For most part, our experience setting up this phone, compares with what we wrote in our Huawei P20 Pro review. Not so good, that means. We managed to get it all working, but this was not the smooth experience we have on most other smartphones. We transferred our apps and settings from the P20 Pro to the Mate 20 Pro using the app from Huawei. Many things went good, but a lot of apps simply needed to be installed again to get them working.
Now for the good things: sound quality of the speakerphone and display brightness are better on the Mate 20 Pro than on the P20 Pro. And then there is de wide-angle camera that is really nice to have.
And that’s about it. We actually prefered the P20 Pro for daily usage.
First problem is the huge notch, which brings no real advantage over the P20 Pro. There is no room left for notifications when bluetooth and wifi are on. On the P20 Pro, we had no problem with the notch. We actually liked it. On the Mate 20 Pro, it is just terrible. Unlocking using face unlock is not much better or faster than on the P20 Pro in our experience. So what is the advantage of all that technology cramped inside that notch? Just to copy an iPhone?
Next problem is the fingerprint reader. It is difficult to register your fingerprints. Using it afterwards, at first it seems to work, but after a couple of days it starts to fail more and more, and sometimes becomes almost unusable. We disabled fingerprint authentication in most apps that support it, just because of the difficulties using it. Much quicker to just enter a pin code.
So unlocking your phone is actually more easy on the P20 Pro in daily usage. Not to mention we could use the fingerprint sensor for system navigation on the P20 Pro. On the Mate 20 Pro, you are back to the normal navigation buttons, or use the new swipe navigation. This swipe navigation also needs some more work however.
We are not a fan of curved displays. Everything is warped at the borders, even the keyboard. And there is a color difference at the curved sides also. Tilting the display shows some color variation. This is not a top quality display. We prefer the flat display of the P20 Pro, although the Mate 20 Pro is a bit more easy to view outdoors.
Update: our display also started to develop the green tint issue that so many people are complaining about. It seems to get worser every day. We will need to send this one back.
Then the camera. It promises a lot, but there is an issue with exposure and contrast. The pictures of the P20 Pro often look much better. The AI on the P20 Pro many times surprised us in a positive way. The Mate 20 Pro disappoints often. Bright scenes are overexposed sometimes, and lack some contrast. Indoor scenes are sometimes underexposed. The display in the camera app does not show this. Only when reviewing the picture afterwards the wrong exposure will show. The P20 Pro, does not have this problem. Most pictures from the Mate are exposed correctly, however, so this is not a huge problem, but we do often have to correct the images afterwards to make them really pop.
What we saw in our tests is that Huawei reduced the amount of change the AI makes to a picture. This can be a good thing, because sometimes the AI on the P20 Pro really got it wrong, and you ended up with a strange-looking overprocessed image. But often the AI produces a picture that is more beautiful than real life. Many pictures from the P20 Pro are Instagram-ready, without the need for extra filters. No longer is this the case on the Mate 20 Pro, where pictures look more true to life. Some people will indeed prefer this, but we kinda miss it. Night mode also did not impress us as much as on the P20 Pro.
We hope a software update will bring a bit of the AI processing of the P20 Pro back to the Mate 20 Pro or make it adjustable. Biggest advantage for now is the wide-angle camera. Very nice for indoor shots, and this camera is the main reason we keep using the Mate 20 Pro instead for the P20 Pro.
We expected a big upgrade over the P20 Pro with the Mate 20 pro, but in reality is has been a downgrade for us in some areas, and only brought us some small improvements in other areas. For most people there is really no need to upgrade.
We will keep updating this article, if things improve with updates.