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Review CES 2019 5 min read 1 Comment

Hands-on with the Honor View 20: no more notch, hello hole

Pending its official launch in Europe on January 22nd, we were able to take over the new Honor View 20 at the CES in Las Vegas. A drilled (or punched) screen, a large bezel-less screen, a 48MP camera, the Chinese manufacturer's new smartphone clearly shows the brand's ambitions in 2019. So, has the move up the range been successful? Discover our first impressions.

Honor View20 release date and price

Unveiled in China on December 26, the Honor View 20 will only be officially presented in Europe on January 22 in Paris, at the Salle Pleyel. Its price still unknown, as is whether it shall follow its predecessor, the $499 Honor View 10, into the difficult US market. However, the device's new premium design may well drive up prices this year while offering excellent value for money and a more competitive price than its competitors (Galaxy Note 9, Mate 20 Pro, iPhone XS Max...).

Several colors will be part of the game: Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue, Phantom Blue, Phantom Red.... Two versions are available: one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and one with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

A very premium design

It's hard not to succumb to the charms of the Honor View 20 at first glance. This new model sets a new standard in the world of Honor smartphones. Its design, front and rear, as well as the finishing qualities, are simply stunning. Yes, smartphones are becoming real luxury products, and this View 20 is proof of that. The materials used, a combination of glass and metal, give the terminal a very elegant appearance. Special mention goes to the glass back that reflects light differently depending on the inclination of the smartphone.

androidpit honor view 2 back
The glass back offers a pretty light effect. / AndroidPIT

Of course, the screen is the most striking element of the camera, more precisely its screen drilled in the upper left corner where the 25MP front camera is hidden. While not invisible, this solution is a more discreet alternative to the notch that has invaded our smartphones over the past two years. The hole is also more discreet than on the Samsung Galaxy A8s recently made official. It has a diameter of 4.5 mm compared to 6.4 mm for the Korean smartphone.

Aesthetically, it is in any case much more successful and it gives a very pleasant immersive screen to use. There is little doubt that this perforated screen will become the trend on smartphones in 2019. This beautiful effect is also reinforced on the View 20 by extremely thin edges on the sides but also on the chin.

andoirpdit honor view 20 back
In 2019, the smartphone will be hole-punched. / AndroidPIT

Due to the large format, it is of course preferable to use both hands. In addition, its glass back is sensitive to fingerprints. But overall, the View 20 offers a very good feel in the hand and is aesthetically pleasing.

No OLED I'm afraid

As pretty as the device may be, the View 20 does not offer all the advantages of its cousin, the Mate 20 Pro. Its 6.4-inch screen (2310 x 1080 pixels) thus overlooks the OLED and opts for LCD technology . The fingerprint reader is located at the back and not under the screen.

In exchange, the View 20 offers a mini-jack socket and a feature called Link Turbo that allows you to use Wi-Fi and 4G to download faster.

androidpit honor view 20 trou
The hole makes it more complicated and therefore more expensive to use an OLED display. / AndroidPIT

Power under the hood

As was the case for its predecessor, the View 20 offers the latest in-house processor. We find the SoC Kirin 980 with 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage (expandable by NM Card, Huawei's new memory card format). Enough to promise pretty good performance.

The fluidity during my first steps proved to be flawless. By the way, it should be noted that the device does not run under EMUI but Magic UI, the interface now specific to Honor. The differences between the two interfaces are not many, this will allow the Chinese brand to be more independent for new features. Honor will also soon deploy Magic UI on its older devices.

androidpit honor view 20 notch
In game mode, you get a totally immersive experience. / AndroidPIT

Photos up to 48 megapixels

Unlike most high-end smartphones, the Honor View 20 has only one photo sensor on board. The second sensor is only used to measure the depth of field. Honor follows Google's strategy here with its Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL or Apple with the iPhone XR.

Honor has opted for the latest Sony IMX586 sensor capable of taking shots up to 48MP resolution. Honor uses pixel binning technology to increase resolution, as was the case for Nokia with its Lumia 1020. The result is very successful.

honor view 20 camera
A 48MPensor and a TOF sensor. / AndroidPIT

Artificial intelligence is also present as usual on Honor smartphones. The bokeh effect is also possible with the TOF (Time-of-Flight) sensor which allows 3D modeling or distance measurement.

During my short grip, the photos taken were up to the task with nice details and little noise, but only a complete test will allow us to know more.

4000 mAh battery

With the View 20, Honor also did not spare the effort on autonomy. With a 4000 mAh battery capacity , the device should not disappoint and should be in line with the Mate 20 Pro, but we regret the lack of ultra-fast charging on Huawei's smartphone. Anyway, we will know more about autonomy after a full test.

Honor View20 technical specifications

Dimensions: 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm
Weight: 180 g
Battery size: 4000 mAh
Screen size: 6.4 in
Display technology: LCD
Android version: 9 - Pie
RAM: 8 GB
Internal storage: 256 GB
Removable storage: Not available
Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 980
Connectivity: LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0

Early Verdict

Clearly, with its View 20, Honor is showing its ambitions. The promises made during the initial training are excellent. The View 20 is an elegant smartphone, technically up to the task but above all one of the first on the market to offer a pierced screen. It remains to be seen now that it will be made official in Western markets (and its price), and we will of course have to spend a longer time in its company to get a final idea of the device.

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