I’ve spent the past few days in the world’s most photographable city with what’s being spruiked as the world’s most powerful camera-phone, the Huawei P20 Pro.
And I fell in love. With the city, the phone, the lot.
For those playing at home, it’s pronounced Wah-Wey, and it’s the fastest growing phone manufacturer in Europe, and easily the biggest in China. This company has deep pockets.
I’m a very happy iPhone X user, who’s not looking to switch to Android – but I was happy to take the free business-class trip to check it out.
Let me tell you right now, having used the phone for 24 hours, it is sensational.
Prior to arriving I had expected to be impressed, but not converted – but its combination of a hugely powerful camera, sharp design and long battery life really did win me over.
For mine the most valuable features of my iPhone are the camera, the full-size screen, its facial recognition technology, and its battery. Or at least they were – I am striking battery life off the list after the latest round of iOS updates.
Huawei have produced a phone that not only matches the iPhone X in those important ways, but improves on each area.
Let’s start with the handset itself. I wouldn’t be surprised if casual observers don’t confuse it for an iPhone X; they look a LOT alike.
The P20 has a full-sized screen that is larger than the X; the notch is only the width of the speaker and front-facing camera, and can be turned off if preferred for those notch-haters out there.
It has a whole-of-body gorilla glass shell and curved edges, and feels like a premium and weighty handset (it also comes with a clear case and screen-protector already on the phone out of the box).
Next, I looked at its much-vaunted Leica camera. Huawei is putting all their marketing eggs into this basket and I can see why. This phone takes some seriously great shots – worthy of a Paris backdrop.
It’s a 40-megapixel triple camera, to put that in comparison iPhone’s is 12; and the three rear cameras are a first for any phone.
Its quality is most noticeable in ‘Night Mode’ where Huawei have made it possible to free-hand take very low light photos with 4 second shutter expose, and eliminate any shake or blur.
Take a look at some of these shots around the city.
Next there was the battery life.
Huawei is claiming a two battery life in operation, and a seriously fast 15 minute full recharge.
You can even plug it into any other phone (including iPhone) and use the Huawei as a portable charge station to power other people’s handsets. That is a handy way to become popular at a party.
The face-recognition for Apple was, in my estimation, worth the price of admission alone, although I don’t love that with the iPhone you have to both unlock and then swipe the phone to the menu.
With the P20 your face (and thumb) recognition is so instant you truly don’t realise it’s happened. It’ll recognise your face on the way up and by the time you want to use it, you are at the phone’s menu.
As a life-long Apple user I’d never imagined switching, even accounting for the increasingly uninspired updates and product launches.
In the Huawei P20 Pro I’ve come across a phone that hasn’t just turned my head, but which will turn me to Android. And that shocks me to even write it.
It has all the things I love in an iPhone X, but improved in every area.
At this stage, most people haven’t heard of Huawei, (again pronounced Wah-Wey) but the P20 Pro will be the phone that starts to make the waves here in Australia that it is making around the world.
Now I just need to learn how to use Android, and explain to friends and family why I’ve disappeared from their iMessage chats.
by Matt de Groot
Contributing Editor Rogue Homme