Huawei launches a triple-camera smartphone

In the battle for best smartphone, the focus is always on the camera.  One or two will no longer do. Now we need three.

Yes, you heard me. In Paris today, Huawei unveiled its premium P20 Pro with a Leica Triple Camera, proving dual camera set-ups are a bit passé.

"This time we're really introducing professional camera technologies in a tiny sized smartphone," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group at the launch event in the Grand Palais.

Like its rivals, the P20 Pro is aimed at those who spend their lives on social media and love taking photos. That's most people then. Mr Yu spent the entire presentation comparing the premium device to Samsung's S9 and Apple's iPhone X, claiming it outranked them at every step.

"This phone is the best camera, the best photo and the best video in this year," he said.

The P20 Pro is impressive. It has an eight-megapixel telephoto lens, a 20-megapixel black and white lens and a main 40-megpixel RGB sensor on the back.

The complex three-camera set-up is made all the more promising, with Huawei's continued collaboration with Leica.

Huawei says the advantage of this is super-zoom.

The P20 Pro has "the world's most powerful zoom on a smartphone, 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom and 10X digital zoom.  The best in zoom technology," said Mr Yu.

But for those who don't want a plus-sized phone, Huawei's new smaller 5.8 inch P20 is also a solid device, albeit with just two cameras on the rear, 20-megapixel and 12-megapixel. One of the sensors has an aperture of f/1.6 which makes it good for low light photography.

The front camera is a massive upgrade from last year's P10 with the 24-megapixel lens.

Huawei launches a triple-camera smartphone
Photo credit: Newshub

Huawei's phones are helped by the Kirin 970 AI processor, first shown off in the Mate 10. The benefits are plenty but particularly when used with its camera technology.

It can cope with 500 scenarios in 19 categories, which as Mr Yu explained is "so everyone can have the right skills for the right moment".

Other features of the P20 Pro include the now obligatory bezel-less display, a front-mounted fingerprint scanner and a screen-notch that looks similar to Apple's iPhone X but is smaller. It's also got an IP67 rating so its water and dust proof.

All in all, this is another very strong offering from the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer, a position it's obtained in just six years.

P20 Pro Specs

  • 6.1 inch
  • Full HD Plus 2240 x 1080 screen
  • Kirin 970 chipset
  • 8MP telephoto (f/2.4) 40MP, 20MP RGB Sensor, 20MP black and white lens (f/1.8 + f/1.6)
  • 24MP selfie camera with tech that brighten images using AI
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 128GB of storage
  • 4,000mAh battery with support for SuperCharge
  • USB 3.1 with Display Port running on Android 8.1 Oreo
  • No headphone jack but there is a bundled 3.5 mm to USB-C adapter.
  • Graphite Black, Midnight Blue, Pink Gold and Twilight

About 1,300 journalists from around the world turned up for today's events and the general reception was incredibly positive. The US might be boycotting Huawei phones, deeming them a security risk, but the same can't be said for other markets.

It will be interesting to see how these phones do next to the equally impressive Samsung and Apple models. But Huawei is confident it's got the edge.

In the run up to today's launch, it sent trucks outfitted with promotional billboards to several major cities around the world. They found some interesting parking spaces - right in front of its rivals' stores.

That and today's numerous references to the competition, prove that Huawei believes it's got its game on.

Emma Brannam travelled to Paris for the P20 launch with Huawei.