World's second-largest smartphone maker takes on the Samsung Note 9
Huawei has announced the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, a pair of flagship Android smartphones designed to compete with the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
The phones both have an edge-to-edge display and a 'notch' cutting into the top of the display — a design most of the smartphone industry adopted in 2017 and 2018.
The rear of the Mate 20 duo features the company's new 'four point design', where three Leica-branded cameras and the flash form a square with a circle in each corner. Huawei says the design was taken from the LED headlights of Porsche cars — convenient, given the company's partnership with Porsche Design.
Running Android 9.0 Pie with Huawei's own EMUI 9 interface, the two phones are very similar in size, with the Mate 20 having a display measuring 6.53 inches, while the Mate 20 Pro is slightly smaller, at 6.39 inches. The Pro also has a larger screen notch than the regular 20, due to housing a facial recognition system which is similar to Apple's Face ID. This can be used for unlocking the phone by looking at it, and for authorizing payments.
Unique to the Mate 20 Pro is an in-screen fingerprint reader, where pressing your finger against the screen unlocks the phone — a feature Samsung and Apple are yet to install on their own handsets.
Although both models of Mate 20 feature three lenses, the rear camera systems differ on each phone. The Mate 20 has sensors measuring 16, 12 and eight megapixels, while the Mate 20 Pro increases these to 40, 20 and eight. Both phones have wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses.
Huawei claims its camera system's light sensitivity can surpass 100,000 ISO, to enhance night time photograph without using the flash. This compares to an ISO of less than 7,000 for the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
As for battery size, the Mate 20 Pro has 4,200mAh and the Mate 20 has 4,000mAh. Huawei says its new phones can last 30 percent longer on a charge compared to its rivals from Apple and Samsung. Huawei also says its phones charge more quickly than any other phone, thanks to 40W charging which fills the battery to 70 percent in 30 minutes.
The flowing design and body curvature deliver ergonomic perfection, fitting comfortably into the palm of your hand. #HUAWEIMate20 #HigherIntelligence pic.twitter.com/TDPavruReq
— Huawei Mobile (@HuaweiMobile) October 16, 2018
Huawei claims wireless charging is 70 percent faster on the Mate 20 than it is on other phones.
As well as receiving power from a wireless charger, the Mate 20 and 20 Pro can charge other devices which are placed against them — a world first and called 'reverse charging'. This means you could hold your depleted wireless earphone case or second phone against the back of the Huawei and it will recharge.
The Mate 20 Pro is the first Huawei smartphone to be powered by the company's new Kirin 980 processor, which the company claims is more powerful and energy efficient than the Snapdragon 845 chip used by other high-end handsets. Huawei says it uses artificial intelligence to minimize performance degradation as the phone ages, something smartphones tend to suffer from after a couple of years of use.
AI is also used by the camera's scene detection system, where it recognizes the scene you are photographing and optimizes the settings before you take a photo.
The camera's AI can also adjust separate parts of the same photo — so the blue sky of an image is catered for, along with the darker greens and browns of the landscape below.
The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are available to order now in the UK, France, Italy and the UAE, and prices start at €799 (approximately $920).
It is worth noting that Huawei has not said when the phones will be released in the U.S.
The launch of the Mate 20 and 20 Pro could be hindered here by a bill signed by President Trump in August this year, restricting the use of devices made by Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE by the U.S. government. Although current Huawei phones are available in the US via Amazon and other resellers, the networks have been hesitant to stock the company's products through 2018.
Huawei has previously described the restrictions as "ineffective, misguided and unconstitutional."