Honor View 20 Review

June 17, 2019 | Amy Davies | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The newest flagship smartphone from the Huawei sub-brand, Honor, is the View 20. It was previewed at CES at the beginning of January 2019, with the full specifications announced in Paris on the 22nd January.

There are several key headline features of the Honor View 20 which are appealing to photographers, including some which are world firsts, or unique to the smartphone in the market. The first is the 48 megapixel sensor – the highest resolution available for a smartphone in the world. Joining the main rear camera is a front-facing 25 megapixel camera, which is housed behind a small hole in the screen. Called a “hole punch” by some people, it removes the need for a standard “notch”, which some people don’t like.

Using a 1/2-inch Sony IMX586 sensor, other specifications of the camera include a 48 megapixel AI Ultra Clarity mode which makes use of the Kirin 980 processor. A second rear camera is found on the device, but it is a “TOF 3D Camera” which can be used for various functions such as 3D motion-controlled gaming and so on.

The Honor View 20 smartphone is available in four different colours, as well as two different RAM/ROM options (6GB RAM & 128GB ROM or 8GB RAM & 256GB ROM). It can bought for either £499 or £579 depending on which option you go for, making it considerably cheaper than some of the other flagship smartphones on the market.

Ease of Use

Honor View 20
Front of the Honor View 20

The Honor View 20 may be in the “mid-range” on the smartphone spectrum, but it has quite a premium look to it. The rear of the phone has a special effect, which creates a chevron pattern when the light catches it and is very attractive. For the purposes of this review, we have been using a ‘Phantom Blue’ model, which also features the higher specification of RAM/ROM.

With the screen switched on, the most striking thing about the Honor View 20, is the lack of a notch, while also making use of (almost) the entire screen. Over the past few years, notches have become pretty much ubiquitous, being a way to house the front-facing camera, but not everybody is a fan.

Honor View 20
Rear of the Honor View 20

Using a “hole punch” to house the front-facing camera, the Honor View 20’s front-facing camera is almost unnoticeable. On the back of the phone is a fingerprint scanner, meaning that a fingerprint scanner does also not take up space on the front of the phone.  Unlike some other phones on the market, such as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, there’s no fingerprint scanner inbuilt directly into the screen. The screen is a cheaper LCD, rather than the OLED needed to necessitate inbuilt fingerprint scanners, which helps to keep the overall price of the device down.

You can open the native camera app directly from the lock screen, by swiping up from the bottom right hand corner of the screen. If you’ve ever used a Huawei or Honor phone before, you’ll be very familiar with what is presented here. It is a flexible camera app, giving you lots of different options depending on how you want to shoot.

Honor View 20
The Honor View 20 's Camera Mode

By default, it opens in the standard Photo mode, which is an automatic mode that you can use for the majority of your pictures. In this mode you don’t get too many options, but there are a few settings that can be changed from the icons along the top of the screen. One of the most interesting is the ability to switch on and off “AI” (artificial intelligence) – you might wish to do that if the AI is going a little over the top in certain situations. Other options found here include switching on moving picture, switching on flash and accessing further settings (hidden behind a cog icon).

The additional settings include options such as adding a watermark, turning off sounds and so on. However, most useful is the ability to change image resolution, and switch on the 48 megapixel Ultra Clarity mode. This mode works by taking a series of images in quick succession, merging the best detail from each to create a single 48 megapixel image. As standard, resolution is set at 12 megapixels – which is a good option for most situations. You can also shoot at 48 megapixels, without the Ultra Clarity option, which is useful for subjects which might move between shots.

Honor View 20
The Honor View 20 In-hand

Along the bottom of the main shooting screen, you’ll find a set of additional modes. To the left of the Photo mode, there’s Portrait, Night and AR Lens mode, while to the right of Photo mode, is Video. If you tap on the “More” option, you’ll see a host of additional options, including Time-Lapse, Aperture, Light Painting, Filter, and perhaps of most interest to enthusiasts, “Pro” mode.

