Huawei’s Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are here and they are truly beastly

During a press event hosted today in London, Huawei unveiled its latest flagship Mate 20 series. We’re looking at two models, the standard Mate 20 which arrives with a tiny teardrop-shaped notch (aka dewdrop), and the more premium Mate 20 Pro which feature a regular-style notch.

The Mate series is Huawei’s answer to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Google’s Pixel 3 XL. Both devices feature large screens and are packed with top tech.

The two models have a few things in common, like being based on the same Kirin 980 processor and running Android 9.0 Pie out of the box with EMUI 9 on top. But they differ in a lot of aspects.

Differences abound

The standard Mate 20 version lacks some of the headline features seen in its larger brother. The phone arrives with a 6.53-inch LCD display and a unique 18:7:9 aspect ratio, but does not have an in-display fingerprint sensor like the Mate 20 Pro. Instead, the phone features a circular authentication sensor on the back. The standard model also lacks the stereo speaker, and IP68 certification that are found in the Pro model.

Huawei Mate 20

Nevertheless, the LCD display on board the Mate 20 comes with an extra white pixel in the RGBW matrix, which translates into an increase in brightness levels. Huawei says the phone rocks an impressive 820 nits.

In contrast, the Mate 20 Pro features a smaller (?!) 6.3-inch OLED display with 1440p resolution, HDR support and 19:5:9 aspect ratio.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Design-wise, the Mate 20 series has glass bodies and offers the now-trademark gradient colors introduced by the company’s previous flagships. However, there’s a new addition to the recipe. Huawei calls this “hyperoptical pattern” which basically translates into the phones being less slippery in hand.

However, this texture will be available only on the Midnight Blue, Emerald Green and Twilight versions. For some reason, the Black and Pink Gold options didn’t get the same treatment.

A bit about the powerful Kirin 980

Introduced back at IFA 2018, the Kirin 980 is marketed as the world’s first 7nm smartphone SoC with a dual-core NPU (Neural Network Processing Unit).

According to Huawei, the new chip improves performance by 20% and energy efficiency by 40% over its predecessor. The dual NPU is one of the standout features of the Kirin 980, and its main purpose is to speed up AI applications such as face recognition, object detection, and object segmentation.

Huawei claims that the chip is 135% faster overall than the Snapdragon 845, and 88% more efficient.

Paired with the Kirin 980, there’s 4GB or 6GB of RAM + 128GB of storage on board of the Mate 20. While the Pro version has either 6GB or 8GB of RAM together with 128GB of storage. In both cases, there’s a nanoSD card slot on board for expansion to up to 256GB.

The cameras

We all know Huawei’s relationship with Leica is a strong one, and the two companies are continuing their long-lasting partnership on the Mate 20 series.

The company introduced the world’s first tri-camera setup with the P20 Pro and on the Mate 20 Pro, it made a few tweaks. For starters, it replaced the monochrome sensor with an 20MP ultra-wide angle one.

The two phones continue to boast the huge 40MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture, which is joined by a 8MP 3x telephoto lens with f/2.4. The main sensor now benefits from a new technology called FusionMind which is capable to achieve 4-in-1 pixel binning in such a way as to bring low-light photographs to a new level. Users will also be able to combine info from all the sensors for ultra-macro shots.

As for the Mate 20, it comes equipped with a less impressive 12MP main + 16MP wide-angle + 8MP telephoto assembly with 2x zoom. Both handsets feature a 24MP front-facing camera which will allow owners to take some stellar selfies. In the case of the Mate Pro, the selfie shooter houses the 3D depth sensor needed for face-unlocking.

Battery

The standard Mate 20 comes equipped with a 4,000 mAh battery, while the Mate 20 Pro relies on a larger 4,200 mAh powerhouse. Huawei is also including a razor-fast 40W charging option on the Pro model, while the standard version gets the “typical” 22W charger.

Huawei says the fast charger on the Pro model can juice up the battery up to 70% in just 30 minutes. Additionally, the device also gets 15W wireless charging abilities and also doubles as a wireless power bank for other phones that support the Qi standard. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging available for the Mate 20.

Price

The Mate 20 will go on sale in select European markets on October 16. Pricing starts at €799 / $924. The Mate 20 Pro will land on retail shelves on the same day, for €1049 / $1214. As for the US, the Mate 20 Pro (but not the Mate 20) will probably become available through third-party retailers like Amazon at some point. Although we can’t tell exactly when it will land.