Honor 20 Review



Last May, Honor held an event in London to announce the new Honor 20, a smartphone that, as is customary in the sub-brand of Huawei, is committed to a good balance between performance and price and is the protagonist of this analysis.


Honor bets for a medium-high range in which we recognize some very current elements typical of higher terminals, especially in that design with hardly any frames and with the front camera in a hole. Also stand out its four rear cameras or its processor, the same as heavyweights like the Huawei P30 Pro. Let's see everything that the Honor 20 offers us.


Design:



As we already anticipated, the design is one of the highlights of the Honor 20. The terminal gets fully into the trend 'all-screen' betting on the screen boring to avoid the notch or eyebrow. The Honor 20 does not get rid of the "problem" of the lower frame, which is wider than the rest, but despite this detail, it is not much and the effect 'all-screen' is very well achieved.

The compaction work is excellent and makes the overall size surprisingly compact to carry a screen of more than 6 inches
The compaction work is excellent and makes the total size surprisingly compact to carry a screen of more than 6 inches. Besides, the use of plastic makes it quite light, which makes it even easier to handle. Honor 20 goes very well stopped in terms of the use of the front is concerned, approaching the level of some high range as the Galaxy S10 or P30.
If we go to the back, especially highlights the surface finish that creates a double reflection that does not go unnoticed. The model analyzed is the blue one -or, as Honor calls it, Sapphire Blue- and the tone itself makes the reflections even more striking. The advantage of plastic is being lighter, which in principle is less susceptible to breakage. Of course, like glass, is full of prints.

Since we are in the back, let's stop for a moment in the camera module. As is customary in Huawei terminals, Honor places them in a vertical module attached to the left edge. In it, we have three cameras together and the LED flash, while the macro sensor is integrated into the chassis just to the right. The module protrudes a bit from the chassis, not too much but enough to make the phone somewhat crooked when placed on the table and scratch a bit.



Display:


In the design section, it has become clear that the screen is the absolute protagonist thanks to that clear front. Honor bets for the way of the screen perforated to avoid the notch and, although we continue having an element that is introduced in the screen, which effect is less intrusive.

But although the hole contributes to making the screen stand out more. 

Concerning the visual experience, to say that the screen of the Honor 20 complies with the note. It is not AMOLED nor does it have a QHD resolution, but it offers more than enough clarity and the brightness level allows viewing outdoors without problems. However, it is still one of the sections where the necessary cuts have been applied to adjust the price.

The screen is one of the sections where certain cuts have been applied to adjust the price but still offers a good visual experience.

By default, the screen comes in vivid mode. I have kept it active since in the normal mode the colors are very muted, although when the saturation increases the targets look somewhat cold. Honor also allows you to adjust the color temperature to correct this detail, change the resolution between HD + or FullhD + and hide the hole obscuring the top of the screen.

Sound: approved scraping


Audio is the second pillar of the multimedia experience and here the Honor 20 does not risk in any way. Let's start with the loudspeaker, one single and located in the lower frame of the chassis, next to the loading port. It has good volume (although if we put it to the maximum it starts to distort) but the location makes many times we cover it by holding it in the hand.


Concerning headphones, it will touch you to take a hand of their own as they are not included in the box. What we do find is a USB-C to minijack adapter because no, the Honor 20 does not have a 3.5 mm connector. The absence of headphone jack is already becoming the norm in the high-end, but removing this connector does not seem like the best way to get close to that range. It would have been a point in his favor to integrate it.

Performance: racing engine


We have seen that the Honor 20 makes some cuts in sections such as screen resolution or materials to reduce its price, but in the part of the processor has been not spared. The terminal mounted a Kirin 980, the same chip that we found in the high-end Huawei, including the Huawei P30 Pro, although in this case accompanied by 6 GB of RAM.

In the benchmarks, the Kirin does not work as well as other chip models, but in practice, the fluidity is constant even though the Honor layer loaded. There is no lag or unexpected closures beyond a specific failure with an app (hello, Instagram). When you spend long periods taking pictures or playing games, it gets a little warm, logical considering the heatwave of the past days.

At this point, the biometric section deserves special mention. In Honor 20, we have no fingerprint reader under the screen, but it has been integrated into the side power button. 

The fingerprint reader is on the side and is surprising for its speed and precision. Just have to touch it to unlock.
Also, the reader is so sensitive that sometimes I unlocked the phone without even wanting to carry it in your pocket.


