Honor 20 Review

July 11, 2019 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Released in June 2019, the Honor 20 sits in the middle of the latest flagship range of phones from the Huawei sub-brand. Sitting below it is the Honor 20 Lite, while above it is the Honor 20 Pro (yet to be released onto the UK market).

The Honor 20 uses many similar specifications to its more advanced sibling in the line-up, but there are some notable differences between the Honor 20 and the Honor 20 Pro’s camera. As Honor is a sub-brand of Huawei, it also uses some technology which it inherits from the more prestige brand.

On the back of the phone, the Honor 20 features a triple camera set up - you’ve got a 48 megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture lens, a 16 megapixel f/2.2 wide-angle camera, and a 2 megapixel f/2.4 macro camera. There’s also a 2 megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor which comes into play when taking shallow depth of field effect images.

While the Honor 20 Pro also has a 48 megapixel main camera, it pairs the camera with an f/1.4 lens, and also gives you a 3x optical zoom lens as well as the macro camera and wide-angle camera.

On the front of both the Honor 20 and the Honor 20 Pro, there is a 32 megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera.

Other interesting specifications include a 6.26” full HD screen, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of inbuilt storage, and a 3750 mAh battery.

Ease of Use

Honor 20
Front of the Honor 20

Despite being a mid-range phone from a mid-range brand, the Honor 20 feels well built and uses a fairly sleek design. It has nicely rounded corners, while the various colours available are stylish.

The screen uses a “hole punch” notch to house the front-facing camera, which essentially means that you get the most from the screen possible, but it’s arguably not as elegant as some other solutions on the market, such as the teardrop notch. Still, it means you get to take full advantage of the 6.26-inch screen.

Honor 20
Rear of the Honor 20

In terms of accessing the native camera app, you can do that by swiping up from the bottom right hand corner of the lock screen. If you open it in this way, you’ll be able to shoot as much as you like, but you’ll be only be able to view the images you’ve taken in the current shooting session in playback. If you want to see older pictures, you’ll need to unlock the phone fully.

If you’ve ever used an Honor (or Huawei) phone before, you’ll likely be familiar with the native camera app and just how flexible it is.

By default, the app opens in the standard “Photo” shooting mode, but there are a host of other shooting modes available, which we’ll go through in turn. The standard Photo mode is a good one to use when you just want to use the phone as a point and shoot style device. Along the top of the screen you’ll see a number of options, including the option to switch AI (Artificial Intelligence) on or off.

Honor 20
Front of the Honor 20

AI will detect what the phone is photographing and adjust settings accordingly. Most of the time it does this very well and does a good job, but occasionally it might go a little over the top, for example over saturating skies. Being able to quickly tap an icon to switch it off is therefore a bit of a blessing. You can also switch the flash on, off and set it to automatic, or always on, from an icon at the top of the screen too.

Tap a cog-like icon to be taken to the settings menu, and you’ll be able to change a wide variety of different settings, including resolution, switching on the timer, being able to take pictures by smiling at the lens and so on. The settings menu changes depending on what mode you’re shooting in - for example, in the Pro mode, you’ll find that you can switch on Raw format shooting.

There are three lenses, but there are only two optical focal lengths to choose from. You can move between the standard 1x lens, the wide angle, or 2x digital zoom by tapping a circle at the bottom of the screen. You can also digitally zoom further by pinching on the screen, up to 10x.

Honor 20
Front of the Honor 20

In order to move between the various shooting modes on offer, you can swipe right or left on the bottom of the main screen (or up and down if you’re holding the phone in horizontal orientation). To the left of the main Photo mode, you’ll find Portrait, Night and the AR Lens. The Portrait mode can be used to take photographs of people with a shallow depth of field effect.

You also get a range of bokeh options - including hearts and circles. This mode only works on people shots, and can’t be used to create shallow depth of field shots with other subjects such as pets or still life subjects (there is another mode you can use for this though).

Night mode is something we’ve seen before on several Huawei and Honor phones. It’s to be used when shooting in dark conditions and essentially blends together a series of short exposures to give the effect of a long exposure. AR Lens is probably not something you’ll find that you use a lot - it allows you to turn yourself into a cartoon-like character.

