Honor is starting off 2019 with the big launch of its View20 flagship smartphone in India. The Honor View20 has already launched in the China market, and this phone comes with a lot of firsts. For one, the Honor View20 has a newer kind of display with the hole in the front for the selfie camera. The phone also has a 48MP rear camera and 3D TOF sensor.
Honor has not yet confirmed the India price of the View20, which will only be revealed on January 29. However, we have the device with us and have used it for some days. Here’s our first impression of the Honor View20 and what it claims to offer.
Honor View20 first impressions: Design, display
Honor View20 is one of the most eye-catching phones, and it’s not just the unique placement of the front camera. At the back, the glass chassis has this v-pattern on reflection, and it does give the phone a rather cool quotient, though we have seen brands like OnePlus try similar effects at the back.
Still with the Honor View20, one can spot several v’s at the back, depending on how you hold it, which is certainly unique. The blue coloured variant with hint of purple tones makes this a very premium looking device and this is a colour that Honor has managed to perfect.
The other noticeable aspect about the Honor View20’s design is the lack of a notch. Instead, the company has gone for a camera hole on the front, which is placed on the top left corner.
Honor claims to have used a “extremely complex 18-layer technology” in order to place the camera under the display. The camera does not appear intrusive at all even, when you are watching videos on YouTube with the video zoomed in. Yes, the camera dot can also be made to disappear, just like some displays offer the option to turn off like notches. Still, the dot is less intrusive than the traditional notch.
Honor View20 has a screen-to-body ratio of 91.8% thanks to this unique camera positioning, and the front is entirely the display with ultra-thin side, bottom, and top bezels. The 6.4-inch screen has a 19.25:9 aspect ratio and Honor is using an LCD screen with a 2310 x 1080 pixels resolution. So far, the display appears to be colour accurate with good viewing angles.
The Honor View20 also has a headphone jack at the top, which many users will appreciate. The phone comes with a type-C USB port at the bottom, and next to it is the single speaker grille. At the back, the 48MP camera really stands out, and next to it is the 3D Time of Flight (ToF) sensor and the LED flash arranged horizontally. There’s also a fingerprint sensor at the back.
For those who are wondering, the Honor View20 does have an LED notification light as well, despite the ultra-thin bezels. However, while the settings have the option turned on, the feature does not appear to be working for me.
Honor View20 first impressions: Performance, Camera
Honor View20 is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 980 processor, which has a 7nm design similar to Apple’s A12 Bionic chipset. It also comes with its own dual-core Neural Processing Unit (NPU) which is crucial for AI-related tasks, including those on the camera and for other AI, augmented reality apps. Our unit comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage on board, and so far there have been no issues with regard to basic performance. However, we are yet to run heavy-duty games, other benchmarking tests on this phone.
The other highlight here is the 48MP rear camera with a secondary 3D TOF sensor on the back. The camera has an AI mode as well to recognise certain fixed scenes or objects and tweak the picture settings in order to ensure the best result, though this is not new for Huawei or Honor-branded phones.
The Honor View20’s camera also has Night mode on the back, though again this will require you and the object you are shooting to stay extra still, because the device is relying on a long exposure shot for this. The camera can shoot at 48MP resolution, 12MP, 9MP (which is a 1:1 aspect ratio) or 7MP (19.2:9 aspect ratio) and one can tweak this from the settings.
The photos taken in daylight have enough details in them, and even the night shots are pleasing, though there is a tendency to brighten the scene at night at the cost of details. We will have more on the camera in our-depth review.
Honor View20: Battery, Software
The phone sports a 4000 mAh battery, which should ideally be enough for more than a day with moderate to heavy usage. I have only charged the device once and so far the battery is still at 50 per cent, though I’m yet to run any games on the device. Honor View20 does not come with wireless charging though.
The Honor View20 is running MagicUI based on Android Pie 9.0. This is the first time we have seen an Honor phone with Magic UI in India, given that the Honor Magic series has never launched in the market. Honor has added its own Digital Balance feature in settings, instead of the Android Digital Wellbeing feature. This one too let users add app limits, set daily screen time and has a bedtime mode where the display gets greyed out.
Honor View20: Expected price
Given the kind of features that the Honor View20 packs, it is expected to have a price close to Rs 40,000 in India, when it is officially launched on January 29. The company is also bundling free Honor headphones for those who pre-book the device on its website or on Amazon India, starting January 15.
There’s no doubt that Honor View20 looks every bit like a premium phone with a stunning design and good specifications to offer to the customer. We will reserve our final verdict for the review, given we are yet to fully test out the camera and general performance of the device.