The future of Huawei’s smartphone business is in doubt, now that Google has confirmed it would comply with Commerce Department restrictions that could cut the Chinese form off from key pieces of Android. Huawei didn’t let these last few tumultuous days slow it down. The company has announced the new Honor 20 Pro. This “budget flagship” has a lot in common with the P30 family, but it costs much less. And yes, it has Google services.
Huawei traditionally reserves the best features for its Huawei-branded phones like the P30 Pro. However, if you can wait, it usually rolls out a slightly more affordable version of the P-series hardware under its Honor sub-brand. That’s what the Honor 20 Pro is all about. This phone packs the same Kirin 980 ARM chip as the P30 Pro along with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 4,000 mAh battery.
One of the most notable downgrades is the display. The Honor 20 Pro has a 6.26-inch 1080p LCD whereas the P30 Pro has a slightly larger OLED. Like it or not, the Honor 20 also sports a “hole punch” display like the Galaxy S10. So, the front-facing 32MP camera peeks through a small hole in the LCD.
A 32MP selfie camera is nothing to sneeze at, but the main camera setup got a mild downgrade compared with the P30 Pro. There’s no 5x optical “periscope” zoom camera on this phone, but you do get four sensors on the back. There’s a regular 48MP, a 16MP wide-angle, a 2MP macro camera, and an 8MP 3x zoom lens. The hardware is certainly a match for most competing devices, and Huawei’s image processing is solidly above average.
The problem is that despite the Honor name, this is a Huawei phone. Currently, the company is enjoying a 90-day reprieve from official sanctions, but the company will be cut off from Google and other US firms by late summer unless something changes. Android may be open source, but the things that make Android useful come from Google — Gmail, the Play Store, and even push notifications are closed source and affected by the ban. The Honor 20 comes with Google services as it predates this mess, but Huawei might find it is unable to provide updates down the line without removing all the Google bits.
Even with the competitive €599 price, the Honor 20 Pro faces an uphill climb. As for US pricing, there isn’t any. Huawei has all but given up on the US market.
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