The new Mate is here and with it, Huawei is taking smartphone development to the next level. The Mate 20 Pro is full of exciting features that come in a stylish package. Yet, after using it for three days there are some small things I had a problem with.
The Mate 20 Pro is a beautiful smartphone, there's no question about it. My colleague Basti was reminded of the Galaxy S8 when picking up the new Huawei smartphone, but I don't quite agree. The Mate surfaces feel different, higher quality. The fine pattern on my blue test device shimmers considerably, creating a striking contrast with the red highlights of the power button. The craftsmanship is perfect.
I've also been using the Huawei P20 Pro again in the past few weeks, which I had for a long time in the spring. The two smartphones are very similar in size, but the Mate 20 Pro is a little longer and a few millimeters narrower. With the slimmer frame and the curved glass surface combined, the Mate 20 Pro feels and fits better in the hand than the P20 Pro, even considering the similar size. The textured finish on the back of the Mate 20 Pro also makes the phone less prone to fingerprint smudges, but not necessarily more slip-resistant.
The fastest Huawei smartphone
The Mate 20 Pro is the fastest Huawei smartphone I've ever used. Apps open much quicker than they do on the P20 Pro and everything runs a little bit more smoothly. The work that Huawei put into faster response times was worth it. This is not only thanks to EMUI 9, because it already runs on my P20 Pro. This means that the Kirin 980 chipset is performing better than the Kirin 970 from last year.
Speaking of the EMUI: I like the current Huawei software better than the previous version. The UI has become cleaner, everything looks a bit rounder, more modern and more pleasing to the eye. The look is still a matter of taste, of course. It's nice that you can decide if you want to use an App Drawer or not. But it would be even better if the drawer could be opened from bottom to top via the now popular wipe gesture, instead of having to use an icon.
What I dislike is the notch - it's pretty wide and doesn't offer much space for icons in the small display areas to the left and right of it. It's especially annoying that there's no way to hide the NFC icon or the Bluetooth icon to make room for current notifications.
Huawei needs to improve face unlock
The Notch not only contains the front camera and the earpiece, but also the hardware for the new, 3D-based infrared face recognition. It works quickly, even in the dark, but there's one small issue: It can't tell my face apart from that of my colleague Christopher. You can read more about this here. It's probably a software issue that Huawei should fix as soon as possible. The in-display fingerprint sensor, on the other hand, works flawlessly.
The Mate 20 Pro's camera is really fun thanks to the new wide-angle lens. I've always loved that feature on certain LG phones. The Huawei phone's camera also offers two focal lengths, giving you even more ways to take great, creative pictures. Macro mode, which uses the 16mm focal length, is quite enjoyable too. Expect more on this later in the camera test of the Mate 20 Pro.
The battery life is excellent so far and the charging is extremely fast with 40 watts. The NM Card as a memory extension takes getting used to, but it's better than nothing. We will reveal more in the coming days. The Mate 20 Pro has a lot more features that are worth discovering.
What do you think of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro? Let us know in the comments.