Honor 20 series launch - 48MP quad cameras confirmed

Honor has today launched its new 20-series range of camera phones, consisting of three model variants: the flagship Honor 20 Pro, mid-range Honor 20, and entry-level Honor 20 Lite.

Honor is a sub-brand of Huawei and targets its phones at the youth market. As such, Honor 20-series phones are priced lower than equivalent Huawei models, but it’s hard to find any signs of cost-cutting when you see the camera specs sported by the Honor 20 Pro. This boasts a total of four rear-facing cameras:

  • Main camera: 48MP, f/1.4, 4-axis OIS
  • Telephoto camera: 8MP, f/2.4, 4-axis OIS
  • Wide-angle camera: 16MP, f/2.2
  • Macro camera: 2MP, f/2.4, 4cm close-focusing distance

And up front is a 32MP front-facing selfie camera

The mid-model Honor 20 also gets four rear-facing cameras like the Honor 20 Pro, but swaps the telephoto camera for a 2MP depth-assist camera, enabling more accurate shallow depth of field simulation. The lens in its primary camera is also 1/3-stop slower at f/1.8

Honor 20 Pro

The 48MP main camera in the Honor 20 Pro is the most exciting of the camera quartet, and not just because of its headline resolution. The sensor itself is Sony’s IMX 586 chip, which is larger than average at 1/2-inch size, making it a full 25% bigger than the 1/2.55-inch primary image sensors in the iPhone Xs Max and Galaxy S10+. 

Hands-on: Honor 20 Pro review

A bigger sensor is good news for image quality, as more light can be captured by the increased surface area, leading to clearer images with less noise. Combine this with the f/1.4 lens – itself the largest aperture lens to date in a camera phone – and it’s understandable that Honor is keen to promote the low light capabilities of the Honor 20 Pro. 

A maximum sensor sensitivity of ISO 204,800 is just as impressive, being higher than the maximum sensitivity of most professional interchangeable lens cameras.

The Honor 20 Pro has already been tested by DxOMark and received an impressive score of 111, tying with the new OnePlus 7 Pro, and is only a single point behind the top-scoring Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 5G – both of which carry significantly higher price tags than the Honor 20 Pro.

The main and telephoto cameras in the Honor 20 Pro feature 4-axis optical image stabilisation to help ensure sharp handheld night photos. AIS Super Night Mode takes things a stage further by combining up to 16 separate exposures into one image for even clearer low light images.

The 16MP Super Wide Angle camera in the Honor 20 Pro and Honor 20 is capable of a 117-degree angle of view for capturing dramatic vistas or group shots. And if you need to zoom in to the action, the 8MP telephoto camera gives effectively 3x zoom, extendable to 10x with Hybrid Zoom, which has a minimal drop in image quality. Or when you need maximum reach, you can unleash full digital zoom for a 30x focal length boost, albeit with digital image upscaling and some loss of detail.

Aside from the cameras, the Honor 20 Pro packs a large 4000mAh battery behind its 6.26-inch screen. It gets 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, while the Honor 20 has 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage.

Multiple body colour options are available, including Phantom Blue – a blue-green dynamic finish that changes colour depending on how you tilt the phone. Phantom Black is a black with shimmering hints of pink/purple, plus there are plain black, white or blue finishes.

Honor 20 Lite

The third phone in the Honor 20 series is the Honor 20 Lite. This budget-conscious option sports a triple camera setup consisting of a 24MP primary camera, 8MP wide-angle camera, and a 2MP depth-assist camera.

Expect the Honor 20 Pro to cost €599 (UK pricing has yet to be announced). The Honor 20 will retail for €499/£399, and the Honor 20 Lite carries extremely aggressive pricing of just €299/£249.

Of course this launch comes just 24 hours after it was announced that Huawei (and therefore its sub-brand Honor) are due to be restricted from accessing the full version of the Android mobile OS, as well as Google apps like YouTube and Google Maps. Honor didn’t address this at the Honor 20 launch event, so the verdict is currently out as to how long Honor 20 phones will receive Android updates.

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