With the whole Huawei v.s. The US of A thing going on, it’s hard not to take into account the future of Huawei owned HONOR. Will future HONOR phones come without Android compatibility? Will my current HONOR phone eventually stop getting updates altogether? Well, if the rumours about Huawei’s new HongMeng OS are anything to go by, you guys have nothing to worry about. The OS will apparently be 60% faster… or 30% faster (depending on who you believe) than Android on top of being compatible with Android apps. So when it comes to the HONOR 20, you have nothing to worry about. Well not yet at least. This also brings us to the end of this redundant paragraph that serves as the intro to the review. Lets get to it then shall we!
Okay so it’s worth noting that I won’t be getting into too much technical details of the HONOR 20. You can find all of that on9, as the kids say these days. We’re going to focus on the more practical aspects of the phone, and whether or not you, the every day user, should get your hands on the device.
The first thing you’ll notice about the phone is that it’s so damn blue! That is, if you get the blue variant, which is the one we got. To be honest, my first impressions of the general aesthetic of the phone wasn’t positive. The company raved about the process it put into designing the back of the phone and it seemed like a lot of work. Here’s an excerpt from their release regarding the design on the back of the device.
HONOR introduces a multi-dimensional, Dynamic Holographic glassback. Meticulously crafted through HONOR’s industry-first Triple 3D Mesh technique, the two-stage process first creates a depth layer using nanotechnology to engrave millions of miniature prisms Upon completion of this intricate process, the engineers continue with the assembly of 3D curved glass, colour layer, and depth layer. As light passes through the prisms in the depth layer, light is reflected and refracted in all directions.
It sounds like a lot of work went into the design, and my first impressions of it were based on the fact that pretty much every HONOR phone already looks kind of like that. However, as I used the phone on a more regular basis, I started to really notice that 2-stage 3D Mesh technique they were raving about. The back of the phone looks brilliant in the sunlight and is a real eye-catcher. Of course it collects the odd fingerprint here and there, but i’m starting to give up on smartphone manufacturers when it comes to this department. If you can’t beat em, join em, right?
Moving over to the front of the phone, the punch hole camera that started with their View 20 series has made its way to the HONOR 20 and it’s even better this time around, as the company claims it’s the smallest punch hole camera on the market right now. Personally, I don’t like the front facing camera being off centre, but that’s really a personal preference thing. In terms of how intrusive it is, it’s really not so bad.
One thing you’ll either love or hate about the HONOR 20 is that the power button also functions as the fingerprint scanner. I thought it was pretty cool when I first received the phone as it is rather different from other phones out there. The scanner even works like a charm, very quickly unlocking the device at the slightest touch of my thumb. But that also turned out to be pretty annoying. I tend to place my thumb in the general area of the power button when i’m holding the phone and it tends to unlock even when I don’t want it to unlock! It’s rather annoying but perhaps it’s just me.
One thing I KNOW you’ll hate is the fact that there isn’t a 3.5mm audio jack on the device. Simply ridiculous! Why hasn’t there been a petition pleading manufacturers to do away with this single USB-C slot concept that they all seem to love? Or can someone at least explain the rationale behind the concept to me? I’m all ears! In regards to battery life, the 3750 mAh battery does the trick, lasting a full day of usage without any worries.
Now to the main event! The quad camera setup. So I guess it’s indicative of the smartphone market that just a mere month or so after HONOR launched their first triple camera setup in the 20 Lite, they’ve now released a quad camera device. They grow up so fast! That being said, HONOR has the privilege (though with the recent ban, it’s really looking more like a thorn in their side) of sharing technological innovations with Huawei. The quad camera setup is reminiscent of that of the P30 and that’s a premium priced flagship! The HONOR 20 comes with a Sony IMX586 48MP main camera, a 16MP Super Wide Angle Camera, an 8MP Telephoto Camera, and the 2MP Macro Camera, which of course allows for both wider and closer shots.
In this day and age, how good the camera on a smartphone is makes all the difference and if you’re looking for an affordable smartphone with a decent camera, the HONOR 20 is the phone for you. It is worth noting that more cameras don’t necessarily mean better quality photos, and it is rather evident in the HONOR 20. I’m not saying the photos are terrible but for all the marketing and promotional push for its cameras, I guess I expected better? It’s definitely a versatile shooter, with the wide angle lens and 2 MP macro lens giving you options but I found the 2MP depth sensor a little lacking. Again though, I can’t complain given the price of the phone, which i’ll get to in a bit. With the front facing punch-hole design housing a 32 MP camera, low quality selfie’s are essentially a thing of the past.
HONOR prides itself in being a youth driven brand and if you’ve been following the brand, it really does show. The brand has constantly endeavoured to provide maximum features and functionality at minimum cost. With my fellow writer and colleague Rajendran, who is by no means a youngster, recently purchasing an HONOR device, it’s safe to say that the company’s appeal has transcended way beyond the young customers they were targeting. Why did Rajen, a 50-something baby boomer opt for an HONOR device amid a sea of other smartphone brands out there? Well apparently he likes the colour blue. But also because of the company’s attractive price points. Which brings me to the first real plus point for the phone, its price.
At RM 1699, a phone that boasts 4 cameras on the back, a 32 MP front facing camera and some of the latest features is a steal. But then again, HONOR has always priced their smartphones rather competitively, which is why i’ve said that they’ve transcended beyond the young market they were originally aiming for. To be able to provide lower price points without damaging the Huawei brand is a feat in itself, but how long can HONOR be content with staying in Huawei’s shadow? I know their target markets are different, but if the current landscape is indicative of anything, it’s that HONOR is no longer just a brand for the youth.
While the phone is definitely worth the money, it is also worth mentioning that the HONOR 20 Pro is a much better phone and is set to launch in Malaysia in a month or so. With the Pro version rumoured to be priced between RM2000-2500 here in Malaysia, I would say that it might be worth holding off on purchasing the HONOR 20 till the pro version arrives on our shores but surprise surprise, the HONOR 20 hasn’t even arrived in Malaysia yet. There’s been a delay in shipment apparently, which is funny because they had a big launch for it and everything.
So long story short, would I recommend the phone? Yes. But should you buy it? Probably not. Wait for the Pro version to launch here, if it ever does. I do know that they plan on launching it, but given the delay of the HONOR 20, it’s anyones guess as to whether or not it will arrive in Malaysia.
Lots of Value for money, but you can get that and so much more from the Pro version. Probably one of the top 3 best sub 2000 Ringgit phones on the market at the moment though.