Honor 20: Cheap high-end smartphone in the test

The Honor 20 looks like the more expensive top model Honor 20 Pro. It also has 4 main cameras, lots of memory and the same, fast processor. There is really no reason to resort to the pro model. Or is it?

Honor 20 Lite, Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro (review) are the latest models from the Huawei subsidiary. Especially the great value for money of the Honor 20 makes it hard, because not access. Because the device is externally hardly distinguishable from the Pro model and technically almost equally well equipped.

At first glance, the Honor 20 and the Honor 20 Pro are almost confusingly similar. The size is identical, the camera unit is placed on the back top left, the metal frame gently rounded and attached the power button and fingerprint sensor on the right side. If you take a closer look – or look at the data sheet of both models – there are differences. The Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro with 154.3 × 74 millimeters are actually the same size, but the Pro model is slightly thicker at 8.4 instead of 7.9 millimeters. The weight of the Pro model is also 182 grams ahead of the Honor 20, which is 8 grams lighter. Otherwise, at least in front and at the sides everything is the same. The Honor 20 offers the same, almost 6.3-inch IPS LCD with punch hole Notch top left for the front camera. On the right, the volume rocker and power button and fingerprint sensor are embedded in a rounded frame. Even the IR blaster on the front of the smartphone is identical.

Guessing Game: Which device is the Honor 20? Resolution: The lower one.

This also applies to the great workmanship. The cheaper Honor 20 has the same plastic antenna strips in the metal frame as the Pro. But you can only see them when you look closely, you can not feel them when you're stroking them with your finger. Even otherwise, the workmanship is impeccable. Different are the colors of the two models. Depending on the light incidence and color variant, they change from black to turquoise or from black to purple depending on the light pattern and color, the Honor 20 is available in blue or black – without color gradient. The manufacturer suggests the naming, however, only: When pro model, the colors are a bit mysterious Phantom Blue and Phantom Black, in the Honor 20 quite meaningful Midnight Black and Sapphire Blue, Chic is our blue test model but also without play of colors, especially as light is strikingly reflected and has a similar depth effect as the Pro model. At very low viewing angles, the dark blue turns into black, despite alleged lack of color.

Camera arrangement and labeling differ slightly.

Although the camera on the back is positioned almost the same, the arrangement of the individual elements within the elongated camera module is different. For example, the manufacturer positions the laser autofocus among the three camera lenses in the Pro model, while the LED flash is housed together with the macro lens next to it. In the cheaper Honor 20, there is no laser autofocus, in its place here is the LED flash housed. The also next to the threefold camera attached macro lens is therefore alone. Even the caption of the cameras is different – Peanuts. Overall, the Honor 20 is just as high-quality, as his big brother.

The Honor 20 has the same high-quality IPS LC display as the Honor 20 Pro. It measures 6.26 inches, has a resolution of 2340 × 1080 pixels and thus comes with a high image sharpness of 412 pixels per inch. The remaining parameters such as brightness, color rendering and viewing angle stability are also convincing. As with the Pro model but also missing an always-on display. More information about the display can be found in the test of the Honor 20 Pro.

Four cameras are four cameras, so Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro are equally good at photos and videos – you might think so. That is not quite so, is clear when looking into the data sheet. Because the main camera with its 48 megapixels and the f / 1.4 aperture, the super wide-angle optics with 16 megapixels, f / 2.2 and 117 degrees field of view and the macro camera with 2 megapixels and open aperture of f / 2.4 are basically the same. There are differences in the fourth camera. The Pro model is a teleoptics with f / 2.4 aperture and 3x magnification, while the Honor 20 only has a 2 megapixel camera for depth detection. Or to put it more clearly: The Honor 20 has no telephoto lens. That is not all. Because the cheaper Honor 20 must not only do without laser autofocus, but also without optical image stabilizer (OIS) – but now have smartphones up to 300 €! The front camera is then the same again, it allows photos with 32 megapixels and f / 2.0.