Honor 20
Front of the Honor 20

Back to the main Photo mode, to the right of that you’ll find Video mode. There’s a range of frame rates available, including up to 4K, which can be accessed via the settings menu. Next, if you tap on More, you’ll see a host of other useful modes, including Panorama, HDR, Super Macro, Light Painting, Pro and and Aperture. I won’t go into huge detail about all of these (most of them are self-explanatory anyway), but it’s great to have such a range of options available to shoot with.

Using Aperture mode is a great way to photograph anything that you want to blur the background of, for example pets. The great thing about this mode is that you can alter the aperture after you’ve shot it by editing the image in playback. Pro mode is something that anybody with a little bit of enthusiasm might want to head towards.

As well giving you the option to shoot in raw format, you can also change a number of key parameters to adjust how your image will turn out, including shutter speed, white balance, ISO, metering and so on. You can’t alter the physical aperture as that is fixed by the lens itself.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 48 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.

Considering the Honor 20 could easily be considered a budget camera, it’s capable of producing some great images, especially when the lighting conditions are good. Colours are nicely vibrant, with a good degree of saturation, while there’s also a nice overall impression of detail.

In most situations, AI (artificial intelligence) does a good job of adjusting settings appropriately. Being able to switch it off quickly is useful, but actually I found that it wasn’t necessary most of the time.

Overall, all-purpose metering does a good job of getting exposures nicely balanced, but being able to switch to Pro mode in tricky lighting conditions helps to ensure things can be manually balanced if needs be.

In low light, the camera is capable of producing some nice shots. Using Night mode is ideal as it means you can create the effect of a long exposure while shooting handheld. It doesn’t seem to be quite as remarkably effective as the mode found on high-end Huawei models, such as the P30 Pro, but it never-the-less produces good shots.

Not having a telephoto lens could be considered a downside, but the digital 2x zoom does a decent job, especially if your only intention is to share shots online or via social networking sites etc. I would probably avoid 10x digital zoom unless you’re absolutely desperate to get closer to the action. The wide-angle lens is a great addition and is ideal for landscape, architecture or even just abstract wide-angle shots of other kinds of subjects.




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Focal Range



Optical Zoom - 1x


Digital Zoom - 2x



Rear Camera - Flash Off


Rear Camera - Flash On


Selfie - Flash Off


Selfie - Flash On








Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Honor 20 camera, which were all taken using the 48 megapixel JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Honor 20 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Honor RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 65.1Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 21.8Mb in size.

Product Images

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro


The mid-range smartphone market is one that is particularly robust at the moment, with lots of different devices available at a good price.

With a price point of £400, the Honor 20 fits extremely well into this category and offers a heck of a lot for your money.

If you’re somebody who considers the quality of the on-board camera to be an extremely important element to your smartphone decision, but you don’t want to spend a high amount to get one of the flagship models, the Honor 20 would be a good model to consider.

The camera produces good quality images, and although it doesn’t have a dedicated telephoto lens, having the super wide angle lens comes in very handy for landscape, holiday and architecture shots. We’ve seen better images from more expensive phones, as we’d expect, but if you’re somebody who primarily shares your shots via social media and the like, the Honor 20 is a good choice.

For those who want to take extra control of your shots, having a Pro mode, as well as the ability to shoot in raw format is another good bonus for a mid-range phone.

A wide range of shooting modes is good to see on a mid-range phone, with special mention for the Night mode which can be employed when shooting in dark conditions to good effect.

Despite the fact the phone is a mid-range model, it also looks stylish and well-built and doesn’t feel cheap at all. There are some compromises to be made - such as it not being water resistant, but for the price you wouldn’t necessarily expect that.

If you’re in the market for a mid-range smartphone and don’t want to skimp too much on camera quality, the Honor 20 is a good option. If you can perhaps gather together a little bit more to spend, it may be worth waiting for the Honor 20 Pro to be released onto the market. If you can’t wait, check out the Honor View 20, too.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Honor 20.

Apple iPhone Xs

The Apple iPhone XS is the 2018 update of Apple's best ever selling phone, last year's iPhone X. Read our Apple iPhone XS review to find out what this latest version offers and if it's the right smartphone for keen photographers...

