Honor is Huawei’s ‘youth’ or budget brand. And despite its sub-£400 price, the Honor 20 has a quad camera system that captures some pretty impressive images and nice-looking video.
Honor has said that the Honor 20 will be upgraded to Android Q, but we’re still waiting to hear if the restrictions imposed upon US companies dealing with Huawei will be lifted in the near future. If these issues are resolved, the Honor 20’s camera gets the thumbs-up from us.
The Honor 20’s camera system is made up of four cameras. These include a 48Mp f/1.8 main camera that’s stabilised, a 16Mp camera with a 117-degree angle of view, a 2Mp macro camera and a 2Mp depth assist camera.
That macro camera enables focusing as close a 4cm.
Naturally, there’s also a camera for shooting selfies. In this case, it’s a 32Mp unit that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to help produce more attractive images. And they’re some of the best I’ve seen.
Despite the high resolution of the main camera, the Honor 20’s default resolution is 12Mp. However, there are two 48Mp settings available if you want to use the full pixel count.
Similarly, the default video setting is 1920 x 1080 at 30fps, but you can elect to shoot in 4K mode.
- 48Mp AI quad camera
- 7nm Kirin 980 AI Chipset
- 32Mp AI front camera
- 3750mAh all-day battery
- Rear camera 48Mp f/1.8 4-axis OIS, 16Mp 117-degree super-wide angle, 2Mp depth assist, 2Mp macro
- Max ISO 102,400
- Display 6.26-inches
- Chipset 7nm Kirin 980 Octa-core, 2xCortex-A76 (2.6GHz max) + 2xCortex-A76 (1.92GHzmax) + 4xCortex-A55 (1.8GHz-max)
- Memory 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM
- OS: Magic UI 2.1.0 (Compatible with Android 9.0)
Build and Handling
Honor has used a sandwhich of metal and glass for the Honor 20’s shell. And while it lacks a little of the Huawei P30 Pro curvaceousness, it has a nice-quality feel.
The native camera app is easy to use, following a similar control layout to the Huawei P30 and others. The key shooting mode icons such as Portrait, Photo, Video and More, are arranged along the bottom of the screen while the flash and AI controls are at the top.
There’s a cog icon in the top right corner of the screen which gives access to settings like the resolution, location tag, watermark and composition guideline grid.
Tapping the More icon reveals a collection of additional shooting modes including Pro and Aperture. Pro mode allows you to control aspects such as the metering mode, shutter speed, sensitivity (ISO), focus mode, white balance and exposure compensation.
If you tap the settings icon in Pro mode, you’ll find that it’s also possible to save images as raw files.
Meanwhile, aperture mode simulates the effect of using different aperture settings. You can set the aperture value before or after taking the shot. However, you can only adjust the aperture of shots captured in Aperture mode.
I mainly shot with the Honor 20 in its default settings, and the results are very pleasing. Using the AI setting also helps to bring out some detail and balance the exposure across the frame.
However, in good light, the 48Mp images look a bit more natural than the 12Mp versions – at least when they’re viewed on a large screen at about A3 size. If you’re planning to use the images to make 10×8-inch prints, or share them on Facebook, the 12Mp setting is ideal.
The zoom settings are useful when you’re shooting still images, but I’d avoid using them when shooting 4K video. The wide setting can produce some accepatble results in good light, but the 2x zoom images look rather soft.
There’s no control over the stabilisation of the Honor 20’s video, but it works very well, particularly in Full-HD mode. I’m impressed at the steadiness of the video I shot while being driven down a country road.
In Aperture mode, the Honor 20 also does a good job of replicating the out of focus effect of shooting with a wide aperture on a camera with a larger sensor. It manages to distinguish the subject well from the background and there aren’t any major issues with artefacts.
Honor 20 Image Gallery
The Honor 20’s camera is a great choice for snapshots and general, day-to-day photography. It majors on producing bright, well-exposed images with vibrant colour. If you like to pixel-peep you may be a little put off by the slight watercolour appearance of some images, but at normal viewing and sharing sizes the results are good.
If you’re interested in shooting video, I’d suggest sticking with Full-HD. The results aren’t quite up there with those from a good action camera like the DJI Osmo Action or GoPro Hero7 Black, but they’re great for capturing off-the-cuff fun and day-to-day events.
Perhaps the biggest question about the Honor 20 right now is how the US trade restriction situation is going to playout. If the problem is resolved, the Honor 20 is well worth your attention.