The mobile industry is focusing on achieving a screen absolutely protagonist and the last crusade is to pierce it so that the subjective camera does not take even a lumen of the central focus. Those of HONOR have been among the first to bet on this and we have been able to test it thoroughly in the analysis of the HONOR View20.
A mobile that went to the global market after being officially presented to China and that presents the first flagship of the manufacturer, maintaining values, renewing aspects of design and incorporating the latest front-line processor of the house. An interesting and striking cocktail, above all that both in front and behind, so we will enter the field with our first review of a mobile with a perforated screen for the front camera.
Design: that the flashes are not missing, that the traces do not remain
We would be very surprised to see a HONOR in mate, a sober HONOR, a discreet HONOR. The brand has accustomed us to the fact that color is one of its perennial chromosomes and a brand of the house, in fact it is one of the aspects with more weight in satisfying its target audience par excellence: the young (old and young). Spirit).
Hence, in each of its first-line models the manufacturer seeks that one of the claims is a different touch or something sufficiently different at the level of color and / or finish. And this time it is a layer that leaves a finish in gradients of color and brightness like arrowheads, one over the other.
In our case we have analyzed the terminal in blue (although we could also see red and black in the demos areas of the presentations), and these triangles are observed with different intensities of this color and directional flashes towards where the arrows mark. It is not a finish or a color for those who seek discretion; what has been said, HONOR does not understand that and the umpteenth test is an electric blue, red metallic or black with flashes of the purest style of bumper cars at the fair. Color, color and color
It is a large terminal to integrate a 6.4-inch screen, but it does not get a flashy volume or outside the expected
Beyond this, it is a large terminal to integrate a 6.4-inch screen, but does not get a flashy volume or outside the expected. Neither is heavy or tiresome, although it is quite thick, although we talk about having to integrate a battery of 4,000 milliamps / hour and perhaps a millimeter more screen back that compensates for the fact that the camera no longer counts with the thickness added by the screen
At the same diagonal, of the three mobiles with a perforated screen, the HONOR View20 is the most voluminous and also the one with more weight, but also the one that integrates a bigger battery. It does not present an exaggerated thickness in comparison, being as it is possible to think of the hole a solution that allows not to thicken more the terminals as it happens with the mobile modules, in fact it is still relatively compact taking into account that it integrates a bigger screen than the Huawei P20 Pro in almost the same volume (both with a 4,000 mAh battery).
Despite this thickness, which is not exaggerated at all, it is a comfortable mobile both in its horizontal grip and in vertical to one or two hands. If there is no room for sobriety, there is no room for corners and right angles at the edges of the HONOR View20, thus favoring a pleasant grip.
The materials chosen for your body are glass and metal, which manage to convey the feeling of resistance in a quality construction and good finishes. We may like more or less the colors or that is reflective and not matt, but at least it looks good in the part of achieving a feeling of continuous quality.
There are also two additions very appreciated with this finish beyond the aesthetic: that does not slip too much and that holds up pretty well the fearsome threat of our fingerprints. In fact, it is striking how little the traces remain in comparison with the rest of terminals with glass backs, without miracles but achieving that there is only a subtle trace of our grips and not the relatively usual jumble of footprints.
The rear is the protagonist in its own way with this new finish and it slightly protrudes the modules of the double camera and the flash (something more than the main camera than the flash and secondary). It could not be otherwise and of course we have the usual serigraphs to highlight features such as artificial intelligence or the 48 megapixels of the rear camera, and under all that is the fingerprint reader, positioned at a comfortable height so that the finger falls naturally about him and reading occurs.
And what about the hole? We will talk more about this in the section of the screen because of the implications it has at the interface and interaction level, but as an appetizer we can say that it has been achieved with enough discretion , and we maintain it or not (obviously it will always be, but if we choose to hide it with software as it is sometimes allowed to do with the notch it is virtually integrated into the frame).
As for the distribution of the rest of the elements, we have the volume and power buttons on the right side and no physical button for voice assistant or added function. The audio jack is located on the top and USB type C on the bottom, between the microphone and speaker, and the tray for the SIM and nanoSD on one side, well integrated.
Something that is also achieved is the integration of the handset on the edge , in the style of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 , being a very discreet line between the metallic edge and the glass of the screen. We will always win at discretion the option we saw in the Vivo Nex to use the panel as an audio transmitter and not to place a physical headset, but in any case it is an equally valid alternative if we talk about integrating components with the greatest possible subtlety.
The experience with a perforated screen, as it is
The screen steals more and more surface of the front to the frames and any element that there is to the extent possible so that there are no accidental touches. On this occasion there is no notch and there is a functional screen completely surrounding the front camera, although now we will see what this means, speaking of use and surface.
