Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: the best flagship smartphone that you can’t get in the U.S.

The Mate 20 Pro sets a new bar for flagships.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Mate 20 Pro review
Bottom Line
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a fantastic feature-rich smartphone that sets a new bar for other flagships.
Battery Life
Beautiful ergonomic design and form factor
Brilliant curved OLED display
In-screen fingerprint reader
Excellent camera
Long battery life
Superb performance
Not available in the U.S.
Software is a bit buggy

Huawei recently launched their Mate 20 Pro in London. With regards to its hardware, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s all-new all-glass design is a drastic change from its predecessor, the Mate 10 Pro. The Mate 20 Pro looks as if the Huawei P20 Pro and the Mate 10 Pro had a baby. Yeh, we went there. But this isn’t a bad thing because the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is simply stunning and especially unique at a time when most smartphones look alike.

The curved display on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is similar to the Galaxy S9, but the Mate 20 Pro’s body seems sleeker and feels more comfortable to grip. To that effect, it’s incredibly petite and comfortable to hold in your hand despite its large phablet-sized display. Its curved edges feel more refined than those on the Galaxy S9.

The top-notch 6.39-inch 2K curved OLED HDR display offers a 19.5:9 aspect ratio display which is vibrant, rich, and bright. And despite the large amount of display real estate you’re getting, the phone still doesn’t feel unwieldy. Huawei has designed the Mate 20 Pro’s form factor so well that it’s hard to believe that it’s managed to pack in such a large display.

To top it all off, Huawei is offering a beautiful selection of colors for the Mate 20 Pro. There are two options which offer a “hyper optical pattern” in a choice of midnight blue and emerald green. The hyper optical pattern creates a vinyl record-like effect which isn’t just cool to look at, but it helps when gripping the phone and reduces fingerprint smudges a bit. That said, like most glass phones, the Mate 20 Pro is still a fingerprint magnet. Aside from those two choices, there is also a stunning duotone twilight option which takes cues from the duotone P20 Pro. Photos don’t do this one justice. Last but not least, there is also a pink gold and black option.

Face unlock on the Mate 20 Pro is super fast, and it offers 3D depth-sensing for extra security, but what’s even more exciting is the fact that the Mate 20 Pro offers one of the first in-screen fingerprint readers. The in-screen DPS (dynamic pressure sensing) fingerprint reader lights up when your finger approaches the display to guide you. Like face unlock, the in-screen fingerprint reader is generally very responsive and reliable to use.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers a 30-minute quick charge feature that will charge your phone up to 70% in just 30 minutes; this is a super convenient feature to have. In addition, the phone offers 15w wireless charging which is faster than most competing devices. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro also has a neat trick – it can work as a wireless charging pad for other QI-enabled devices. That’s not something that any other phone on the market can presently offer.

With its 4,200 mAh battery, the Mate 20 Pro’s capacity is larger than most smartphones on the market. With moderate use, we have been getting over a day’s use out of the phone, and if you enable the Power saving mode or Ultra Power saving mode, you can get even more battery life from the device. This is the longest lasting flagship battery we have tested to date.

Under the hood, the Mate 20 Pro is powered by Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 processor. Performance is outstanding and just what we’d expect from a flagship. It earned a GeekBench Multi-Core score of 9969, and an AnTuTu benchmark score of 297272. On the AnTuTu scoreboard, it managed to beat out the likes of the ultra-fast OnePlus 6 and Galaxy Note 9,   coming in closely behind the Asus ROG phone.

The phone is also the first to support LTE cat21 with speeds up to 1.4GB per second – so it’s pretty future-proof in the connectivity department.

Huawei continues their partnership with Leica on the Mate 20 Pro, but this time you’re getting a triple lens camera. The Leica triple camera system is made up of a 40MP sensor (f1.8), along with a dedicated 8MP telephoto lens and a new dedicated 20MP ultra-wide angle 16mm lens that can take photos of objects while being as close as 2.5 cm. Overall, performance is very similar to the P20 Pro. To that effect, low light and night photography are perhaps the best available on a smartphone today. The dedicated wide-angle lens is super handy to have. Portrait photos also come out beautiful and are DSLR-like.

You can produce some truly stunning photos with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but portraits aren’t quite as detailed and don’t have as much range as what you’d get with the Pixel 3. Selfies produced with the front-facing camera are solid but nothing exceptional. Overall, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers an excellent camera that beats out most other flagships.

When it comes to software, Huawei has made a ton of improvements to their EMUI 9.0. Not only is it now faster, smoother, cleaner, and more intuitive, but it’s also feature-rich. Thanks to EMUI 9.0, there’s not much that this phone can’t do right out of the box.

Bottom Line

Between the recently released Honor 8X, and now the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei has been killing it. Samsung, LG, and other smartphone manufacturers in the U.S. should be relieved that the Mate 20 Pro isn’t being released in the U.S. because it’s THAT good.

Between its stunning design, excellent camera, display, performance, and battery life, the superb Huawei Mate 20 Pro is everything we want and would expect in a flagship. It certainly sets a new bar for flagships. There’s no other smartphone on the market right now that’s quite this feature rich. It’s really a shame that the Mate 20 Pro is not being released in the U.S.

The Mate 20 Pro retails for 1049 Euro and it can be purchased on Amazon unlocked for around $1030. For those who really want to splurge, there’s also a luxurious leather-covered Huawei Mate 20 RS Edition available that has been created in partnership with Porsche.

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