At a glance
- 5.9 Inch LCD Screen
- Android 8.1, upgradeable to Android 9.0
- Dual Camera, 12MP and 20MP wide lenses, 4k video recording
- 3400 mAh battery, fast charging available
- £300 (Appliances Direct), £33 pcm (EE)
- Leica AI assisted camera array comparable to a more expensive phone, including 4k videos and subject recognition software that identifies and optimises your photography.
- The price point of the P20 makes it a decent and solid mid-range alternative to the more premium Huawei's, with many of the same camera and design plus points.
- Powerful processing comes from a Kirin 970 chip, which will run high quality games and provide a lag-free experience.
Design and appearance
The Huawei P20 was a real eye-catcher on release in 2018, so much so that many similar design features have been rolled out subsequently on their newer models. Colour gradient designs give the phone an opalescent effect which is a point of difference from most neutral coloured smartphones. The P20 is fairly small, a comfortable one-handed size, and the horizontal branding and logos on the rear give it the appearance of a digital camera, a niche feature which nods to its impressive camera set-up!
That camera set-up comes courtesy of the ongoing partnership with legendary camera brand Leica. The P20 includes two Leica lenses, one 12MP and one 20MP, and these provide the photography capabilities of a more expensive smartphone. AI software was introduced on the P20 to assist the amateur photographer. This software is particularly useful for image stabilization, and automatically switches it's settings around to get the best picture (Think Cat-mode, Flowers, Night-mode).
The P20 is based around an 18.7:9 screen with one of the more inconspicuous selfie-camera notches of its class. The phone contains software to either include or exclude the notch from the display (by blacking out the screen either side). The display on the P20 is a great size, perfect for one handed use at 5.8 inches. This coupled with a lot of colour presets, including natural tone, vivid colours and eye-comfort (sleep improvement) mode give the P20 a classy, attractive appearance for day-to-day use.
Software and features
The P20 runs on Huawei's EMUI, which is an overlay of Android 8.1 Oreo. The software has been criticised in the past and there is a possibility of update problems moving forward as Google, who make Android, are now banned from creating software for many Chinese companies, including Huawei. That being said, the phone runs well on its stock software, and can be updated up to Android 9.0.
The P20 processor is extremely capable, and really packs a punch for it's size! A Kirin 970 chipset, with 4GB of RAM, is capable of handling almost all smartphone tasks with ease. While this is a slight step down from the more premium P20 Pro (Check out our guide here), this hardware is enough to run all sorts of high-octane games, multiple applications and shoot excellent 4k video. You can't connect your own SD card, but with 128GB of storage this shouldn't be a problem for most users.