Mention the Huawei P20 Pro, and it is a fair chance that the first thing most people will talk about is its cameras. And that is hardly surprising – the P20 Pro does pack in some very serious camera power. It claims to be the first smartphone to come with three cameras on the back. And what cameras they are – a 40-megapixel main camera with f/1.8 aperture, a 20 megapixel black and white camera with a f/1.6 aperture, and an 8.0-megapixel camera for zoom, all of which come with Leica branding! Add to that the 24-megapixel front-facing camera and you have a massive 92 megapixels of camera muscle in a single smartphone – something that we have not seen before.
And that’s not all. The device packs in some seriously good hardware, including a Kirin 970 chip, 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage, a very good 6.1-inch full HD+ AMOLED display, stereo speakers, and a truckload of connectivity options. All this in a design that is very eye-catching.
But guess which feature of the device has really – REALLY – impressed us? So much so that we really think every Android flagship should have it?
Now, do not get us wrong here. It is not as if the other features – the cameras, the display, the design, et al, are not important. They very much are. But then, those are not really exclusive to the P20 Pro. There are other Android flagships out there with great cameras – check out the Pixel 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S9+. Similarly, there are some beautifully crafted phones out there too – the Moto X4 still takes our breath away, the ceramic back of the Mi Mix 2 is gorgeous, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is an edgy delight, and the Galaxy S9+’s stately elegance is a sight for sore eyes. Great specs can also be found across the board in a fair number of devices.
But a big battery? A really big battery? The sort of battery that you can forget to charge at night and still get through a good portion of the next day without worrying too much?
Ah, those are sort of rare.
The reason for this is simple – the battery is a physically large component, and also managing larger batteries can be a bit of a tricky issue as Samsung found out with the Galaxy Note 7. The result? Almost all notable brands sacrifice battery size (and consequently, battery life) on the altar of slimness and lightness. Of course, batteries have generally grown larger in capacity as time has progressed but this has been accompanied by an increase in the size of displays and also more powerful cameras, both of which consume a fair amount of battery. As a consequence, most critics and pundits are more than content with a day’s battery life in most Android flagship devices and paint fast charging as some sort of panacea, even though low and mid-segment devices have much better battery lives.
The P20 Pro, however, is quite a contrary beast. It comes with a 4000 mAh battery, which is not something one often sees in a high-end Android device in the Indian market for a while. And it is not really a paper tiger either – the battery easily sees off close to a day and a half’s normal use, and if you are careful enough to nurse it a bit, you can get through two days! That is frankly territory in which we have not been since the Galaxy Note 2. Yes, Motorola delivered two-day battery life with the Z2 Force, but that was with the assistance of a “Moto Mod.” The P20 Pro is doing so without any additional hardware. And it gets charged within a couple of hours as well, which while not being the swiftest is not shabby either. We have got through a week by charging it just four times, which is saying something. Imagine having that sort of battery life on other high-end devices? Would it not be amazing to know that you can play games, take tonnes of photographs and deal with mails and social networks and all without having to worry about checking your phone’s battery level as evening descends? The Huawei P20 Pro gives us that. And believe us, that is one heck of a feeling. What’s more, Huawei has squeezed it without making the phone feel bulky or heavy – at 180 grams, the phone is not lightweight by any means, but between the Pixel 2 XL and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (and interestingly, also the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 Plus), which is not a bad place to be.
Which is why, great design, cameras and specs notwithstanding, if there is one chapter that we wish other Android flagships would unabashedly copy from the P20 Pro’s book, it is the one titled: battery.
And yes, our detailed review is coming up shortly. The battery score, as you can expect, is definitely on the high side.