First impressions are important, and the View 20 makes one hell of a first impression. Even before we dive into the feature set of this innovative Android smartphone, straight out the box it impresses with its fulsome screen and nanotextured holographic back panel. Simply put, it looks great and Honor (which is part of the Huawei family) has delivered a slick and contemporary mobile device that offers excellent performance for its price point.
And things get even more impressive when you dive inside and start looking at the View 20's various features. But let's start with the screen because it looks utterly fantastic. The in-screen punch-hole camera means that Honor can use the entirety of the front of the phone as a display, and that equates to 6.4inches of image (meaning 2310 x 1080 with a pixel density of 398ppi), and the presence of the camera isn't really that noticeable either as it's tucked right into the corner - and you can cover over it with a black bar in the settings if it really offends your eyes if you're watching a movie or something like that.
The back of the device includes a fingerprint sensor, and there's a headphone jack at the top of the device, which is a nice option to have if you're not quite ready to part with your old wired earbuds just yet. The front-facing camera boasts 25MP for all your selfie-takers out there, with the rear-facing camera delivering a crystal clear 48MP via Sony's new IMX 586 sensor. Right next to it, there's also a 3D camera that's there to help with depth perception and AR apps.
We took a bunch of snaps and the image quality is impressive. If you're a keen photographer no doubt you'll appreciate the extra pixels and the image quality that's helped by the AI processing tools and Ultra Clarity and Night modes, . If you prefer to shoot video, you can capture 1080p footage at 60FPS and 4K at 30FPS. All things considered, if your choice of mobile is somewhat informed by the quality of the camera, there's absolutely nothing to complain about here and we expect other manufacturers to follow Honor's lead in this area.
However, we're not here to talk about cameras. While we take these types of features for granted when it comes to our smart devices, we're most interested in seeing how the View 20 performs from a gaming perspective. When we were offered the phone for review it was alongside the claim that it would run Fortnite at 60 frames-per-second, and while we can't confirm the exact frame-rate, we can say with confidence that we noticed zero slow down across any of the games we tested (including Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, and Injustice 2), and the response time when using everyday apps seemed pretty snappy too.
Everything is powered by Huawei's Kirin 980 processor, and the standard model comes with 6GB RAM (and 128/256GB storage - which is more than enough for our needs and great if you like to store lots of video on your phone for long commutes) which means you can comfortably run the best games available on Android. If you've got a suitable controller you can, of course, sync it up via Bluetooth, but we decided to go old school and play with our trusty thumbs, and thanks to the powerful chip at the heart of the device, we had a smashing time with no noticeable drop in performance, even during the more chaotic moments.
Even during an extended play session, we didn't notice any slowdown, and that may have something to do with the View 20's internal liquid cooling solution - although we didn't crack the thing open to take a look at this more closely it seemed to do a good job of stopping things getting too hot in the hand. One thing that we did do, however, was run some basic benchmark tests and we found it to be competitive when compared to direct rivals with a Geekbench 4.0 multi-core score of 9683. The phone's eight cores are split into three clusters (4 x 1.80 GHZ, 2 x 1.92 GHZ, and 2 x 2.60 GHZ), with a single-core rating of 3311. All in all, it packs plenty of punch on the CPU side of things, and the GPU half of the Kirin 980 processor is no slouch either (and performance on certain games can be optimised further using GPU Turbo 2.0, but this isn't an across-the-board solution).
The View 20 is extremely quick to charge and thanks to the quality 4,000mAh battery included in the device, it keeps going for a surprisingly long period of time. The manufacturer boasts a number of stats relating to how far you can stretch a single charge, but we have to admit that we lost track of time and so our impressions are anecdotal. However, we can confirm that our old iPhone 7 doesn't come close in terms of battery life and we went more than two full days without tethering it to a mains socket (although, admittedly, we weren't playing many games during that period of time - expect your battery to drain faster when running GPU-intensive apps). There's no wireless charging option, but we can live without that.
In terms of sound quality, the built-in mono speaker at the base of the unit produces a nice warm sound, although its positioning means that you're somewhat limited in terms of how you hold the thing and if you're not careful you're going to muffle the sound. Similarly, the headphone jack placement isn't the best we've ever seen and if you want to watch and listen on the move, you may well want to look at a wireless solution. On the other hand, the call quality is decent and we had no issues hearing others or being heard through the mic.
With a striking overall design, great cameras both front and back, and a range of features that we expect to see appear in rival devices as the year progresses, the View 20 is an excellent option if you're looking to upgrade to something that can handle games on the go, especially considering the number of features you're getting for your investment (around £500 at the time of writing) and the quality of the tech under the proverbial hood.