Author(s): Ben Wood
At an event held today in Paris and attended by CCS Insight, Huawei unveiled its new P20 and P20 Pro smartphone line-up. The devices reflect the current trend for near-edgeless displays as well as a "notch" design popularized by Apple's iPhone X. They appear competitive when compared with rival phones from Apple and Samsung.
Huawei P20 Pro and P20
The P20 and P20 Pro boast an attractive design with a high-quality finish. The phones are powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset, providing them with market-leading features like gigabit LTE (Category 18). The handsets also have larger batteries than competitors, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+.
In our opinion, the P20 Pro is the standout product, thanks to its camera capabilities. At first, we worried that the decision to integrate three cameras was little more than cynical ploy to offer something different for the sake of being different, but having tried the device we now take a different view. The phone produces an impressive 5x telephoto zoom and we've always been fans of a dedicated monochrome lens, which is also found in previous Huawei devices and the Nokia 8. Other clever features include tips to help users straighten pictures and the phone's "AI image stabilization", which allows people to capture a long-exposure shot of eight seconds without a tripod.
Over the past few years, Huawei has firmly established itself as the third-biggest mobile phone maker worldwide and has succeeded where many other Chinese phone makers have failed, in securing a global presence and brand. The only the notable exception is the US, where it's limited to indirect channels after sales through US carrier AT&T were blocked. However, we expect the money allocated for a big marketing push in the US will be diverted to Western markets, making the launch of the P20 devices the biggest campaign we've seen from Huawei.
The new devices are a testament to Huawei's ambition in the smartphone market. Year on year, the company is consistently improving the design, capabilities and appeal of its smartphones. It seems likely the current smartphone market leaders, Apple and Samsung, will be looking over their shoulders at Huawei as it becomes an ever-increasing threat.
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