China’s Huawei has taken the wraps off impressive new high-end smartphone models it no doubt hopes will put it closer to unseating market leader Samsung Electronics and relegating Apple to a distant third place.
Following the global success of the P20 and P20 Pro, released earlier this year to widespread acclaim by reviewers, Huawei is hoping to build on that momentum with the larger-screen Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro as well as a small tablet-sized Mate 20 X model.
At an event in London on Tuesday, the company unveiled the new models, showing off their artificial intelligence features and high-end cameras that Huawei says beat rivals hands down. It also debuted a new smartwatch that takes aim at Apple and Garmin.
Research firm International Data Corp said in August that Huawei had pulled ahead of Apple to claim the number-two position in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter just behind Samsung Electronics, Bloomberg reported.
Huawei shipped 54.2 million phones in the quarter, 41% more than a year earlier, to jump ahead of the iPhone maker for the first time. The telecommunications giant accounted for 16% of the market, compared to 21% for Samsung and 12% for Apple.
Packing the company’s own Kirin 980 silicon chip, the new Huawei phones pack in the latest available technology designed to challenge Samsung and Apple head-on.
Key features of the new phones include a 7-nanometre system on a chip (promising major performance improvements and significantly improved battery life), large batteries (4 000mAh on the Mate 20 and 4 200mAh on the Pro model) and dual neural processing chips for AI (important for advanced camera techniques and other applications).
In-screen fingerprint reader
Huawei has also become the first major smartphone manufacturer to introduce an in-screen fingerprint reader, beating Samsung and Apple to debut the technology in a mainstream smartphone.
Other significant features include support for Huawei’s new NM card format, which replaces the SD cards that have been prevalent for the past 15 years. NM cards are 45% smaller than SD cards. The new phones are water resistant, and can be fully submerged up to half an hour at a depth of 2m.
The new models support fast-charging with 40W chargers, wihich Huawei said can charge the battery from flat to 70% in just 30 minutes. Wireless charging is supported, too, at 15W. Significantly, the Pro can be used to charge accessories and even other phones wirelessly.
Huawei is building on the P20 Pro’s well-received camera setup, too, offering a triple-camera system on both the Mate 20 and Pro models. The Pro has a 40-megapixel wide-angle lens (27mm; f/1.8), a 20MP ultrawide-angle lens (16mm, f/2.2) and an 8MP 3x telephoto lens (80mm; f/2.4). Using a larger sensor, Huawei said the Pro model can take images at an ISO of up to 102400, which should prove exceptional for low-light photography. It also claims it can take macro (close-up images) that knock the socks off rival devices.
The phones support Cat21 LTE, meaning theoretical speeds of 1.4Gbit/s (don’t expect anywhere near that performance in real-world conditions) and Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1.7Gbit/s.
There’s also support for 3D face unlocking at a claimed speed of less than 0.6 seconds.
Huawei hasn’t announced a launch date for the new phones and smartwatch in South Africa. It has, however, announced pricing for the phones in Europe:
- Mate 20 (4GB + 128GB configuration): €799
- Mate 20 (6GB + 128GB configuration): €849
- Mate 20 Pro (6GB + 128GB configuration): €1 049
- Mate 20 X (6GB + 128GB configuration): €899
- Porsche Design Mate 20 RS (8GB + 256GB configuration): €1 695
- Porsche Design Mate 20 RS (8GB + 512GB configuration): €2 095 — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media