Night mode is something we’ve seen before on the likes of the Huawei P20 Pro and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It works in exactly the same way on the Honor View 20, essentially, taking a set of short exposures and then blending them together in camera to give the effect of a much longer exposure. It’s called Night mode, but it can be useful in any situation where light is low, such as indoors.

Honor View 20
The Honor View 20's Shooting Modes

Portrait mode is again something we’ve seen on other Huawei phones, as well as from other manufacturers. It imitates the use of a DSLR by creating a shallow depth of field effect. The portrait mode found on the Honor View 20 is very similar to that found on the Mate 20 Pro, in that it has the option to adjust “lighting” mode, as well as the option to create different background “bokeh” effects. You can choose to have out of focus areas rendered in different shapes, including hearts, circles and diamonds. For some reason, the “swirl” effect as seen on the Mate 20 Pro is not found here.

The best way to create shallow depth of field effects when not shooting a human subject is to switch to Aperture mode, found under the “More” tab. With this, you can adjust the aperture effect – and you can even adjust it afterwards in playback, as well as choosing an alternative focus point.

Honor View 20
The Honor View 20

Pro mode is something which can be accessed directly from the main camera screen with phones like the P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro, but it’s a bit more hidden away – perhaps an indicator of the type of audience the View 20 is aimed towards. Never-the-less, having the option to use it is great should you need it.

In this mode, you’ll be able to adjust a number of different shooting parameters including ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, AF mode, white balance and metering. It’s also in this mode that you’ll be able to switch on raw format shooting (DNG format), from the settings menu. You can shoot at up to 48 megapixels in this mode, but not with “Ultra Clarity” as in the standard shooting mode.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 4Mb.

Considering the Honor View 20 is very much a “mid-range” smartphone, with a price to match, it puts in a very impressive performance when it comes to image quality.

In good light, it produces images which are well-saturated, while still maintaining a sense of realism. The overall impression of detail is excellent, especially if you’re sharing on social media sites such as Instagram. If you examine images a little closer, it’s possible to see a little bit of image smoothing in some areas of the shot, but it’s particularly unusual for a smartphone sensor.

Switching to the 48 megapixel Ultra Clarity AI mode also yields some impressive results – but it’s perhaps overkill for the majority of subjects that you’re likely to photographing with your smartphone. Still, it’s good to have it here ready for certain subjects. Shooting at the standard 48 megapixel (non Ultra Clarity) resolution also results in a good amount of detail – but unless you’re shooting something which you particularly want to display large, or crop into, it makes more sense to stick with the 12 megapixel output.

In low light, switching to Night mode results in yet more impressive performance. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in the P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro and again is especially great for sharing shots online.

One of the main downsides of this phone is the lack of a telephoto zoom lens. That means that it’s preferable to move physically closer to your subject than zoom in – a digital zoom is available though for those times when it’s not possible. This is essentially a crop into the image, and while it’s fine for sharing or printing at small sizes, we’d much rather see a dedicated telephoto optic.


The Honor View 20 has 8 manually-selectable ISO sensitivity settings available at full resolution, ranging between ISO 50 and ISO 6400.


ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

iso50.jpg iso50raw.jpg

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

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ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

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ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

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ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

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ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

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ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

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Focal Range

The Honor View 20's fixed lens provides the focal length demonstrated below.

Standard Lens


2x Digital Zoom



This macro shot shows how close you can get to the subject.




The flash settings on the Honor View 20 are Off, On and Auto. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Wide-angle Lens - Flash Off


Wide-angle Lens - Flash On


Rear Camera - Flash Off


Rear Camera - Flash On


Selfie Camera


Night Shot Mode

Thanks to the optical image stabilisation, a wide f/1.8 maximum aperture and the clever handheld night mode, the Huawei View 20 performs very well at night.



Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Honor View 20 camera, which were all taken using the 12 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 View 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 Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 99.2Mb in size.