Along with the unlock by footprint we also have the facial unlocking available. In this case, we do not have additional sensors, only the front camera. The system goes very fast if there is good light and recognizes us even though we are a bit far from the terminal, the problem is that it does not work if the light is scarce.


Battery:


The battery of the Honor 20 remains in a correct 3,750 mAh, a figure that without going beyond the barrier of 4,000 mAh where many high-end have addressed, it is close. Also, it plays with the advantage that its FullHD screen is not so "swallow".

According to the usage data, the screen time is around 5 hours.


Regarding the load, the Honor 20 comes with integrated quick charger and goes pretty well. In our tests, with 30 minutes of loading we have reached 55% and to reach the full load we have to wait for 1:10 hours.




Software:


Although Honor calls it Magic UI, if you have tried the Huawei interface (EMUI) you will not find too many differences between the two proposals. We are talking about a layer with a very loaded personalization, configured by default without drawer of apps (it can be added from Settings, in fact, it is the first thing I did) and with a lot of bloatware.



Among the apps that it has pre-installed is the Honor store (which by the way came duplicated), the Fortnite, Amazon or Booking.com installer. The good news is that most of these apps can be uninstalled without a problem.

Concerning navigation, the system has the option to use gestures in full screen in the style of what we already know. The navigation is comfortable and intuitive while allowing us to take more advantage of the screen. However, if, as in my case, you use a keyboard with writing by gestures, more than once you will activate the gesture of going back unintentionally.

Among the special features offered by the Honor 20 interface, we have the Digital Balance, a kind of substitute for Digital Wellbeing that Google implemented on Android. Here we can see the time we have used each application, the times we have unlocked the mobile or set limits to each app among other things.


There is also the classic optimizer where we can close open apps, clean junk files and manage other sections such as the use of data, filter calls or scan for viruses. I do not pay much attention to this type of tools, but it is there for those who like to start closing processes.


Cameras: many lenses and too processed



Multiple cameras have become the norm and the Honor 20 was not going to be less. The terminal has a module with a triple camera, a 48-megapixel main, a 16-megapixel wide-angle and a 2-megapixel TOF sensor. There is a fourth sensor outside the module, just below the screen of AI Vision, 2 MP intended to make macro frames.


Camera app:

As I said in the software section, if you know EMUI, the interface proposed by Honor and its Magic UI in the camera app is practically traced. We have the mode carousel on the shutter button and some quick tools at the top of the screen like the AI ​​mode, the flash or the direct access to HiVision, the Google Lens of Huawei.

Among the shooting modes available in this first screen are the portrait, night or AR Lens mode, the rest are hidden in the More section. The variety of modes is quite broad and includes some such as scanning documents or opening mode to be able to blur objects. I find some of them dispensable and Honor does not give us the option to eliminate them (we can only hide Label and Documents). Also, I think some like HDR or Aperture should be more at hand and it is not possible to choose to show on the main screen.


In the Settings section, we have the usual configuration options, including the resolution that we can upload up to 48 megapixels, the geolocation, grid, timer, and others.

Picture quality:

As I said, the Honor 20's main sensor reaches up to 48 megapixels and, although by default it is set to 12 megapixels, it is possible to adjust it to maximum resolution from Settings. The resulting images have a size of 6,000 x 8,000 pixels and size around 10 MB (depends on the content). However, having a lot of sizes is not synonymous with good quality.



The Honor 20 achieves a seemingly clear and defined image, but when enlarging it is appreciated that the processing is too aggressive and overpasses the forms, getting to form watercolors even in scenes with good light. The advantage is that the image is so large that it can only be seen if we expand almost to the maximum.

48-megapixel photos size a lot, so it is advisable to keep it lower so they do not occupy so much space. The top photo was shot automatically with the 12-megapixel setting. In the general plane there is a good work of HDR, faithful tones and defined forms, but to broaden the problem of processing is much more evident. It would be acceptable in complex scenes in low light, but in cases where is good lighting, without great contrasts is excessive.

On the other hand, when they are close planes without too much depth, the detail is much finer when enlarging. These images were triggered automatically with the AI ​​activated, so the food mode was activated that slightly increases the saturation and applies a bit of bokeh to the background. The result is quite good and it is not too artificial.

