Testing Smartphone Huawei Mate 20 Pro: a concentrate of technology

Presentation

Désormais firmly established on the podium of the world's largest smartphone manufacturers alongside Samsung and Apple, Huawei continues to challenge its rivals. The proof is in its latest ultra high-end smartphone, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which clearly holds the Galaxy Note 9 and the iPhone Xs Max in its sights.

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6.4" near-edge screen on board the Mate 20 Pro

Six months after the presentation of theP20 Pro, Huawei is back in the spotlight with a smartphone that sells for €999 and is looking to offer all the latest cutting-edge technologies: 6.4" Oled edge-to-edge display, facial recognition, under-screen fingerprint sensor and, of course, 3 photo sensors. Huawei seems to have built an uncompromising device.

Ergonomics and design

By face, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a cross between a Galaxy S9 and iPhone Xs Max. The curved 19.5:9 format display is reminiscent of the Korean manufacturer's phone, while the large notch that houses the facial recognition mechanism is reminiscent of the cell phone that was named after it. But even if the phone's features are not the most original, it is undeniable that the whole thing exudes a real sense of luxury and seriousness. The phone and its screen - which occupies almost 90% of the front panel - are a technological gem - but at 999 €, it was better.

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Certaines versions have a micro-stripped back that slips less in the hand.

By back, the telephone is not a treasure trove of inventiveness either. The black and blue hulls are nothing more than large glass rectangles whose only oddity is to accommodate this imposing "photographic island" that houses the three cameras. The green and midnight blue versions have a little more character thanks to the micro-stripes on their backs. In addition to lending a little differentiating touch, this detail allows the camera to be less slippery than the other versions.

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La lower edge of the Mate 20 Pro with its SIM/memory card drawer.

Là where Huawei's strength is that although the device may be very large with its 6.4-inch screen - and unusable in one hand - it doesn't look too massive in hand. It is rather light (only 189 g) and quite thin (8.9 mm). In short, Huawei has given birth to a mobile that is well built, well finished and pleasant to hold. And if the design isn't very inspired, that's really one of its only weak points.

Techniquement, the phone is almost flawless. It has a USB-C port, supports wireless charging - and can even wirelessly charge another phone - and can accommodate two SIM cards. The only problem is that for design reasons - according to Huawei - it is not possible to fit a microSD card in the device. If you want to expand the memory, you'll have to opt for an NM card, a format unique to Huawei.

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imposing notch of the Mate 20 Pro.

Avant to close this section, let's take a look at the biometric unlocking mechanisms onboard the Mate 20 Pro. Here, unlocking by facial recognition is extraordinarily fast and accurate. It must be said that the phone does not rely solely on the front APN, but on a set of sensors very similar to those found on the latest-generation iPhone. As a result, most of the time, you'll barely have time to bring the phone to eye level before it's ready to be unlocked. The only downside is that you'll still have to swipe your finger to access your desktop, which is bound to waste a little time.

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Fingerprint sensor under the screen.

Et of course, for all those moments when you just want to take a look at your cell phone when it's on the desktop, you can use the fingerprint sensor under the screen. Semi-new from Huawei -Oppo had done it with his R17, a phone that hasn't been out of the house -, this new technology doesn't work too bad. The precision is there and the "button" is ideally placed. But compared to "traditional" fingerprint sensors, the unlocking process takes significantly longer. So it will be better to combine the two biometric solutions to increase speed. Nevertheless, let's welcome the risk taken by the manufacturer, which allows the ease of use of the fingerprint sensor on the front panel to be restored without compromising the compactness of the phone. All this in an elegant and resolutely futuristic package.

Screen

Huawei had already proven its mastery of Oled technology on the P20 Pro, so it's not very surprising to find a near-perfect screen on this Mate 20 Pro. Yes, because in addition to having a slab that occupies most of the screen, Huawei also did a nice job of calibrating it.

Par Otherwise, the phone displays bright colors and a white color that pulls slightly towards blue. The amateurs of more neutral tones will not be outdone that said since once the color mode "normal" and the "warm" temperature chosen in the settings, the delta E falls to 1.8 and the temperature to 6530 Kelvin. Two values very close to colorimetric "perfection".

Question readability, no problem. Set to automatic mode, the brightness can go up to almost 700 cd/m² and down to 1.7 cd/m². Whether in daylight or in the dark, the screen of the Mate will always be able to adapt. The anti-reflective coating is also very effective. Combine this with "infinite" contrast - thanks to Oled - and you get a screen that remains readable under all circumstances.

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Mate 20 Pro screen has slightly curved edges.

À finally, the touch delay measured at 74 ms is not even noticeable, and the screen resolution (3,120 x 1,440 px) is more than enough to navigate with comfort. All in all, it's a flawless one for Huawei which, with this Mate 20 Pro, is a little closer to what Samsung and Apple can do.

