Just under a year ago (October 16, 2018, to be precise), Huawei unveiled the Mate 20 Pro, so I've been using this smartphone for almost a year. A long enough time to take stock of what was considered one of the best smartphones when it was released. Is it still holding up well against the competition in 2019? Are there any technical problems? Here's everything I liked and disliked about the phone.
Excellent design and comfort at all times
I admit, I'm superficial when it comes to a smartphone. I don't like to protect my device with a case (which is sometimes a serious mistake). And on this point, the Mate 20 Pro is perfectly successful. The design is something subjective but for me, the Huawei smartphone is still just one of the prettiest smartphones on the market today.
The smartphone has pretty curved curves on the sides and keeps a rather compact size with its 6.39-inch screen. Thus, the Mate 20 does not reach the gigantic sizes of the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max or Huawei P30 Pro. As a result, handling it feels excellent.
Certainly, the smartphone has a notch more than visible and the device may seem too ugly on the front for some of the more bezel-less screen enthusiasts like my colleague Shu. But it is also a security issue because the smartphone incorporates 3D facial recognition, which is extremely effective even in poorer lighting conditions.
What about photos and battery life?
I use my smartphone a lot and the camera is a feature I appreciate: three focal lengths, resolution up to 40 megapixels: the Mate 20 Pro's triple camera is excellent. The speed of focusing, improved Artificial Intelligence, 5x zoom, and ultrawide-angle allow you to obtain very precise shots, even in low light situations. With the arrival of the new generation, the Mate 20 Pro can only blush with the results obtained in night mode and the slightly less powerful zoom.
The battery life of the Mate 20 Pro is also always excellent. I've never been disappointed here, if what you're looking for is a smartphone with good autonomy that, with intensive use, only needs to visit the charging in the evening before going to bed, the Mate 20 Pro is a good choice, and the battery charging speed is also important. Thanks to the 40 Watt charger supplied in the box, the Huawei phone can be recharged from 0 to 70 percent in 30 minutes.
A fingerprint reader under the capricious screen
On the other hand, if there is one thing I don't like about this device, it is the fingerprint reader under the screen. Despite Huawei's software updates, it still takes some time to unlock the phone. The Chinese manufacturer had opted for this solution for aesthetic reasons but also to innovate. However, on this occasion, Huawei lost sight of the interest of users and favored the new, mainly for marketing reasons, technology in my opinion. The scanner is quite imprecise and sometimes it is necessary to try it several times to get into your phone.
If aesthetically the result is successful, I am skeptical about its effectiveness on the Mate 20 Pro's fingerprint scanner
In short, the user experience is rather bad and I came to miss a regular fingerprint sensor that we see on much more affordable smartphones. Facial recognition may be excellent, but that was no reason to choose a reader like this.
EMUI is sometimes annoying
One thing is certain: the EMUI system is fast on a daily basis, and the Mate 20 Pro does not show any signs of weakness at a software level, even after a year spent with it. However, the software is not perfect, as my colleague Steffen pointed out during his first assessment after 100 days, the Mate 20 Pro's software interface, although fast, still suffers at times from too aggressive application management for multitasking. The smartphone closes applications under the pretext of saving battery power in a direct and random way. I have missed messages sent to the Telegram messaging app, dor example. To avoid this type of inconvenience, you must go to the settings to remedy this concern. Too bad.
The other unknown on this device concerns future updates. Trump's ban on American telecommunications companies from working with so-called "high-risk" Chinese companies does not make Huawei's work in this area any easier. The Mate 20 Pro obviously has Google certification and Huawei has promised that the smartphone will benefit from Android 10 and security updates, we can always doubt the situation. As the conflict between China and the USA has not yet been resolved, a new episode even more unfavorable to the Chinese manufacturer cannot be ruled out, unfortunately.
Conclusion: Should you buy a Huawei Mate 20 Pro today?
I had been seduced when I got out of the device and my use for a year only confirmed my first impression. The Mate 20 Pro is an excellent everyday companion. With the price drop it has suffered and the release of the Mate 30 Pro which is still pending, the Huawei smartphone is one of the best deals of 2019.
Of course, you will have to make a compromise with the presence of the larger notch, a fingerprint reader under the screen or the absence of the P30 Pro's 10x optical zoom, but I'm not sure these small details are worth the difference of 300 pounds or more that separates the Mate 20 Pro from some of its competitors.
If you have any questions about this smartphone, feel free to ask them in the comments. If you have also purchased a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, feel free to share your experience with us.