At IFA 2018 in Berlin, Huawei launched the Mate 20 Lite. That's likely to be the big seller, but if you're holding out for the Mate 20 Pro, here's what we know so far about its release date and specs.
When is the Mate 20 release date?
Mate 20 Lite: 3 September (announced 31 August)
Mate 20; Mate 20 Pro: 16 October 2018 (London event)
How much will the Mate 20 cost?
- Mate 20 Lite: 399 Euros / £379
- Mate 20: 599 Euros / £549
- Mate 20 Pro: 749 Euros / £699
Those who buy the phone from Carphone Warehouse will get access to the blue colour which is exclusive to the retailer for the first four weeks on sale. You'll also get a free pair of Huawei active noise cancelling headphones worth £99.
If you don't fancy this SIM-free option at £379, you can get it for £24.99 per month with no upfront cost on the iD Mobile network with 500MB of data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts.
Going with Vodafone will get you a free pair of Huawei Noise Cancelling Earphones 3 woth £79. Plans start at £30 per month on a Vodafone Red Extra Plan including unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and 1GB of data.
We'll have to wait a bit longer to find out how much the other models will cost.
It also looks like Huawei will launch a new MateBook laptop at the event.
Mate 20 Pro: rumoured features
- Screen: 6.3in, OLED, 2340x1080 pixels, embedded fingerprint scanner
- Processor: Kirin 980 octocore
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 128GB + microSD
- Networking: Bluetooth 4.2; 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Cameras: 40 + 20 + 8Mp (rear); 24 + 2Mp (front)
- Battery: 4200mAh
- Software: Android 9.0 with EMUI 9.0
In terms of the screen and overall design, we weren't expecting a whole lot to change. But it looks very much like it will.
For a start, rumours point to 6.9in screen. If true, the Mate 20 Pro will be a fair chunk larger than the Mate 10 Pro it replaces. And that is going to put quite a few buyers off. We suspect that it will actually get a 6.3in screen, but an OLED version rather than LCD.
The Mate 10 Pro was the first model to break from the traditional Mate design, complete with a glass back, IP68 water resistance and even slimmer bezels. Expect the Mate 20 Pro to continue this trend with an all-new design, likely a notched screen and possibly even an in-screen fingerprint scanner.
If Huawei sticks with the glass back, it’s possible it will add wireless charging. Don’t hold your breath though, as the firm defended its decision to omit the feature from the Mate 10 because “wireless charging is too slow”.
A recent leak seems dubious, but suggests the headphone jack that was removed from the Mate 10 Pro will be restored.
The reason behind the massive 6.9in screen is reportedly because the Chinese prefer a larger screen due to the amount of space the native keyboard occupies.
And it might not be such a stretch to believe the rumours: Huawei's sub-brand Honor has just launched a 6.9in phone called the Note 10. It's seemingly for China only, though.
It wouldn't be the first time Huawei has launched a proper phabler: it released the 6.8in P8 Max back in 2015.
Other rumours suggest orders have been placed already with Samsung for AMOLED screens. And given the bump in size there’s a chance resolution will climb a little higher from 2160x1080, which the Mate 10 Pro got.
The other screen rumour is that the Mate 20 Pro's screen will be curved. This will probably apply to only the edges, much like the Galaxy S9's screen.
CPU: Kirin 980
We expect the Mate 20 will use the Kirin 980 processor, which is reportedly manufactured using a 7nm process. According to Chinese news outlet CNMO, its four main cores will run at 2.8GHz, faster than the 2.4GHz cores in the current Kirin 970.
Let's hope it's powerful enough to support video stabilisation at 4K, because no current Huawei phone offers it beyond 1080p at 30fps. That puts them at a disadvantage to rivals for anyone that cares about video.
Leaked benchmark results for AnTuTu 7 show that the Mate 20 scores 356,918, compared to 214037 for the Mate 10 Pro. If true, that represents a massive increase of 66.8%.
No doubt the 980 will feature the same - or better - 'AI' from it's NPU (Neural Processing Unit). A Chinese forum post also told readers to expect surprises in the “graphical part”.
In fact, the GPU has just been confirmed as a Mali-G72 MP12, the same as in the 970. That's slightly disappointing in a world where everyone expects big year-on-year performance increases.
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has been churning out a lot of new phones recently, but one trend which looks like it will carry over to the Mate 20 range is quad cameras.
Essentially, that means adding a second front-facing camera as the Mate 10 already has a dual-camera setup at the rear.
Having a second camera at the front will allow the Mate 20 to take selfies with a believable depth effect, but other rumours suggest it could also be used for a face-unlock feature.
The rear cameras could also get a big upgrade, perhaps even the same triple setup of the P20 Pro. What we'd really like to see is the trifecta of telephoto, standard and wide-angle rather than the third camera having a monochrome sensor.
Assuming the main processor has similar AI features, the Mate 20 Pro should have similar - or better - scene recognition than the P20 Pro, automatically selecting the best settings according to the scene detected.
Ultimately, though, we’d simply like to see stabilisation for video at all resolutions including 4K. The Mate 10 Pro takes great photos, but its video at anything other that 1080p30 isn’t a patch on what the latest iPhones offer.
We might see some minor hardware updates, such as the latest version of Bluetooth and an even faster LTE modem. In other respects, things could well stay the same: 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and microSD expansion. Don’t expect the return of a 3.5mm headphone jack for the Pro version either as, unlike the Mate 20 Lite, the Pro will probably be water resistant.
Huawei sent us a teaser - a 4000mAh power bank - with a not-so-cryptic question mark on it for an upcoming phone. With each subsequent release - P10 Plus > Mate 10 Pro > P20 Pro - battery life has increased.
In theory, the Mate 20 will therefore last the longest of the bunch. It could also bolster the rumour that it will have an increased capacity of 4200mAh. You could also argue that the previous two phones have both had a 4000mAh battery and the same processor, so there's no guarantee that battery capacity will increase.
Huawei made sure the Mate 10 shipped with the latest version of Android, so expect the Mate 20 to come with Android 9.0 and the company’s own EMUI 9 software.
EMUI tends to polarise opinions, but even if you’re not the biggest fan of the iOS-style interface and the floating dock button, Huawei adds a selection of useful features.
Some of these you won’t see as they’re hidden away behind the scenes. They also work in conjunction with the hardware, so the NPU is used for such things as increasing battery life and making apps load faster by monitoring which apps you tend to use at specific times of day.
We also expect Huawei to develop its desktop interface for EMUI 9. With the Mate 10 Pro and EMUI 8, you can use a USB-C to HDMI cable and turn the phone into a mini PC by using a standard monitor as the screen and the phone’s display as a controller both for the mouse and keyboard.
It’s impressive, but it would certainly benefit from some refining. It could be a compelling feature for those who want their phone to double up as a PC or a presentation device.
When other Mate 20 rumours surface, we’ll be sure to add them to this article.
Mate 20 Lite: images & specs
Mate 20 Lite specs
- Screen: 6.3in, LTPS, 2340x1080 pixels, 19.5:9
- Processor: Kirin 710 octocore (4x 1.7GHz + 4 x 2.2GHz)
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 64GB
- Networking: Bluetooth 4.2; 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Cameras: 20 + 2Mp (rear); 24 + 2Mp (front)
- Battery: 3750mAh
- Dimensions / weight: 7.6mm, 172g
- OS: Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.2
We're not fans of the off-centre flash on the rear, but it otherwise looks like a smart mid-range phablet. What's you might not spot is that the notch (love it or hate it) houses not one but two front-facing cameras.
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