Update: After Google suspended Huawei's future access to Android Play Store and security updates, there are serious question marks over the future of Huawei and Honor phones.
While Google and Huawei have promised to support phones currently on the market, it's not clear how long they'll receive Android updates or access to the Google Play Store, which would severely curtail their usefulness compared to the competition.
Every once in a while comes a phone that you immediately know would be the best phone for that year. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is exactly that phone. Where we've seen incremental upgrades from other top-tier manufacturers, Huawei is bringing innovations that will power the next generation of phones.
Almost everything on the Mate 20 Pro stands out- from the incredibly fast 7nm processor to the beautiful design and features such as reverse wireless charging and an in screen fingerprint sensor. The Mate 20 Pro is a phone that looks, acts and performs better than its competitors and yet, in the Middle East, Huawei has managed to keep its pricing lower than other flagship phones. We're still scratching our heads on how Huawei has made that possible.
- Interested in the cheaper of the two new Mates? Read our in-depth Huawei Mate 20 review
Let’s delve into the specifics to see why the Huawei Mate 20 Pro deserves to be the phone of the year.
Mate 20 Pro release date and price
The Mate 20 Pro pre-booking has already started in the UAE with the unit expected to hit store shelves on the 8th of November. We would highly recommend you pre-order the phone as you will also get a HUAWEI WATCH GT and HUAWEI Wireless Quick Charge adapter for free.
There’s only one configuration of the Pro (for now) with 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage. But the other versions in the Mate 20 line – like the 7.2-inch screen Mate 20 X and 8GB RAM and up to 512GB Porsche Edition – offer different performance and form factors if you want a slightly different take on this already-performance-driven smartphone.
If you missed the Huawei P20 Pro earlier this year, you’re in luck: the Mate 20 Pro is a better version in nearly every way.
Where the P20 Pro had a main camera, 3x zoom telephoto and monochrome lens, the Mate 20 Pro kept the former two and added a color ultra-wide lens. While this may give its predecessor the edge on low-light and nighttime shots, the Mate 20 Pro is no slouch there, and you’ll love having the option to ‘zoom out’ with the ultra-wide.
The Mate 20 Pro inherits the 24MP f/2.0 front-facing camera from the P20 Pro, but expands the front camera suite with more sensors. This stretches its notch to iPhone XS-levels of width, but that’s the price for more dynamic photos unlocking the phone with your face.
At 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm, Huawei’s latest phone is just a couple millimeters bigger (and almost a millimeter thicker) than the P20. That makes its 6.39-inch OLED screen larger, too, with resolution that’s higher than the Google Pixel 3 and slightly better than the Samsung Note 9, at least on paper.
One of the biggest braggable points, of course, is the Kirin 980 processor, which is debuting on the Mate 20 Pro and its sibling devices. It's the first 7nm chip on Android and second in the market after Apple’s formidable A12, which came packed in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
The Mate 20 Pro’s 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage haven’t improved from the P20 Pro, though you can expand the storage via a new proprietary “nanoSD” format card to a maximum of 256GB. But if you opt to plug in a nanoSD for more storage, you’ll have to place it in one of the phone’s two SIM slots (cleverly stacked in an over/under tray inserted next to the USB-C port) and give up dual SIM functionality.
These specs are about on par with other flagship smartphones, though the Kirin 980 is speedier than Snapdragon 845 which first appeared in a phone earlier in March. Don’t worry about sapping the battery while you’re putting the new chip through its paces: the Mate 20 Pro comes with a 4,200mAh battery, which lasts as long as you’d think.
The Mate 20 Pro has a couple things other phones today don’t, though they’re more party tricks than market-upending features. The first is something phone fans have been eager to try out: an in-screen fingerprint scanner. In theory, this makes it easier to unlock your phone while it’s resting flat than using a back-mounted fingerprint button or facial recognition.
The second new trick probably won’t get used much, but in a pinch, it’s a godsend: the Mate 20 Pro can wirelessly charge other Qi-charging phones or devices. There’s nothing more heroic than lending a hapless friend some juice when their phone is at death’s door.