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Huawei Mate 20 & Mate 20 Pro - An overview of all rumors, dates, configurations, and reviews

J. Simon Leitner (translated by Alex Alderson), 09/19/2018

Huawei not only outranks Apple in quarterly smartphone sales nowadays, it also outranks the Cupertino company in regard to the volume of speculation surrounding its new flagship devices before their official launch. This article focuses on the upcoming Huawei Mate 20 Pro in which we will detail all the information that we have on the device, including its connectivity, camera and even some first-look pictures too. Update: Freepods, AI camera features and Mate 20 hands-on video.

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Changelog

09.18.2018: Integrated current information about the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro within the article

09.24.2018: Latest leaks about FreeBuds, Wireless Charging and the first alleged Mate 20 hands-on video.

Rumors, Dates and Release

Huawei has already sent out the invitations to its official presentation on October 16, 2018 in London
Huawei has already sent out the invitations to its official presentation on October 16, 2018 in London
Huawei has officially announced that the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC will power the Mate 20 Pro
Huawei has officially announced that the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC will power the Mate 20 Pro
The back of the Mate 20 Pro can wirelessly charge the Freepods
The back of the Mate 20 Pro can wirelessly charge the Freepods

The Mate series’ success story began in January 2016 with the launch of the Huawei Mate 8 at CES in Las Vegas. Huawei then released a successor, the Mate 9, in fall that year and then followed this with the Mate 10 on October 16 last year. October 16 is also the date of this year’s launch too, the timing of which appears to be a deliberate move by Huawei to coincide with the date of Apple’s launch event.

Huawei will officially announce the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro at a launch event in London on October 16. We expect that Huawei will make these devices available shortly after that. Huawei has already released the Mate 20 Lite, a device that we are currently reviewing. 

HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC

Huawei officially confirmed the existence of the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC at IFA 2018 in Berlin and that the chip would be powering the upcoming Mate 20 Pro. Huawei speaks of the Kirin 980 as being the “fastest and most intelligent chip ever”. We expect that the SoC will combine a Cortex-A76 CPU with an ARM Mali-G76 GPU and should be manufactured on a 7 nm FinFET process. The Kirin 980 should also have a dual Neuromorphic Processor Unit (NPU) for the “AI” part of the device while supporting 1.5 Gb/s Cat. 21 connections and 2,133 MHz LPDDR4 RAM.

The Kirin 980 should be around 75% faster and 58% more efficient than the Kirin 970. Moreover, Huawei has indicated that the ARM Mali-G76 GPU will be 46% faster than the Mali-G72 integrated within the Kirin 970 and 178% more efficient.

The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro with triple Leica cameras

Undoubtedly, the highlight of recent leaks and rumors surrounding the Mate 20/Mate 20 Pro are their camera units. Huawei introduced the first Leica triple rear-facing camera array with the release of the P20 Pro, a device that scored highly on our camera tests. Numerous leaks show the Mate 20 Pro with a triple rear-facing camera and an LED flash arranged as a square.

We expect that Huawei will equip the upcoming Mate 20 Pro with better camera sensors than the P20 Pro, not least because of the better AI NPU and the more powerful Kirin 980 SoC.

The larger battery in the Mate 20 Pro charges Freepods

According to current leaks, Huawei will also announce updated FreeBuds at its Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro official unveiling. The wireless headphones allegedly will charge on the back of the device via induction. These new FreeBuds, reportedly rebranded as Freepods, will have a 4,200 mAh battery according to firmware leaks; current FreeBuds have a 4,000 mAh battery. These new wireless headphones should take three hours to recharge fully. Moreover, the headphones will have Bluetooth 5.0 support, active noise cancelling and integrated sensors for improved speech recognition.

Rumors, Dates and Release

Huawei has already sent out the invitations to its official presentation on October 16, 2018 in London
Huawei has already sent out the invitations to its official presentation on October 16, 2018 in London
Huawei has officially announced that the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC will power the Mate 20 Pro
Huawei has officially announced that the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC will power the Mate 20 Pro

The Mate series’ success story began in January 2016 with the launch of the Huawei Mate 8 at CES in Las Vegas. Huawei then released a successor, the Mate 9, in fall that year and then followed this with the Mate 10 on October 16 last year. October 16 is also the date of this year’s launch too, the timing of which appears to be a deliberate move by Huawei to coincide with the date of Apple’s launch event.

