Huawei has unveiled its new flagship smartphones, the Huawei P20 and the P20 Pro, at a launch event in Paris, France today. The fanciest of the two, the P20 Pro, stands out thanks to its set of three rear cameras, compared to the two rear snappers on the regular P20. The company also showed off an updated Porsche Design edition of its Mate device, called the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS, which also boasts the triple-camera setup… though as we’ve yet to see the Porsche edition Mate 10, we don’t expect we’ll see the Mate RS in South Africa.
But back to the phones we will actually get: the P20 and P20 Pro. Huawei says it wants to bring professional photography to the masses through its new handsets, which continue the brand’s association with German imaging legends, Leica.
The three lens configuration of the P20 Pro is an interesting twist, and enables the handset to take extreme (by mobile standards) low-light pictures with minimal colour loss. The trio of cameras includes a 8MP telephoto camera, a 40MP RGB camera, and a 20MP monochome camera. The regular P20, on the other hand, gets a 12MP sensor for its colour camera and a 20MP one for its monochrome snapper.
The P20 also misses out on the OLED display the P20 Pro is packing, and has to make do with IP53 rough-housing resistance compared to the higher IP67 rating of its snazzier sibling.
Both devices offer 960fps slow-motion video, the new benchmark set by first by Sony last year, and matched by Samsung earlier this year. And both handsets get their number-crunching power from Huawei’s own Kirin 970 processor it introduced last year, along with the artificial intelligence smarts that brings.
Huawei’s quick to point out this makes the P20 Pro the first smartphone to boast a 40MP camera — which is a lovely brag, except it’s false: the Nokia 1020 had a 42MP camera. The cameras on both the P20 and the P20 Pro promise vivid colours (they capture in the RGBW format), and great low-lift performance. Thanks to its third shooter, the P20 Pro also offers 5x lossless “hybrid zoom” with the help of some software magic, as well as 3x optical zoom.
In keeping with its attempts to woo generation selfie, Huawei’s equipped both devices with 24MP front-facing cameras. And of course it wouldn’t be a Huawei smartphone launch without a few brilliant new colours, which include “Twilight” and “Pink Gold”, alongside the standard “Midnight Blue” and “Graphite Black”.
We don’t have local availability or pricing yet, but will let you know once we have more information on that front. [UPDATE: Cellucity says it’ll be offering the P20 for R11,500 and the P20 Pro for R15,800].
Huawei P20 Pro
The P20 Pro has a 6.1in OLED display with a small notch (well, smaller than the iPhone X’s) at the top. We hate notches, and think they’re a design fail on Apple’s part, but it seems they’re destined to turn up on more and more unsuspecting Android devices, so best we suck it up and deal. Powering the P20 Pro is a massive 4000mAh battery. The AI-powered camera we first saw on the Mate 10 is back, and allows the camera to do things like recognise different subjects and scenes and automatically adjust settings accordingly. The Pro will come with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board storage.
The regular P20, meanwhile, has a slightly smaller 5.8in RGBW FullView display, also with a relatively diminutive notch at the top. It has to make do with a 3400mAh battery, but that ought to get it through most days without sending you hunting for a charger. Expect 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Sadly the microSD card slot Huawei used to favour but then did away with hasn’t made a comeback, but 128GB as the standard storage option is some consolation. And on the topic of on-board storage…
Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS
Though we’ll probably never see it here, we can’t help but get a little slack-jawed when contemplating the key features of the Mate RS. Porsche-inspired design aside, the Mate RS will be offered in two storage variants, a 256GB version and a 512GB version. Both will include 6GB of RAM. That’s right: half a terabyte of storage in a phone. Some might call that overkill. We call it awesome.