Performances

Mate 20 Pro features Huawei's newest home chip, theKirin 980. The 7 nm engraved chip embeds an octo-core processor, two chips dedicated to artificial intelligence and is accompanied by 6 GB of RAM. All this means that all this beautiful world offers an impeccable user experience where a slowdown is never felt. Juggling between apps is a real pleasure.

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Chauffe of the Mate 20 Pro after 10 minutes of 3D games.

Même with this power surge, the Mate 20 Pro knows how to keep a cool head, since it never peaks above 37°C on the surface. No need to get your fingers cooked, whether playing games or doing a series of photo sessions.

Inutile to point out that the phone is a real monster when it comes to video games and allows you to play all the Android titles with flawless fluidity and impeccable graphics. A real war machine.

Audio

Comme all smartphones without a mini-jack port, the tests we do actually focus on the quality of the adapter provided. And the one for the Mate 20 Pro turns out to be a nice surprise. Once the Dolby effects are turned off, you can enjoy a powerful and clean signal and a wide and well-defined sound scene. An impeccable listening experience when you have headphones screwed on your ears.

Côté loudspeaker, Huawei has made an atypical choice integrating its own... at the USB-C socket level. Don't worry, very light notches are cut to let the sound pass through when a cable is connected. On the other hand, the signal is necessarily muffled with the hand when you grab the phone in landscape mode.

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On can see above the slight notch that lets the sound through, even when a cable is connected.

This concession, probably made for design reasons, is slightly detrimental to the sound experience since the bass is sacrificed (component size) and the sound suffers from slight distortion at full volume. That said, thanks to this trick and the in-call speaker, the Mate 20 Pro is capable of delivering a stereo signal. At the very least, the engineering effort is commendable.

Photo

This year Huawei has changed its photo recipe by swapping its traditional black and white sensor for an ultra-wide-angle one. The Mate 20 Pro is therefore equipped with three cameras with focal lengths of 16, 27 and 81 mm (24x36). Enough to get ready for any situation. We've already discussed the performance of these zoom and wide-angle sensors at length in a dedicated article, but to sum it up, these modules perform in broad daylight and get a bit stuck in the carpet when the light runs out.

Labo - What are the zoom and ultra-wide angle capabilities of the Mate 20 Pro worth?

La the trend is towards more and more photo modules. Huawei is well aware of this, since its new high-end mobiles, the Mate 20, offer,...

Reste to see what the "standard" sensor is worth. Capable of capturing up to 40 Mpx, this DSLR takes photos in 10 Mpx by default thanks to the "pixel binning" technique that is supposed to improve performance in low light. It is coupled with a lens capable of opening at f/1.8. But in practice, what is this camera worth?

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Eh well, by day, it's pretty good. Huawei's phone manages to reproduce a maximum of details, good contrast and colors. But the treatment and the accentuation are too aggressive. Faced with a Pixel 3, which produces a softer, more natural result, the Mate 20's shots lose some of their superb quality. Each of the elements on the photo seems too much reinforced. However, the white balance is correct and the scene is homogeneous, with almost no loss of quality in the corners.

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By night, it's sadly the same story. If the phone manages to catch enough light to present a completely legible scene, the excessive accentuation and contrast spoil the party by delivering a completely artificial result. It may look like the Pixel rendering is a little less sharp, but it's much more natural in reality. Let's face it, the standard sensor of the Mate 20 is far from being mediocre in photographic art, the details are there, the white balance and colors are well mastered, but on the software side, Huawei can't stand up to Google'sPixel or Samsung'sGalaxy Note 9.

Mais in addition to its three sensors, Huawei has also added a plethora of software options within its Mate 20 Pro. From the traditional "pro mode" (which allows you to control speed, exposure, etc.) to the rather successful portrait mode (if you don't need "stage lighting") to capturing video in sepia tones or with background blur, the camera is packed with fun and fun features.

La capturing video is also seamless, whether it's Full HD or 4K UHD. The front sensor does well, too, even if the smoothing is too pronounced.

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By left to right and top to bottom: the flash, the "standard" sensor, the zoom and the ultra-wide-angle.

In all in all, the Mate 20 Pro is a versatile and ready for anything that lacks software optimization. Too bad.

Autonomy

In holding a 4,200 mAh battery in the rather slender body of the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei put all the odds on his side to ensure the phone's competitive range. And it paid off, as the phone lasts almost two full days with moderate use. On our Smartviser home autonomy test, it lasted 4:30 pm before claiming its charger. Not far from Galaxy Note 9 which is a reference in the field.

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Mate 20 Pro can also take advantage of this generous battery to give other phones with wireless charging compatibility a boost. In fact, Huawei has integrated Wireless Reverse Charging, which allows the Mate 20 Pro to serve as a wireless charging base for other phones.

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Mate 20 Pro as a charging base...for another Mate 20 Pro.

Enfin, with the plug provided in the box of the device, it is possible to fully charge the phone in just over an hour. A small feat to be credited to the charger capable of delivering up to 40 watts. A power that will warm up your mobile.