A three-lens camera system co-developed with Leica for both super panoramas and extreme close-ups; in-screen fingerprint sensors; a 7-nanometer-class artificial-intelligence chipset; and a huge 4,200mAh (milliampere-hour) battery capable of refueling its capacity to 70% full within a 30-minute charge as well as performing “reverse charging” that saves your friends’ phones from dying of low power.
Huawei’s new flagship smartphone, the Mate 20 Pro, unveiled to much fanfare this month in London, is loaded with all the above draw cards that threaten to make the latest offerings from Apple, Samsung and Google look like yesterday’s products.
US tech news websites including CNET and The Verge have not held back on their praise. The new top-of-the-line model from the Shenzhen-based tech giant has at a stroke ditched its copycat reputation and blazed a trail to define the future of smartphones.
CNET said Mate 20 Pro was “outrageously innovative”.
Tech analysts with the US gadget-review website wrote: “So, say you, phones are boring: they don’t do anything new, well, good news: the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro is ready to bring some crazy ideas to the table.”
One of them is that the Mate 20 Pro can wirelessly charge other phones including iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy series.
“Just be wary of friends sneaking around and vampiring your charge when you’re not looking,” is the only caveat from awed CNET editors.
Another novelty is, with the help of its front-facing, depth-sensing cameras, its 3D live emoji function can scan real-life objects and transform a scan into dancing augmented reality critters, like turning a panda toy into a dancing panda in the real world.
Reviews full of accolades notwithstanding, the phone will not be widely available in the US, thanks to Huawei’s ongoing friction with American security forces including the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Verge also laments that the new device with blistering performance is constrained by international relations and the West’s phobia about Chinese technologies.
Huawei has already warned that consumers who purchase Mate 20 Pro phones from online US retail sites may encounter warranty and after-sales service issues, after its decision to withhold sales in the US due to a slew of setbacks in its forays into the country.
“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,” Huawei said in the statement.
Earlier this year AT&T and Verizon walked away from smartphone distribution deals with Huawei because of political pressure and allegations that the Chinese telecom-gear and smartphone vendor might help Beijing tap calls and intercept data.
In May, the Pentagon also ordered retail outlets on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE devices.
Huawei is reportedly mulling a major public relations campaign to try to put a positive spin on its image. And despite it being difficult for American consumers even to buy the groundbreaking device, Huawei will continue to advertise the many new features of the Mate 20 Pro on the US market.
Huawei eased Apple out of the global top three as measured by smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2018. It is on track to ship 200 million handsets to both domestic and global markets by the end of the year.