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One month after: A Mate for keeps?

Secretly sad.

Have you ever had those moments when you should be feeling happy but deep down inside, there's this nagging feeling of still being just a little bit disappointed?

It's like winning second place when everyone thought you'd be a shoo-in for top prize; or getting promoted but without the salary increase. If you are an expectant parent, there's something called gender disappointment-hoping for a girl and getting a boy instead (or vice versa). Or for those in a relationship, it's like courting someone and ending up with their best friend.

I'm sure you've had those moments.

Well, to be honest, that was how I felt as I was signing over some forms and being handed the Huawei Mate 20.

I had been reading so much about the Mate 20 Pro ever since the first rumors and leaks came out up until it's grand launch in London, and was really excited to test all those new features (reverse charging, the new camera modes, that 3D video, in-screen fingerprint, the Quad HD OLED screen, etc.) but instead I received the Mate 20 for review.

I wanted to ask if it was possible to swap, but decided against it. After all, not everyone was given the chance to try out one of the best phones of 2018.

So, yes, it was one of those happy-kind-of-sad moments-but that was a month ago.

Because now, whenever anyone asks me about which Mate they should get, I can confidently say, without guilt or a tinge of regret, that the Mate 20 is the better choice.

The Mate 20 Pro may be the one you want, but trust me-the Mate 20 has everything you need.

HAND OF THE (ANDROID) KING

The Mate series has always been Huawei's King of Android and, while the Mate 20 Pro may be the one on the throne, I guess you can call the Mate 20, the Hand of the King.

DEVOUR:

Wide-angle camera is superb

Classy glass design

Great visual and audio experience, big bright screen

Quick charge, long-lasting battery

Very fast fingerprint sensor and traditional placement

There's still a 3.5mm headphone jack!

DISLIKE:

Glass finish is prone to smudges and fingerprints, especially the black variant

No wireless charging

Only has IP53 water resistance

Now let's start with the differences.

While both share the same design philosophy, the Mate 20 is slightly bigger, has a fingerprint sensor on the back compared to the in-screen of the Pro; has an LCD instead of OLED screen; a smaller teardrop notch; has a flat instead of a curved-edge screen; lower IP water resistance, fast instead of SuperCharge charging, slightly lower camera megapixels; and no wireless charging support.

These differences translate into a more affordable price tag-around P9,000 less than the Pro, but do these variances also give you a lesser Mate experience?

Not exactly.

First the size. The Mate 20 is a bit wider than the longer and thinner Pro. It's 77mm wide compared to the 72mm of Pro, but is almost exactly the same length and thickness. It weighs just 188g and is surprisingly lighter than you'd expect. The Note 9 and iPhone XS Max are actually a bit heavier. The wider size, however, doesn't make the Mate 20 more difficult to hold than the Pro and the tapered edge helps in making it feel more manageable than its huge screen size would suggest it should.

That bigger body actually serves a purpose as it allows for the retention of the traditional 3.5mm jack, which is still a big deal for a lot of people. Unfortunately, the Mate 20 only has IP53 water resistance, which is a step down from the Mate 20 Pro. So avoid using it near pools or when there's a downpour.

Design-wise, the most noticeable difference is the presence of the fingerprint scanner that's located right below the triple-camera module, which the Mate 20 Pro doesn't have. In-screen fingerprint sensors may be the thing now, but when it comes to speed, the physical sensor is still faster, plus I'm not sure if you can still put a protector or tempered glass on the screen of the Mate 20 Pro since it will cover up the sensor and make it useless.

Speaking of screen, the one on the Mate 20 is a 6.53-inch IPS, non-curved full HD panel with a tiny notch on the screen. I actually prefer this tiny notch and looks more like an improvement as it occupies a much smaller space on the display. The reason the Mate 20 Pro has a larger notch is because it houses the various sensors that it uses to facilitate more secure face unlocks, which you only need for secure payment use. Use PayMaya or GCash instead.

The Mate 20's LCD screen is little larger than the curved OLED display on the Mate 20 Pro. Again, the use of LCD is not a massive downside and you will only notice it once you put it side by side with the Mate 20 Pro and its deeper contrast levels and deeper blacks.

The Mate 20 screen looks great for browsing the Internet, checking out your social-media feeds, looking through your photo albums and even editing. I actually shot and edited all my recent videos on the Mate 20 instead of doing it on my laptop. You also won't get tired of looking at the Mate 20's screen when watching videos from YouTube or from those streaming services

As for audio, I mentioned that the Mate 20 still has the 3.5mm headphone jack as well as Bluetooth 5.0, plus it has Dolby Atmos to tune the sound. There's a single speaker below the phone and another cleverly placed one just on top of the notch, and both speakers dish out respectable volume and audio quality.

The only downside when it comes to looks is the color options, as the Mate 20 only comes in two colors here in the Philippines-Black and Midnight Blue. I have the black one, which I think looks much better since it perfectly complements the black rear camera module.

HIP TO BE SQUARE

Hello, Neo. The Mate 20 series has what it calls the the Matrix Camera System, which adopts the iconic Four-Point Design that exudes personality, giving the device a unique visual identity that is recognizable even at a distance. Set inside a square-shaped module with curved corners, the triple camera setup looked weird and unusual at first, but it actually gets better with time.