Product Images

Honor View 20

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Honor View 20

Honor View 20

Honor View 20

Honor View 20

Honor View 20

Honor View 20

Honor View 20

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Honor View 20


It’s amazing how far smartphone technology has come in a relatively short period of time, especially with regards to the camera capability. The sensor found inside the Honor View 20 is larger than you’ll find on some compact cameras, and is yet another nail in the coffin of the dedicated travel camera – we’d recommend this over many of the cheaper compacts on the market.

Being a sub-brand of Huawei, it’s almost expected that Honor smartphones will be of high quality. Luckily, the View 20 doesn’t disappoint.

There are a few sacrifices – or trade-offs- to be made for the reduction in price, but on the whole, it’s hard to tell that you’re shooting with a mid-range or budget model. The phone’s design is great, with an innovative solution to the “notch” problem, while the camera app design is also very good – it’s simple enough for beginners, but has all the extra features that enthusiasts crave.

What you get with the likes of the P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro is additional lenses, but for most ordinary users, just having one will do just fine – and digital zoom is reasonable here too anyway. The innovative Night mode we’ve seen on other Huawei phones works very well here too, making shooting in a range of different lighting conditions a breeze.

If you’re looking for a new phone and want something which has a high performing camera, but don’t want to necessarily spend big bucks on something at the top end of the market, the Honor View 20 makes for an excellent compromise – without too much in the way of sacrifice. If you can possibly spend a little bit more, you might want to consider the P20 Pro – with it being nearly a year old, you can pick it up at bargain prices right now – but otherwise, the Honor View 20 is a fantastic option.

4.5 stars

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

Main Rivals

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

Apple iPhone XR

The Apple iPhone XR is the cheapest of the three new iPhones released in 2018, sacrificing the telephoto lens and higher-resolution screen that the XS models offer. Read our in-depth Apple iPhone XR review to find out if it's still worth considering...

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 3

The brand new Google Pixel 3 smartphone offers photographers a 12 megapixel sensor, 5.5-inch FHD+ screen, wide-angle selfies, Portrait Mode, and the clever Night Sight mode for low-light hand-held shooting. Read our in-depth Google Pixel 3 review to find out just what it's capable of...

Google Pixel 3 XL

The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL are new flagship smartphones from Google. New features for photographers include Top Shot, which uses AI to help you capture the perfect photo every time, Super Res Zoom, which produces sharp details when you zoom, and Night Sight, which lets you take natural-looking photos…

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.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is simply the best smartphone for photographers that we've ever reviewed - find out why by reading our in-depth Huawei Mate 20 Pro review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Huawei P20

The Huawei P20 is the cheaper alternative to the flagship P20 Pro smartphone that wowed us a couple of weeks ago, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth a look. Check out our in-depth Huawei P20 Pro review 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…

Nokia 7 Plus

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...

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Galaxy Note 9 is Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, boasting a 6.4-inch screen, dual 12-megapixel cameras with dual-aperture control, 2x optical zoom, 4K video at 60fps and super slow motion video at 960fps, and internal memory up to 512GB. Take a look at our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review to find out if this is the best smartphone camera for avid photographers...

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus

The Galaxy S10 Plus is the best smartphone that Samsung have ever made, but is it also the best for keen photographers? Find out now by reading our expert Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Galaxy S9 Plus is Samsung's flagship smartphone for 2018, boasting a 6.2-inch screen, dual cameras with dual-aperture, 4K video at 60fps and super slow motion video at 960fps. Is this the ultimate smartphone for keen photographers? Find out by reading our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review...

Samsung Galaxy S9

The Galaxy S9 is the smaller of two new flagship smartphones from Samsung for 2018, featuring the much heralded variable aperture lens and super slow-motion video recording at 960fps. Read our in-depth Samsung Galaxy S9 review with full-size sample images and videos now...