The camera of the Honor 20 lacks the telephoto lens of the Pro model.

In terms of image quality, this is not noticeable in the light. Here, the light is sufficient to allow short exposure times. This leads to shake-free and correspondingly sharp photos. A difference in image quality in terms of sharpness, detail and image dynamics is then not apparent. You only notice that in low light. Because here is the Honor 20 of the optical image stabilizer, according to the aperture can not be kept open because of the risk of Verwacklern long. As a result, the sharpness of the picture decreases. Thanks to the special night mode with its continuous exposure including AI image stabilization, the cheaper Honor Phone for a smartphone without OIS but still very passable.

In everyday life therefore disturbs rather the lack of another feature. While the Honor 20 Pro offers 3x optical magnification, 5x hybrid zoom and up to 30x digital zoom, the Honor 20 offers only 2x hybrid zoom and up to 10x digital zoom. With the hybrid zoom, the quality is fine, but the digital magnification should rather be ignored right now. As a result, the photographic freedom of the user is significantly reduced. If you often have the opportunity to take high-quality pictures of distant subjects without having to relocate the Pro model, the Honor 20 will almost completely lack this option. Since it almost seems like a mockery that the Telelinse Honor 20 Pro was replaced in the Honor 20 against a lens for depth detection – especially since portrait shots with artificial bokeh is not better than the Pro model. The extensive software offering of the camera app, however, is the same for both models. More about this can be found in the test of the Honor 20 Pro.

The Honor 20 is powered by the Kirin 980, Huawei's top processor, like the more expensive brother. Although it does not quite match its counterpart to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 855, when it comes to performance in benchmarks, it still offers significantly more power than current apps demand. Antutu, for example, certifies the smartphone just under 287,000 points, which is an extremely good value. Because of the same chipset, the rest of the hardware features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS are identical. Main difference to the Pro model in the equipment are memory and internal memory, here offers the Honor 20 "only" 6 instead of 8 GB of RAM and 128 instead of 256 GB of internal memory. It is not expandable even with the "small top model". Even the fingerprint sensor in the Powerbutton, which can be used as a right-handed person comfortably with the thumb, reacts just as fast and reliably as with the more expensive model.

The fingerprint sensor in the power button works just as well as the pro model.

Also the same: the software. Honor installs Android 9 with Magic UI 2.1 as the user interface on both Honor-20 models. The security patch comes from April 1, 2019, here the manufacturer should reload as quickly as possible. What changes Magic UI and further information on software and hardware can be found in the test of the Honor 20 Pro.

The battery is the last thing that distinguishes Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro. While the pro model is equipped with a 4000 mAh battery, the battery in the Honor 20 with 3750 mAh has a slightly lower capacity. Because of the otherwise largely identical features – especially in the display and processor – it is not surprising that the cheaper model also has a shorter runtime. If the Pro version in our video test still managed almost 13 hours, this value drops to almost 12 hours on the Honor 20. That's still good, depending on the usage behavior it can be done for 1 to 3 days. Wireless charging is also not available on the Honor 20. Since this is not the top model, it is easier to get over than the Honor 20 Pro. The Honor 20 also needs around 1.5 hours for a full battery charge.

The Honor 20 is available in two color variations: Midnight Black and Sapphire Blue. The memory configuration is always the same with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory and the price is also identical to 499 Euro (RRP).

Honor 20 128GB midnight black

Honor 20 128GB sapphire blue

Is the Honor 20 a good smartphone? Yes, on its own. But is it really necessary? No it is not. Because it's just too close to the pro model, priced and technical. Same processor, same display, same design – you can see that positively, because you get a lot more for even less money than the pro version. Because even if memory equipment and camera were slimmed down, both are still well positioned. On the other hand, you can just grab the Honor 20 Pro for just € 100 more. This offers twice as much storage space, even more RAM and a camera with additional 3x magnification, 5x hybrid zoom and optical image stabilizer. Add to that a stronger battery – why buy the Honor 20? A stronger differentiation would have done the smartphone good.


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