Hands-On, Smartphone

Honor 20 Pro Hands-On: Potentially Honor’s Best Flagship Yet

The Honor 20 Pro is finally available in Malaysia, and it is quite possibly the Chinese company’s most impressive flagship smartphone to date. Sporting a sleek design, sophisticated quad camera system, and fast chipset, there is a lot to like here.

However, the Honor 20 Pro is also the phone maker’s most costly smartphone yet, retailing at RM2,299. While that still makes it a relatively affordable device in the flagship segment, can it really justify that kind of price tag? Let’s find out.

Aesthetically, the Honor 20 Pro is almost indistinguishable from the more affordable Honor 20. It has the same 6.26-inch 1080p LTPS display with a hole-punch cutout, a glass and metal construction, and a very similar-looking finish on the glass back.

That being said, you will feel the difference once you hold the device in your hands. Unlike the standard Honor 20’s flat back panel, the Pro model’s glass back tapers to the edges of the phone. This makes it a more comfortable device to hold for long periods of time, and it feels really premium too.

I also love the fact that Honor is retaining the hole-punch design with the 20 Pro. Compared to a notched display, the circular camera cutout doesn’t take up as much space, so it won’t be quite as distracting. Plus, a hole-punch cutout is a good compromise between an all-screen design – which requires a pop-up selfie camera or a sliding mechanism – and a notched display.

As for the display quality itself, the 6.26-inch 1080p LTPS screen looks good. It’s not the most amazing panel on a smartphone, but it is far from bad. Colours look great, texts and images look sharp enough with the 1080p resolution, and viewing angles are reasonably good as well, even if the display does dim slightly when viewed off-angle.

Powered by a fast Kirin 980 chipset, the Honor 20 Pro feels very fast and responsive. It’s the same SoC found under the hood of the Huawei P30 and Mate 20 smartphones, so without a doubt you’re getting a very good level of performance here. On top of that, the Kirin 980 is also built on a 7nm process, making it a power-efficient chipset.

That power efficiency will come in handy when it comes to battery life, which the 20 Pro should excel in. Thanks to its 7nm chip, 1080p display, and generous 4,000mAh battery, I reckon this phone can return excellent battery life.

In fact, seeing how I managed to get over eight hours of screen on time with the standard Honor 20 – which had similar hardware, except for a slightly smaller 3,750mAh battery – I’m confident this Pro variant can last even longer on a single charge.

Many flagship smartphones now come with in-screen fingerprint sensors, but that’s not the case with the Honor 20 Pro, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. Granted, in-screen sensors are considered “higher-end” and more desirable, but traditional capacitive fingerprint sensors are still superior when it comes to speed and accuracy.

I’ve used quite a number of phones with in-screen fingerprint sensors, and none of them are as fast as the 20 Pro’s side-mounted capacitive sensor. Not only is it very fast and accurate – a quick tap is enough to unlock the device – I can also easily reach for the sensor with my thumb. This is great, given that the sensor also doubles as the power button.

Finally, there’s the Honor 20 Pro’s most talked about hardware: the quad camera system. It’s made up of a 48MP f/1.4 primary sensor, a 16MP f/2.2 wide angle shooter, an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, as well as a 2MP f/2.4 macro sensor. The front-facing shooter, on the other hand, is a 32MP f/2.0 camera.

So how does the quad camera system perform? Pretty darn good, actually. The camera interface is responsive, autofocus speeds are relatively good, and even in low light conditions, it can still deliver properly exposed shots with a good amount of detail.

Evidently, the Honor 20 Pro didn’t receive a high DxOMark rating for nothing; with a total score of 111, it’s positioned right behind the P30 Pro by only one point. The P30 Pro is considered to be one of the best mobile shooters in the market now, so that’s high praise.

Even so, until I can put the 20 Pro’s camera through its paces, I can’t truly say if the camera performance is fantastic or not. But for what it’s worth, it certainly shows a lot of promise. This is especially the case with the telephoto lens, which can do up to 30x zoom – digitally, of course.

Overall, the Honor 20 Pro is potentially the company’s best flagship smartphone yet. However, that also makes it the phone maker’s most expensive device to date. There is only one variant of the Honor 20 Pro for the Malaysian market, which comes with 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM for RM2,299.

As mentioned, that price point still means the Honor 20 Pro is one of the more affordable flagship smartphones in our market, which is great. What’s not so great is the fact that it will be a challenge for Honor – a brand that’s usually associated with budget-friendly devices – to break into that price point.

Nonetheless, I have a feeling the Honor 20 Pro can command that kind of price tag, and I can’t wait to see what it can do in a full review of the flagship smartphone.