Assessment When I predicted four years ago that Huawei was coming to eat Apple and lunch at Samsung, it quickly happened. Either it could not or it would take too long. For years, Japanese and Korean cars have been nasty small tin cans, jokes on wheels, do you remember?
But smartphones are not cars. China's production miracle and America's inability to protect its inventions means that technology is quickly copied and then produced at an incredible scale. Google has granted a platform. Thanks, tell the Chinese engineers. We'll take it from here.
One example is the Apple FaceID, developed at a high cost, which was released on November 3, 2017. And Huawei, one year later, with a copy that works just as well or better. Huawei is doing something more than just copying, though, so here's something that has escaped Apple and others: a reliable fingerprint reader. On the Pearl River, OnePlus BKK also has one. And back-to-back wireless charging, which means you can add iPhone and galaxies to other people from your phone.
These are some of the features in Mate 20 Pro and some that are unique to this product. It was barely six months before Huawei introduced a rather surprising trick – long exposure shots that emerge from the dim light without the usual noise and blur that destroyed such paintings. Huawei is accelerating and is magnificent to testify.
Apple has probably made two assumptions with FaceID. He had to think that thanks to the absurd excess of the sensor (IR camera, proximity sensor, floodlight and point projector) by FaceID, Apple had several years of unsustainable leadership. These things are difficult and expensive to copy. And the obvious alternative, fingerprint recognition under glass, has been for years. Both assumptions turned out to be untrue. Huawei also includes here (iFixit teardown reveals fields identical to the iPhone).
But is Mate good competitor of Samsung and Apple, or a collection of dazzling technological tricks? Read to find out.
There are Five very different Mate 20s, four after you exclude the Porsche tagged oligarch. "Regular" retains the design language of the "front wagon" of previous Mate, while Lite is trying to do what he does in a chassis under 400 pounds. At the top of the scale is the ridiculously large Mate 20 X, a 7.2-inch monster phablet – a bet you did not hear this word in a minute – focused on the player.
Think of Mate 20 Pro as a quick update to the P20 Pro phone you want to compete with the Galaxy S8 + if you like it.
Mathematical Unit Mate is the most outstanding thing
We omit X and Porsche Mate. The three remaining "common" models have a very different character, separated by the price of 400 pounds and have the common name "Mate".
The main difference over P20 Pro is that Mate 20 Pro is a little longer and completely discharges discrete fingerprint readers, front or rear. Samsung promoted a curved glass display with its own AMOLED panels, and the industry followed this year to maximize the visible area. I found it very similar to the Galaxy but without the known cumbersome location of the sensors.
Removing a discreet, visible sensor really meets the look Samsung has made. So almost 88 percent of the front of the phone takes on a luxurious 6.39 "OLED display (up to 1440 x 3120).
From left, face unlock configuration, unlock privacy notices, power settings
The M20P is the third phone I've used with the glass under glass and I've just beaten two more – OnePlus 6T and Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro on the UK market. Everything works really well, at least when it comes to getting in and Huawei is the fastest. All three require you to press your thumb in the area under the glass.
Huawei's face unlock was fast and also worked very well. As with Apple iPhones, Huawei's Face Recognition works well in poor lighting conditions and quickly unlocks. Mostly I ended up in the trial period.
There is an unusual grill. The USB-C port contains a speaker
Biometrics is basically uncertain, and I have not seen any suggestion as to how reliable a fingerprint reader is under the glass from any of the three vendors – whether it can be deceived by a fingerprint carrying a fingerprint, for example. Perhaps it is a disaster that awaits it to happen. But the fact that all three were released leaves Apple's reliance on FaceID, which looks odd.
The Notch is quite assertive, only Google with its Pixel 3 has more in-yer-face cutout. While I do not mean Notch, I can say that one week of use, OnePlus 6T (review coming), with much less "tears", is nicer to use.
Regular Mate 20 has a tear-like clipping because it does not have an advanced Face Recognition Pro. All toothbrushes have the problem of exceeding the alert, which is simply stupid. But then they are still anachronism: they are now so hard to read. Do not forget when Windows Phone did away with the top bar completely? It was not the end of the world, was it?
The display does not have the saturation of Samsung's own panels, but it works very well outdoors in harsh sunlight.
One very clever piece of design comes out with the omnipresent speaker grill. Huawei built the speaker into a USB-C socket and is not worse for him.
Rather than others, Huawei, on the glass back, set out on a very fine structure that looks and feels like a vinyl record. Scratch your fingernail and it sounds like scratching vinyls. I can not say that it caused the phone to be much smarter, as Huawei claims, but it is delicate and unwelcome.
Anyone who wants to use a headphone plug should not look here. Regular Mate 20 retains it reasonably, but just like P20 was omitted.
And one decision about the design looks either bold or as a mistake. Huawei introduces a new memory card format, NM or Nano memory card. The idea is great: it's the same size as the nano SIM card, which reduces the size of the electronics needed to read it. Unfortunately, we have not seen one yet in the wild, there are no publicly available specifications and no indication that Huawei surrenders through the standardization body. And only four new Mate 20 models (not Lite) support it. So far, consider the Mate 20 Pro phone without removable storage such as iPhone or Pixel. Because it really is what it is.
Click to enlarge
The reviewers, I'm no exception, tended to be totally indulgent to EMWI Huawei – like phones like Honor 7. It was a small part of the overall design. This idea was enormous and people can cope with great eccentricity. Now, when Huawei not only wants to play with big boys for the same price but gives them a shot and winning winning laurels, we should consider them a bit more. Here is where Huawei comes unstuck.
Very long list of settings (composite image)
EMUI is still sticky and dogmatic, designed to match the system of ideograms than Western alphabet. The list of settings is really very long (and is shown here). The thematic engine is burned in a distant past. The home screen even shortens single-line icon labels – if you do not read the third-party tool – when you find it can be quite happy to see two lines, Huawei does not want it. The beautiful one Samsung user interface that revealed last week revealed a lot of ideas, and in four years it is the second major reworking of the Samsung UI.
Some misinterpreted features are added. Click to enlarge
There is, however, more than the visual experience of users. More than any previous Huawei, this is marked by requests in the name of a poorly explained "intelligent" or AI element that asks you to make your contacts (not) or your call records (not) (disappear).
These include HiVoice, HiSearch, some cloud backup or other, and HiTouch object recognition service in collaboration with Amazon. If you venture out of the HiTouch system, almost all gestures with two fingers call up the on-board display. Off does not mean staying off.
None of these features really match. HiSearch is a good old built-in search feature to help you locate the application, but it is now sending it somewhere in the cloud. "If you are a minor, you must obtain the consent of your guardian to use this application," HiSearch tells the child that she is innocent looking for a calculator application.
All this is clumsy and aggressive.
To say that EMUI needs a thorough review is an understatement. It starts to define Huawei brand. The British are very good at praising the advantage in the pub, but this disruptive and clumsy user interface has to be thrown out.
With so much in common with the seven-month-old P20 Pro, there are not many new ones to add. The experiment continues with gestures, with better visual feedback for gestures "back" (which is a finger from the right edge of the screen, not the left). As I found in other gesture suggestions, there is too much similarity between "recent" (swipe up and hold) and "home" (drag but not hold). This has returned me to the traditional navigation bar. The gesture means losing double tapping and returning to the previous application (Samsung's original thing) on Huawei, while OnePlus was thoughtful enough to give her own gesture.