Hands on: Honor 20 Pro review

Honor’s going all-in on the smartphone camera game

What is a hands on review?
Honor 20 Pro
Image Credit: TechRadar

Interface and reliability

The Honor 20 Pro runs Honor’s Magic OS, laid over Android 9 – and at this point alarm bells will be ringing for people who are familiar with Chinese companies’ own-brand UIs, which are typically rather garish.

Magic OS doesn’t look terrible, and we’ve seen UIs with more garish colors and designs, but it looks rather babyish, like MIUI on the Xiaomi Mi 9. App icon designs and colors are bright and cartoonish, and most of the available wallpapers are a little lurid – the default live wallpaper is fish swimming among coral. Honor aims its phones at a younger audience, but it looks like it’s aimed a bit too young here.

Other than its questionable UI, navigating the Honor 20 Pro is fairly easy – with simple mode, which makes app icons much bigger and simplifies the UI, and one-handed mode, which shrinks the usable screen area quite a bit, people with smaller or frail hands can use the phone just as easily as tech-savvy users.

Behind Magic OS, the Honor 20 Pro runs standard Android 9, with its suite of features including adaptive brightness and adaptive battery use.

The Honor 20 Pro has no app drawer, and uses three-key navigation, although you can change both of these if you want – we found ourselves gravitating towards gesture controls, as it’s very easy to navigate using simple swipes.

Music, movies and gaming 

Thanks to its Kirin 980 chipset, the Honor 20 Pro is great for gaming – you can play games on high graphical settings at fast frame rates, and the phone loaded games up quicker than most, which was one of the most notable differences we found compared to other phones. 

Something intriguing we noticed is that the Honor 20 Pro comes with Fortnite installed, without Google Play Books, which is usually installed on Android handsets – if replacing books with games makes you want to shake a fist at the clouds, though, you’re probably not the phone’s target audience.

Gaming and movie-watching are hindered by the display’s slightly lower screen specs, but you’re barely going to notice this if you’re wrapped up in an engrossing drama or frenetic game.

The Honor 20 Pro’s speaker seemed fairly decent given the price of the handset, with some mid-range phones, like the Google Pixel 3a, have weaker speakers. Music played on the Honor 20 Pro was fairly loud, and decent-quality – it won’t compare to standalone speakers, or even high-end phone speakers, but that’s understandable for its price.

One nice bonus audio-wise is that the Honor 20 Pro is compatible with Huawe’s excellent Freelace wireless earphones – all you need to do is plug the FreeLace into the Honor 20 Pro to pair them

 Image Credit: TechRadar 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.