• Full Review
  • Specifications

Full Review

In 2018 Honor launched the Honor 10, a phone which in many ways matched or beat a number of the year’s flagships, but cost half as much. Now, the brand is back with the Honor 20, and it’s trying to do the same thing all over again.

First impressions are positive – the chipset is high-end, the price is mid-range, and you get four rear cameras. But it’s not a perfect phone, as we’ll show below.

The real question though is does it do enough to cement its place as 2019’s standout flagship killer? For the answer to that, read on.

Screen

The Honor 20 has a 6.26-inch 1080 x 2340 screen with a pixel density of 412 pixels per inch. As such there are a lot of ‘quites’ here. It’s quite big, quite high resolution and quite sharp, but in no way a match for the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10, with its 550ppi pixel density, let alone the Sony Xperia 1 with its 643 pixels per inch.

It also lacks fancy tech like the OnePlus 7 Pro’s 90Hz refresh rate, and it uses IPS LCD, rather than OLED, with the latter generally considered superior.

This is all fine though, as for the money the Honor 20 doesn’t need any of that. It offers a very decent picture, in a decent size, with minimal bezel, which is more than most £400 phones can say.

Design

Honor 20 Design

As noted above, the Honor 20 has very little bezel. There’s a small strip below the screen, but not much, while at the top Honor has opted for a punch-hole camera rather than a notch or large bezel.

It’s a good, modern look, and the rear is no less impressive, with a reflective glass finish that’s rather showier than most handsets. Add in metal sides and to look at it you’d think this phone costs a lot more than it does. We’d call that a win.

The lack of an official water resistance rating is a bit of a let-down, but when even the OnePlus 7 Pro, which costs half as much again, doesn’t have one, we can’t be too down on it about that.

Power

There’s almost no compromise when it comes to power, as the Honor 20 uses an octa-core Kirin 980 chipset. That’s the same as the Huawei P30 Pro (a real flagship) uses, and it’s backed up by 6GB of RAM.

Now, some phones do have more RAM than that, and while the Kirin 980 is a high-end chip, it’s not quite the fastest available to phones, but handsets with faster chipsets almost all cost more, and you shouldn’t notice any lack of speed or power here. The Honor 20 is capable of zipping through most tasks, including running demanding games.

Camera

Honor 20 Camera

The Honor 20 has four lenses on the back, which is more than almost any other phone in this price bracket.

There’s a 48MP f/1.8 main lens, a 16MP f/2.2 wide-angle lens, a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor (ideal for portrait shots) and a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens, for close-up photography.

The macro lens is worth special mention, as it’s something very few phones have, though what the Honor 20 lacks is a telephoto lens, which would arguably be more useful. Still, what’s here is impressive.

While the Honor 20’s photography skills aren’t quite a match for most flagships, it’s still capable of taking some very pleasing photos. In fact, it works quite well even in low light, thanks to a dedicated Night Mode.

The Honor 20 can also shoot solid video at up to 2160p at 30fps, and there’s a 32MP camera on the front, which is a good enough spec to please most selfie fans.

Features

Beyond the features mentioned above (and below) it’s worth noting that the Honor 20 has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. So there’s no fancy in-screen scanner here, but it works well.

The Honor 20 also runs Android 9, which is the latest version of Android at the time of writing. That’s good, but what’s not quite so good is the Magic UI placed on top. This is the company’s own interface and as is typical with Honor and Huawei it’s cluttered and generally unappealing to our eyes – though that’s somewhat subjective.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

The Honor 20 has a 3,750mAh battery, which is a respectable but not massive size for a phone of this scale.

Its longevity is more than respectable though, with moderate mixed used allowing for over a day of life. You may even get to two if you’re careful, but a day and a half is about what most people should probably expect. It charges fast too, with the included 22.5W charger giving it up to a 50% charge in just 30 minutes. There are faster charging phones, but this has most beat.

Memory meanwhile comes in at 128GB. There’s no choice and no microSD card slot, but 128GB is a fairly hefty amount.

For connectivity options you get the usual selection, including Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC.

Verdict

The Honor 20 is every bit as impressive by 2019 standards as the Honor 10 was by 2018 standards. It has high-end power, a great design, a good screen, five capable cameras (including the front-facing one), and decently long battery life.

The software leaves something to be desired and it lacks a few features, such as water-resistance, wireless charging and a microSD card slot, but these are minor issues, especially given the price of the phone.

All in all it’s one of the very best phones you can get for around £400 SIM-free at the time of writing. We do however have to add one caveat – Huawei (which owns Honor) has a slightly questionable future in the world of Android, given its legal tussles with the US. Its future looks more promising than it did once, but it remains possible that the company will be locked out of Android updates in the future.

We haven’t marked the Honor 20 down for this, and it shouldn’t be a major concern for most buyers – it may well not happen, and if it does it may not affect the Honor 20. And not all phones get much in the way of updates anyway. But it’s worth being aware of.

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Specifications

Specifications

  • Dimensions (mm): 154.3 x 74 x 7.9
  • Weight (g): 174
  • Battery capacity (mAh): 3750
  • Colours: Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue, Icelandic white, Phantom Blue
  • Screen size (inches): 6.26
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2340
  • Pixels per inch (PPI): 412
  • Processor: Octa-core
  • Processor make: HiSilicon Kirin 980
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Internal storage: 128GB
  • Expandable storage up to: N/A
  • Camera: 48MP, 16MP, 2MP and 2MP (32MP front-facing)
  • Operating System: Android 9

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