When you’re looking for a new phone, your searches are likely dominated by the main flagship brands: Apple, Samsung, Sony, Google.
Huawei is in there too, although recent issues caused by US trade sanctions on China has meant some uncertainty over the brand’s future and its use of Android. It’s understandable, then, that you’d be cautious to go towards that brand, or Huawei’s child company Honor. But if you look past that to the handsets themselves, you’d see they’re very much worth considering.
Huawei is the biggest telecoms manufacturer in the world. Originating from the east, its products came over to Europe a few years ago and quickly took off like a storm. While the brand’s presence is still developing in the US, in the UK Huawei phones are just as popular as any other flagship brand. Starting out as a ‘budget alternative’, Huawei’s upper-end handsets have quickly risen in price (and quality) to compete with the likes of the latest iPhone or Galaxy handset.
But Honor, Huawei’s underdog company, has retained that budget approach, while still putting out quality handsets. Ranging from the £100 Honor 8S to the £550 Honor 20 Pro, Honor’s range of phones suit pretty much any budget – and do a surprisingly stellar job at competing with the big dogs.
We’ve been sent a Honor 20 Pro to try out. While at the top end of Honor’s range, it still sits at least a couple of hundred pounds under the price bracket of the leading Android phones. But what you get for your money matches, or in many cases outperforms, its rivals.
Honor 20 Pro specs
- 4,000mAh battery. Honor SuperCharge allows it to charge to 50% in just 30 minutes – enough to get you through most of the day.
- 6.26″ Honor FullView Display with a resolution of 2340px1080p. There’s no bezel; this thing is all phone, with a pinhole camera in the top left corner.
- There’s a whopping 8GB of RAM onboard, and 256GB of built-in storage.
- Under the hood is a 7nm Kirin 980 AI Chipset
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
- 32MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and 3D Portrait Lighting
- Quad rear camera with 48MP main, 16MP super wide angle, 8MP telephoto and 2MP macro camera lens.
- Available in three colours: phantom blue, phantom black, icelandic frost
While impressive on paper, the proof of Honor 20 Pro’s capabilities are in its use. It’s a gorgeous handset – the full screen is impressive, and the three colourways are simply beautiful. Though since you’ll be putting the phone in a case, you’ll not get the benefit of the gorgeous colours. Unless you opt for a clear-backed case. You really will want to protect the handset, though; while its holographic design and full screen make it a thing of beauty, it’s also a slippery beast and will fall out of your hands.
Its four cameras perform beautifully, offering a full suite of photographic options and outputting results comparable to £1,000+ handsets. The 4cm macro focal distance is certainly a boon, as many handsets (including my own Pixel 3) require a much larger focal distance. Coupled with the 3X optical zoom, you have massive flexibility here when it comes to creating beautiful images. Add in the advanced AI features, like night mode, image stabilisation, “moon shot” mode and slow-motion video capture at 960 frames per second, and the Honor 20 Pro really is impressive.
Sample images taken with the Honor 20 Pro from Honor:
Its 4,000mAh battery capacity, too, means that you can shoot, watch, talk or play for longer. Honor’s website suggests video playback of up to 19 hours, and in our testing we found a full charge was enough to keep the phone powered for extensive use over the course of a day – including playing videos, games, taking photos and other typical usage. On standby without being used, the phone was still surviving after a week.
Honor 20 Pro for gaming
But what really sets the Honor 20 Pro apart is its gaming capabilities. Honor is marketing this as a pro gaming phone – and it really shows. That bezel-less screen makes playing games an utterly flawless experience. Despite not having as high a resolution of some handsets, the Honor 20 Pro’s higher than HD resolution (2340px1080p) is more than enough to ensure everything is perfectly sharp and crystal clear. Its colour clarity and depth is flawless, too.
But it’s what’s under the hood, so to speak, that takes the Honor 20 Pro to the next level. It packs in something Honor calls GPU Turbo 3.0 to allow games to be played faster with no lag. The phone’s bespoke Kirin 980 AI chipset has eight cores and packs enough power to compete with leading Snapdragon chips. The GPU Turbo is specifically supported by some games, including Fortnite, PES2019 and Speed Drifters, but even when playing something else that can’t utilise the technology, the Honor 20 Pro’s performance is plain to see.
Every game we tried on the Honor 20 Pro ran like a dream. It’s responsive, quick to load, and even better, looks fantastic in action. The handset’s 8GB of RAM ensures excellent performance for the majority of applications. Add to that the built-in 256GB storage and you’ll be able to install dozens upon dozens of games before running out of space.
At £550, the Honor 20 Pro is hardly a “budget” handset. And when sales come around and you can get a Samsung Galaxy S10 for not much more, it’s a hard sell – especially considering Huawei’s uncertainty in the current climate.
However, existing devices from Huawei (and Honor) have full access to Android and Google services (including the Play Store), and remain unaffected by the US/China trade war. That means should you purchase a Honor 20 Pro, which released back in May this year, it’ll have full access to all Android features – and that’s unlikely to change.
If you’re in the market for an Android phone and want something a little different that doesn’t break the bank while still offering the best features, the Honor 20 Pro is worth looking at. Especially if you use your phone for gaming. It might not have a gaming brand name tied to it, like the Razer Phone, but Honor’s worked hard to carve out a niche in the mobile gaming market for affordable, high quality phones. Currently, the handset is seeing offers of up to £100 off at numerous UK retailers, including Amazon, where it can be bought for £450.
It’s hard to be disappointed with a handset that looks this nice and performs as well as the Honor 20 Pro.