Honor View20 Unboxing and First Impressions

Huawei is one of the few companies in the world apart from Apple and Samsung to have their phone’s system on chips made in-house. This means a lot of things but most importantly, the research and development to do something new requires lesser time compared to the competition. The result of this advantage is that the Honor View 20 carries a lot of world’s-first, but soon common-2019 features. Launching globally on the 22nd of January and in India on the 29th, the View 20 not only aims to be 2019’s first 2019-phone but also be the most valuable mid range flagship.

A laser drilled hole for the front camera means maximum screen to body ratio, a 48 MP + 3d ToF camera with AI means pictures that can be blown up and accurate 3d scene mapping, a flagship Kirin 980 chip means features and performance you see only in the high end, an attractive design means the legacy of interesting looking Honor phones continues, but more than anything if they get the price right, the Honor View 20 could potentially become a OnePlus killer. These are my first impressions, read on.

Here is what you get in the box –

and here are the full specifications of the phone –

Honor View20 specifications

  • 6.4-inch (1080 x 2310 pixels) FHD+ LCD IPS display with 96% NTSC Color Gamut
  • HUAWEI Kirin 980 (2 x Cortex A76 2.6 GHz + 2 x Cortex A76 1.92 GHz + 4 x Cortex A55 1.8 GHz) processor with  720 MHz ARM Mali-G76MP10 GPU
  • 6GB / 8GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB storage / 8GB LPDDR4x RAM with 256GB storage
  • Android 9.0 (Pie) with Magic UI 2.0
  • Dual SIM
  • 48MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, AIS, TOF 3D secondary camera
  • 25MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture
  • Dimensions: 156.9 × 75.4 × 8.1mm; Weight: 180g
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz), Bluetooth 5 LE, GPS (L1 + L5 dual band), NFC, USB Type-C
  • 4000mAh (typical) / 3900mAh (minimum) battery with Super Charge fast charging

For me, camera is the most important feature in a smartphone. A 48 MP camera, the Sony IMX586 sensor, as the main unit would mean creating extremely detailed images that have the ability to scale into a big poster if needed but at the same time, will have enough data for creating a super rich 12 MP image with 4-in-1 pixel binning, which Huawei calls its light fusion technology. So, I’m personally very excited to create images on the Honor View 20.

In addition to the main camera there is a 3D time-of-flight based secondary camera that can sense the depth of a surrounding up to 25 meters whereas current depth sensors can do about 2 to 5 meters. This excites me because they promise a millimeter level accuracy in depth-sensing which would result in insanely accurate bokeh shots. Beyond this, it is possible to create 3D maps of people, places and even play kinect-like games. More in the review.

Next feature of this phone that I’d highlight is the design, which is not restricted to just the back of the phone, but on the front too. Of course, I’m talking about that in-display cut out for the camera. I feel this is the best implementation of the notch yet. It’s a really small cut out, apparently measuring just 4.7mm, holding a 25 MP sensor. In my experience, the hole is barely visible during use and definitely not as intrusive as even a teardrop notch. Get ready for more of these in 2019.

No wonder they call it the “All-view display”. The cut out is offset to the top left of the screen, which is a 6.4 inch panel with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. There is indeed, a chin, but it’ll be as big as the one on the Mate 20 pro or the Honor 8x. It’s easily visible because the top is zero-bezel.

The fingerprint scanner is located at the back, so you don’t have in-display fingerprint scanners or wireless charging, which are decidedly top-end features. These are all indications for a more affordable price, which bodes well for the View 20 because the aesthetics of this phone just blew me away.

Disclosure, I’m a big fan of good looking smartphones. Design and build quality matters a lot to me, so I’ll applaud any phone manufacturer who has these in mind while designing the phone. I have been a big fan of how the Huawei and Honor phones have looked over 2018, starting with the P 20 Pro. It has just gotten progressively better and the whole industry is now following Huawei design language with a glossy back, attractive colors, sometimes with a gradient. I approve.

The Honor View 20 takes it to the next level, with a V-shaped glossy pattern, a super comfortable grip and an excellent metal-glass combination for the build that feels premium and strong. The V-shaped pattern is really attractive in bright light and subdued in normal scenarios where the color takes center stage. Either way, I love the design and the build quality of this phone, it’s flagship level.

Which brings me to the chipset, which usually decides whether a phone is flagship-level or not. The Kirin 980 chipset is right now on Huawei’s flagship Mate 20 Pro, and is coming to the View 20. So, the View 20 will perform like a flagship and have dual NPUs helping it in AI and so on. What does this mean? Well, if we get to know that the pricing is very competitive, on the 29th of January, OnePlus beware, a premium mid range flagship is coming for your market.

I’ll be going more in-depth in the review, so if you have any specific questions, post them in the comments below, and we’ll get to it in the review! Also, what do you think of the View 20? I think it’s pretty cool, do let me know your thoughts as well!

Author: Bharadwaj Chandramouli

Bharadwaj is a content creator who has been obsessed with technology since the early days of smartphones. He loves talking about tech, is a fan of good design and photography. You can follow him on Twitter @gadgetbuff_ to know what he's upto!