Buoyed by the distinct appeal of its phones, the Honor brand was on a roll last year with sales rising double digits in a stagnating market. The phone maker is determined to keep the momentum going with its Honor 20 series that was just officially announced with record lens aperture and brand new looks.
Both Huawei and Honor use hue-shifting glass backs for their flagship phones that take on beautiful gradients with every viewing angle, but that concept will be taken to the extreme with the 20 series' Dynamic Holographic design.
Honor 20/Pro design and display
To achieve a stereoscopic effect that changes looks depending on the angle you observe the phone from, Honor used what it calls an "industry-first Triple 3D Mesh technology." It basically adds depth to the gradient colors on current high-end phones from the world's second-largest maker, hence the "holographic" moniker.
Honor 20 Pro design and screen
Honor achieved the feat by slinging millions of miniature prisms that reflect light like diamond cuts under the glass layer, and then coating the back with one of the classy Phantom Black or Blue colors (Midnight Black and Sapphire Blue for the 20) that the 20 Pro will be available in. According to Honor's president:
Our design ethos ‘Always Better’ can be found in everything we create. HONOR’s latest Triple 3D Mesh technology is a piece of state-of-the-art craftsmanship. Unveiled for HONOR 20 Series, this industry-first involves a highly precise and complex assembly process. For every 100 back covers, only 20 meet our stringent standards. Despite the tremendous challenge this presents, HONOR is still committed to creating a glassback using this technique.
The large, 6.26-inch "all-view" LCD display with 1080p resolution of the 20/Pro returns ~92% screen-to-body ratio, says Honor, thanks to the hole-in-display front camera design, and there will be no fingerprint unlocking issues, as the scanner is moved to the side instead of using the still-evolving in-display type. The Pro model carries an edge cover glass that is curved at the sides while the 20 makes do with a regular flat screen.
Honor 20/Pro specs
Both phones run on the newest 7nm Kirin 980 processor, but the memory pairing is different. While the Honor 20 ships with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, the Pro version ups the ante at up to 8GB RAM and 256GB internal memory. Besides the camera sets, the other major difference in specs between the two phones is the battery capacity.
A generous 4000 mAh unit is found on the Pro, for an "all-day battery," aided by the 22.5W HONOR SuperCharge adapter that can top it off to 50% in 30 mins flat. The same fast charging is found on the Honor 20, but the battery capacity is slightly smaller, at 3750 mAh. Other notable specs include a 9.1 surround sound certification and dual microphones for noise cancellation.
What caught our attention most is the mention of a graphene cooling sheet technology, a new thermal solution for heat dissipation that is said to be 50% better than the typical copper ones, and runs 30% cooler than graphite flake, so gaming in the GPU Turbo 3.0 mode shouldn't be a problem.
Honor 20/Pro cameras and samples
The biggest difference between the two models are the camera sets. The company says that the camera positioning on the back apparently helps accentuate the holographic design, fit a larger battery and slap groundbreaking kits on the Honor 20 models but all we see is a typical vertically-mounted camera kit. Honor is not trying to reproduce what Huawei did with the P30 Pro camera and its periscope zoom, but rather equipped the Pro with 3x zoom via an 8MP telephoto lens.
For the Honor 20, it eschews the zoom camera, replacing it with a 2MP depth-assisting sensor for better bokeh and portrait shots, but the 16MP wide-angle one, and the unique 2MP sensor for macro shots stay, so with the 48MP main Sony sensor, both have quad-camera sets and 32MP selfie snappers.
The other big difference, besides the 3x zoom on the Pro, is the lens aperture. While the Honor 20 comes with a standard f/1.8 lens brightness, the Honor 20 Pro employs a record for a phone f/1.4 aperture that is supposed to let much more light in and improve night time photography. This, and the dedicated macro sensor, make the new Honor 20 family unique in the camera department, even compared to the P30 lineage.
Official Honor 20 Pro samples
Honor 20/Pro price and release date
Honor's event in London today went under the slogan "Capture Wonder" to emphasize the pro-grade camera and the beauty of the new 20 and 20 Pro holographic rears.
The phones will be available in several black and blue shades at the usual value-for-money pricing starting from 499 EUR for the Honor 20 and 599 EUR for the 20 Pro that we've come to expect from Honor. Not a bad deal for the cool dynamic holographic design, 256GB storage, 4000 mAh battery, and a full set of camera features, what do you think?