When the light falls, it is normal that the detail suffers but the Honor 20 holds up quite well. Special mention to the good work of white balance despite being rather complex lighting. We also have a night mode, but it takes several seconds to shoot the photo and it is not always recommended unless there is very little light.

Speaking of the blur, as is usual in Huawei terminals, if we want to apply the bokeh effect to an object, we must pull the aperture mode since the portrait only works with faces. The trimming is usually successful, perhaps thanks to the help of the TOF sensor, and we can also choose the amount of blur both before and after to make the result more natural.
If we have the AI ​​activated, as soon as it detects a face, the portrait mode is activated, although we can remove it if we want. Generally, the blur is quite aggressive and the final result is somewhat artificial, although it gets a good effect that attracts a lot of attention. Here it would have been nice to be able to edit the amount of blur, but it is not possible in this mode.

How could it be otherwise, the triple camera of the Honor 20 allows us to zoom, but do not expect to have a very wide focal length. In this case, we have a choice of wide-angle (0.6 magnification), normal and two magnification zoom. The versatility offered does not reach the level of other high-end models such as Huawei P30 Pro or OPPO Reno, but it does give us a certain game when it comes to framing.

Also, comment on the difference in size between the images. The angular sensor is 16 megapixels, so if we have the main lens set to 12 megapixels, the resulting photo will be smaller. In the case of the telephoto lens, the enlargement is done by software and this penalizes the quality enough.

Finally, there is the Super macro mode, an option that stands out especially in this case because the Honor 20 has a 2-megapixel sensor dedicated especially to macro photos. With this option, we can approach the object just a few centimeters and the result is very good. The downside is photo measures only 1,600 x 1,200 pixels, but to upload to social networks is not necessary much more.

Before moving on to the front camera, we have to talk about the videos. The Honor 20 allows recording in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, but it is possible to increase the sampling to 60 fps if we lower the quality to FullHD 1080p. Stabilization work stands out in both cases and how it achieves a very smooth plane even though the camera was recorded while walking.


Also highlights the super-slow camera mode at 960 frames per second. Unlike normal slow motion (120 or 240 fps) in this case, the videos have a limited duration. When we aim to record, it is only activated if it detects movements in the scene. The result is quite spectacular although it lacks something more sharpness.

Front camera:

The front camera of the Honor 20 stands out especially for how it has been implemented on the screen on that 'island', let's see if it succeeds with the photos it gets. Remember that it is a 32-megapixel sensor and includes portrait mode.

The quality of the images is quite good for a secondary sensor. It is somewhat more limited in terms of dynamic range and the quality depends a lot on the light, but it achieves a good reproduction of the color and great sharpness if the conditions are favorable. You could not miss the beauty mode, which can be adjusted in ten levels of intensity, although I recommend leaving it as much in half so that it is not too exaggerated.

Concerning the portrait mode, although in the app we have it available, I have not managed to apply it in any photo. The background appears as focused on disabling this mode and the only thing that lets us do is choosing the amount of beauty mode.


And to close, the front camera gives good results in the section of the video, although it more limitations are noticed, for example when managing abrupt changes of light, or in stabilization. Honor offers the beauty mode also in the videos although it does not show too much.

Conclusion:

The honor was one of the first brands to bet on the hole in the screen as a solution to avoid the now-classic notch. We saw it with the Honor View 20 and now continue on the same path with the Honor 20, a terminal that approaches the high range in key aspects such as power or design and cuts what is just and necessary in others such as a screen or cameras for so get a much more attractive price.

Although the final challenge is to hide the camera completely, it is necessary to say that the perforated screen is a quite successful solution to achieve that clear front effect so persecuted. Following the design, the use of plastic does not penalize but rather the opposite; the reflection of the back is very striking and the weight is lighter.

Overall, the Honor 20 offers a more than satisfactory experience and the possible shortages are justified with a more competitive price.


Some aspects can be improved, such as loaded software or a set of cameras that, although complete, are over processed and do not get close to the high range in which they want to reflect. All in all, the set offers a more than satisfactory experience and the possible shortages are justified with a more competitive price.

In favor:


  • The work of compaction makes it manageable and the use of plastic lightens it a lot.
  • Good visual experience despite not having the maximum resolution.
  • Power at the terminal level with higher prices.

Against:


  • The sound of the speaker is very improvable.
  • The software layer is too loaded with apps and customization.
  • The aggressive processing of the cameras.

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