If 2018 was the year of the notch, 2019 will be the year of the hole punch. Leading the way in this new trend is the Honor View 20. The phone was unveiled for the Chinese market in late December, but its international debut is set for January 21 in Paris. Honor was kind enough to send over a review unit early, so I’ve been playing around with the phone for the past few days.
As you might expect, the main highlight of the phone is its 6.4-inch 1080 x 2310 edge-to-edge display which features a hole punch cutout in the top left corner for its 25MP front-facing camera. Now some may brush off the hole punch display as just another fad, but it’s actually an ingenious way to get rid of the notch from the top middle of the display and move it to a corner that’s. Sure, notifications get bumped to right, but the hole is barely noticeable when you’re watching full-screen videos or playing games in landscape mode.
The LCD panel used is pretty high quality, offering great viewing angles and bright colors. The bottom of the display does have a slightly thicker bezel than the top and sides, but it’s something you quickly forget about once you start using the device.
One other unique design feature we like about the View 20 is its unique metal and glass design which is highlighted by a chevron pattern in the rear glass panel. The patterns moved up and down as light hits it from different angles, making it stand from most other glass-backed smartphones.
But there’s so much more to the Honor View 20 than the hole in its display and fancy glass finish. On the inside, the phone is powered by a Kirin 980 which is Huawei’s 7nm chip and the device I have here has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, but a cheaper model will be available with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Honor’s also thrown in a 48MP camera on the back which is paired with a true 3D camera sensor which actually calculates the how long it takes for light from objects to bounce back and reach the sensor.
It can be used to create a 3D model of an object or a soon or even track motion of a user for gesture recognition in games. But since that’s more of a novelty feature, I’m sure you’re more interested in how the camera performs. Put simply, this is the best camera we’ve ever seen on an Honor phone. It’s not quite on par with what you get from the Huawei P20 or the Mate 20, but it’s pretty damn good. Images are sharp, colors are bright and white balance is on point. The sample images I’ve taken so far are pretty great and low-light performance is quite commendable as well.
On the software front, the Honor View 20 is running Magic UI 2.0 on top of Android 9 with the latest January security patch. The experience is about the same as what you get on most Honor and Huawei phones which means you’ll probably want to find a third-party icon pack or switch out the default launched altogether for something that’s a bit more familiar.
As for performance, the Kirin 980 is phenomenal. The processor is faster than the Snapdragon 845, so you’ll be able to play the most graphic intense 3D games you can find. 6GB of RAM is more than about for most people, but having 8GB of RAM means you’ll hardly ever have to wait for an app to reload. On more than one occasion, I’ve opened an app that was last used the previous day and launched immediately without showing the apps splash screen while it loads the app resources in the background.
The official retail launch date and price of the Honor View 20 will be announced on January 21 in Paris, but rumor has it that the phone will cost around 460 Euro. The phone won’t likely be made avaialbe in the US or Canada, but if you’re really itching to get your hands on it, you can pick it up on gearbest.com or other reputable 3rd party retailers.
We’d right in the middle of our full Honor View 20 review, so make sure you check back with us in about a week to see how the device hold up to all of our tests.