Sony Xperia 1

The Xperia 1 is the first ever Sony smartphone to borrow technology from the company's successful Alpha range of mirrorless cameras, including the very popular Eye AF feature and the latest Bionz X processor. Could this be the ultimate smartphone for photographers? Find out now by reading our in-depth Sony Xperia 1 review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Sony Xperia XZ3

The Sony Xperia XZ3 is a flagship smartphone with a 19 megapixel camera, 4K HDR Movie recording, 960fps Super slow motion in Full HD, and AI predictive capture.Are there enough features and performance to tempt keen photographers? Find out now by reading our in-depth Sony Xperia XZ3 review, complete with full-size sample images and videos...

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Honor View 20 from around the web.

techradar.com »

Advanced features, great battery life and a good price: the only real part to put you off the Honor View 20 is that ambitious shiny finish.
Read the full review »

trustedreviews.com »

Honor’s usual wheelhouse is budget phones that punch above their weight. The Honor View 20 is a different proposition, however: what can Honor achieve if it goes all-out with top-end tech and high-end specs and can it compete with the Samsung Galaxy S10, Nokia 9, Huawei P30 Pro?
Read the full review »



  • Phantom Blue

  • Sapphire Blue

  • Red

  • Black


4000mAh (typical) battery

Super Charge: 55% in 30 mins

Kirin 980

Magic UI 2.0.1



(Variant availability may differ for different countries, please check local country websites for more information)


6.4 inches, 2310 x 1080 pixels


Height : 156.9 mm

Width : 75.4 mm

Depth : 8.1 mm

Weight : Approximately 180g (including battery)


Rear Camera:

48MP + 3D Camera

48MP AI Ultra Clarity

3D Modeling

3D Motion-Controlled Gaming

AI Shaping

Real time recognize 60 + categories and 1500 + scenarios

F/1.8 wide aperture

1/2 inch large CMOS size

960fps Super Slow-Motion

Front Camera:

25MP front camera

Hardware-based HDR

Portrait Lighting



  • Network

    4G LTE TDD: B38/B40/B41

    4G LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B6/B7/B8/B19/B20/B28

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

    2G GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8

  • GPS

    GPS (L1 + L5 dual band)

    GLONASS /Beidou

  • Connectivity

    Wi-Fi 2.4G: 802.11 b/g/n,MIMO + TAS

    5G: 802.11 a/n/ac

    Bluetooth BT5.0

    USB3.1 GEN 1(Note:The standard data cable inbox is USB2.0)

    Dual-frequency GPS

    Galileo (E1 + E5a dual band)

    QZSS (L1 + L5 dual band)


The Honor View20 is the first ever smartphone to offer a 48 megapixel rear camera. The 48MP camera is powered by artificial intelligence (AI). The new AI Ultra Clarity mode can combine multiple 48MP images into a single 48MP photo, producing a Super Photo with superb clarity. The Honor View20 also comes with an advanced 3D rear camera, which can scan and recognize real world objects.

The Honor View20 is available in the United Kingdom priced at £499.99 GBP (6GB RAM/128GB ROM) and £579.99 GBP (8GB RAM/256GB ROM). The smartphone is available in three colours: Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue and the Moschino co-designed Phantom Blue.

Honor Press Release


Jan 7, 2019

[Las Vegas, January 7, 2019] – HONOR, a leading smartphone e-brand, today at CES 2019 revealed its latest flagship smartphone – HONOR View20 – which brings elite features, including 48MP rear camera with AI Ultra Clarity and 3D TOF camera, All-View display, and high performance chipset, expected by the most demanding consumers.


HONOR has achieved explosive growth since its establishment. In 2017, HONOR became the top smartphone e-brand in China, and the brand has expanded its worldwide footprint. Its international sales grew significantly over the past year. And as of January 7, 2019, the number of HONOR fans has exceeded 1 million in overseas market! With a new branding campaign in the New Year, HONOR builds up connection among global youth and provides an equal and energetic community where the youth are encouraged to share ideas and chase their dreams. Until now, there are 20 HONOR Clubs and 50 fans events were held in overseas markets, 10 million people have visited the HONOR Club, and more than 650,000 interactive posts were generated.