Google Pixel 3a

Do you want the same excellent camera from the flagship Pixel 3 but at a much lower price? Of course you do! Then look no further than the brand new Pixel 3a, which features exactly the same camera module as its big brother, including the innovative Night Sight and Portrait modes, but at almost half the price. Read our Google Pixel 3a review to find out if this is all the smartphone camera that you actually need...

Honor 20 Pro

The Honor 20 Pro is a mid-range smartphone with flagship pretensions, aiming to take on £$1000 devices at a much lower-price point whilst delivering similar levels of performance, specification and quality. Does it succeed? Find out now by reading our in-depth Honor 20 Pro review, complete with full-size sample images and videos.

Honor View 20

The Honor View 20 is a mid-range smartphone with flagship specs and performance, with a 48 megapixel sensor, a “hole punch” to house the front-facing camera, and dedicated Night, Portrait and Pro shooting modes aimed at photographers. Is this all the smartphone that you really need? Find out now by reading our in-depth Honor View 20 review, complete with full-size sample images and videos.

HTC U12 Plus

The HTC U12 Plus is a flagship smartphone from one of the smaller players in the industry, with a dual-camera setup on both the front and rear. Read our detailed HTC U12 Plus review to find out what it offers photographers, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Huawei P30 Lite

The Huawei P30 Lite is a new mid-range smartphone that offers a lot of features for keen photographers. It has a triple camera setup with a 48 megapixel wide-angle lens, an 8 megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2 megapixel bokeh lens. Find out if this is all the smartphone camera that you need by reading our in-depth Huawei P30 Lite review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Huawei P30 Pro

The Huawei P30 Pro is a flagship smartphone that aims to rewrite the rules of photography. The P30 Pro is equipped with a new Leica Quad Camera System, including a 40MP main camera with the HUAWEI SuperSpectrum Sensor, a 20MP ultra-wide angle camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, the ToF Camera…

OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is a flagship smartphone with a 16 megapixel camera, 4K/60fps movie recording, 960fps super slow motion video, and a smaller notch design. Read our expert OnePlus 6T review with full-size sample JPEG and Raw images and videos...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Honor 20 from around the web.

techradar.com »

With exemplary performance, a vibrant display, a modern design and an accomplished camera, the Honor 20 comes up with the hardware goods, but there remain one or two questions over the Huawei-related software.
Read the full review »

trustedreviews.com »

You probably shouldn't buy the Honor 20 right now. It looks and feels great. It’s powerful. And while the camera array may seem better on paper than it is in person, it’s still great. If it were not for the “political” situation Huawei and Honor are currently in, the Honor 20 would be easy to recommend. It’s great value and a highly likeable phone, as long as you are not someone who insists the custom software from Honor and Huawei is still terrible.
Read the full review »



  • Sapphire Blue

  • Midnight Black


3,750mAh (typical value) all-day battery

22.5W HONOR SuperCharge: 50% in 30 mins

7nm Kirin 980 AI Chipset with Dual-NPU

Magic UI 2.1 (compatible with Android 9)

Side-mounted fingerprint sensor

ROM: 128GB*


*Variant availability may differ for different countries, so please check local country websites for more information.


6.26’’ HONOR FullView display, 2340p x 1080p

16.7M colors, 412 PPI

91.7% screen ratio


Height : 154.25 mm

Width : 73.97 mm

Depth : 7.87 mm

Weight : Approximately 174g (including battery)


Rear Camera (48MP AI Quad Camera):

48MP Main Camera (Sony IMX586)

f/1.8 aperture

AI Ultra Clarity mode

1/2 inch large sensor

4-in-1 Light Fusion (effective 1.6μm pixels)

AI Image Stabilization (AIS)

AIS Super Night mode

16MP Super Wide Angle Camera

f/2.2 aperture

117° super wide angle

Supported by distortion correction

2MP Depth Assist Camera

f/2.4 aperture, bokeh effect

2MP Macro Camera

f/2.4 aperture, 4cm macro photography

Front Camera:

