The first smartphone with triple camera in the test


Sunday, 04/15/2018

One should not be fooled. The P20 Pro seems at first glance to be another iPhone X clone. But the new top model from Huawei can look more than just Apple. Even though the new look looks good to him, especially in the color of our review unit, which the manufacturer calls Twilight – Twilight.

But the highlight of the P20 Pro are its cameras. Three pieces are built into his back, one more than usual on high-end phones. And the performance of the cameras are read a lot on the data sheet.

At the top sits a telephoto camera with moderate 8 megapixels and F / 2,4. Both are not very impressive values. The delivers only the middle camera: Your lens is significantly brighter with F / 1.8. In addition, your photo sensor has 40 megapixels. You can also use them on request.

Huawei’s P20 Pro: The Chinese manufacturer is inspired by one or another detail of other successful smartphones. Overall, however, the new noble smartphone has become a very independent product.

But the look of Huawei’s “cut” above the screen seems to have been overlooked. Apple was heavily criticized for such a “notch” in the iPhone X, now the feature is copied by many companies.

Unlike the Apple smartphone, however, the incision of the P20 Pro is smaller. Huawei’s engineers simply did not put in as many sensors as Apple’s.

Via the menu item incision in the settings, you can camouflage the notch at Huawei, by just always let it show black.

The processing of the device makes a good impression. In a few places you will find fine details like this red mark on the power button.

Technically, the P20 Pro has a few nice extras to offer, such as this infrared transmitter. With the aid of an included app, you can use it to remotely control televisions, for example.

That’s what you would want in any smartphone: The P20 Pro has two sim slots. So you can use for example the professional and private sim or domestic and foreign Sim in the same device.

For the charger and the PC connection, a USB-C socket is provided.

Because Huawei does not install a headphone jack, a matching USB headset is included. Alternatively, Bluetooth headphones are available.

If you do not want to do without your old cable headphones, you must use the supplied adapter.

In addition to the black and the dark blue version, this Twilight called dual color coloring is a special eye-catcher.

A special feature that will appeal to some Android fans: The P20 Pro has a “Dark Mode”, in which menus and dialog boxes are displayed with a black background.

Make surface colors darker is called the appropriate option that you might not be in the battery pack Settings would assume. It is housed there because a dark screen is supposed to help save energy.

Exemplary: Huawei has also integrated a virus scanner into the system of the P20 Pro. Ex works, however, its virus library is on Manual update set. To activate the automatic, you have to use the app phone Manager start, up there virus scan tap and then the option icon again, top right. Pretty awkward.

Not cumbersome, however, is the triple camera of the P20 Pro. The main camera has a resolution of 40 megapixels, including a black and white camera with 20 megapixels attached. Again, under it sits the telephoto lens with 8 megapixels.

The camera app works intensively with the artificial intelligence of the Huawei processor. For example, she tries to recognize the subject. Sometimes she succeeds, sometimes she misses it.

Impressive is the zoom capability of the cameras. This shot was taken without zoom.

Here is the same scene at the same time with the triple zoom: a purely optical magnification.

The Huawei mobile’s five-fold zoom is astonishingly successful. He brings distant objects closer again and combines the data of the cameras with a magnification by software.

This recording was made at 10.30 pm at night in the so-called night mode photographed by the P20 Pro. The exposure time at aperture F / 1.8 and ISO 800 was 4 seconds.

But sometimes it just helps to get close to the subject to take nice snapshots with the camera of the P20 Pro.

By default, data from four contiguous pixels is combined to enhance photospeed. Thus, clearer, brighter pictures with 10 megapixels come about. A similar technique In 2013, Nokia’s Lumia 1020 helped to achieve outstanding photo quality ,

Collaboration with Leica

Finally, a black-and-white camera with 20-megapixel sensor in the P20 Pro is the third in the bunch. With F / 1.6 it is even more sensitive to light than the main camera. As with the Mate 10 Pro, for example, Huawei has developed these cameras together with Leica.

The cameras of the P20 Pro

Huawei is the first major manufacturer to install three cameras in a smartphone. Another special feature is the way the camera software combines the data from these cameras: for example, by using data from the black-and-white camera for color images to improve depth of field or contrast. Or, by connecting the cameras to a virtual five-lens telephoto lens that delivers amazingly detailed images of distant subjects.

For the practical test, we photographed with the P20 Pro in completely different situations: landscape shots in the blazing sun on a spring day, indoors with LED lighting, close-ups under artificial light, black and white portraits outdoors and night shots in almost complete darkness.

Matthias Kremp
Night shot of the Huawei P20 Pro

The results were almost always good to very good, sometimes impressive. This is shown, for example, by the night shot taken here, which was taken by hand with an exposure time of four seconds. In the dark the P20 Pro shines.

The artificial intelligence is sometimes wrong

Just as well works the five-fold zoom, with which one can make close-ups of small subjects. A few picture examples can be seen in the photo gallery ,

In most cases one can rely on the automatic photo-automatics, which can be helped by artificial intelligence (AI). That this AI is also sometimes wrong, can be seen by the flashes at the bottom of the screen, which should show what kind of motive you are currently targeting. Since then black boots are sometimes identified as a cat.

The scene recognition of the P20 Pro

If you like and know a little, you should therefore also try the possibilities of the “Pro” manual photo mode. For videos, the camera trio also offers a “super-slow motion” with 960 frames per second. One knows this meanwhile of other devices, like that Sony Xperia XZ2 and Samsung Galaxy S9 + ,

Screen with iPhone X Bump

But as much as the photo and video functions dominate the P20 Pro, what good is it as a smartphone?

First, it offers the usual ingredients of a high-end mobile phone, built in 2018: about a very large screen, which stands out with 6.1 inches of diagonal despite its very narrow frame from the pocket. Its resolution is very high with 2240 x 1080 pixels, colourfulness and contrasts are very good thanks to OLED technology.

The selfie camera and a loudspeaker are housed above the display in a bulge, which was first seen in the iPhone X and for which Apple was criticized partly violent. Similar to Apple’s white headphones, this iPhone bulge now seems to mutate into a status symbol. But you can also camouflage them by system settings ( see photo gallery ).

photo gallery
Apple smartphone:
That can be the iPhone X

Fast, but not sensational

The P20 Pro is powered by a Kirin 970 processor developed by Huawei. Although not as sensational in benchmark testing, it was fast enough for all the apps we tested and can deliver enough power for Android updates over the next few years.

In addition, the processor is frugal enough not to burden the battery too much. So the endurance of the P20 Pro in the one week we tested the device was good, but not sensational. Throughout the day, you can get away with normal use, but at the latest in the morning of the following day you should have power supply and cable at hand. Too bad that Huawei has not installed a wireless charging function.

But you can find in the settings and the included apps many extras that other Android smartphones do not have: a virus scanner, for example, but its automatic update is disabled from the factory.


advantages and disadvantages

Outstandingly good cameras
Good workmanship
High performance
Many extras

No wireless charging technology

With the P20 Pro Huawei proves why the company belongs to the top 3 of smartphone manufacturers. With 128 gigabytes of memory, the device costs 899 euros, but the cameras can inspire. The night mode and the five-fold zoom lens are currently unique.

The performance of the Huawei smartphone is very good, it has only a few weaknesses: The lack of wireless charging technology is about as timely as the built-in Bluetooth version 4.2. Currently it is version 5. In addition, one can bother that Huawei Google’s Android has covered its own surface. Whether you like their look is one thing such extras can delay the delivery of security updates, another one.

If you are interested in the P20 Pro, you should definitely take it in your hand before you buy it. With 6.1 inches, it is not good for small hands.

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