There’s plenty to love about the Huawei P20 Pro which was just released recently. Yes, it does cost a whopping RM3,299 but then, consider the volume of storage you get, and the amazing Leica camera lenses, it all does seem worthwhile.
Don’t know what I am talking about? Well, the Huawei P20 Pro comes with 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, and a triple Leica camera which allows fantastic photography.
Anyway, I am a non-Huawei fan, so with me saying so much about the phone proves there must be something there, right?
WHY IS THE HUAWEI P20 PRO GOOD
The battery life of the Huawei P20 Pro, based on numerous online test by gadget experts proves that the phone is the longest lasting if compared to other rivals, including the Samsung Galaxy S9+ which came in second during such test. Don’t take my word for it, but see the video below.
My personal experience however shows that the phone can last from 5AM to 9PM without charging. During my typical use, WiFi, data, Bluetooth are all switched on. The screen is on auto brightness, and tethering was used from 9AM to 1PM.
Amazing colour and design
I rarely comment on the colour options of a phone, but the colour options for the Huawei P20 Pro deserves every bit of mention. Despite being a fingerprint magnet, the colours of the Huawei P20 Pro is different from their closest competitor with the new colour, known as Twilight, looking really neat. Unfortunately, Twilight isn’t available in Malaysia, but other options like blue and black aren’t too shabby as well. The design of the Huawei P20 Pro is also good, with the shiny camera back looking back looking elegant without a case. Button location is also practical and good.
Huawei placed a lot of emphasis on the P20 Pro’s triple camera phone, and there is good reason to that. The camera’s are definitely worth the hype, and low light photos do turn up simply impressive, as you can see below. At the time this review is written, I’ve not fully tested all the features of the camera, but if you follow me on Instagram, you’d be able to see what the P20 Pro can do as a photography giant.
I tried a few features, most of which are in auto-mode, and the results are pretty good. I was particularly impressed with the night shots as you can see above.
Fast and easy access (fingerprint and face ID)
This is probably a standard feature in most flagship phones, but I found accessusing both the fingerprint scanner and facial ID to be impressively fast. I did however disable the Face ID because unlocking became too easy and annoying, especially when I didn’t want it to unlock.
Less bloatware than Samsung
This is probably the biggest reason why I decided to ditch Samsung’s S9+ and go for the Huawei P20 Pro. While Samsung is constantly reducing the number of bloatware on their phones, there’s still a significant amount of bloatware made available upon setting up the phone. Huawei through their EMUI operating system, allows you to choose what you want to install and what you don’t want to install, and bloatware is at minimum.
THE PROBLEMS OF THE HUAWEI P20 PRO
The annoying notch that doesn’t go away
I really don’t get why smartphone manufacturers are imitating the ugly notch the iPhone X introduced because it is just plain annoying. The notch gets even more annoying when you use Instagram as the contrast button is hidden by the notch. Huawei figured that introducing a line could hide the notch and reduce it’s annoyance, but it really doesn’t help. This is because the ‘hide notch’option only creates additional black lines to mimic the notch, cutting of display on the phone.
EMUI needs adaptability
EMUI feel entirely different from stock Android (which I was using on my MiA1). That said, you do need to get accustomed with EMUI especially since certain things have been tweaked and moved according to Huawei’s preference. One of the most annoying thing about the EMUI is the on screen navigation bar which is switched on by default. This on screen navigation bar becomes a problem when I type as it is so close to the on-screen space bar that I tend to press it accidentally while typing, causing my app to close. There’s quite a few of options to hide and tweak the on screen navigation bar, but with no physical ‘back button’ available aside on the phone, there’s little option but to just try to get used to the on-screen navigation bar.
Limited dual apps options
Since the EMUI is a custom designed Android, I can’t help compare it with MIUI (by Xiaomi) especially when it comes to dual app options. The MIUI allows you to duplicate any apps so that you can have two similar apps on one phone. I found this good especially if I had several accounts on different apps. The good news is the EMUI also allows dual apps options, but calls it App twin. The not so good news however is that it is limited to only selected apps.
Too much auto-beauty
Taking a nice photo of myself is always the goal when I do selfies, but when the ‘beautification’ becomes too artificial, it becomes bad. I realized that the P20 Pro auto ‘beautifies’ portrait shots and selfies excessively, that even when I turn off the feature, it still ‘soften’s the skin tone’, much to my dislike.
Screen cracked from a 60cm drop
It pains me to write this, but the screen on the Huawei P20 Pro doesn’t seem to be made to last. At least based on my experience. After five months using it, my phone dropped from my bed on fine morning, and upon picking it up, there was a crack on the screen – despite the fact I was using a silicone case. I didn’t put a screen protector or glass, but I must say I was disappointed it happened because I thought the P20 Pro could at least withstand such low falls. Mind you that replacing the cracked screen wasn’t cheap either with it costing at least RM800!
THE BIGGEST ISSUE WITH HUAWEI P20 PRO
If there is anything that worries me about the P20 Pro, it is the updates of the EMUI which some have described as ‘patchy’.
However, hardcore Huawei users have said that updates have been more frequent of late, and Huawei themselves have declared that they would be focusing more attention on their software updates.
During the 72 hours with the phone, I’ve also been asked to update my P20 Pro EMUI software once. This perhaps is a good indication that Huawei intends to their promise about EMUI updates in the future.
Further down the line, Huawei has been very active pushing updates for the P20 Pro which is great.
However, the recent crack from such a low height is alarming in my opinion, hence making me have reservations over the P20 Pro.
That said, I strongly suggest getting a good case to protect the phone and not depend on the default one supplied by Huawei.
BEST DEALS FOR THE HUAWEI P20 PRO
When it comes to buying the Huawei P20 Pro, the best deals are found on 11 Street. Really. I surveyed the P20 Pro prices and came to this conclusion.
While the price of the phone in general doesn’t go down with much discounts, retailing at RM2,598, most retailers on Lazada are kicking in freebies which could cost up to a few hundred. Some even threw in action cameras, wireless Huawei Bluetooth headphones, power banks and more, on top of the one year warranty already given by Huawei.
Do however note that my reviews of smartphones aren’t for those with deep knowledge on such devices, but for the normal average Joe. I want want my reviews to be easily understood by everyone, so I prefer not to go too deep into the technical aspect of the phone.
If you tried the Huawei P20 Pro, let me know how you feel about it.
//First published in April 2018. Updated on 23 October 2018