The Huawei Mate 20 Pro impressed me at the end of 2018, so I took it on a long test to end the year. After 4 months of use, it's time to take stock.
We are early 2019, and Huawei is under the wrath of the US government full force. However, the manufacturer had signed a great year 2018, which ended in style with … the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
My test had already told you: I was conquered by the beast. Enough to take it in long-term testing and see if these short-lived impressions could hold out in the long run. Four months later, it's time to share my balance sheet.
Design and screen: my natural extension
Four months will not have been enough to make my eyes change on the smartphone. I still find it as beautiful and particularly well finished, and still do not get tired of its Twilight color that I always find the most beautiful effect. It does not necessarily turn heads when I take it out of my pocket, but the curiosity is still stung to the point that I was asked many times what model it was. It must be said that its triple photo sensor in the rear organized in a square shape is quite unique. Also, seeing the back of the smartphone often raises a few eyebrows.
I will especially remember these four months how good the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is to use. Its rounded shapes have never ceased to be pleasant to take in hand, whatever the context. Standing in the street or lying in bed, the phone has always been a natural extension of my person. It is however a noticeable thing: all in glass, it grips very easily the grime and the traces of finger, making that I clean it all the same very regularly. Fortunately, its IP68 certification makes the operation a childish simplicity.
Beside that, his screen has never stopped to please me. Set to be closer to natural colors, it only magnifies my favorite content that I take a pleasure to consult on it. His notch soon disappeared from my mind, and never posed a problem to me. The 18: 9 contents are not cut by this one, when forcing the display in full screen does not have a big impact on my viewing pleasure. In full sun as at night, he knows how to be dark enough not to burn my eyes and bright enough to be constantly readable.
Software: the eternal weak point of EMUI
If I am perfectly honest with you, dear readers, I have been, and will remain all my life a magnet for software bugs. No matter which smartphones I use, it seems like I was born to attract to myself the smallest problems. And that did not disappoint with this Huawei Mate 20 Pro. In itself, I have no problem with EMUI 9.0, which integrates all the features I need everyday and makes them very easily accessible.
But I have two major problems: I do not like his design, and I do not like his basic launcher. Changing to the Pixel Launcher, I have not stopped to meet bugs on bugs that I got used to: between a multitasking mode that merges with the active application or appears completely empty and a few jerks here and there, this is not the smooth use that is expected of a premium smartphone. The fact is that I can not unravel what belongs to my launcher and what belongs to the system, but EMUI 9.0 clearly has a small problem with alternative application launchers.
Above all, I have been in the habit of restarting the Huawei Mate 20 Pro almost every day, by necessity. Walking around Paris with the help of Google Play Music, my Bluetooth headset on my ears, and Google Maps launched, I regularly have to notice that something is wrong in my system processes. The signal is simple: if I listen to music, launching Maps, and my music turns off automatically, it's time to restart my phone.
EMUI has always had a somewhat severe management of RAM. But here, it seems more related to a memory leak problem which I could not identify the source. A similar problem is to be seen on the side of the camera, which refuses to start arguing bad conditions, forcing me once again to restart the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Security: Long live 3D facial recognition
If it is however a software aspect on which I am absolutely conquered, it is on the field of security. I do not really use it to its full potential, not really having folders or apps to hide on my phone, but its everyday use is … perfect. I have absolutely no complaints.
Whether it's recognizing me in the dark, in the sun, or even in strange positions, the 3D facial recognition of the smartphone always works perfectly and with extreme speed. That is to say: sometimes I expect to have to use the fingerprint reader under the screen, but the time that my thumb is applied on the screen … I finally clicked on the application directly below the sensor, the phone already recognized me.
By the way, this combination 3D facial recognition and fingerprint reader is just great. As I said in my test, all situations where facial recognition can be frustrating are filled by the fingerprint reader, making it hard for me to unlock my Huawei Mate 20 Pro safely. It can be a bit slow, it can sometimes ask to do it again 2 or 3 times before recognizing my fingerprint, but this player is very powerful and excellent for use.
Photo: Why think when everything is beautiful
I noted in my test Huawei P20 Pro in early 2018 that it was a camera with whom you did not need to think about making a beautiful photo … to make one. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has taken substantially the same configuration, but has exchanged the black and white sensor for a wide-angle sensor also used to make macros.
The only real problem I had identified with the Huawei P20 Pro was that artificial intelligence could push the plug a little too far. On this Huawei Mate 20 Pro, it is fully corrected and the AI never really embarrass the user or distort the picture deeply. Better than that: it really improves the image while maintaining its most natural appearance possible.
So I was able to find exactly what I liked about the Huawei generation of 2018: making beautiful pictures without ever really having to think about what we're doing. No matter the conditions, the pictures are properly bright, clear enough, and really offer a nice catch of a moment. The lossless x3 zoom is still powerful and useful, and does not distort the quality seen without using it.
I must admit that the macro mode has never been very useful. On the other hand, the wide-angle mode quickly found its place in my habits of use, having had more than once the opportunity to be on events on a large scale. Being able to capture the atmosphere of a fighting game tournament is always better in this way. The "Swiss knife camera" aspect is once again taken over and improved, and I still love the possibilities offered by the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Its main weak point is finally its front photo sensor. If it is still very good, it has a little more trouble with low light conditions and its portrait mode is often a bit too aggressive. It is not bad so, and allowed me to make beautiful pictures with my friends … even if my examples are rare, not being a great follower of the selfie I must admit.
Autonomy: perfection in every respect
With its big battery of 4200 mAh, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro had shown some endurance in my initial test. But after a few months, we can always be surprised … which is definitely not the case here, quite the contrary. It is impossible to evaluate the role of artificial intelligence in all of this, but I have no doubt noticed a self-improvement improving week after week to reach what I know today.
And it's simple: holding two full days is amazingly easy with this smartphone. Many times I ended up not coming home during a party, and not once did I have to worry about my Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It's simple: I do not really look at the percentage of battery left before leaving home or office, knowing full well that it will keep the road even though I do.
Its multiple charging possibilities also help in this. I switched to wireless charging with a dock simply placed on my bedside table, and do not regret in the least the cable that hung there in my room. And in my living room, his quick charger allows me to give him as much juice as I need for a full evening on weekends. I plug it, go to my preparations, and disconnected leaving twenty minutes later with as much autonomy as I need to hold two more days.
As for the reverse wireless charging, I must admit that after the fun of demonstrating to my loved ones, I never used this feature again.
Conclusion: for some updates
Note that in just four months, I've only seen two memorable updates to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. And these have never really resolved the concerns that I have met. This is my only real problem with the latest high-end smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer, but it is size. A single flaw … that taints its use a little on a daily basis and makes it frustrating.
But after a little restart, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro becomes again this monster of power and elegance that charmed me during his test. Its curves, its sublime screen, its power, its photo capabilities and its autonomy always make me in my opinion the perfect balance of expectations that we can have a premium smartphone: it does everything, and does it excellently.
Finally, there is no more missing than a software follow-up to the height of the product that created Huawei to solve its defects, and do it more quickly after its marketing. It seems that the latest update being deployed, which I still have not received, corrects some of these problems … but four months after the release of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, for such important concerns, it is a not too late.
Still, I still love using this phone. In view of the software problems that I encounter, you can take it as proof that the product itself remains a small nugget on the market that is difficult to do without.
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