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Honor 20 Review

Mid-range greatness.

Here’s our review of the very attractive Honor 20, slotting into the middle of the Honor 20 Series with a price tag of £399, or from around £24 a month on a pay monthly contract.

This device could be where the smart money is, because as well as it having the same, dazzling dynamic, holographic back panel, as the more expensive Pro, it also shares the same camera system.

Design

Honor are well known by now for producing very interesting back panels with their flagship devices, but this time they’ve really outdone themselves. It’s an extremely difficult manufacturing process that involves three separate layers. The depth layer is engraved with millions of tiny prisms to deform the light. Next is the colour layer, in this case it’s Sapphire Blue, and then it’s finished off with the glass layer. The result is a very striking 3D holographic effect. It is a flamboyant design, but it doesn’t stop there.

Honor really know how to do hardware design, we love this reflective back on the phone.

The Honor 20 also features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, which also doubles as a power button. Personally, I do like a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and it is nice that it is also a button, as this prevents you accidentally unlocking your phone.

Just above there you’ll find volume rockers. At the top there is an infrared blaster and then on the left side you’ll find the SIM tray which does support dual SIMs, or one sim and memory expansion up to 512GB. And then underneath there is USB type C connectivity and a single down-firing speaker.

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You’ll find USB C charging on the bottom along with a speaker.

Screen and selfie-camera

Around the front is a 6.3 inch IPS LCD screen, 1080 x 2340 resolution, and with the smallest punch hole camera that we’ve seen yet at 4.5 millimetres. I find that having a smaller hole in your display does make a difference. It is definitely less distracting than the whole cutout display that is on the Honor View 20.

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Side-mounted fingerprint scanner also acts as the power button

The camera inside that hole is a 32 megapixel unit that does give very good results, showing a big improvement on previous Honor devices. In fact, we’ve been extremely impressed with the camera performance all round on this phone, which isn’t really surprising considering the array of cameras and sensors that this phone carries.

Main cameras

The Honor 20 has four cameras across the back, the main set up being a 48 megapixel Sony IMX 586, which typically will deliver a 12 megapixel image by combining the data from four pixels down to one. At the moment we’re seeing more and more smartphones, flagships and mid range, being equipped with this high performance sensor. In fact, it is the very same sensor of that is in the View 20 but the software this time around seems to be better optimised. And for me the Honor 20, at the moment, seems to be the best of the bunch. As well as the 48 megapixel sensor, there is also a 16 megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with fixed focus and an F 2.4 length.

There is also a 2 megapixel depth sensor and an additional 2 megapixel macro lens. Two megapixels doesn’t sound like much, but I think they’ve gone with that number because two megapixels is the same as a full HD image at 1080p. Viewed back on this screen at least will use up all the pixels and actually when you look at the portrait and the macro shots, they look great.

Yes, it would have been nice if I had more megapixels, but in day-to-day use I really have no reason to complain about the camera in Honor 20

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The Honor 20 has four rear cameras.

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The AI seems just as responsive and as intelligent as the current smartphone photography champ from Honor’s parent company, the P30 Pro. It quickly adjusts the settings to make the most of any given situation. For example, it will automatically switch to its Portrait mode, it recognises a face in the scene.

As it uses its depth sensor to gauge its portraits, it’s not quite as accurate as the portrait shots that we get from the Honor View 20, as that uses a 3D time of flight sensor, but they are still very pleasing.

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You’ll get some great photos on the Honor 20 thanks to some clever AI tech

Shooting at 48 megapixels is also possible with Honor’s own Ultra Clarity Shot; best used with a tripod, although it still performs exceptionally well handheld. Hit the shutter and it will take multiple 48 megapixel exposures and then, using the same technique it does for its 12 megapixel shots, combines all that data to give you a very sharp and large image. Again I feel like there is improvements with the AI stabilisation in this mode when compared to the View 20.

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Shot on the Honor 20.

Video

You also get great video performance with this phone, with a max resolution of 4K at 30 frames per second, and with good stabilisation even at this resolution. 1080 60 frames per second is also available as well as Honor’s usual 960 frames per second super slow motion.

Power

Under the skin this phone is just as well equipped as the more expensive Huawei phones. You’re getting a Kirin 980 chipset with 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of onboard storage, a good battery capacity at 3750 mAh and the very latest Magic UI software, which is Honor’s take on Huawei’s EMUI.

The Honor 20 also comes with Super Bluetooth, made possible by its Kirin 980 chipset. This is able to keep a Bluetooth connection at a distance of over 240 meters, although that is without walls or barriers in the way.

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The Kirin processor keeps everything running smoothly.

Sound

We also get Virtual 9.1 Surround Sound powered by Histen 6.0. This is the first time that this cutting edge technology has been applied to smartphones. It separates incoming audio into channels and then applies its surround sound effect, supporting all types of wired and wireless headphones, with inbuilt dual microphones for noise reduction.

Overall

Honor have really packed a lot into this phone. It’s a great one for photographers and for music lovers alike. And with the free and exclusive Wonder outfit skin for Fortnite players, and of course the GPU Turbo 3.0, it’s one for the gamers too.

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Honor owners get themselves a free exclusive Fortnite skin included.

This really is a solid handset and thanks to its price to performance ratio, this one comes highly recommended from us. You can view our full video review below.

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