HUAWEI’s HONOR brand launched the HONOR 20i smartphone in India last week. It is an upgraded version of the Honor 10 Lite smartphone that was launched earlier this year, and comes with triple rear cameras, 32-megapixel front camera and more. Specifications look good in paper, how about the real-life performance? Let us find out in the view.
- HONOR 20i smartphone in Gradient Blue color
- Micro USB Cable
- 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
- SIM Ejector tool
- Clear protective case
- User manual and warranty information
Display, Design, and Hardware
The Huawei P20 Lite comes with a 6.21-inch Full HD+ LCD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, pixel density of 415 PPI, 19.5:9 aspect ratio with a notch and a screen-to-body ratio of about 83%. The display is bright, offers good color reproduction, has good viewing angles and the sunlight legibility is good as well.
Similar most other latest HUAWEI and HONOR phones with a notch, this has an option to hide the notch at the top of the display that darkens the surrounding areas. Since this has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio screen, you can pinch to zoom to fill the screen when you use apps like YouTube, but the content is cropped. You can also select apps to enable full screen display, but it might not work for all apps. You can also select the screen resolution to HD+ or select the smart resolution that automatically lowers the screen resolution to help save power.
You can also change the colour temperature from Default to Warm or Cold. You can also set your preferred colour temperate from Normal to Vivid or use the color circle to change the color temperature. The Eye comfort mode filters the blue light so the screen has a yellowish tint when the mode is enabled. This is more useful when you are reading at night as it avoids eye strain.
On the top inside the notch, there is an earpiece, 32-megapixel camera along with the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors, but it doesn’t have a notification LED. It has gyroscope and magnetic sensor otherwise known as magnetometer for VR headsets.
Even though the phone uses on-screen navigation, it has a small bezel below the screen.
Coming to hardware buttons and the ports, the phone has a volume rocker and the power button on the right side, hybrid dual SIM slot on and the secondary microphone on the top, and the 3.5mm audio jack, micro USB port, primary microphone and the loudspeaker grill on the bottom.
Similar to some HONOR phones, this also has a Hybrid dual SIM slot that accepts two nano SIM cards or a nano SIM and a microSD. This might not be preferred by everyone, but the 128GB storage makes up for it.
The gradient back incorporates 3D lithography technology that offers a gleaming effect when light hits at certain angles. The build quality is good, even though it is not glass, and the back doesn’t attract fingerprints. Under the back there is a 3,400 mAh battery. The phone measures 154.8×73.64×7.95mm and weighs 164 grams, making it comfortable to hold the phone. It is recommended to use the bundled clear cover to protect the back. Overall the build quality of the phone is good, and the phone has a premium design.
Coming to the camera, the phone a has a 24-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture along with a 2-megapixel secondary camera with f/2.4 aperture for portrait shots as well as 8-megapixel 120° ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.4 aperture. On the front there is a 32-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture.
The Camera UI is similar to other HONOR phones that has a HiVision visual search, toggle for flash, moving picture mode, AI toggle and settings option, while the bottom bar houses mini-gallery, shutter button, and on the side there is an option to switch to wide angle camera.
It has Aperture, Night mode, Portrait, Photo, Video, Pro mode, Panorama, AR lens, Light painting, HDR, Time-lapse, Filter and Stickers. The portrait mode has beautify mode and lighting effects. The front camera also offers the same amount of features. Even though it has several features, it doesn’t support RAW image capture.
Coming to the image quality, daylight images are good, macro shots are fine, and the HDR shots were better. The wide-angle shots are good as well, but the sides look a bit curved due to the lens. Portrait shots are good as well. Low-light shots have noise, but the night shot mode captures better images in poor lighting since the phone has adjustable exposure of up to 32 seconds in the mode. The Night shot mode requires a tripod since the phone needs to be steady. The front camera is pretty good at capturing details, however the portrait bokeh mode is uneven and looks artificial since it uses software to blur the background. Check out the camera samples below (Click the image to view the full-resolution samples).
The phone can record 1080p videos at 60fps, but it doesn’t have 4K video recording. Video quality is good, and the audio is crisp since it has a secondary microphone. Check out the sample below.