“As a leading e-brand, HONOR’s mission is to create an intelligent world designed with the needs of young people at heart,” said Mr. George Zhao, President of HONOR. “HONOR’s goal is to grow and reach new markets, so that we can bring unparalleled technology, richer and more diverse life experiences and exceptional style to fans around the globe.”

HONOR View20 – an unrivaled flagship smartphone with world-leading features

HONOR View20 represents the company’s latest entrance into the flagship market, bringing top technical performance and hitting next level design and style. The cutting-edge smartphone is equipped with the world’s first high-definition 48MP rear camera.

The elite 48MP camera is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and takes amazing pictures. The new 48MP AI Ultra Clarity mode can combine multiple 48MP images into a single 48MP photo, producing a Super 48MP Photo with superb clarity.

HONOR View20 also comes with an advanced 3D rear camera, which can scan and recognize real world objects. The AI and 3D modelling algorithm enables a series of useful and interesting applications, from making your body slimmer in photos and videos, to playing motion sensing games and calculating calories in food.

Extreme performance with latest technologies in mind

HONOR View20 is the first model to be equipped with advanced 7nm Kirin 980 AI chipset with dual NPU to overseas market; GPU Turbo 2.0, which greatly improves graphic performance; and a 4,000 mAh battery with SuperCharge.

The Kirin 980 chipset represents a 75% improvement of speed in single core performance compared to the previous generation. The Kirin 980 also includes Mali-G76 GPU to improve performance by 46%. HONOR View20’s performance has significantly increased, while reducing its energy consumption by 58%, providing a revolutionary advancement in user experience.

With the high demand for power that comes with HONOR View20, HONOR engineers developed an innovative The NINE Liquid Cooling Technology which is a highly efficient liquid cooling system that can more effectively dissipate heat for performance.

The cutting-edge smartphone is equipped with a front-facing 25MP camera integrated into the display. The innovative All-View display provides a notch-less viewing experience and a stunning 91.8% screen-to-body ratio.

HONOR View20 has adopted a special technique enabling light to go through and reach the front-facing camera seamlessly. HONOR engineers use advanced holder with buffer design to precisely place the front camera under an ultra-small 4.5mm transparent hole on the screen. A proprietary display bonding material is used to prevent light emitted by the display from entering the camera, enabling the best photos possible from a smartphone.

Mr. George Zhao continued: “HONOR’s View series brings ground-breaking technology and flagship performance to users. With HONOR View20, we’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in a flagship smartphone. We are deeply proud of View20, a beautiful amalgamate of innovation, power, and function – and a phone that boldly underscores HONOR’s distinguished reputation and commitment to elegant design.”

Next generation in design and aesthetics

From a design perspective, HONOR View20 is the first smartphone to use advanced nanolithography technology to develop an invisible nano texture on the phone body. The fourth generation of nano-vacuum coating and invisible aurora texture process create a vivid and dynamic V-shape color gradient with a gleaming effect, breaking the mold of traditional flagship smartphones in dimension and style.

At CES, HONOR has also announced a new phantom blue color for HONOR 8X which has a 2.5D double texture aurora glass body with a grating effect, providing an elegant and smooth look and feel. Since its launch last September, HONOR 8X has globally sold over six million units. Overall, the X Series has sold over 50 million units worldwide.

The enormous success of HONOR’s latest smartphones and the rapid growth in popularity of the brand have been driven by the company’s ceaseless dedication to providing industry-leading innovation and design, which continue to win accolades all around the world.

Hands On

Want to see exactly what the new Honor View20 smartphone looks like in the flesh?

Check out our hands-on gallery of photos of the Honor View20 smartphone.

A gallery of hands-on photos of the new Honor View20 smartphone.

Image Gallery

Click on a thumbnail to see the full version.

Preview Images

​Ahead of our full review, here are some sample JPEG and Raw images taken with the new Honor View20 premium smartphone.

A gallery of full-size sample images taken with the Honor View20 smartphone.

Honor View20 Sample Images

Sample RAW Images

The Honor View20 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 Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 99.2Mb in size.

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