CAMERAPHONE: With its new high-end smartphone P20 Pro, Huawei is the first to offer a terminal with four photo sensors: one in the front and three in the back. But is it really useful?

  • The giant Huawei unveiled on March 27 its new smartphones: the P20 and P20 Pro.

  • Photo-oriented, the terminals are once again the fruit of a partnership with Leica.

  • First: the P20 Pro is distinguished by the appearance of three photo sensors in the back.

Unveiled with great pomp this Tuesday at the Grand Palais in Paris, Huawei’s new smartphone P20 Pro has only one word in the mouth: “photo”!

The presentation of Huawei P20 and P20 Pro March 27 at the Grand Palais in Paris.

The presentation of Huawei P20 and P20 Pro March 27 at the Grand Palais in Paris. – CHRISTOPHE SEFRIN

Like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 + who want to “Reinvent the photo”, the Chinese manufacturer evokes with his P20 Pro “A rebirth in the photo.” Nothing else. Would rivals have the word? We must pinch our noses at Canon and Nikon …

40, 20 and 8 megapixels

After the Huawei P8 (2015), P9 (2016) and P10 (2017), place, therefore, to a new terminal oriented shooting. Since the P9 and its partnership with the German optics manufacturer Leica, Huawei has managed to stand out in the field of imaging.

His credo at that time was to propose a double monochrome / colour sensor. A success.

With the new P20, we take the same and we start again. Or almost. At the back of this 6.1 “/ 15.49 cm (2240 ​​x 1080) Amoled screen smartphone, there are not two lenses, but three! Outbid?

Huawei claims with his triumvirate “perfect photos every moment”. And this time, Leica no longer sticks his claw on a goal, as was the case with the P9 (and the P10), but all three.

That is a 40 megapixel (f / 1.6) RGB sensor, a 20 megapixel (f / 1.6) monochrome sensor and an 8 megapixel lens called “telephoto lens” (f / 2.4). According to Huawei, the latter offers the equivalent of a 5x hybrid zoom. Heavy. Without forgetting, at the front, the big artillery for the selfies: 24 megapixels (f / 2.0) …

8 seconds pause without tripod

We were able briefly to make some tests with the new darling child of the Chinese giant. If its design is neat, but ultimately quite sober, we regret that the three objectives at the back are so prominent. Just leave the terminal in a pants pocket for a few minutes so that dust and fabric fibers hang on it.

The camera sensors on the Huawei P20

Dust, the first enemy of sensors too thick … – CHRISTOPHE SEFIN

We imagine that more integration would have forced the manufacturer to deliver a thicker mobile. The P20 Pro, however, is only 7.8 mm thick. This is 0.3 mm more than the iPhone 8 Plus … In use, the P20 Pro seems to be distinguished by the quality of its zoom. The smartphone manages to provide crisp photos while zooming in even in low light. We also appreciate the good integration of artificial intelligence that optimizes the settings. How? By detecting scenes automatically.

The P20 Pro is equipped with a 6.1-inch screen.

The P20 Pro is equipped with a 6.1-inch screen. – CHRISTOPHE SEFRIN

Flowers, food, blue sky, portrait, dog, cat, fireworks … the P20 Pro is able to recognize up to 19 types of scenes and adapt its aperture, shutter speed and pause time without that it is necessary to intervene.

The embedded artificial intelligence recognizes up to 20 scenes, like here, the blue sky.

The embedded artificial intelligence recognizes up to 20 scenes, like here, the blue sky. – CHRISTOPHE SEFRIN

Photo guaranteed success on arrival. But this is not new, we do that too very well on the side of Samsung …

Bluffing on paper: in a long break for a night scene, the P20 Pro can do without a stand or tripod. Thus, the smartphone is able to shoot with a pause of up to 8 seconds while delivering a sharp picture. Some tests reveal that it works … but not every time. In short, we will have to perform extensive tests to really let us convince.

The basics of photography

Two more tips that will seduce the laypersons. First, the function “Composition Wizard”. This one makes appear a horizon line automatically in the frame when necessary (like when photographing the sea).

This avoids the “leaning” photos that need to be corrected. Then, the mode called “Group Shot”. With him, the P20 Pro shows on the screen a yellow rectangle in which it is appropriate to gather the people that we photograph. Aim: leave enough material around them for the photo to be airy and perfectly framed.

A more conventional P20

In parallel with the P20 Pro, Huawei launches the P20. This time, the screen is no longer Amoled and measures only 5.8 “/ 14.73 cm. Its battery is 3400 mAh instead of 4000 mAh. Side memory, the P20 displays 128 Gb / 4 Gb, against 128 Gb / 6 Gb for the P20 Pro. Above all, the P20 dispenses with 40-megapixel optics. Still, the pixel war is revived. According to rumors, Nokia will launch this summer its Nokia 8 Pro (or Nokia 10). And it would be equipped with 5 Carl Zeiss stamped photo sensors on the back. Who says better ?

Prices have leaked

As often, the web has the reason for secrecy. This Monday, March 26, the data sheets and prices of Huawei P20 and P20 Pro leaked on the Net. At issue: the chain of stores Saturn in Germany who would have missed photos of data sheets and product prices, or 649 euros for the P20 and 899 euros for the P20 Pro.