The Huawei Mate 20.

  • Huawei has launched the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro to take on the iPhone XS and Google Pixel 3.
  • The Mate 20 Pro boasts an on-screen fingerprint reader, with Huawei beating Apple in taking the feature mainstream.
  • Other features include a triple-lens camera system, which features an ultra-wide lens and the ability to take detailed macro shots.

Huawei, the world's second-biggest phone maker behind Samsung, unveiled the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro to take on Apple's iPhone XS and Google's Pixel 3. Huawei launched the devices at an event in London on Tuesday.

Huawei will be hoping that major performance improvements to the Mate series - including impressive functionality such as on-screen fingerprint recognition, a triple camera with AI software and phone-to-phone charging - cement its position ahead of Apple.

The devices are bigger successors to last year's Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. The Mate 20 comes with a 6.53-inch (16.5cm) full HD display, while the Pro model comes with a 6.39-inch (about 16.2cm)  curved OLED display.

Both phones cement the growing smartphone trend for notches, originally a hacky design workaround for front-facing cameras and now a common feature on high-end phones.

The Mate 20 has a teardrop-shaped, subtle notch. The Pro model has a larger notch akin to the iPhone XS Max - though Huawei says its notch is marginally smaller.

The Mate 20 Pro notch is a little smaller than that of the iPhone XS Max.

The Pro model comes with on-screen fingerprint recognition. That means you can just put your finger on the screen and unlock the phone, rather than touch on a dedicated panel on the front or back of the device.

This isn't the first Android phone to feature on-screen fingerprint recognition, but it's certainly one of the few major flagship smartphones released this year to feature the technology. The OnePlus 6T, set to be released in November, is also expected to feature on-screen fingerprint recognition. The iPhone XS and XS Max notably lack on-print fingerprint recognition.

The Mate 20 phones also feature 3D facial recognition so users can unlock their phones with their face. Face ID is already a feature on the iPhone XS and XS Max.

The camera is the main draw

The main draw is the camera. The Pro model features a triple-lens system, including a 40-megapixel camera, 8-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 20-megapixel ultra-wide lens, which together form a distinctive-looking square on the rear of the phone. The system allows highly detailed macro shots.

Huawei has also embedded artificially intelligent software into its camera system, meaning the device can sense and follow the subject of a photo or video. Huawei boasted of big gains in performance and speed.

The two phones will be available in five colours: Midnight blue, black, pink gold, emerald green, and twilight - a flashy gradient of cyan and purple.

The twilight colour for the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

The Mate 20 Pro comes with fast wireless charging and one curious feature - the ability to charge other Qi-compatible devices. That means a person with a depleted iPhone XS battery could place their device on the Mate and charge their battery.

Forrester analyst Thomas Husson said the devices would likely be Android bestsellers until Samsung releases its next flagship early next year. "Huawei will have a nice commercial window of opportunity to benefit from the seasonality of sales last year," he told Business Insider.

It is not yet clear when the new phones will be launched in South Africa.  

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