It is a 6.4-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 1,080 x 2,310 pixels and a density of 398 pixels. This gives a more than sufficient clarity and in this sense you have good experience of reading and viewing any type of content.
The screen is IPS but it is oversaturated and comes a little cold from the factory, giving an almost more AMOLED feel but without the typical degradations of these panels. The maximum brightness level is more than enough for outdoors and in full light, and the automatic brightness adjustment works well when we move from one illuminated environment to a darker one or vice versa, although on very few occasions we have had to readjust it when going to a situation with less lighting (due to excess or lack of brightness).
The content looks good if we exaggerate the angle of vision, both vertically and horizontally. Although the brightness is lost particularly quickly as soon as we tilt the terminal, and the screen gives that feeling of being away from our finger possibly by the thickness of the glass, although this does not interfere in the experience or in the tactile sensitivity, which is correct in everything moment.
Being well at the level of contrast, what is appreciated is that Magic UI has to provide the regulator of the color and temperature of the whites, as well as two options for the vividness of the colors, which we have seen traditionally in EMUI. In this way, we can select the normal color mode (and not the vivid one that is activated by default) if we do not like that oversaturation, besides being able to adjust the tone of the whites and the temperature.
With these simple adjustments the experience can adapt much better to what we like more or we are more accustomed, and the truth is that it is something that is appreciated and that could improve Android in its stock version. Magic UI also adds other visualization settings for elements in the wide and well-adapted toolbar (now we will qualify this) and the option that the window for the camera is integrated in it, because although we read “notch”, there is no notch.
We can also choose what type of interaction we prefer to navigate through the system depending on the buttons or gestures, as well as activate some interesting options such as capturing screen with a touch with the knuckle. These navigation options are a direct inheritance of EMUI, seeing the same interface and options that we observed recently in the Huawei P Smart 2019.
So, as we have been seeing for a long time in the long aspect phones (18: 9, 19: 9 and others), we can also control which apps we want to see full screen and which ones we do not or choose if we want the notification point to appear (it is say, a blue dot on the app icon if there is any notification or message to read). But we miss some extra settings such as having a double touch to activate the screen , more options for the lock screen (allowing for example to see playback controls in multimedia apps) or an ambient screen.
Experience with the hole in the screen
We said: this of the holes shows us many questions. Will the interfaces change? Will it cover elements? Let’s see what happens with this indiscreet window open in a corner of the screen.
It is a hole with a more discreet outline than the Samsung Galaxy A8s, so the irruption is probably less aggressive and the truth is that day to day is not annoying. Yes, largely because the situation is not an element that falls on the interface of any app or system: it is (almost) always inside the toolbar.
In this way, what we see is a rather wide toolbar, about 6.74 millimeters (7.70 millimeters if we count the frame), which is not an exaggeration considering what usually occupies an edge that includes a camera and a standard bar, we will always have that feeling that the content of the bar is floating in a wide river of too many square millimeters.
For having other references, in the OnePlus 6T the set of edge and bar measure 5.89 millimeters (the bar about 4.72 millimeters), in the Vivo Nex are 6.64 for both elements (about 5.13 millimeters for the bar ) and in the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 are 8.47 millimeters, with 5.94 millimeters for the bar. The latter has a bar of width similar to the View20, although the elements appear centered and not aligned in the lower part as in the HONOR.
Would it occupy less the edge-camera-bar set if it had opted for a notch in the shape of a tear or a frame as thin as possible? From our humble point of view it is difficult to know, but perhaps the width of the bar would have been reduced and the elements would not have that extra space in the upper part, as is usually seen in those who have resorted to some of these solutions as in the Huawei Mate 20.
Perhaps the key question is this: Does the hole in the user-interface interaction bother you? “Top” elements? This will always depend on the app or the software that is reproduced, but although it sometimes “covers up” some element or button partially, the fact that it is so on the edge makes it unlikely that it will prevent a tap or annoy.
What happens in some cases is that the app itself adapts and thickens the frame , so that it directly eliminates the problem of holes, notches or whatever there is. It happens for example in the game ‘Formula 1 Mobile Racing’, as we will now see in the screenshots that we give of example (comparing also how it looks without hiding the hole by software).
In the end we like this solution more or less depend more on the aesthetic and manias that we may have that of the functional; the hole is intrinsic to the bar, and the bar is an element to which we are already accustomed. If we choose not to hide it, the sensation of “all screen” is greater because the toolbar is usually mimicked by the interface, and is less drastic than seeing it completely dyed black (evidencing that excess space).