Huawei will officially announce the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro at a launch event in London on October 16. We expect that Huawei will make these devices available shortly after that. Huawei has already released the Mate 20 Lite, a device that we are currently reviewing. 

HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC

Huawei officially confirmed the existence of the HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC at IFA 2018 in Berlin and that the chip would be powering the upcoming Mate 20 Pro. Huawei speaks of the Kirin 980 as being the “fastest and most intelligent chip ever”. We expect that the SoC will combine a Cortex-A76 CPU with an ARM Mali-G76 GPU and should be manufactured on a 7 nm FinFET process. The Kirin 980 should also have a dual Neuromorphic Processor Unit (NPU) for the “AI” part of the device while supporting 1.5 Gb/s Cat. 21 connections and 2,133 MHz LPDDR4 RAM.

The Kirin 980 should be around 75% faster and 58% more efficient than the Kirin 970. Moreover, Huawei has indicated that the ARM Mali-G76 GPU will be 46% faster than the Mali-G72 integrated within the Kirin 970 and 178% more efficient.

The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro with triple Leica cameras

Undoubtedly, the highlight of recent leaks and rumors surrounding the Mate 20/Mate 20 Pro are their camera units. Huawei introduced the first Leica triple rear-facing camera array with the release of the P20 Pro, a device that scored highly on our camera tests. Numerous leaks show the Mate 20 Pro with a triple rear-facing camera and an LED flash arranged as a square.

We expect that Huawei will equip the upcoming Mate 20 Pro with better camera sensors than the P20 Pro, not least because of the better AI NPU and the more powerful Kirin 980 SoC.

The rumor mill

Feb 18
Honor View 20 launch event, Honor View 20 camera allegedly better than that of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Mobile photography: The Honor View 20 beats the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but not in a DxOMark test

According to a review by Android Authority, the Honor View 20's main camera setup can provide excellent low-light performance, realistic colors, great image stabilization, as well as "amazing detail" but also lacks in the HDR area...
Codrut Nistor, Mon, 18 Feb 2019 13:16:00 +0100
Oct 28, 2018
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro. (Source: Business Insider)

Apparently, DxOMark hasn't published the Mate 20 Pro's camera review because the device's scores would cause havoc

The Mate 20 Pro was released a short while ago but its DxOMark review is yet to be seen. Sources claim that the report hasn't been published yet because the Mate 20 Pro's scores were just too high and Huawei believes releasing tha...
Ricci Rox, Sun, 28 Oct 2018 13:27:00 +0100
Oct 14, 2018
Renders of the Mate 20 Pro. (Source: GSMArena)

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is set to be significantly more expensive than its predecessor

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is set to be launched on Tuesday, October 16. The device will be one of the biggest flagships of the year and will make a number of improvements on its predecessor, the Mate 10 Pro, most notable of which cou...
Ricci Rox, Sun, 14 Oct 2018 17:22:00 +0200
Oct 8, 2018
Huawei LYA-L29 (allegedly the Mate 20) on AnTuTu

Huawei Mate 20 hits AnTuTu and Weibo

Although the Mi 8 might beat it by around 10 percent in the graphics department, the upcoming Huawei Mate 20 appears to be faster in the other areas, scoring a total of 313,561 AnTuTu points vs. 287,469 for the Xiaomi flagship. Th...
Codrut Nistor, Mon, 08 Oct 2018 21:19:00 +0200
Oct 6, 2018
A render with the current idea of how the Mate 20 series may look. (Source: SlashGear)

Huawei Mate 20 Pro may cost over US$1000: new leak

The Huawei Mate 20 series' distributor-price structure at launch may have been revealed in a new leak. On the other hand, this leak is Swiss, and, thus, the prices are in francs. However, it may yet be a decent indication of how m...
Deirdre O Donnell, Sat, 06 Oct 2018 18:24:00 +0200
Sep 29, 2018
A render showing all the leaked color options for the Mate 20 Pro. (Source: gizmochina.com)