32MP Selfie Camera

f/2.0 aperture

3D Portrait Lighting


  • Network

    4G LTE TDD: B38/B40/B41(2545-2655MHz)

    4G LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B18/B19/B20/B26/B28

    3G WCDMA: B1/B2/B4/B5/B6/B8/B19

    2G GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8

  • GPS



  • Connectivity

    Wi-Fi 2.4GHz: 802.11 b/g/n, MIMO

    Wi-Fi 5GHz: 802.11 a/n/ac

    Bluetooth BT5.0

    USB 2.0


Honor has launched a new smartphone collection comprising of the Honor 20 Pro, Honor 20 and Honor 20 Lite. The Honor 20 Pro and Honor 20 combine a 48 megapixel AI Quad Camera and a Dynamic Holographic design with the powerful Kirin 980 chipset and GPU Turbo 3.0.

The Honor 20 Pro will be priced at 599 Euros. More information on the UK launch will be released in the near future.

The Honor 20 can be pre-ordered now priced at £399.99 in the UK, and will be available soon.

The Honor 20 Lite is now available in the UK priced at £249.99.

HONOR Press Release

HONOR’s Flagship N-Series Welcomes Its Latest Member – HONOR 20 Series

[London, May 21, 2019] Global smartphone brand HONOR has today officially launched its HONOR 20 series: HONOR 20 LITE, HONOR 20 and HONOR 20 PRO. This masterpiece collection testifies to not only the excellence of HONOR’s N-Series, which is lauded for superior design and photography capability, but also the brand’s commitment to the youthful aesthetics and unmatched capabilities. 

The newly launched flagship HONOR 20 and 20 PRO has gathered global limelight through its world’s first Dynamic Holographic Design and 48MP AI Quad Camera. The all-powerful Quad Camera has earned the HONOR 20 PRO an impressive DxOMark score of 111. 

As well as launching the new 20 Series, HONOR has also announced a partnership with international football star Dele Alli, who joins HONOR as its UK Brand Ambassador. Both Dele and HONOR are young players in their respective fields but display finesse and drive beyond their years thanks to their ability to put in hard work and determination. 

“At HONOR, we follow the ethos “Always Better” in everything we do,” said George Zhao, President of HONOR. “HONOR’s renowned N-Series welcomes the latest member of the family, the HONOR 20 Series, and invites users to ‘Capture Wonder’ with a professional-grade camera and the wondrous Dynamic Holographic design. This design cements our leadership in smartphone craftsmanship, which is firmly rooted in HONOR’s principal approach to light play. We welcome users around the world to witness the wonder of HONOR 20 Series on our official website via www.hihonor.com.” 

The HONOR 20 LITE is now available in the UK for £249.99 at Carphone Warehouse, Amazon, Argos, John Lewis and Very. The HONOR 20 can be pre-ordered now for £399.99 at Carphone Warehouse, O2, Three, Amazon and Argos with a free HONOR Watch Magic, normally priced at £179.99, and will be available soon. More information on the launch of HONOR 20 PRO will be released in the near future. 

The Wonder of 48MP AI Quad Flagship Camera 

The 20 Series’ flagship, the HONOR 20 PRO, features a Quad Camera which leads with a Sony IMX586 48MP Main Camera, featuring the advanced AI Ultra Clarity mode and AIS Super Night mode to empower users to capture clearer images. The 20 PRO’s Quad Camera is also packed with the 16MP Super Wide Angle Camera, 8MP Telephoto Camera and 2MP Macro Camera which allows users to capture wider and closer shots with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS). These four cameras contribute to an impressive DxOMark score of 111. 

The HONOR 20 Series also sends shockwaves across the industry with the innovation of AIS Super Night mode and the industry’s largest F1.4 aperture. Powered by the AI multi-frame stabilization technology and an enhanced algorithm, the mode creates ultra-clear night shots with heightened brightness, lower noise, and better colour preservation. With more light passing through the lens thanks to the F1.4 aperture, users can record their magic moments in great details even in dimly-lit scenarios. 

