The Huawei P20 Pro is the Chinese phone maker’s answer to the iPhone X, though it’s 25% cheaper.
One of the P20 Pro’s biggest selling points is its camera, which comes with artificial intelligence and, crazily, a triple camera. That includes a 40-megapixel telephoto sensor, which basically means your zoomed photos won’t look too blurry, a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor for better detail and sensitivity, and then a standard 8-megapixel image sensor.
Depending on who you read, the iPhone X boasts the best smartphone camera right now.
I took both phones for a spin in London, and found that both have different strengths. So which camera is the “best” really depends on who’s buying it and what they want to use it for.
Here’s how the two compare:
The P20 Pro’s artificial intelligence means the camera ‘recognizes’ when you’re outside and in a green space — and it will amp the green up.
If you like Instagram-style filters, then you’ll probably like the brighter colours. Others might prefer the less acidic tones of the iPhone X.
You can see a real difference between the two cameras in this shot in outdoor lighting which involves reflections.
The Huawei image on the right seems a little clearer too.
When it comes to taking shots in bright light, there isn’t much in it between the two cameras.
The iPhone X comes into its own for portrait photography though, and it beats the Huawei hands down.
One quirk of Asian phone makers like Huawei is that they default to “flattening” and lightening the subject’s skin tone. The result is that my face looks strangely airbrushed with the P20 Pro.
iPhone X’s portrait mode zooms right in on the subject, which is why the two photos look different sizes.
The iPhone X takes nice detailed close-up shots, but doesn’t offer the background blurring feature.
Here’s another outside shot in daylight, this time featuring lots of detail. Again, both pictures are high quality, though the iPhone X captures more vivid colours.
Huawei’s artificial intelligence feature also recognizes blue sky, and really turns up the colour.
Again, it’s a nice feature if you like the Instagram look.
Again, the iPhone X wins on daylight selfie portraits thanks to its detail and background blurring.
The P20 Pro made the background and my skin look washed out.
The P20 Pro’s telephoto lens is crystal clear.
The zoomed-in detail on this photo is much clearer with the P20 Pro.
Neither company has really worked out “stage light” mode on portraits just yet.
Apple’s Portrait Lighting is one of the most innovative features on the iPhone X, although some settings, like this “stage light” feature, look a little shoddy. The P20 Pro has copied these lighting features, but they are nowhere near as good.
The Huawei P20 is pretty amazing at night shots without flash.
This iPhone X shot required flash – but the P20 Pro shot is pretty clear without the help of a flash.
The P20 Pro once again comes into its own with night selfies. Here’s what the two cameras do in low light with just a screen flash.
The P20 Pro still does its skin and background lightening effect, but there’s no doubt that the final image is much more flattering and the colours really pop. If you love to take selfies on your nights out, the P20 Pro takes much more Instagram-friendly shots.
Which smartphone camera is the best?
Both phones have amazing cameras and it’s hard to say which is best.
If you’re taking lots of pictures and selfies in low light, you’ll have more flattering shots with the P20 Pro. It will also stand you in great stead for zoomed-in photos, and is pretty good at outdoor shots in bright light.
But if you like more realistic-looking shots, pick the iPhone X. The P20 Pro is great for arty-looking photos with amped-up colours, but not everyone likes that. The iPhone X takes crystal-clear shots in bright and mixed light settings, and its Portrait Mode takes beautiful shots of people and other live subjects. The P20 Pro’s “skin smoothing” technique won’t be to everyone’s taste either.