Product: Honor View20
Key specs: 6.4-inch 19.25:9 IPS LCD display, Kirin 980 AI processor, up to 8GB of RAM, 25-megapixel front-facing camera, 4,000mAh battery, 3.5mm headphone jack, rear fingerprint sensor
Price: Rs 37,999/Rs 45,999
Gone are the days of unwieldy and boring looking smartphones. From gradient colours to slider cameras, most of the smartphones in 2018 embraced the so-called premium design across price categories. A lot of credit for the trend should go to Honor, Huawei’s sub-brand, which was one of the first players to experiment with the phone design which otherwise had become quite monotonous.
From Honor 10 to the latest Honor View20, Honor’s premium design has come a long way. With View20 in particular, Honor has stepped up the game with a fuller display with roughly 91.82% screen-to-body ratio, a punch-hole camera on the screen, and a massive 48-megapixel rear camera. At a starting price of Rs 37,999, Honor View20 isn’t really an expensive premium phone and takes on the fan favourite, OnePlus 6T.
Design: Mind the punch-hole camera
“Fancy” is the first word that comes to mind when you look at Honor View20. The back design featuring nano texture and aurora effect is attractive and feels premium. Just like most of the glass back designs, it’s vulnerable to fingerprint smudges. At 8.1mm, Honor View20 is a bit thick but it’s not uncomfortable.
The big deal, however, is the punch-hole selfie camera. Essentially, it’s a workaround Honor and other players are experimenting with the full-screen design. Unlike the notches, whether it’s a dewdrop or iPhone X’s boat-shaped, punch-hole isn’t really distracting, especially when you’re watching anything in the landscape mode. It’s strategically placed at the top left corner which makes sure it doesn’t encroach on the UI of any popular application. Be it Twitter or Facebook, you’ll barely notice the punch-hole.
The display, however, is quite reflective and makes it difficult to read or browse anything under direct sun light. It works just fine indoors.
48-megapixel camera: Overkill?
Thanks to Sony, 48-megapixel camera phones are going to be mainstream. Honor View20 is probably the first smartphone to use Sony IMX586 camera sensor. View 20 also houses a Time of Flight (ToF) depth sensor as the secondary camera. While a 48-megapixel rear camera sounds great, but does it really make any difference?
Yes, at least in the case of Honor View20. The camera is a delight to use, especially if you like to experiment with your shots. From macro shots to ultra wide scenes, View 20 does a splendid job. Most of the daylight shots were rich in details and quite crisp as well. There are a bunch of pre-loaded modes to enhance or customise the photos.
The built-in AI mode is supposed to enhance the quality of the images. But in most of the cases, the difference is barely noticeable.
Note that View20 shoots at 12-megapixel by default which means lower resolution and lighter image files. Upgrading to 48-megapixel resolution slows down the image processing. With a few modes and filters on, image processing gets further slower. Swiping the 48-megapixel photos in the gallery takes you back to the era of slow Android phones.
As far as low-light photography goes, it’s a mixed bag. Some of the shots came out extremely well while some had a lot of noise and barely usable anywhere. Honor recently rolled out a firmware update to refresh the preset themes and include 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode.
Performance, UI and more
Honor View20 runs on Magic OS, based on Android 9.0 Pie. A rebranded version of Huawei’s EMUI, Magic UI is a work in progress. Probably you can still live with the customisation over Android and clutter, but the lag, unresponsive display, and occasional app crashes are something you cannot ignore. Hopefully, Honor is able to fix the UI in its future software or firmware updates. The best way would be keeping the UI simple rather over complicating it.
The poor UI discourages you to try new and more applications on the phone. We did graphic-intensive play games such as PUBG Mobile and Marvel Contest of Champions on the phone. Fortunately, these games ran without any drop in frame rate or lag. The singular speaker could have been a bit louder.
The 4,000mAh battery easily gets you an entire day with single full charge on medium to heavy use. Our usage included extensive web browsing, long sessions of multimedia streaming on Netflix and YouTube and a bit of WhatsApp and social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook.
Honor View10 is among very few phones that feature a 48-megapixel camera. It may be overkill but soon most of the premium phones are going to have similar higher resolution cameras. Apart from camera and affordable price tag of Rs 37,999, we really liked the design and the concept of punch-hole camera. But it’s hard to overlook the laggy UI and other shortcomings like reflective screen. If you want a phone with 48MP camera, Honor View10 is the device for you. But if you want a comprehensive experience, go for OnePlus 6T or rather wait until the MWC 2019 where new flagships will be introduced.