LONDON - Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, which started the triple-camera trend on smartphones earlier this year, is continuing on the same path with its latest Mate 20 series.
The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro smartphones, which were officially launched on Tuesday (Oct 16) in London, feature three cameras on their backs and a host of camera-centric artificial intelligence tricks.
The Mate 20 will cost $998, while the Mate 20 Pro is more expensive at $1,348. Both smartphones will be available in Singapore on Oct 27.
The Mate 20 comes with a 6.53-inch LCD screen, whereas the Mate 20 Pro has a slightly smaller but higher-resolution 6.39-inch Oled display. Both smartphones come with some variant of a notch - the Mate 20 with a smaller teardrop-shaped notch, and the Mate 20 Pro with a larger rectangular notch.
Huawei was the first smartphone manufacturer to release a smartphone with three rear cameras when it launched the P20 and P20 Pro earlier this year - a trend which has since carried on to the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
While the new phones have three cameras from famed German camera maker Leica on their rear - a regular lens, a telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens - there are slight differences between the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
The Mate 20 Pro comes with a 40-megapixel standard camera, a 20-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 8-megapixel telephoto camera. On the other hand, the Mate 20 features a 12-megapixel standard camera, a 16-megapixel wide-angle camera and the same 8-megapixel telephoto camera. Both models carry the same 24-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture.
However, with the Mate 20 series, Huawei has dropped the monochrome camera - a mainstay in their predecessors, which takes in more light for better low-light photos.
A new neat feature in Mate 20 Pro is its two-way wireless charging feature that allows it to act like a charging pack for devices that support the Qi wireless charging standard. Place a Qi-compatible smartphone in direct contact with the Mate 20 Pro to charge this phone using the Mate 20 Pro's huge 4,200mAh battery.
Unlike the Pro version, the Mate 20 lacks wireless charging. But it still has a large 4,000mAh battery.
Both smartphones come with 6GB of system memory and 128GB of onboard storage, with up to 256GB of additional storage via expandable storage. However, this is only possible using Huawei's own new nanoSD cards, instead of the commonly used microSD cards.
The Mate 20 retains a fingerprint sensor on its rear, and keeps the 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom as well.
The Mate 20 Pro, however, does away with both the rear fingerprint sensor and the headphone jack. Instead, Huawei opted for an in-display fingerprint sensor located just under the phone's display. This allows users to unlock the phone by pressing on a specific spot on the screen with a finger. Users can also unlock the phone using its facial recognition feature (Face Unlock).
Both smartphones contain Huawei's latest Kirin 980 processor chip, which has two neural processing units compared to one on the previous Kirin chip. The neural processing units perform the intensive calculations needed for artificial intelligence (AI) quickly and efficiently. The AI is used for tasks like real-time translation of foreign languages - simply point the phone's camera at text in an unfamiliar language. It works even without an Internet connection, unlike many translation tools.
Another new AI-powered camera feature is HiVision, which allows for real-time object recognition of important landmarks across 15 countries and cities like London and Paris by aiming the camera at the landmark. It can also identify up to 10 million paintings and works of art, as well as estimate the amount of calories in food.
Both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will run Huawei's Emui 9.0 skin, which is based on the latest Android 9 operating system.
Huawei's collaboration with luxury lifestyle brand Porsche Design continues with the Mate 20 series, as Singapore buyers will also be able to purchase a premium version of the Mate 20 Pro, called the Mate 20 RS, in November.
The RS features a glass back outlined with two strips of handcrafted leather, the Porsche Design branding on the back, and increased onboard storage up to 256GB. The local price of the Mate 20 RS is currently unavailable, but Huawei says it costs €1,695 (S$2,696) for the 256GB model and €2,095 (S$3,332) for the 512GB model.
Huawei also announced a new wearable during the launch, the Huawei Watch GT. The watch runs Huawei's own LiteOS operating system and features a 1.39-inch Amoled display. It will be available in Singapore in late November, with local pricing to come.
Huawei's chief executive for consumer business group Richard Yu said the Watch GT will have a battery life of up to 14 days on a single charge, along with climbing sensors and altitude barometers that can show the user's vertical height. The Sports version costs €199 (S$316) while the Classic model costs €249 (S$396).
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.