A Look at Android Smartphones – Huawei P20 Pro

Who is Huawei? We see all their ads on Hockey Night and Canada, so lets have  a look at their smartpho t see if they have a good phone. Huawei (spoken wah wei) is one of the largest telecommunications infrastructure companies in the world providing telecom equipment for the latest wireless networks. It was started in 1987 in Shenzhen, China and has operations in over 21 locations worldwide with 180,000 employees.

They emerged as a big world player in 2003 when USA firms started FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) disinformation campaigns and patent lawsuits to restrict their expansion into the USA. The latest skirmish is the arrest of a Huawei official on Canadian soil for extradition to the USA. Part of the public display of legal bullying from both sides there is a quote from a Chinese official in a Fortune article that says that President Trump should switch to a Huawei phone for better security. Huawei phones are banned in the USA market and the next major upgrade to cellular networks is 5G technology that companies are fighting for worldwide. This is all part of trade skirmishes that is happening now that is causing some side effects in the economy. Huawei is the second largest smartphone maker in the world after Samsung and slightly ahead of Apple. In Canada, they offer Android smartphones, Windows laptops/tablets and Android watches for consumers and equipment for the enterprise and telecom markets.

Their Huawei P20 Pro is a device that offers some key differences that I should highlight from other Android phones. The first thing I noticed was the long battery life as it last 2-3 days based on usage, the second was the Leica 3 lens camera with a built in AI (artificial intelligence) software that can adjust to the light and distance settings with an auto-focus capability. This camera shot better pictures than a Nikon SLR camera and it comes with a 5x zoom.

Here is a photo of a deer that was took at sunset, the AI features used the zoom and night time setting and it automatically set up a time exposure and focus of a few seconds to take the shot.

The third was the Dolby Atmos sound that was generated from the device coupled along with the Huawei USB-C headphones. These headphones have a second sound hole in it that created surround sound similar to ear muff headphones, which I found delivered, better sound till now. The use of a new USB-C connection in this phone is the start of the next generation of phones without the 3.5mm headphone jack and is design change due to the use of Bluetooth headsets for audio.

We also notice some unique features that I liked in the phone that included a short-cut to shut off my data without going into the settings app, the health app that can chart how many steps I day I walk and the location, distance, time, speed and calorie burn on my bike rides. It is kind a neat to hear a voice speaking English with a Chinese accent as the health app talks to you at different times during the bike ride. The emotions icon in addition to the standard happy faces it had animated gifs like a happy dance to share that we thought was neat.

The computer chip for this phone the Kirin 970 CPU was engineered by Huawei and offers a design with multiple cores for faster processing and energy efficiency. This high performance processing power enables the AI software to work and also explains why the battery life is so long on this phone versus other phone. The next generation chip the Kirin 980 is expected to improve energy efficiency by another 40% and will have 4 cores to handle the tasks on the smartphone.

I still find smartphone companies underinvesting in the shell design for durability. So lets see if this smartphone can survive the “Oops I dropped it drop test” I dropped the Huawei phone on the driveway pavement the corner did not crack, but the glass did as I had a small fracture. So I went a got a rubber sleeve for it and it has survived unscathed since then.

The accidental touches that was experienced on this phone were different as the user interface is unique to Huawei’s customization of the Android operating system. When I was typing and hitting the space bar, we hit the home button by accident as the space bar is above the home button but too close for our fingers. Another accidental touch was a shortcut to change the keyboard that we kept hitting as it is located on the bottom right of the phone. I don’t know why there is as a shortcut for the keyboard, I don’t change it often. It comes up constantly and it now irritates me a bit. Now I am thinking the touch keyboard still is not as good as a regular keyboard.

The phone retails for $1,050 at Koodo which is a little steep for a phone that will last 2-3 years based on the current shell design. The cost of the 3 lens camera is a factor in the big ticket price for this phone. So at this price Huawei should provide a rubber sleeve accessory for this steep price so the phone does not break. It seems manufacturers are trying to keep pushing the price point for a new smartphone in the $1,000+ range and Apple has just released results that consumers don’t want to pay $1,000 for a smartphone.