The 48MP AI Quad Camera enables users to capture photos with extreme clarity during the day, especially with the AI Ultra Clarity mode. In this mode, the Dual-NPU and the Dual-ISP of the 7nm Kirin 980 AI chipset collate the best details from multiple photos into one “Super 48MP Photo” with a quality surpassing normal 48MP pictures, and vivid details and colours. With the 16MP Super Wide Angle Camera, users can capture more with an extensive 117° viewing angle. Meanwhile the Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) prompts the tiny gyro-sensors to quickly shift pieces of the lens glass to the off-set motion before the image is converted into a digital format, creating a sharper image even with shaky hands. 

Finally, the 2MP Macro lens can give users a creative edge by offering new perspectives that the naked eye would never be able to see. It allows users to capture incredible details as close as 4cm, ideal for photographers who enjoy shooting flora and fauna. Similarly, the ability to zoom in on a subject at 3X lossless optical zoom, 5X hybrid zoom and 30X digital zoom means that users can shoot minute details - a useful feature for nature-loving photographers who are looking to photograph elusive wildlife, or street photographers who portray the hassle and bustle of city life. 

The Wonder of Cutting-Edge Dynamic Holographic Design 

The HONOR 20 Series redefine the user experience by becoming the first product in HONOR’s history to introduce a multi-dimensional, Dynamic Holographic glass back. Meticulously crafted through HONOR’s industry-first Triple 3D Mesh technology, the two-stage process first create a depth layer using nanotechnology to engrave millions of miniature prisms. Upon completion of this intricate process, the engineers continue with the assembly of glass, color, and depth layers. As light passes through the prisms in the depth layer, light is reflected and refracted in all directions.

Coated in either Phantom Black or Phantom Blue for HONOR 20 PRO, and Midnight Black or Sapphire Blue for HONOR 20, the color layer is combined with the glass and depth layer in a vacuum environment under the precise control of temperature and pressure. The outcome is a depth-inducing optical effect that makes the HONOR 20 Series stand out from its predecessors. Due to the complex process, for every 100 back covers, only 20 meet the stringent standards. Meanwhile the HONOR 20 LITE features a bold, avant-garde gradient design available in two beautiful finishes –Phantom Blue and Midnight Black - engineered by HONOR’s highest level of craftsmanship and sophisticated 3D photolithography technology. 

The Wonder of an All-Round User Experience 

HONOR’s “Always Better” ethos drives the brand to go beyond the textural and colour design of the Dynamic Holographic glass back. HONOR 20 and 20 PRO boasts a 6.26" all-view display with a 91.7% screen-to-body ratio. With a 4.5mm in-screen camera, the all-view display allows an even more enthralling visual experience without compromising on aesthetics. 

The fingerprint sensor on the right side of its aluminium frame has been positioned to complement the natural placement of fingers when one picks up a phone. The asymmetrical “L-shaped” positioning of the four camera lenses allows for a 4,000 mAhiii battery that can support a full-day uninterrupted use. Meanwhile, the HONOR 20 Pro adopts a Graphene cooling sheet technology, a new thermal solution that can efficiently dissipate heat and thus maintaining the optimal performance. 

In terms of mobile gaming, the HONOR 20 Series is equipped with the industry-leading GPU Turbo 3.0 – a feature that boosts the device’s gaming capabilities by offering users an enhanced visual and tactile experience. Backed by consumer demands, HONOR 20 Series has teamed up with approximately 25 most sought-after mobile games right now including Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, and Arena of Valor. 

Apart from the viewing and gaming experiences, users can indulge in an immersive audio experience through the Virtual 9.1 Surround Sound feature powered by Histen 6.0. This is the first time that this cutting-edge technology is applied to smartphones. The Virtual 9.1 surround sound supports all types of wired and wireless earphones and packs an in-built dual microphone with noise reduction – a system tailored according to the specific needs of technophiles and audiophiles.

Preview Images

​Ahead of our full review, here are some sample JPEG and Raw images and movies taken with the brand new Honor 20 smartphone, which has a 48 megapixel camera.

A gallery of sample images taken with the Honor 20 smartphone.

Honor 20 Sample Images

Sample RAW Images

The Honor 20 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Honor RAW (DNG) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 65.1Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 15 second movie is 21.8Mb in size.

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