Of all the phones that launched last month, only one device features the kind of next-gen features that will only be available from rival devices at some point in the first quarter of 2019. That handset, available in a large number of markets, will never officially launch in the US, and Android fans already know what device I’m talking about. But that device — Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro — is actually available in the US, unofficially, from eBay.
About a year ago, when the Mate 10 Pro launched, Huawei was expected to bring the phone to US consumers via partnerships with several carriers, including AT&T and Verizon. But the US government stopped these deals from going through, after voicing its concerns about the security of Huawei gear. The Mate 10 Pro was only available from some electronics retailers, significantly impacting Huawei’s reach in a market it has yet to conquer. Even Best Buy pulled out of a Huawei deal.
Fast-forward to fall 2018, and the Mate 20 Pro, probably the most exciting Android device Huawei has ever made, isn’t available officially in the USA at all. But you can score one on eBay right now, as long as you’re willing to pay the full $899.99 for the 128GB version and forget about any warranties.
Priced $100 less than the 64GB iPhone XS, the Mate 20 Pro is the only Android phone in the world to sport a 7nm processor, the same chip technology of the A12 and A12X chips that Apple made this year. The phone is also one of the few Android handsets to deliver 3D facial recognition like the iPhone X devices.
Also, beneath that screen, there’s an in-display fingerprint sensor. On the back, we have a triple camera, a camera feature first seen on the P20 Pro that Huawei launched earlier this year. The phone also introduces a brand new type of expandable storage, a nanoSD card that’s even smaller than current microSD cards. The phone can also wirelessly recharge other devices and supports 40W wired charging itself.
Among the drawbacks are the design and software. The phone features a mix of iPhone X and Galaxy S design: A notch at the top and curved edges on the sides. So it’s not exactly original. The software experience also saw some criticism in reviews, but Android fans who are looking to get the phone right now probably aren’t bothered by the unoriginal design or the software. As for worries about China spying, that’s up to everyone to decide on their own.
The most exciting Android phone of 2018 isn’t the Pixel 3, even if it does offer access to Android Pie right now in addition to that great camera. It’s not the Galaxy Note 9 either, with its beautiful Infinity Display and built-in stylus, or the upcoming OnePlus 6T that will probably deliver the fastest Android experience around. In fact, the most exciting Android phone of 2018 is the one that’s not even going to be sold in America.
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro was unveiled just a few days ago, and as expected, the phone will not be available from US carriers in the foreseeable future. That’s hardly a surprise for Android fans familiar with the US government’s stance on Huawei hardware — namely that it poses a threat to national security.
AT&T and Verizon were supposed to sell the Mate 10 Pro last year, the predecessor to the Mate 20 series, but the deals fell through at the last moment after the government voiced its concerns regarding technology developed by the Chinese smartphone maker. Best Buy soon dropped its contract with Huawei, so it’s not like electronics retailers will hurry to sell the Mate 20 Pro either.
A spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the handset, which is already available in international markets, won’t launch in the US:
We are not planning to sell the Mate 20 Series in the US. While international variants of the Mate 20 Series may be available on some US online retail sites, we encourage individuals to carefully read the details about the warranty and network compatibility before purchasing.
One other downside is that even if you find the Mate 20 Pro in the US from retailers like Amazon, you’ll have to pay full price for it. The Mate 20 Pro is slightly cheaper than the iPhone XS and XS Max in Europe, but it’ll still cost $1,000 or more in the US.
What makes the Mate 20 Pro stand out from the Android crowd this year? It’s the first Android phone to ship with a 7nm chip; it packs a massive 6.4-inch display with 3120 x 1440 resolution that resembles Samsung’s Infinity Display but has a notch at the top; and that notch houses a camera system that does 3D face unlock like the iPhone XS; it features an in-display fingerprint sensor; it packs a massive 4,200 mAh battery with fast charging support (wired and wireless); it does reverse wireless charging; it features a triple-lens camera on the back; and it features a new nano-memory card. Read more about the phone’s unique features here.
Earlier this week, Huawei unveiled a bunch of new Android devices, including the Mate 20 Pro that’s easily the most exciting Android phone of the year. But it also took the wraps off of its new Mate 20 X, a gaming phone with a huge display and impressive battery capacity. In interviews that followed the event, Huawei CEO Richard Yu confirmed that the company is making a foldable phone for next year, a device that will also come with built-in 5G support. But will that phone be based on the Mate 20 X?
The Mate 20 X has a massive 7.2-inch screen that’s bigger than any smartphone available so now. But Huawei insisted during the event that the device doesn’t feel as big as that display dimension suggests. The fact that we’ve reached the era of all-screen smartphone designs helps. The Mate 20 X has tiny bezels and a teardrop notch, design features that helped Huawei create a device that doesn’t feel as bulky as a 7-inch tablet.
“We are working on foldable phones,” Yu said in interviews during the Mate 20 launch. “Foldable 5G phones.” DigitalTrends says that this is the first time that Huawei linked 5G to foldable phones, but that’s not quite right. A report a few weeks ago also said that a Huawei exec revealed that the foldable handset will also be its first 5G phone.
