Huawei P20 review

A solid smartphone, but its big brother is better

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The Huawei P20 isn't quite the Huawei P10 successor we wanted, and it's not quite worthy of being called the P20. If not the P11, then perhaps the P12.

There are plenty of high points though, with a gorgeous screen, great performance, good stamina and that superb camera – but for every high on the P20, the Huawei P20 Pro has it beaten.

The P20 Pro costs more, but you do get 2GB more RAM, water resistance, an OLED screen, a bigger battery and a whole extra camera – well, you’re pretty much adding on another phone.

As with the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus, the P20's biggest competition is its far superior stablemate. So unless you get a great deal on the P20, or you're happy with 'good but not great', we'd recommend springing for the bigger guns if your budget allows.

Who’s this for?

Android users who are into their photography but are less concerned about fancy extras like waterproofing and wireless charging.

If you want a more affordable flagship that looks good and takes great photos, the P20 might be the phone for you.

Huawei P20 review

Should you buy it?

If you really don't want to spend the extra for the P20 Pro or the Mate 20 Pro, and it won't bug you forever that there’s a better version of your phone out there, then quite possibly yes.

But even if the Pro didn’t exist, the P20 would have very stiff competition in the form of the Galaxy S9 and the Pixel 2, even if they do cost more.

As the P20 continues to get discounted, it begins to become a more attractive proposition.

There are lots of alternatives to the Huawei P20, such as the following three:

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Sadly for the P20, its Huawei sibling leaves it in the dust. The P20 Pro will cost you an extra £200 or AU$100, which is a serious chunk of change, but it does make a significant difference to the specs. You get a bigger screen, OLED, an extra 2GB of RAM, a bigger battery, water resistance and of course that third rear-facing camera.

If you can spare the money, it’s hard to recommend the lower-end phone when this exists.

Read our full Huawei P20 Pro review

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung's all-rounder flagship is top of the competitor list for just about any phone this year, and the P20 is no different. The S9 offers an AMOLED screen the same size as the P20's LCD, better pixel density, more storage options, a headphone jack, water resistance and wireless charging. But it loses out on selfie camera resolution and battery size, and it's a fair bit pricier too.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S9 review

Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2

The Pixel 2 has now been followed by the Pixel 3 of course, but in terms of price and specs the 2017 Pixel 2 is more of a direct competitor to the Huawei P20, especially as it also focuses on photography. If you're choosing between the two, the Pixel has a smaller screen but uses AMOLED vs the P20's LCD.

The battery is considerably smaller at 2,700mAh, the selfie camera is much lower res, and in our experience the P20 takes even better low light photos, but you do get pure Android and a golden ticket to the latest upgrades with the Pixel.

Read our full Google Pixel 2 review

First reviewed: April 2018