Rather that at MWC 2018, Chinese manufacturer Huawei held a private event today in Paris. The company unveiled its much-anticipated and long-rumored P10 successors part of a new P20 family comprising P20 and P20 Pro. Huawei teased the event many times over recent weeks and sent out event invitations, so we knew it would be happening. And now, the latest Huawei flagship smartphones designed for 2018 are here. Here’s everything to know.
Unlike usual, Huawei didn’t announce new phones during MWC in February due to heavy competition that stole most of the spotlight. The company did, however announce tablets during the week-long showcase in Barcelona. The company’s CEO also talked about a new Huawei Watch that’s coming soon. That watch did not debut today as many thought it would, as Huawei wanted to focus more on its new smartphones. And boy are they nice.
Huawei is having a rocky start to the year. At CES 2018 in January, the Chinese OEM attempted to gain attention and popularity in the US for the first time in its history with Mate 10 Pro, but US carriers including Verizon and AT&T, with addition to Best Buy, were not having it. Despite numerous failed attempts at expanding due to US governmental concerns for spying as well as some extra bad luck, the company is not giving up. Huawei might test its chances at the US market again with P20 or upcoming Honor phones later this year. Without help from US carriers and popular retail company Best Buy, it’s going to be a tough road to Huawei’s 2018 goals as the company has seemingly no choice but to sell unlocked, online only. Huawei still holds a deal with Amazon, one that it will need to hold onto for the long-term. This is not going to help Huawei gain attraction in any way since its devices are not in stores where people shop, so it might be time to think up a new strategy as sales rely on it. As we’ll explain, the new P20 phones are great options, and it would suck to see availability be limited like years past. Fewer options for consumers is never a good thing.
There are two new Huawei phones part of the P-Series of devices, a standard P20 and higher-end P20 Pro. Each varies in terms of design and specifications. Despite this, they are very similar in terms of software. This has traditionally been one of Huawei’s utmost high-end smartphone lineups, like the Mate series. Huawei is confident in its ability to compete with offerings from big name companies in the industry like Samsung and Apple, and in reality, it’s right behind one of them. We’ve been a huge fan of what Huawei has been doing lately, and despite us already knowing most of which was announced today ahead of the event, there were some nice surprises.
Huawei P20 and P20 Pro come with a refined design for 2018 including rounded edges, super slim bezels, 18:9 aspect ratio, and a notch. You got that right, a notch will house many of the device’s front sensors in a move to maximize screen space like the Essential Phone and iPhone X. This has seemingly become a trend for 2018, an unwanted one, and even Google has gone as far to embrace it in Android P. For those who don’t like it, though, Huawei has included a mode for you to hide it.
Each model will come in choice of several colors, which will vary by region. There will also be a limited edition luxury Porsche Design model known as Huawei Mate RS, coming later this year for a super premium price tag. This particular model has a higher resolution screen, an insane 512GB of internal storage, and a fingerprint scanner below screen! This makes it one of the first to go commercial with this upcoming trend, beating Samsung and Vivo (via Synaptics) to the punch. There’s also a P20 Lite available in select markets. Across all the devices, the material used is more premium and durable than last year’s surface, and should attract just as many fingerprints. Taking a look around the new devices, we have a lower-mounted USB Type-C port with Huawei’s signature super fast charging. Also present are side-mounted power and volume controls, a bottom-mounted speaker grill, rear branding, and rear-facing flash. There’s no headphone jack. The home button is smaller with its built-in fingerprint scanner, and there’s an additional fingerprint scanner on the rear of the P20 Pro. Why two, I don’t know.
The Huawei P20 Pro is the largest and most premium of the couple with improvements over last year’s P10 Plus and similarity to this year’s P20, which is expected to cost slightly less. The P20 Pro includes IP67 water and dust resistance while the P20 has IP53 protection, and both have NFC for payments using Android Pay or Huawei Pay (where accepted). Huawei’s latest version of EMUI is on board over Android 8.0 Oreo as well. Some of the major additions from Google include new notifications, performance and battery improvements by further restricting background data, picture-in-picture mode, new adaptive icons, and system-wide auto-fill. Our hope is that Android P will come to the devices at a later date.
Huawei P20 Pro
Huawei P20 Pro has a 6.1-inch Full HD+ screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This new aspect ratio means the display will be taller and narrower than traditional 16:9. On the back, there’s a dual-tone paint job that shifts colors depending on the lighting condition, which is something unique. Under the skin, Huawei is using the HiSilicon Kirin 970 octa-core chipset, the same that powers the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, backed up by 6GB of RAM. The only storage capacity is 128GB and there’s no expansion slot. The battery is an impressive 4,000mAh capacity that charges via USB Type-C, and Huawei’s SuperCharge proprietary fast-charging technology is backed in.
Huawei has included one of the first-ever triple camera combos on P20 Pro, as we saw in leaks. These are Leica engineered for top of the line performance. If past flagships and three lenses are any indication of camera quality, we’re expecting the best Huawei has ever put out in a smartphone. It’ll be interesting to see how users will take advantage of having three cameras on a single side. For those who want the specifics, the lenses combine to a total of 40MP. There’s an aperture of f/1.8 and also support for AI image stabilization and 5X optical zoom. As for the front camera, there’s a Leica branded 8MP sensor. Both cameras come with new software related functions including an improved portrait mode for selfies, a Light Fusion mode for brighter images, and a 5-second exposure setting.
Price: N/A Release: N/A Colors: Black, Midnight Blue, Pink Gold, Twilight
Huawei P20 is based around a 5.8-inch Full HD+ screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. It also makes use of the HiSilicon Kirin 970 octa-core chipset but has 4GB of RAM. 64GB of on board storage is included and there’s no microSD card slot. Rather than the triple rear lenses, P20 packs only two on the rear (12MP). AI image stabilization is included and there’s an f/1.8 aperture. This model also benefits from the Leica engineered 8MP front camera. USB Type-C with fast charging will juice up this device’s 3400mAh cell.
Price: N/A Release: N/A Colors: Black, Champagne Gold, Twilight, Pink Gold, Midnight Blue
Huawei has not yet disclosed full availability information and pricing. We expect the duo to be priced similarly to last year’s P9 models, which would be competitive with today’s top-tier offerings. It’ll be interesting to see for sure how they stack up once on the market. Considering Huawei has stuck to what has worked for it in the past, I expect these to be no slouch. What do you think of the new phones? Let us know in the comments.
Watch the replay of Huawei’s official unveiling or some of the official product videos down below.