The Mate 20's rear camera system is composed of a 12-megapixel and an f/1.8 aperture, while the ultra-wide-angle has 16 megapixels and an f/2.2 aperture, both of which are lower than the 40 megapixel and 20 megapixel combo on the Pro. The 8-megapixel, f/2.4 aperture telephoto lens is the same on both phones, as is the 24-megapixel, f/2.0 selfie cam. The Mate 20 only has a 2x zoom compared to the 5x on the Mate 20 Pro.

Building on the foundation of the P20 Series camera system, Huawei further improves the Mate 20 with the 16mm Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens. This wider perspective creates a sense of spaciousness and a three dimensional effect to the images. The new camera system also supports macro distance, which produces crisp images of objects that are placed as close as 2.5cm from the lens. The added ultra-wide-angle lens and macro support complete the feature set of the camera system, elevating it to a truly all-round camera that is ready to capture any and all action.

WIDE-ANGLE EVERYTHING

I was never a fan of the monochrome lens, and it's a good thing Huawei realized that people don't really use it as much. The only time I use monochrome is when taking event/concert photos when the stage is being flooded by a lot of changing colors, and you can even do that by editing your photo and using the B/W filter.

So I was really happy they decided to ditch it in exchange of a wide-angle lens; and believe me, it will totally change the way you take photos. The new wide-angle lens work brilliantly with Huawei's artificial intelligence system. The camera understands what it sees, and recommends switching to a wide-angle view if it thinks the photo would be improved. Instead of taking a few steps back-all you have to do is tap the wide angle mode to capture more of the scene. Group shots are now easier to take and you'll be inspired to take those landscape photos.

I think half of my photo album now are wide-angle shots. Oh, and here's a little secret I discovered - if framed correctly, using wide angle can actually make you look slimmer!

The Mate 20 also has improved Night Mode, so if you love the handheld nightshots of the P20 Pro, imagine combining that with a wide angle of the Mate 20. I actually won a contest using the Mate 20's wide-angle/night mode combo.

As for videos, Huawei adds several new modes and improves on the Mate's video-taking capabilities. New to the series is the AI Cinema mode and, thanks to the Kirin 980's dual-NPU, it allows the camera to change the background in real-time while shooting. For example, you can isolate a person in color, while making the background black and white. There's also live bokeh mode for video, which works only on people and AI zoom which allows you to lock on a subject and the camera would follow it. Although these new video modes are a nice addition, it still needs improvement for them to be anything more than just novelties.

To sum it up, the Mate 20 cameras are pretty amazing and can rival photos taken by other flagship phones, and again the only thing that's better are the ones taken by the cameras of the Mate 20 Pro.

MORE POWER FOR YOU

Few flagships can equal the power of the Mate series, and it makes the series very capable gaming machines. It doesn't get warm even during long play times and there's no slowdown or poor frame rates even for those graphically intensive games. In general, everyday use, you have nothing to complain and worry about as the Mate 20 is a solid, speedy companion.

What about the battery? The Mate 20 is powered by a 4000mAh battery utilizing Huawei's SuperCharge tech and can get you from 0 percent to around 70 percent in 45 minutes. In my actual use, the Mate 20 easily lasted more than a day with moderate-to-heavy use, and I have found no use for my powerbank, unless I turned on my mobile data the entire day.

So, should you go for the Mate 20 instead of the Mate 20 Pro?

The Mate 20 is an easy recommendation, and it's the practical choice for most users who are looking for a powerful device with a great camera and long-lasting battery life. It has all the features you need on a flagship device and though you do lose the premium features of the Mate 20 Pro like the curved 2K display, higher water resistance, onscreen fingerprint scanner, the higher-resolution cameras, and reverse charging, these aren't really crucial to your everyday usage and experience.

Going for the Mate 20 also gives you the advantage of having a 3.5mm jack, the fastest physical fingerprint scanner, a bigger display, and the price difference of P9,000 which you could use to buy another device-like the new Y9 2019 edition that you can give as a gift to a loved one.

Y9? WHY NOT?

So you've saved quite a lot by getting a Huawei Mate 20. Now, why not make a loved one just as happy by getting them their own Huawei phone?

As its core concept, the Huawei Y series is known as the 'young and excellent' smartphone, with an emphasis on the design, style, bigger screen and AI cameras. The Y9 2019 is no exception. This time, the phone is equipped with a large 6.5-inch FullView display, amazing 16MP AI quad cameras, stylish and flagship-level design, a powerful 4000mAh battery, and convenient smart features that aims to improve overall experience and brings the latest technology for newbies and pros alike.

The Y9 2019, with its streamlined yet stylish design, is designed for those who favor entertainment. Huawei equipped the Y9 2019 with the new-generation 6.5' notched FullView Display, a 16.70 million color IPS LCD, a contrast of 1500:1, 2340x1080 resoultion and 397 PPI, offering stunning full HD+ experience.

Equipped with quad AI cameras, the Y9 2019 has the photography features you need to making selfie shots easier and more innovative than ever. The rear dual camera has a 13MP+2MP, while the front has a whopping 16MP f/2.0 camera. The new Y9 leverages AI photography technology and algorithm to create better lighting, enhance selfie quality so you can produce studio-quality portraits in shots, and take beautiful selfies even in low-light conditions.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Dec 8, 2018
Words:2394
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