Yu did not reveal any details about the foldable phone, saying somewhat cryptically that “maybe sometime we will launch that, but not this time.” Yu then steered the conversation toward the Mate 20 X saying that “before the foldable phones, we are introducing the Huawei Mate 20 X. It is 7.2-inch, but in your hand, it’s not so big, not so bulky.”
This may be perceived as a teaser that the foldable phone could have a screen as big as the Mate 20 X. Or we’re just looking at the pre-prepared remarks from a CEO anxious to sell his company’s latest devices. It’s clear, however, that Huawei’s foldable device can’t be a bulky handset, given the company’s insistence on the importance of device size during the Mate 20 event
The CEO previously hinted that foldable smartphones with bigger screens may replace laptops in the future. “Why are you still using a computer?” Yu asked while answering a question about future mobile innovations after Huawei’s IFA event. “Probably because the smartphone display is too small for you. We will change that. It is conceivable that a display can be folded out.”
Recent reports said that Huawei’s first foldable phone could have a 7-inch or 8-inch display, and the Mate 20 X’s screen size certainly fits within that range. That said, we have no idea what Huawei’s first foldable phone will look like or when it’ll launch. The world’s first 5G phone is coming next week from Huawei rival Xiaomi, and we can expect to see plenty of 5G devices in stores next year, including Huawei handsets.
Huawei unveiled four new mobile devices earlier this week, all part of its new Mate 20 series. We’re looking at the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, Porsche Design Mate 20 RS, and Mate 20 X. As expected, Huawei introduced a bunch of exciting features that are not yet available on other flagship Android smartphones right now, making the Mate 20 Pro the hottest Android handset money can buy. That’s assuming your government allows carriers in your country to sell it, of course.
In what follows, we’ll show you all the new features Huawei introduced that aren’t available on most (or any) competing devices. And even if some of the following features can be found on other Android devices, it’s still the Mate 20 Pro that seems to come out a winner, given everything it has to offer.
Infinity Display meets The Notch
As cool as Huawei’s new Mate 20 Pro flagship may be, it hardly sports an original design. Others, Huawei included, have copied Samsung’s curved screens in the past. But the Mate 20 Pro does feature a display that combines Samsung’s curved Infinity Display with Apple’s iPhone X notch, and this combo isn’t available on other devices.
Speaking of displays, the Mate 20 X also deserves a mention because of its size. The phone may not be Huawei’s best device this year, but it still puts a display in your hand that measures a whopping 7 inches diagonally. It’s a flat screen, however, and the handset has a smaller camera notch.
In-display fingerprint sensor
We saw in-display fingerprint technology on other smartphones, but most of them are mid-range devices. Phones like the Galaxy S9, Note 9, and Pixel 3 don’t have it. Apple’s iPhones don’t even do fingerprint scanning anymore. Huawei also said its in-display fingerprint tech comes with Dynamic Pressure Sensing tech, adding that it’s 30% faster than alternatives. The OnePlus 6T will have an in-display fingerprint sensor, but the phone won’t start shipping until next month.
USB-C port doubles as a bottom speaker
Google’s Pixel 3 phones are uglier than their rivals because Google insisted on placing the speakers on the front side of the phone. Huawei’s Mate 20 phones, meanwhile, have almost entirely dropped the bottom chin. The USB-C port can be used for charging the handset and transferring data, or for listening to music using wired headphones. But it also acts as a bottom speaker.
The 7nm Kirin 980 processor that powers all the new Mate 20 phones has no rival in the Android universe right now. Samsung and everyone else won’t launch flagships with 7nm chips until next spring. This detail alone makes the Mate 20 Pro the best iPhone XS rival right now. Apple is the only other smartphone maker that has smartphones powered by 7nm chip technology this year.
The Mate 20 X also deserves a special mention because of its novel cooling system that involves a Vapor Chamber and a graphene film meant to cool down that Kirin 980 chip faster. Strangely enough, the Mate 20 Pro doesn’t get the same cooling system. Then again, the Mate 20 X is optimized for resource-intensive gaming sessions.
Other than the P20 Pro launched this spring, also a Huawei creation, few flagship smartphones features a triple-lens camera system. The newly launched V40 ThinQ is one of them, but LG’s camera tech may not be able to surpass Huawei’s considering what we saw so far. Huawei built a bunch of software AI-powered features on top of the camera hardware, including video recording with support for real-time editing, and support for macro shots taken as close as 2.5cm from the subject.
40W fast charging battery
The Mate 20 Pro supports 40W fast wired charging, which means you only need 30 minutes to replenish 70% of battery life. And when that battery is a 4,200 mAh monster bigger than the Note 9’s battery, that’s even more impressive. Speaking of battery size, the Mate 20 X gaming phone has an even bigger 5,000 mAh battery on board but doesn’t support the same fast charging technology.
