HONOR 20i first impression: Triple camera set-up in a budget

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Shrouded in uncertainty over the Google – Huawei Android tie-up, the sub-brand HONOR announced their HONOR 20 series in India shortly after the global launch. The issue caused by the Trump government has surely brought the negative press to the brands and their products but despite all this HONOR is hellbent on providing the best experience consumers demand.

We got our hands on the latest HONOR 20i which replaces the HONOR 10i/HONOR 10 lite that was launched early this year. The phone packs in a punch considering the price you pay for it. It’s been four days since we started this product and here’s our initial impressions on the same.

Design & Display

Like its siblings, the HONOR 20i comes with the signature dual tone gradient design on the back. This time the phone is made of high-quality plastic instead of metal and glass which might be the case to cut cost and pack in more features and hardware. We quite liked the curved back which gives a comfortable hold, but you have to be careful with it since it picks up smudges and scratches very easily. There is a triple camera set up on the back along with the fingerprint which is placed ergonomically according to us and easy to reach out.

The overall footprint of the smartphone makes it compact and easy for single-handed usage. There is a slight heft to the phone which provides a sense of sturdiness. The triple slot tray is on the top along with the secondary mic. The right side houses the volume rockers and the power bottom while the 3.5mm audio jack, micro USB port, and the speaker grill are on the bottom.

Turning the phone reveals the 6.21-inch FHD+ display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio with a dewdrop notch. HONOR has trimmed off quite a lot of bezels and has even kept the notch to a minimum. From the initial impressions, the display seems good with decent colors making it ideal for content consumption. It also gets plenty bright, so outdoor visibility is no issue.

Hardware and Software

The HONOR 20i is powered by the Kirin 710 SoC which we have seen in the past on the HONOR 8X, HONOR 10 lite, and Huawei P30 lite. The chipset sits in the mid-range segment and provides a balanced power to usage ratio making it ideal for day-to-day usage. We have the 4GB RAM and 128GB storage variant with us for testing.

The phone comes with GPU Turbo 2.0 which will help gamers to get the most of this chipset for smoother gameplay. Other than this, you get a fairly decent 3,400mAh battery with support for 10W charging speeds. In terms of connectivity options, you get dual 4G, dual VoLTE, dual-band WiFi ac and Bluetooth 4.2.

Coming to the software, the HONOR 20i runs EMUI 9.0 based on Android 9.0 out of the box. Our unit came with the March security patch with the new patch expected to come in the coming weeks. There have been some concerns about the future updates since the Android licensing issue came to light but the brand has promised to support the smartphone with Android security patches and Android Q update as well. For this, Huawei and HONOR have already released an update roadmap and testing for the new EMUI 9.1 with Android Q is already underway.

Optics

Under INR 15,000 category has seen a tremendous amount of competition in terms of cameras as well with smartphones like the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro taking the lead. The HONOR 20i build up the same principles as those two models and provides you with a triple camera set-up on the back. The phone includes a 24-megapixel primary camera with f/1.8 aperture along with a secondary 2-megapixel camera for AI portraits and AI scene detection for detecting different scenes. There is also an 8-megapixel 120° ultra-wide-angle lens which is like icing on the cake.

During our limited time with the unit, we can say that the phone takes images with a decent amount of details which are eye-pleasing thanks to the built-in AI mode. There has been some oversaturation and over-sharpening which has carried on from the past HONOR phones onto this one as well. On the front you get a 32-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture is housed inside the notch. The camera app has a bunch of software trickery baked into it, so get the richest looking selfies.

Final Thoughts

From the looks of it, the HONOR 20i seems to be a very decent offering which is in for a very tight competition. We liked the build and design while the performance is good for a mid-range smartphone. For in-depth analysis keep an eye out for our full review in the coming weeks.

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