For quite a few years, megapixels have been equated with the prowess of a mobile camera – more the better. If megapixels alone were enough, Huawei’s 2018 flagship can probably blow the competition out of the water. Close to a 100MP come together in all the different lenses embedded in this device. But that’s not Huawei’s sales pitch. This is the first ever Leica camera with three lenses that seamlessly merge to create a superlative rear camera experience. Huawei would like us to believe that it’s not just the best smartphone they’ve put together, but also the best smartphone camera ever. Period.
I got my first taste of Huawei’s unique partnership with the legendary German brand, Leica back in 2016. After two weeks through some of Italy and Paris’ most photogenic spots, I was convinced that the Leica stamp of approval did matter. The P20 Pro raises the bar, addressing two key challenges that have always slighted smartphone cams – optical zoom and lowlight photography. The three lenses are arranged vertically on the top left corner of the device. It’s probably the first thing you’d notice about this device, not just because of the slight protrusion, but also because of the fact that this is path-breaking.
Huawei has upped its design game over the last 24 months or so; the P20 Pro can hold its own with the priciest flagships with its premium build. The brand’s predilection for blue ensures that you have the choice of a standout blue chassis. The other clever aspect of the design is the placement of the fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen, despite knocking off the bezels with a screen to body ratio of above 80 percent. This is a contrast from the approach followed by the likes of Samsung and OnePlus, who’ve both pushed their fingerprint sensors to the rear of the devices. But the all-glass back also means that this device can be slippery.
The P20 Pro’s design is complemented by a vibrant 6.1-inch display (1080 x 2240 pixels / 408 PPI) with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. Yes, the 16:9 screen aspect ratio is clearly passé for flagship devices. If you’re still undecided about the notch that we first spotted on the iPhone X, you have to deal with the same with the P20 Pro. It’s smaller than the one the X but it’s still there. The other thing that we don’t particularly fancy about the P20 Pro is Huawei’s custom UI – EMUI, that masks the Android interface somewhat. This is by no means a deal breaker. Huawei gives this device enough love in the hardware department – a zippy Kirin 970 octa-core processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of Internal storage and a robust 4000 mAh battery that won’t let you down.
Ultimately this device is about its cam. The 24MP selfie cam tends to go slightly overboard on the beautification mode – those bags under your eyes may not surface even on a Monday morning after a blurry weekend. The rear-cam setup features a 40MP lens (f/1.7 aperture), a 20MP monochrome camera (that allows extra light and depth) and an 8MP telephoto lens that brings zoom magnification to the party. Huawei packs multiple shooting modes including a monochrome option that I first enjoyed using with the P9. Lowlight photography is stellar and puts in the same elite band as the Samsung S9+.
The ability to shoot at 5X zoom without any loss in resolution is the device’s biggest ace and opens up a whole host of options for users. Think about all those cool overhead images you can snap from a window seat into your favourite city or holiday destination. It’s the one big reason why the P20 Pro should be a part of your consideration set (costs Rs 64,999/- and will be available from May 3, 2018) if you’re looking to upgrade ahead of your summer break.