Reverse wireless charging
The Mate 20 Pro supports 15W fast wireless charging (30% charge in 30 minutes). And the Mate 20 Pro will be the first smartphone that can recharge wirelessly other smartphones or gadgets that support wireless charging. Huawei showed on stage an image showing a Mate 20 Pro recharging the battery of an iPhone XS to make this point.
3D Face Unlock
Many have copied Apple’s iPhone X notch, but very few were able to replicate its functionality. The Xiaomi Mi 8 is a device that does 3D face recognition similar to Face ID. And now, so is the Mate 20 Pro. But Huawei has other 3D tricks up its sleeve, including its version of Animoji, but also a 3D scanning feature that lets users scan real objects and add them to AR environments, including the camera app. Sony has a similar 3D scanning technology which it uses for scanning the user’s head. But Huawei’s 3D Depth Sensing Camera can be used to animate objects in AR.
On top of that, 3D Face Unlock can also be used to access a protected area of the smartphone that can contain apps and data. Mobile payments are also supported.
The Mate 20 phones aren’t as generous when it comes to storage options, but they support expandable storage of up to 256GB. More interestingly, they support nano-memory (NM) cards that are a proprietary Huawei technology. The cards use a special SIM tray that can house two SIM cards, or a SIM card and an NM card.
All Mate 20 phones can project content to a display wirelessly, as long as the screen supports Miracast tech. This is Huawei’s own PC mode for the smartphone, meant to rival Samsung’s DeX accessory system. Huawei says you can still use the phone’s messaging and calling features independently of the projected image, and that your privacy will be protected.
LTE and GPS
The Mate 20 Pro is the world’s first phone to support Cat. 21 LTE connections of up to 1.4Gbps, although you also need your carrier to support it to take advantage of it. The phone also packs dual-band GPS (L1+L5) support for more accurate localization, a feature only found on the Xiaomi Mi 8 so far.
Huawei on Tuesday unveiled the Mate 20 series, phones that are well ahead of any 2018 Android flagship. As leaks have revealed in the past couple of months, the new Mate 20 phones will offer features that won’t be available on other Android flagships for at least five more months. Huawei’s Mate 20 phones have instantly become the best iPhone XS rivals out there, at least on paper, and the high-end model is easily the most beastly Android phone the world has seen so far.
The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro look just like they did in all the leaks. The regular Mate 20 has a flat screen and a teardrop notch, while the Mate 20 Pro features an iPhone X-like notch (complete with 3D face recognition similar to Face ID) and curved screens like Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note phones. The phones also pack an in-display fingerprint sensor that’s supposedly 10% faster than other sensors, as well as a USB-C port that doubles as a bottom speaker. There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack on either model, and the phones have IP68 (Mate 20 Pro), and IP53 (Mate 20) ratings.
The Mate 20 Pro has a 6.4-inch curved OLED screen with 3120 x 1440 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 86.90% screen-to-body ratio. Meanwhile, the Mate 20 features a 6.5-inch LCD screen with 2244 x 1080 resolution, 18.7:9 aspect ratio and 88.08% screen-to-body ratio. Huawei insisted on stage that its Mate 20 phones are the best phones out there when it comes to processor and RAM speed, Wi-Fi downloads, GPS accuracy, camera performance, and battery performance.
The phones sport the first 7nm processor among Android devices, the Kirin 980 that was unveiled at IFA earlier this year. Other specs include 6GB or 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM (Mate 20 Pro), 4GB of 6GB of RAM (Mate 20), 128GB of storage, Cat. 21 LTE support (1.4Gbps), and faster Wi-Fi. The Mate 20 packs a 4,000 mAh battery while the Mate 20 Pro has a 4,200 mAh battery. The Mate 20 Pro supports 40W fast wired charging (up to 70% charge in 30 minutes) while the Mate 20 supports 22W fast wired charging, and both models support 15W fast wireless charging.
Also interesting is the fact that Huawei’s phones are the first in the world that can be used to charge wirelessly accessories like headphones and other smartphones.
Both phones come with a new SIM tray that supports two SIM cards, or a SIM card and Huawei’s new nano-memory storage card that goes up to 256GB.
Both handsets feature triple-lens cameras but the one on the Mate 20 Pro is better. The Mate 20 features 16-megapixel ultra wide angle, 12-megapixel, wide angle, and 8-megapixel telephoto sensors. The Mate 20 Pro, meanwhile, has a 40-megapixel wide angle, 20-megapixel super wide angle, and 8-megapixel telephoto lenses. On the front, there’s a 24-megapixel sensor on the Mate 20 Pro alongside the components that enable 3D Face Unlock, 3D Live Emoji, and 3D object scanning. Just as with the previous model, the Mate 20 phones will offer plenty of AI-enhanced shooting modes, including real-time video editing and special effects.
The Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will both launch with Android 9.0 Pie on board, although you’ll find Huawei’s EMUI 9.0 on top of it. The Mate 20 Pro will start at €1,049 ($1,217) in Europe, which is cheaper than the iPhone XS in the region but on par with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9. The Mate 20 starts at €799 ($927), and goes up to €849 ($985) if you want more RAM.