This premium Android phone has an iPhone X-style notch and not one, not two, but three cameras!

Huawei skipped MWC this year, instead choosing to release its new flagship smartphone, the Huawei P20 Pro, at a standalone event in Paris today!

BigBagBlog are at the event, and these are my initial impressions on the device.

Huawei has been really impressing us with its P-range of smartphones for a while now and the P20 Pro is the latest entry into the series.

I know what you’re thinking – why is it called the P20 and not the P11?

Well, it’s because this handset is such a significant update that merely going from P10 to P11 doesn’t do it justice.

The Chinese-brand has shunned its budget image and carved out a reputation for offering Apple-like hardware with Android software at a premium price that puts it up there with the Samsung Galaxy S9 and other flagship Android phones.

What innovations does Huawei bring to the table? The headline feature here is the triple lens camera, which is exclusive to the Pro model. It packs in a RGB, monochrome, and telephoto sensor to improve the smartphone’s image taking versatility.

The Huawei also has a few stunning new “gradient” colour finishes, that shift colour in different light. It’s pretty unique.

There’s no getting around it, though, the Huawei P20 Pro has a strong whiff of iPhone X about it, but does that detract from an otherwise brilliant smartphone? I’ve gone hands-on to find out.

HUAWEI P20 PRO REVIEW: DESIGN

The Pro is the larger phone in Huawei’s new lineup, with a 6.1-inch screen compared to the P20’s 5.8-inch screen.

Huawei is good at making phones, and the P20 Pro feels just as well made as any other premium smartphone out there.

The glass back is smooth and solid, while the metal edges are pleasingly chamfered and tactile.

Huawei has introduced two “gradient” colourways, which shift colour depending on the light. There’s “Twilight”, which flows between black and petrol blue, and “Pink Gold”, which transitions between gold and pink.

They’re really nice options, and would be BigBagBlog’s pick of the bunch.

Of course, bezels have been minimised as much as possible on this device – there’s even a notch around the front camera and speaker – á la iPhone X.

Unlike the iPhone X, however, there’s a sizeable bezel at the bottom of the display, with enough space for a home button underneath the screen.

That is my favourite location for the fingerprint sensor, as it’s easier to locate than the rear-facing sensors.

It is worth noting, for those who don’t want an iPhone X lookalike, there is a software option to hide the notch. This creates a constant black bar at the top of the screen.

HUAWEI P20 PRO REVIEW: FEATURES AND USABILITY

The big selling point with the Huawei P20 Pro is the triple lens, Leica branded, camera. Yep, this smartphone is packing not one, not two, but three lenses.

The innovative system combines a telephoto lens, colour (RGB) sensor, and a monochrome sensor.

All sensors combined, the P20 Pro has a massive 92-megapixels.

Breaking that down, it’s 24MP for the front-facing camera, 8MP for the telephoto, 40MP for the RGB, and 20MP for the monochrome.

The telephoto lens has optical image stabilisation (OIS), but the other lenses uses Huawei’s new AIS “Artificial Intelligence Stabilisation”.

This even works on long exposure night shots, which can be taken hand held with a shutter open for eight seconds. That’s impressive.

Huawei has also worked on the speed of the autofocus. The P20 Pro uses four different systems for quick and accurate focus. It even has predictive focus, to keep moving objects pin sharp.

I’ve had a quick play with the camera and we got some very impressive results. Is it as good as BigBagBlog’s current favourite, the Samsung Galaxy S9? I’ll have to spend some more time with the device to find out.

The Huawei P20 Pro runs Android Oreo with EMUI 8.1 on top. This takes the AI-power from the Huawei Mate 10 Pro one step further.

It’s improved greatly over previous versions, but still not quite as attractive as stock Android.

HUAWEI P20 PRO REVIEW: PERFORMANCE

The 6.1-inch OLED display offers 1080 x 2240 pixels and is nice and bright.

Inside there’s an octa-core Kirin 970 and 6GB of RAM with 128GB of storage.

I, obviously, didn’t have any issues during the initial play with the P20 Pro. Those specs suggest it should be just as fast as any other flagship out there. Huawei phones usually standup pretty well over time as well – we’ll let you know how we get on with this one.

The battery is massive 4,000mAh and offers Huawei’s fast charging capabilities (but no wireless charging).

HUAWEI P20 PRO REVIEW: EARLY VERDICT

The Huawei P20 Pro is an impressive smartphone. The hardware is fantastic, and the camera is shaping up to be one of the best out there.

The main disadvantage is that it looks like an iPhone X clone, and people may just dismiss it instantly because of that.

Price and release date TBC.

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