The world’s second largest smartphone maker, Huawei has grown into a mobile tech powerhouse.

And with that growth it has developed and finessed its product offerings, such that the Chinese manufacturer is now well capable of fighting with the big boys and in many cases winning.

The Huawei Mate20 Pro is a case in point.

DESIGN

Out of the box, the Huawei takes on a form factor now becoming familiar in the premium smartphone league.

Indeed, with its curve-edged screen and all-glass finish, it resembles closely the Samsung Galaxy S and Note 9, as well as the Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium.

You can call it unimaginative if you like, but ultimately it is a good thing, especially when the screen is on – but more about that later.

On the right edge you’ll find the volume rocker and power button, which are both perfectly positioned so you don’t need to stretch to reach them despite the device's large form factor.

The bottom edge is home to the USB-C charging socket and the SIM tray, but there is no 3.5 inch audio jack (an adapter is included in the box).

On the rear there is no fingerprint sensor in sight. Instead it is built into the display  - a technological first - and works a treat.

But the rear is home to the LEICA triple camera unit.

The device comes in four colours – Midnight Blue, Black, Emerald Green and Twilight.

Overall the Mate20 Pro is a great looking smartphone, comfortable and practical to use, while maintaining the classy image required of a premium handset.

DISPLAY

If the device looks good when turned off, it looks even better when the display is on.

6.39 inch in size, the 2K+ OLED screen is a tour de force.

Despite its curved edges, it isn’t quite completely bezel-less, with a small strip along the bottom and a "notch" along the top edge housing the speaker and front-facing camera.

The notch, as with other smartphones like the iPhone Xs, does detract a little from the full-screen zoom experience.

But that’s possibly the only complaint you’ll have with the Mate20 Pro display.

It’s bright, colour rich and pin sharp, with 538 pixels per inch.

The only slight negative is that the device is very long and narrow, with a 19.5:9 ratio, and if you have short fingers you will struggle to reach the full length of the screen.

CAMERA

Huawei has been consistently upping its game in the camera department in recent times, and now offers some of the best imaging technology in a smartphone.

The Mate20 Pro has a three Leica lens main camera set-up consisting of an 20MP ultra wide lens, 40MP wide angle lens and another with an 8MP telephoto option with a 3X optical zoom.

The versatility this offers is outstanding. Throw in all the software offerings and the combo generates excellent quality images.

That’s driven by the Kirin 980 chip which has two neural processing engines in it and uses AI to help with applying the right filters and the detection of objects.

The Master AI function also suggests when you should switch between the different modes that the camera can offer – and it is pretty reliable.

The ultra-wide lens replaces the monochrome sensor on other Huawei phones.

At times pictures taken using it can appear a little warped and lacking in detail at the edges – although some might see this as adding to the effect.

Another downside from the 40MP sensor is that you can’t zoom and end up with very large files.

Low-light performance is very good though, particularly with the dedicated Night mode.

The camera interface is straightforward to use, and there are other gizmos available like document scanning and an Animoji type feature.

On the front there is a 24MP sensor that performs well, but probably not to the same levels as the main camera, which is understandable.

PERFORMANCE

Driven by the Kirin 980 chipset and with a choice of either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, there’s plenty of power behind the device.

It comes with either 128GB or 256GB of on board storage, but there is also a slot for a Huawei invented Nano Memory card that would expand capacity by up to 256GB more.

Battery performance on the phone is really solid, powered by a 4,200mAh power pack.

With reasonable level of use, don’t be surprised if you get a full two days of use out of it.

It supports Huawei SuperCharge (which will get you to 70% in half an hour) when plugged in and wireless Quick Charge, so if you do need to top up in a hurry there are options.

There are also a number of power management options built in if you really find yourself stuck.

One clever gimmick is that if you find yourself in the company of someone who also needs a top up urgently, the Mate20 Pro can itself be used as a wireless charger.

OTHER FEATURES

Other notable features include water and dust resistance to the IP68 standard.

The device runs Huawei’s EMUI 9.0 on top of Android 9 Pie and overall the experience is ok, although at times the settings menus are a little cavernous and hard to navigate.

Security on the smartphone is pretty high and if you don’t want to use the hidden fingerprint sensor, the Mate 20 Pro can also be unlocked using the 3D Depth Sensing camera.

It is fast and accurate – as good as alternatives found on the latest iPhones and Samsung Galaxy handsets.

There are also other useful features available like wireless projecting, while the twin speakers pump out pretty respectable sound.

CONCLUSION

Overall the Mate 20 Pro is an extremely good smartphone.

There are a few niggles, like the EMUI 9.0 interface, the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack and the switch to Huawei’s own expandable storage card system.

The price will also be an issue for some too, with the device retailing around €899 Sim-free.

But in general this is an extremely high quality handset, with an eye-catching design, top-notch camera and lots of smart features like wireless charging of other devices and the hidden fingerprint sensor.

It’s another example of why Huawei is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone world.