Honor View20, the Huawei sub-brand’s first big flagship for 2019 in India, boasts of some firsts. When it launched in China last year, the smartphone had a 48MP rear camera, and a hole in the display for the front camera.
Honor View20 will likely compete with OnePlus 6T in India, given its pricing and the fact that the OnePlus phone is dominating the premium segment in the market. So how does the Honor View20 perform? Here’s what we thought after using the device for more than two weeks.
Honor View20 specifications: 6.4-inch full HD+ display (2310 x 1080 pixels) with 19.5:9 aspect ratio | Kirin 980 octa-core processor | 6GB RAM and 128GB storage (microSD slot as well) | 48MP+3D ToF camera | 25MP front camera | 4000 mAh battery | Magic UI with Android 9.0 Pie
Honor View20 price in India: Rs 37,999 for the 6GB RAM option and Rs 45,999 for the 8GB RAM and 256GB variant
Honor View20: What’s good?
The View20 has an impressive design with a premium look thanks to the V reflective pattern on the glass chassis. Blue is a colour we have seen on many Honor phones, but with the flagship View20 and its unique reflective pattern, this one does stand out.
The placement of the front camera in the Honor View20 is also unique, and there’s no other option like this in the market, at least till Samsung introduces its S10 series.
The front camera is placed on the top left corner, and unlike the notch, is not so distracting. Users though have the option of turning it off, like they would do with a notch, so that it does not appear when watching videos in the ‘zoomed in’ mode on apps like YouTube.
The phone’s front display is edge-to-edge, thanks to the camera placement. The display really stands out, and even the top and bottom bezels are reduced. Honor View20 has a screen-to-body ratio of 91.8 per cent as well, which means more viewing space for the user.
Using the phone with one-hand is not a problem, though Honor View20 is a little bulky, given it sports a 4000 mAh battery. When it comes to the display, Honor View20 has an excellent screen with good viewing angles. Colour reproduction is mostly accurate; be it watching videos or games, the screen does not appear to be washed out.
Honor View20 also has a headphone jack at the top, which will make some users really happy. Honor has kept the fingerprint scanner at the back, and Face Unlock as the security options. The Face Unlock and fingerprint scanner work accurately.
Honor View20 is powered by the 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. Our review unit had 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. In benchmark scores on Antutu, this is among the top 20, ranking below the Google Pixel 3 XL.
Performance is not really a problem with this device, and while this has the same flagship processor as the Mate 20 Pro, it does not get the same ranking in the Antutu scores. Still, regular tasks like opening multiple tabs on Google Chrome, or switching between apps works smoothly.
Games like Asphalt 9 work without any hiccups or noticeable lag, which is what one would want in a flagship. There’s also liquid cooling for keeping the device cool while gaming for long.
Another highlight of the Honor View20 is the battery, which is 4000 mAh. This is good to see on a flagship, and even with a 50 per cent charge it will get you through the day. Charging the phone takes around two hours, and the good bit is that under an hour, the phone is charged to more than 70 per cent, which is more than enough for a regular day.
The USP of the camera is the 48MP camera with a secondary 3D Time of Flight (TOF) sensor to help with depth-sensing in Portrait mode. The camera has an AI mode as well to recognise certain fixed scenes or objects, and tweak the picture settings accordingly.
This is not new for Huawei or Honor-branded phones. In the camera settings you can choose to shoot at 12MP or 48MP or 9MP or7MP, the default setting is at 12MP.
Switching between 48MP and 12MP might not really show a drastic difference in photos. Still the camera does deliver well, in outdoor and indoor lighting with photos having plenty of details when you zoom in. The colours are bit over-saturated, especially when you have AI on, but it’s not something unusual on AI modes.
The Portrait mode does get the edges right, though it could be better. Even the night shots are pleasing, though details could be better. There is a tendency for the picture in the night mode to appear very bright, often at the cost of details. The Portrait mode also has an option for shaping a person and making them look slimmer, thanks to the 3D sensor.
The selfie camera delivers sharp results as well, even in the Portrait mode. The beauty mode is on by default, and for those who do not like the skin smoothing effect, I suggesting turning the level down to zero.
The phone is also running MagicUI based on Android Pie 9.0. This is the first time we have seen an Honor phone with Magic UI in India. Honor has added its own Digital Balance feature in settings.
Users can set a screen time limit per day, and this will apply to all apps and the entire device once you run out of the daily limit. If an app gets timed out you can change this in the settings, and give it all day access, which is good to see. The interface appears to be similar to what we have seen on other Honor phones, and does come with some pre-loaded apps.
Honor View20: What’s not good?
Honor has gone for a 3D ToF sensor, which is supposed to be great for Augmented Reality apps. However, the Honor View20 is not compatible with ARCore app from Google. The real use of the 3D sensor is for now a bit unclear, at least for a regular user and other than assisting in Portrait mode.
Honor View20 also has a Night Mode, which requires that you and the object you are clicking stay completely still. The photos can look a little too bright in these shots.
In the Portrait mode, the camera is not entirely perfect with edges of the user and there is a tendency to make the skin look too yellow and sickly in some of the indoor shots.
Software tweaks might be needed to improve this part of the camera. The Portrait mode only works with human faces, so keep that in mind when composing such shots. With the Honor View20’s display, one really needs to tweak the brightness to full when using this in bright sunlight, which is not so great considering the price of this phone.
Honor View20: Verdict
There’s no doubt that Honor View20 ticks all the boxes of an flagship-level phone, without costing too much. The design, performance, battery and camera are all positives. The colour saturation levels and night mode in the camera could be better though.
However, many users will likely compare the price of this phone to the OnePlus 6T, before considering which one to pick. The latter, in my view, has a slight edge in camera department.