Performance: a liquid cooling that fulfills its duty
It is curious how the cycles of renewal of components and telephones between the iterations of the Kirin and the launching of Smartphone’s are interspersed in the calendar. Huawei’s high-end processors hit the market with the change of course, in September and the IFA in Berlin, and flagships are released a few months later already in the year that we expect another new processor.
In this way, the first flagships of HONOR take the last more powerful Kirin in this case is the Kirin 980 , accompanied by 6 or 8 GB of RAM looking not to be short in a use as demanding as that of video games. The unit that we have analyzed corresponds to the model with more RAM, so let’s see how it is with the highest configuration of the HONOR View20.
Little surprise (and for good) in regards to the experience with the HONOR View20 in terms of power and performance. Processor, graphics and memory are up to the task at all times when executing any app, both at the same time, including multimedia and the most demanding at the resource level: there are no interruptions, sudden closures or lags due to insufficient hardware ( we will clarify this in the software part).
Photography: two cameras, 48 megapixels and many options
In HONOR they have perhaps taken up that megapixel race that somehow calmed down. The protruding lens of the View20 hides a sensor of 48 megapixels, although much more discreetly than those 40.1 in the hump of the Nokia Lumia 1020.
On the back side, a very curious combination has been chosen: this 48-megapixel sensor and one of the time of flight type , with the intention of being an active support when making portraits and playing with blur. After the hole of the front camera they have placed a sensor of 25 megapixels, also pulling high.
In all of them there is a portrait and help mode of artificial intelligence, whose intervention (or at least part of it) we can activate with a button in the interface. But this software has some peculiarities for its adaptation to the View20, so before entering into better material we take our usual tour of the camera app.
Magic and EMUI share DNA also at the app level, talking about aesthetics and functions. The highest ranges phones of HONOR and Huawei have all the latest modes that are incorporated, as well as the application at will of the AI that we will also see in the form of direct access in the automatic mode of the HONOR View20.
Thus, we have tabs for photo (or automatic), video, portrait, night, AR (for subjective camera) and “more”, which includes HDR, pro mode (manual), aperture mode, the cameras fast and slow, the panoramic shot and some others like the one of painting with light. This distribution is not entirely practical due to the fact that it takes relatively common modes to the “more” tab, with no option for the user to integrate them as a tab or to do the opposite with those that use less.
It is therefore necessary that the HDR has its direct access as the AI does or that the pro mode is more accessible, as is the night mode. Otherwise, the elements are well placed, with the exception that the regulators in the manual mode are somewhat confusing to have to slide on the number (for example, when going from one ISO to another one must slide on the “100” , the “200”, etc.) and not on the bar (if we do it is interpreted as swipe between tabs).
The app works well, it opens quickly either with the phone unlocked or from the lock screen and there is no slowness in its load. The passage from one tab to another also occurs normally, as well as the change from one mode to another.
Of course, the good and the not so good are inherited, and again we see the bug in the preview of the manual mode when we adjust the shutter speed. From certain values we will stop seeing the real exposure that would remain, so that what we see on the screen does not correspond to the photograph that we will obtain.
In the settings we will have the option to activate or not the special shooting mode in 48 megapixels (of ultranitidez), in fact it always compensates to open them before going out to take photos because as in this case the resolution with which they come from the factory is not the maximum (it is 12 megapixels). Now we will talk about the size of the images, the modes and the results, but what is said, it is convenient to walk around here trying the different modes since we see the activation of the RAW for the manual shot, among other peculiarities.
How is the experience with 48 megapixels? With artificial intelligence? With the depth sensor time of flight? The rear cameras of the Honor View20 have interesting and not very usual additions, so let’s see how it goes with them.
With general plans and a well-lit scene, by day and outdoors, the results are more than acceptable. Depending on the lighting and the stage the white balance may be slightly cold and it is certain that the sharpness in the backgrounds is somewhat below what was expected, but good shots are obtained, either in ultra-sharp or automatic mode with 48 or 12 megapixels.
Shooting at 48 megapixels we obtain images of 8,000 x 6,000 pixels, unlike those of 4,000 x 3,000 pixels that are obtained at 12 megapixels. It should be noted that in the aperture, night and HDR modes the maximum resolution is 12 megapixels, while the pro and AI allow shooting at 48 megapixels.
As for ultra-sharpness mode, we can find differences especially in the contour and in the management of shadows. Normally we see more marked contours in a similar way to the HDR application and greater sharpness than in a 48-megapixel shot in automatic, although it is not uncommon that we also find more noise (without increasing the ISO).