Huawei Mate 20 Pro may come with voice-based unlocking

Huawei is now rumored to be integrating a new form of device security, Voice Unlock, into its upcoming flagship, the Mate 20 Pro. This device may also have a 6.9-inch screen, as much as 6GB in RAM and an extra-large battery. Howev...
Deirdre O Donnell, Sat, 29 Sep 2018 17:26:00 +0200
Aug 17, 2018
Huawei officially announces 7 nm Kirin 980 will debut in Mate 20 this October

Huawei officially announces 7 nm Kirin 980 will debut in Mate 20 this October

Huawei's latest silicon, the Kirin 980, will debut this October in the Mate 20, according to a press release obtained by Android Authority. The SoC will be the world's first commercially-available piece of silicon based on a 7 nm ...
Sam Medley, Fri, 17 Aug 2018 06:38:00 +0200
Jul 18, 2018
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The Huawei Mate 20 to feature BOE-made AMOLED panels, Kirin 980, and five cameras

Jul 10, 2018
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Huawei trademarks the Mate 20 name

Jun 20, 2018
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Leaked picture and sketch of the Huawei Mate 20 show a dual-camera setup but no signs of a notch

Apr 10, 2018
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Kirin 980-powered Huawei Mate 20 makes shock AnTuTu appearance, outperforms the Snapdragon 845

Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro Reviews

There are currently no reviews for the Mate 20 or the Mate 20 Pro. However, we expect to see quick first hands-on articles on the day of the announcement that will be followed up with detailed reviews shortly after that. We will also be attending the official presentation event in London, and we will be publishing our initial views in the coming days after October 16.

Notebookcheck Reviews

Feb 12
Huawei Mate 20 Pro Smartphone Review

87% Huawei Mate 20 Pro Smartphone Review

Strong piece - The Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s spec sheet is littered with flagship-level hardware, including the new Kirin 980 SoC, the currently fastest LTE modem in a consumer smartphone, reverse wireless charging and a fingerprint sensor underneath its display. This review will be putting all this new hardware and more through its paces to determine whether the Mate 20 Pro’s technical prowess translates into real-world performance.
Update: Wi-Fi tests with final firmware and information about the Huawei wireless charger added.
HiSilicon Kirin 980 | ARM Mali-G76 MP10 | 6.3" | 189 g
Allen Ngo, Daniel Schmidt, Tue, 12 Feb 2019 14:04:37 +0100
Jan 10
Huawei Mate 20 X

84% Huawei Mate 20 X Smartphone Review

And it gets bigger. After much confusion, Huawei announced that it would be releasing the Mate 20 X in Austria and Germany. The giant 7.2-inch phone has now arrived at our offices and is ready to put through its paces. Read on to find out whether this €900 (~$1037) beast is worth the money.
HiSilicon Kirin 980 | ARM Mali-G76 MP10 | 7.2" | 232 g
Mike Wobker, Thu, 10 Jan 2019 10:25:59 +0100
Nov 28, 2018
Huawei Mate 20 Smartphone Review

90% Huawei Mate 20 Smartphone Review

Insider tip. The Huawei Mate 20 is largely identical to its 200-Euro (~$225) more expensive sibling, the Mate 20 Pro. Read on to find out whether the Mate 20 is worth the money and its differences from the Mate 20 Pro.
HiSilicon Kirin 980 | ARM Mali-G76 MP10 | 6.53" | 188 g
Manuel Masiero, Wed, 28 Nov 2018 17:23:12 +0100
Oct 11, 2018
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86% Huawei Mate 20 Lite Smartphone Review

Design, Features, Pictures & Videos

Following the motto “pic or didn’t happen”, we have discounted all previously leaked images other than those taken of Huawei employees holding a hitherto unknown device at IFA 2018 in Berlin. The pictures taken at IFA largely correspond with the speculation about the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, particularly the striking triple rear-facing camera arrangement.

High resolution and OLED panel

Last year’s Mate 10 Pro caused a few furrowed brows with its “only” 2160x1080 resolution display. Huawei added to the confusion by also equipping the non-pro Mate 10 with a high resolution 2560x1440 display. According to some leaks, Huawei will likely redress this spec imbalance by equipping the Mate 20 Pro with a 3120x1440 display and its non-pro sibling with a 2244x1080 display.

