sentiments as far as the notch is concerned, so it has developed a software tweak that masks the cut-out by disabling the screen space either side of it. This creates the illusion of a symmetrical design – and it works well, disguising the slot in all but direct light.
As for the screen itself, colours are vibrant, but often feel oversaturated. You can, however, adjust the colour balance to suit your personal preference by altering the Colour Mode (it’s set to Vivid by default; I’d recommend switching to Normal as soon as you’ve finished blasting through the initial setup process).
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The Huawei P20 also offers full support for HDR10, the leading standard for high dynamic range (HDR), and can stream HDR content from sources such as Amazon Prime and Netflix. That, in layman’s terms, means the device uses information embedded in the video to showcase the colours closer to the way the director intended.
I found the LCD screen on the P20 to be a little less clear than the OLED panel on the Galaxy S9 and P20 Pro, failing to deliver true blacks where required. LCD does have its advantages, however: it’s far brighter than its OLED counterpart and maintains a consistent colour temperature even when operating at bright levels.
And thanks to the screen’s eye-destroying maximum brightness, you’ll have no trouble whatsoever following directions, reading a message, or watching a YouTube video in direct sunlight. But you will need to hold the handset head-on for a clear view of what’s going on, since it doesn’t offer the best viewing angles.
Huawei P20 – Software
The standard P20 is identical to the P20 Pro in the software department, with everything matching, from the EMUI interface down to the various authentication methods the handset offers. All the usual suspects are present, including fingerprint-recognition, as well as ultra-fast – but not-so-secure – 2D face-recognition.
I’ve never been a fan of Huawei’s EMUI interface, but I found myself warming to it on the P20. The latest build, which is plastered atop Android 8.1, is fast and has several desirable aftermarket utilities. These include an iOS-like 3D Touch tool, which allows users to browse an application’s main features on the homescreen.
There’s also an integrated Smart Controller application that makes use of the on-board IR blaster to serve up an interface that allows you to control various household appliances, ranging from air-con to TVs. This is a feature I found myself using on a daily basis to control the Dyson AM09 sitting on the other side of my office.
And, as we saw on the Huawei P20 Pro, the P20 comes with a dedicated voice assistant – HiAssistant – to rival Bixby and Siri. And it also features an AI-driven recognition tool that’s capable of identifying a product and tracking it down on digital marketplaces such as Amazon (think: Bixby Vision). Both are limited to China for now, however.