Over the recent past, the relentless rise in premium smartphone prices has become a norm for devices coming from Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei, and so on. This, expectedly, has gotten some people questioning the need to refresh their phones every year.
During the same period, we’ve also seen the emergence of Chinese smartphone vendors like Huawei’s Honor and Xiaomi’s POCO that aim to disrupt the flagship market by offering equally top-flight handsets that cut a few corners to arrive at nearly half the price of premium phones.
Xiaomi Pocophone F1, Huawei Honor Play, and Honor View 10 have been taking this market segment by storm, but the latter has just upped the ante with the new Honor View 20. With its price tag, the View 20 hopes to be seen as a midranger, but deep inside it is masquerading as a flagship handset.
Let’s check out the full specs.
Honor View 20 specs
- 6.4-inch 19.5:9 FHD+ (1080 x 2310) LCD display
- Kirin 980 processor
- 6GB or 8GB RAM
- 128GB or 256GB non-expandable storage
- Dual 48MP + 3D ToF main camera
- 25MP in-screen camera
- 4000mAh battery
- Android 9 Pie
- Extras: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, Rear-mounted scanner, Super Charge, NFC, IR port, etc.
Considering what the Honor View 10 brought to the scene, among them a premium design, a great battery life, and fantastic cameras yet somehow managed to keep the price at $500, the Honor View 20 obviously has some big shoes to fill.
Delicious to the eyes
Like its predecessor, the View 20 is huge on specs and even better is that this doesn’t in any way compromise the design aspect of the phone. You are getting a phone featuring a glass back that comes in three finishes of blue, black and red. How Honor managed to etch in a V pattern on the back panel still dazzles us, but it is the effect that light has on its appearance that should make up for an unmatched experience.
No skimping on specs
Under the hood, you get the latest and greatest from Huawei – Kirin 980. This is the same chipset found in Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X and will also be used in Huawei P30 and P30 Pro. With the pairing of either 6GB RAM and 128GB storage or 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, the View 20 is definitely playing in the same league as its premium cousins on matters raw power.
In terms of software, the View 20 has Android 9 Pie out of the box, but this time there is no EMUI 9.0, instead, you get Magic 2.0.1 UI on top of AOSP. If anything, this is still in most parts the same EMUI that we’ve loved to hate for years, so it shouldn’t be a stumbling block for seasoned Huawei fans.
The punch-hole design is a boon
To avoid the notch, the View 20 has a punch-hole display screen that pushes the bezels much further towards the outer edges of the phone, ending up with a massive 6.4-inch panel housed in a frame that measures just 156.9mm tall. This means that you have a bigger screen in a more compact body and that’s cool, if you ask us.
For comparison purposes, the View 10 measures 157mm tall and has a smaller 5.99-inch screen.
The 3D ToF sensor improves depth-sensing
The use of 3D camera lenses on smartphones is still gathering pace, but the few we’ve seen usually appear on the front panel for secure facial authentication. While the Honor View 20 has a 3D ToF (time-of-flight) sensor, its planted on the back panel just beside the main camera, which rocks a massive 48MP Sony IMX586 lens.
By default, the main lens, which has an aperture of f/1.8 and a 78-degree field of view, churns out 12MP photos thanks to pixel-binning tech that treats four pixels as one, promising brighter, clearer images. Add the plenty of AI and other software-based tweaks and you have a camera that should subtly fall short of the $1000 phones of this world in terms of quality, but it won’t be any deal-breaker, especially at its price.
The ToF sensor flanking the main 48MP lens is meant to improve the depth-sensing capabilities of the phone so you have to worry less about missing out on a typical depth-sensing lens.
Bigger battery, slower charging for India
Compared to the View 10, the Honor View 20 has a bigger 4000mAh battery unit that is still charged via a USB-C port. Like its predecessor, there is still support for fast charging technology that Honor calls Super Charge, promising to fill up the battery from 0 to 55% in half an hour. This tech maxes out at 22.5W (5V/4.5A).
Unfortunately, this is only true for the global variant of the View 20, with those in India getting a variant with slower fast charging technology that maxes out at 18W (9V/2A). A strange decision it is and we are just as dumbfounded as you are.
No in-screen fingerprint scanner
At a time when every other Chinese smartphone vendor is looking to bite a piece of the in-display screen cake, Honor chose otherwise with the View 20. The phone comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and honestly, this should sit well with some people, especially the camp that feels the in-display scanner has yet to mature enough to fully replace the traditional scanner.
Pricing and availability
The Honor View 20 started selling in China on January 7th, but the rest of the globe had to wait until January 22nd. Those in India started seeing the View 20 on January 30th and for those in the U.S., there is still no official communication from Honor, although we still expect the device to find its way to the likes of Amazon.
In India, the base model of the View 20 goes for INR 37,999, which is about $530, while the high-end variant will set you back INR 45,999, an equivalent of about $645. These prices, by default, throw the View 20 into a den consisting of the likes of OnePlus 6T so it’ll be interesting to see how the device marshals itself to the top.