Huawei P20 Pro – 2018 the Year China took the Smartphone market by storm.
Smartphones are amazing I think we can all agree, over the last ten years or so innovation in the smartphone industry has been driven hard. Almost everyone is now addicted to their smartphone and it is this consumer addiction to these spectacular technological marvels that have driven the innovation we are seeing. Over the past decade, the smartphone has systematically consumed all other personal electronic devices into their ample bosoms.
From digital cameras to Dictaphones, PDA (Personal Digital Assistants), to fitness trackers, audio recorders to altitude meters and more, not even portable thermal imaging is safe!! For the New CAT S61 has one. Over the last decade, the decade of the smartphone only a few things have been constant, one of these constants were that the major tech innovations, and industry standards either come from South Korea or the USA.
This has finally changed, a country synonymous with copycat technology, cheap mobiles that are mass produced for bottom tier has come of age. China is the new king! And the Huawei P20 Pro is its a knight in shining armour. Now I understand that one phone does not turn the tide, this is a tsunami that has been in making for some time. However, Huawei is just the biggest of the new bread of cheap Chinese phone manufacturers that are now making high end, innovative, barrier-breaking phones. Manufacturers like Vivo, Xiaomi, Oneplus
So what is so spectacular about this new Huawei P20 Pro handset? The main thing that is so spectacular is the overall package but if we are talking specifics then it has to be the cameras.
Smartphone Cameras are judged by the independent DXO MARK – the reference for image quality. It is a big thing and all the major players Samsung S9, Iphone X and the Google Pixel 2 have all held the title, ie the Smartphone with the best digital camera. DXO MARK run a series of tests on each new phone and at the end gives the handset a number, higher the better. Over the last few years it has been a game of inches by Samsung, Google and Apple but this is where it gets interesting, where this top tier manufactures and smartphone giants have been battling and capturing the top spot with one point increase here and there, for example, the Apple iPhone X at 97, The Google Pixel 2 beating it with 98 and the Samsung Galaxy S9 after running a huge marketing campaign about the camera reimagined coming in at just one point more 99, the new Huawei P20 Pro just stormed in with a score of 109!! That is 10 points clear, whereas Apple, Google and Samsung have stopped major innovations to become companies that essentially copy off each other becoming companies of marginal improvements Chinese companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo have made giant leaps in technological innovation which has seen them compete and now begin to surpass the great tech giants we love and respect.
So what is so spectacular about this new camera?
If you have read the book Smartphone Media Production you will have an understanding of the importance of sensor size. Simply put the P20 Pro has a larger sensor than the competition and this allows it to capture more light than the competition. More light is the key to photography. It also has three lenses for the rear camera and uses a combination of them all to produce spectacular results in all conditions, combine this with machine learning or AI and the magic begins. The machine learning developed by Huawei is up there with Apple and Google, the software can recognise the scene and select the settings more accurately, it can recognise the subject be it a cat or a blue sky and the best bit is this software will improve all the time.
The smartphone camera is just one aspect of the technology of a smartphone but it is a huge selling point and almost always the key feature that the main manufacturers from Apple to Samsung use to sell their flagship phones. Examples is the Samsungs S9 campaign here
What does this mean for the general smartphone consumer?
A new competitor that is innovating in the camera department means one thing better pictures for us. Whether it be selfies at the club or family photos, pictures of your dinner for instagram. From here on in, well at least for the next few years there will be an arms race in camera technology as Samsung, Apple and Google attempt to reclaim lost ground to the new crop of Chinese manufacturers.
Other Chinese innovations
The most bezels phone ever with a fingerprint reader directly under the screen not shipped to the back and a pop-up camera!!
This is the current DXO MARK list