Rumors allege that the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro could have between 6.25 and 6.9-inch displays, but this remains uncertain at the time of writing.

Mate 20 Pro – A wide notch and an in-screen fingerprint sensor

We are more certain that the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will have a notch though as it has been detailed in all speculative articles and leaked photos. Leaked images show one device with a smaller notch and another with a larger notch that contains several sensors, potentially for facial recognition. We suspect that the Mate 20 Pro is the latter device as it would make sense for Huawei to equip the more premium device with more expensive components. This wider notch could contain additional optics similar in fashion to the iPhone X.

We also expect Huawei to differentiate the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro with the implementation of fingerprint sensors. Some leaked photos demonstrate a device with a fingerprint sensor on the rear of the device while this is missing from other leaked pictures. Therefore, we infer that the Mate 20 Pro will have an in-screen fingerprint reader like the Vivo Nex Ultimate and the Mate 20 will have a rear-facing fingerprint sensor like many other Android devices.

 
 

There is no official imagery of either device yet, but the leaked images from IFA of Huawei employees holding an unknown device are the most reputable of those that we have seen. We suspect that Huawei had intended for “spy shots” to be released, particularly because the Apple’s iPhone announcement sandwiched Huawei’s Kirin 980 announcement and IFA 2018.

Model Variants and Prices

We suspect that Huawei will bring three Mate 20-series devices to market as the company did with previous generations. Huawei has already released the Mate 20 Lite, so it follows that it will release at least a standard Mate 20 and a Pro version. Huawei has equipped the Mate 20 Lite with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage for a cost of 379 Euros (~$442) at launch. The Mate 20 Lite is 30 Euros (~$35) more expensive than its predecessor, so we expect Huawei to also increase the cost of the other Mate 20 devices relative to their predecessors. The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro cost 699 Euros (~$815) and 799 Euros (~$932), respectively, for reference.

The launch date for the self-declared Apple competitors is also likely linked to pricing considerations; Apple has announced its pricing, so now Huawei can carefully deliberate before deciding theirs.

Possible specifications for the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro

  • SoC: Kirin 980 (7 nm, Cortex-A76 CPU and Mali-G76 GPU)
  • RAM: 6/8 GB LPDDR4 at 2,133 MHz
  • Storage: 64/256 GB and potentially 512 GB
  • Display: 6.25/6.9-inches: Mate 20 - 2244x1080; Mate 20 Pro - 3120x1440 OLED with notch
  • Camera: Triple rear-facing cameras with LED flash
  • Price: Mate 20 - above 699 Euros (~$815); Mate 20 Pro – above 799 Euros (~$932)

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More about the Huawei Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro

Oct 13
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro. (Source: CNET)

Huawei Mate 20 Pro now receiving the Android Q-based EMUI 10 update globally

Just two months after the release of Q, Huawei is now sending out the stable Android Q-based EMUI 10 update to owners of the Mate 20 Pro outside China. The OTA weighs in as a heavy 4.42 GB download.
Ricci Rox, Sun, 13 Oct 2019 12:01:00 +0200
Aug 12
The EMUI 10 beta program will start on September 8 for the P30 and Mate 20 series. (Image source: Huawei)

Huawei EMUI 10 teaser video, beta arriving on September 8 for P30 and Mate 20 series

After Huawei presented EMUI 10 at its Developer Conference last week, more details about features and innovations have appeared online. A teaser video for the upcoming Android Q-based OS and promotional pictures offer an insight i...
Alex Alderson, Mon, 12 Aug 2019 18:58:00 +0200
Jul 11
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G launch date for China set to July 26 (Source: Indiashopps)

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G to hit China on July 26

Recently made available for pre-order in UAE, the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is now ready to launch in China. This massive phablet that sports a 7.2-inch OLED display with a waterdrop notch will debut in its home market on July 26 and is...
Codrut Nistor, Thu, 11 Jul 2019 18:55:00 +0200
May 27
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Dracarys: Huawei troubles compounded as Mate 20 Pro goes up in flames

May 19
icon

Mate 20 X 5G coming to Europe next month

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Huawei Mate 20 & Mate 20 Pro - An overview of all rumors, dates, configurations, and reviews
J. Simon Leitner, 2018-09-19 (Update: 2018-09-26)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.