Huawei P20 Pro first impressions: There is something special about this phone

By Swapnil Mathur | Published on 18 Apr 2018
Huawei P20 Pro first impressions: There is something special about this phone

The Huawei P20 Pro sports a three-camera setup with a 40-megapixel sensor, Leica branded lenses and boasts of a design unlike any other

One of the biggest problems I had with Huawei last year was that they didn’t bring their flagship the P10 to India. The promise of Leica branded optics and colours that broke the conventional mould of black, silver and gold would have been a welcome addition to India’s kitty of smartphones. This year, Huawei announced the outrageous Huawei P20 Pro(₹ 59999 at amazon), a smartphone with no peer in today’s market. As a photographer, I am always very skeptical about claims around smartphone camera performance, so it’s the one aspect of this smartphone I am most eager to test out. The camera isn’t the only thing about this smartphone that’s different. The colour and finishing on the Huawei P20 Pro is also different from the usual treatment we see on smartphones today, so needless to say, I am very excited about having this phone in our test lab. I’ve had some time with the P20 Pro, and feel compelled to share some initial impressions here

Setting up the Huawei P20 Pro
Just like with any Android phone today, setting up the Huawei P20 Pro is a cakewalk. Towards the end, you’re asked if you’d like to copy data from an older phone or restore from the cloud. I chose to restore from a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and the app walked me through the whole process, which is easy enough even for my grandmother to use. Once the phone is ready to go, you’re greeted with a super saturated display, so the first thing I did was tweak the display settings to a more natural tone. Again, a very easy to perform task. What wasn’t very nice, however, was the amount of pre-installed apps the phone ships with. Some of these apps (like Facebook) can be uninstalled while others (like Huawei Video) cannot. The Huawei P20 Pro runs on EMUI 8.1.0 which is based on Android 8.1.0. It took a little time for me to get used to EMUI, but its pretty intuitive for the most part, so you wouldn’t find yourself struggling with anything.

Design: Speaking a new Language
Saying the Huawei P20 Pro stands out from the crowd would be an understatement. Its metal-glass design screams premium, regardless of the angle you look at it from. The camera placement may be vertical, but it does not come across as an iPhone X replica. The phone comes in four colours, the most unique being the Twilight finish which has a dual-tone effect. Ours is the Midnight Blue colour, which looks pretty damn incredible all by itself. The phone is made of glass, what Huawei calls ‘toughened 3D glass’ with a metal frame. The Huawei and Leica branding are etched in horizontal on the edge of the smartphone, which becomes right-side-up when you hold the phone like you would a point and shoot camera to take a photo. Probably the nicest thing about the phone is the fact that despite being made of glass, it is not slippery at all. In fact, the finishing on the glass offers nice friction against the skin so that accidental drops during one handed use a minimized. Not a big fan of all the fingerprints the phone attracts though.

Camera: New king in Town?
The Huawei P20 Pro sports the most unique camera system on the market today, a three-camera setup, each with Leica made lenses. The primary RGB sensor in itself is a marvel, with a resolution of 40 megapixels, an 80mm telephoto lens backed by an 8-megapixel sensor (most are in the 50-58mm range) and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. Each sensor is not only complimented by Leica branded lenses, but each of the lenses come with optical image stabilization. The camera interface is also pretty exhaustive, accommodating users at both amateur and professional skill levels. I haven’t had a lot of time to shoot with the Huawei P20 Pro yet, so I will refrain from sharing any kind of impressions on the image quality, but what I do know is that having access to a 40-megapixel RAW file automatically catapults the P20 Pro into the top league. Oh and don’t worry, Huawei hasn’t squeezed those 40 million pixels into a regular sensor. There’s a much larger 1/1.78 inch sensor being used here, so image quality should not take a hit for the most part.

Closing Thoughts
I’ll cut right to the chase. Of all the smartphones that have been launched (or even announced) so far for 2018, the Huawei P20 Pro is easily the most distinguished of them all. It is evident that a lot of thought has gone into creating the P20 Pro and from what I have seen, we’re going to be talking about this phone for some time to come.

Huawei P20 Pro Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 27 Mar 2018
Variant: 128GB
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
    6.1" (1080 x 2240)
  • Camera Camera
    40 + 20 + 8 MP | 24 MP
  • Memory Memory
    128 GB/6 GB
  • Battery Battery
    4000 mAh
Swapnil Mathur

Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor

Digit caters to the largest community of tech buyers, users and enthusiasts in India. The all new Digit in continues the legacy of as one of the largest portals in India committed to technology users and buyers. Digit is also one of the most trusted names when it comes to technology reviews and buying advice and is home to the Digit Test Lab, India's most proficient center for testing and reviewing technology products.

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