P is for Paris and the Huawei P20 series.
The capital and most populous city in France, Paris had been in our bucket list of historic cities to visit, and never mind if we'd never bothered creating such a list before. We imagine it also figures in the list of many other people. Paris, after all, is replete with important museums and architectural landmarks. There's the Louvre, of course, cited as the most-visited art museum in the world, no doubt because of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa; and the Musee d'Orsay and Musee de l'Orangerie, repositories of French Impressionist art. There's the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees, and the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris in the historical district along the Seine. The Grand Palais and Petit Palais, built for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900, in the 8th Arrondissement. And then there's the Eiffel Tower, constructed for the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889, the architectural marvel that has become the visual shorthand for France for the rest of the world.
We only got to visit only some of these historic, world-famous landmarks in the very brief period that we were in Paris (only four days, including air travel time)-and that was for the launch of WHAT. IS. THE. BEST. SMARTPHONE. ON. THE. PLANET.
OK, make that a trifecta of the best smartphones on the planet.
On March 27 the global wireless communications behemoth Huawei flew in media from around the world to Paris, and we all gathered at the the iconic Grand Palais for the unveiling of the hotly anticipated Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro, the latter featuring the world's first Leica triple camera, with both devices boasting of what the company calls 'unprecedented AI [artificial intelligence] advances [and the combination] of technology and art to bring to life a groundbreaking smartphone experience.'
'We look for inspiration from artists to continuously evolve our approach to design and innovation,' Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said during the launch. 'The
Huawei P20 Series builds on the legacy of our collaboration with Leica. With a breakthrough
triple camera on the Huawei P20 Pro, an advanced dual camera on the Huawei P20 and powerful artificial intelligence on both, today's most vibrant consumers can capture and share the brilliance of the world around them.'
With evident and well-deserved pride, Yu cited the very high marks DxOMark gave to the Huawei P20 Series that packs what the company calls 'advanced, intelligent camera systems, which bring consumers features that ultimately enhance every part of the smartphone-photography experience.' Touted as the 'leading source of independent image-quality measurements and ratings for smartphone, camera and lens since 2008,' DxOMark put the Huawei's new flagships through rounds of testing and gave the series the highest overall scores, particularly for the P20 Pro.
DxOMark gave the Huawei P20 Pro a score of 109 points, 10 points more than what Samsung's recently-released Galaxy S9+ earned, 11 points more than the Google Pixel 2's and 12 points ahead of the score earned by the iPhone X.
As Yu cited the high scores and imaging smarts of the P20 Pro in slide after presentation slide, one particular slide earned cheers from the crowd. It was of snow-capped mountains with nighttime creeping in. Huawei's new flagship smartphone captured the mountainscape in beautiful detail, and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ showednothing but blackness and a smattering of white dots for the stars.
According to the product literature provided by the company, the Huawei P20 Pro 'features a Leica triple camera with the highest total pixel count on a smartphone available in the market. The camera configuration is comprised of a 40MP RGB sensor, a 20MP monochrome sensor and an 8MP sensor with telephoto lens. It also features a color temperature sensor for better color reproduction. With f/1.8, f/1.6 and f/2.4 wide aperture to capture crisp, clear details, the P20 Pro also includes a brand-new Leica 3x telephoto lens for long-range photography of up to 5x Hybrid Zoom. Its highly sensitive image sensor captures low light photos with up to ISO 102400.'
Meanwhile, the Huawei P20 'builds on its predecessor's foundation with a Leica dual camera featuring a 12MP lens with a pixel size as high as 1.55 um, and a 20MP monochrome lens, enhancing the Huawei P20's ability to capture photos in low-light settings.
'The Huawei P20 Series devices support six-axis stabilization and 960fps super slow motion, which is 4x higher than the standard 240fps and captures details that cannot be seen with the naked eye. With Ultra Snapshot mode, the devices can capture an image in as little as 0.3 seconds by just double-clicking the down volume button, even from an off screen.'
In plainspeak, the images we captured of Paris during our time with the Huawei P20 Pro after the launch, some of which are included in the collage, were incredible and incredibly dazzling in their clarity and color reproduction. We'll write more about our experience with the P20 Pro in an upcoming review. The Huawei P20 Series is defined by an aesthetic that stirs the senses and the spirit. Most notably, the company's new flagships come in all-new, exclusive, fashionable colors: Twilight and Pink Gold. No doubt destined to become the most coveted iterations, the gradient finish of these was achieved, Huawei reveals, by applying several layers of NCVM optical coatings underneath the glass back. When light hits the surface, the phone gradually takes on different but altogther vivid hues. Besides these variants, the P20 and P20 Pro are also available in Black and Midnight Blue.
'The 5.8-inch screen Huawei P20 and 6.1-inch screen Huawei P20 Pro feature ultra-thin bezels and impressive screen-to-body ratios for better viewing experiences with more on-screen information, whether reading or gaming. The FullView Display seamlessly blends with rounded edges, making the device comfortable to hold.' And, yes, they both have that notch (but not in that in-you-face way of the Apple iPhone X's), which plays host to the front-
facing 24MP camera and a circular earpiece-and which you could make disappear with some built-in software trickery.
Huawei also unveiled the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS (Race Sport). Continuing its collaboration with the exclusive luxury brand, the Mate RS features Porsche Design's signature functional design language and Huawei's cutting-edge technology and craftsmanship. Not unlike the Huawei P20 Pro, the Mate RS features a Leica triple camera. Yu also highlighted it being the world's first smartphone equipped with microcapsule PCM, an aerospace cooling technology for maintaining a safe temperature. In addition, the Mate RS, with a 6-inch OLED 2K curved screen, 'features an innovative in-screen fingerprint sensor, which allows consumers to wake up the device by floating their finger above the display, while touching the sensor to unlock the device is lightning fast. The back fingerprint sensor can also be used to unlock the device or to access a second, secure space.' It is available in Black and, of course, in the eye-catching signature Red of the Porsche.
Meanwhile, we leave you here with some key features of the Huawei P20 Series.
An advanced camera system to capture more light, more details and more beauty, featuring a revolutionary Leica triple camera and 5x Hybrid Zoom on the Huawei P20 Pro, and a Leica dual camera on the Huawei P20;
Innovative photography features, including Master AI with AI-driven professional photography and Huawei AIS (AI Image Stabilization), a powerful AI-stabilization technology;
A timeless design with barely-there bezels and all-new gradient colors; and
Ultimate performance, featuring the NPU on Kirin 970 and EMUI 8.1 based on Android 8.1 for a premium and smooth user experience.