Software, UI and Apps
The phone runs on Android 9.0 (Pie) with EMUI 9.0.1 and Android security update for March 2019. Regarding the ongoing issue, HUAWEI has confirmed that it will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing devices, covering those that have been sold and the ones that are still in stock globally. The EMUI 9.0 brings gestures, GPU Turbo 2.0, Translation, AI Shopping, HiVision visual search, Password Vault, Wireless Sharing (Projecting), Digital Balance dashboard, and more.
Like other smartphones, it also has scheduled power on and off option, Flip to mute, pickup to reduce ring and three-finger screenshot gestures. There is also ride mode. Once enabled, callers will be notified that the user is currently riding, and cannot answer calls. The feature essentially functions as a Do-Not-Disturb option that sends a message to the caller saying that the user will not be able to attend the call since they are riding. However, the caller will also get an option to call the rider in case of an emergency. App Twin feature that allows users to log-in and use two different accounts at the same time on the same phone.
Out of 128GB storage, you get 110GB free storage, out of 4GB RAM, 3.7GB is usable, out of which 2GB is free on boot, when default apps are running in the background.
Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, the phone comes with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Camera360, Vigo Video, Netflix, and Booking.com pre-installed, however these can be uninstalled.
Fingerprint Sensor and Face Unlock
The phone comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner on the back, which is comfortable to unlock when you are holding the phone. It unlocks the phone quickly. In this phone, you can add up to 5 fingerprints. And then there is a Fingerprint recognition option, which helps users to find out which fingerprint belongs which ID. You can also take photos or video, answer call, stop alarm, bring down the notification panel and browse photos with it.
It also has Face unlock the can unlock the phone quickly, but it requires a good amount of lighting to work, and is less secure compared to fingerprint.
Music Player, FM Radio and Media
It has a separate music player with support for Huawei Histen sound effects as well as equalizer when you use headphones. Audio through third-party headset is good, and the loudspeaker is good as well. It also has FM Radio support. This doesn’t have Widevine L1 support and only has L3 support, even though some of the latest smartphones in the price range support it, so you can’t watch HD content in Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and other streaming apps.
It supports 4G VoLTE as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 LE and GPS. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives, but it still has micro USB port, while most phones in the price offer USB Type-C. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and earpiece volume was loud as well.
Performance and Benchmarks
It is powered by Huawei’s own Octa-Core Kirin 710 Octa-Core 12nm processor with Mali-G51 MP4 GPU and AI features under the hood. 4GB RAM compliments the hardware in making multi-tasking easier than ever. Talking about the real world experience, the performance is smooth and snappy as we experienced no lag or hang. It is good even for graphic-intensive games like PUBG, but the Qualcomm 660, 675 and 710 SoCs in the competing phones does a better job, even though the company promises better performance with the GPU Turbo 2.0 technology. Check out the synthetic benchmark score below.
It is powered by 3400mAh (typical) / 3320mAh (minimum) battery under the hood, slightly bigger than earlier mid-range HONOR and HUAWEI smartphones. It can last for the whole day even with heavy use, thanks to the optimization, and it should last more than a day with casual use. It also has power saving mode and ultra-power saving mode to increase the battery life. Sadly, the phone doesn’t have fast charging and uses micro USB, which is disappointing.
In our One Charge rating, HONOR 20i scored 16 hours 18 minutes, which is good. Since doesn’t have support for fast charging it takes about 2 hours to charge the phone from 0 to 100% with the bundled charger, and 0 to 50% took about 50 minutes.
At a price tag of Rs. 14,999, the HONOR 20i is decent mid-range smartphone with a good display, attractive design, good performance and worthy cameras with AI, including a good wide-angle camera. It lacks fast charging and uses micro USB port, which is the only major drawback, which the company should work. Othe options in the price range includes the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme 3 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy M30.
The HONOR 20i will be available exclusively from Flipkart and offline stores starting from tomorrow, June 18th.
- Good display
- Good design
- Good selfie camera and triple rear cameras
- Good battery life
- Micro USB Port with no fast charging
- Hybrid Dual SIM might not be preferred by everyone