We were in Hong Kong as Honor announced the Honor View 20, the successor to last year’s Honor View 10 phone. The Honor View 20 will feature a full-display design with a punch-hole for the selfie camera, while the rear camera gets a new Sony 48-megapixel image sensor.
Let’s start with the primary camera. Based on Sony’s IMX586 48-Megapixel sensor, the camera is built to offer exceptional sharpness for bright-light photography, thanks to its 8000×6000 resolution. We typically are not that excited about megapixels, but 2019 might be different.
In low-light conditions, the sensor can switch into a pixel binning mode to increase the light sensitivity, while bringing the resolution down to 12 Megapixel (4000×3000). In the pixel-binning mode, the logical pixel size reaches an effective 1.6 micron by aggregating four physical 0.8 pixels.
This is, in theory, the best way to vastly increase sharpness without losing low-light performance, and we’ll put it to the test soon. Follow our Youtube, Instagram or Facebook to be notified when we do.
This IMX586 Sensor can also capture full-resolution photos at 30FPS, and capture 4K/90FPS video, along with 720p/480FPS slow-mo video, without cropping.
Higher megapixel counts and bigger sensors are the way to go in 2019, and we know that Samsung and Xiaomi also have plans for high-megapixel cameras, perhaps powered by Samsung’s 48MP and 36MP Isocell sensor, which boasts similar specs to Sony’s.
The selfie camera is located the top-left corner of the screen, tucked into a 4.6mm hole punched into the screen. This technique is trending and seen as a “display notch” alternative. Users will debate the pro and cons of having bezels versus notches or holes, but the market will provide choices to everyone.
Honor has pointed out that other “punch-hole” selfie cameras had a 6mm hole diameter which is 2X bigger in surface area. Samsung has announced a series of full-view display options during its SDC conference in San Francisco including one with an upper-left punch-hole and the Samsung Galaxy A8s should feature this kind of selfie camera.
We are wondering how the hole size might affect the camera aperture size, and therefore the image quality. When we played with prototypes in Hong Kong, things were looking pretty good, but the setting was incredibly bright. Also, there’s the question about face-unlock 3D sensors, which seem off the table at the moment due to the lack of space.
With the View 20, Honor continues to push for AI features in the camera, some buried deep in the camera image pipeline, and others more visible such as the image recognition and scene modes. In 2018, Honor has implemented very advanced AI techniques such as multi-level image segmentation and has some of the most advanced tech in this area.
To ensure high AI performance, the Honor View 20 is equipped with the HiSilicon/Huawei Kirin 980 processor already found in the high-end Huawei Mate 20 Pro that got a 10/10 rating in our review.
This is a continuation of a pretty aggressive push for higher silicon performance in Honor handsets, which are usually priced for maximum value in the Premium and mid-range segments.
The Honor View 20 is shaping to be a very significant evolution of the Honor View series and will outpace its predecessor by a very wide margin. It will be interesting to see how it fits in the overall Android smartphone landscape and what its effective camera performance is. Stay tuned as the phone launches on the Chinese market on December 26, and on January 22 for the international market.