First impression of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro goes up for pre-order in South Africa tomorrow (24th October), with the Chinese company’s latest flagship phone having been unveiled in London last week.

With a few more days to go until the devices actually ship to local customers, we thought we’d weigh in on the Mate 20 Pro and offer up our first impressions of the smartphone.

Shiny new toy

One of the first things that struck us about the 6.39″ Mate 20 Pro is its highly reflective surface. Huawei has opted to swathe this particular device in a lot of glass, with this new offering looking even more shiny than the P20 Pro that debuted earlier in the year.

This device will ship locally in a black and the popular Twilight colour option, with the latter clearly the one Hypertext was seeded.

While it is indeed a handsome device, the glass naturally serves as a magnet for fingerprints and smudges, and ultimately means you’ll be wiping down the Mate 20 Pro several times throughout the day.

Add to this the fact that you’ll not want to get any unsightly scratches on the back cover and more of the time you’ll be carrying around the Mate 20 Pro in some sort of protective case.

As such this phone suffers from the same issue that several other flagships do. Namely that their glass and aluminium-heavy designs mean that users will have to cover up most of the phone in order to protect it, which is a bit of a pity if you ask us.

Sharp shooting camera

Next thing to look at is the triple camera setup on the rear, which Huawei is calling a matrix design, with three lenses and a flash housed in a square format.

It’s the second triple camera system that Huawei has used on a flagship phone this year, and unlike the P20 Pro, is placed in the centre of the Mate 20 Pro’s back cover.

This placement is specifically to take advantage of the wide-angle capabilities imbued into this Leica-certified setup.

The addition of wide-angle shooting is quite handy depending on the type of photography you favour, but even if you don’t take many landscape or building pictures, the Mate 20 Pro’s cameras are good in just about every scenario.

Add to that the scene detection function, and it’s quite easy to begin shooting good pictures.

Super Macro picture taken with Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

Powerful internals

One of the other elements we were intrigued to check out on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro was its processor performance.

Armed with the new 7 nanometer Kirin 980 chipset and 6GB RAM, the Mate 20 Pro is one of the most powerful smartphones of 2018 on paper, so how does it fare when benchmarking?

To find out how it performs we opted for AnTuTu (v7.1.0), with it recording a score of 270 969, with the CPU portion measuring 101 744 with it bettering 99 percent of the devices tested on the platform.

The impressive benchmark score is matched by an equally solid in-hand experience, with the Mate 20 Pro speedily switching between apps and handling multitasking quite well.

While we still have to test out the phone over a longer period, the early verdict is quite promising for the Mate 20 Pro when it comes to the performance of its components.

First impression

On paper the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is well specced, and in the short time that we’ve been using it, seems to be living up to the billing. It’s also a good looking device, but you won’t be able to appreciate it as a phone cover is the go-to choice if you wish to keep it looking pristine.

We’re still coming to grips with the user interface, which is one area that Huawei has failed to impress us in the past. For now, if you’re wanting a powerful phone with a superb camera and a few nifty features, the Mate 20 Pro is ticking those boxes… for now.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.