Saturday, May 5, 2018

iPhone X vs Huawei P20 series: Similarities end with the notch?

MANILA - Smartphones with displays that have notches on the top are bound to suffer from inevitable comparisons to the iPhone X, which started the polarizing design trend in late 2017.

The aesthetic similarities are more pronounced with Huawei's P20 and P20 Pro, which like the iPhone X, also have rounded corners, glass backs, and rear cameras stacked vertically on the upper left side.

But based on internals and real-life use, the differences between the Apple and Huawei flagships are more pronounced.


The iPhone X is relatively heavy for its 5.8-inch screen, weighing 174 grams compared to 165 grams for the P20, which has roughly the same same screen size and 180 grams for the P20 Pro.

The fingerprint scanner on the P20 and P20 Pro, located on the front, gives the device a bottom chin, compared to the iPhone X, which, save for the notch, is nearly borderless thanks to the removal of Touch ID.

Face ID has been surprisingly reliable in our tests, even in the dark. Face scanning is also available on the Huawei phones and unlocked the device quickly as well.

While it adds to size, the fingerprint scanner on the Huawei flagships makes it more convenient for users who can unlock their device without looking into the front-facing camera or by just tapping on the sensor when the phone is on their desk or table.

The iPhone X is available only in silver and grey, compared to black blue, and the gradient pink gold and twilight on the P20 and P20 Pro.

The twilight hue is among the most unique options on any smartphone, shifting from blue to green depending on how light touches it.

Huawei says it's inspired by the northern lights. Such gradient colors were also seen last year on the HTC U 11, the most striking of which is the solar red, where yellow streaks add a second layer of shine on its crimson back.

The iPhone, however, has an unmatched array of third-party case-makers which make it easy to personalize the device. The P20 and P20 Pro launched with official silicone, leather and wallet-type cases.

Regardless of color, all 3 devices will get smudged as soon as you peel off the plastic wraps. The Huawei phones ship with screen protectors pre-installed.

Both devices have no headphone jacks with the charging ports (lighting for Apple, and USB C for Huawei) flanked on both sides by speaker grills. The iPhone X and the P20 Pro are rated IP67 for water and dust resistance.


The P20 Pro's biggest advantage over the iPhone X is its triple camera set-up co-engineered with Leica. This includes a 40-megapixel RGB sensor, a 20-megapixel monochrome lens and a 8-megapixel telephoto sensor. The P20 has a 12 megapixel RGB sensor paired with a 20 megapixel monochrome sensor.

The iPhone X has dual lenses, both 12 megapixels and with optical image stabilization. Like the Galaxy Note 8 and S9+, the iPhone X can zoom optically up to 2 times.

In these shots of the Louvre Museum in Paris, the brightness levels did not differ much, but the P20 Pro retained more detail on the building facade.

In this shot of the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais, the steel beams were reduced to almost black on the iPhone X shot while it was light green on the P20 Pro.

In this indoor shot of the Qatar airport in Doha, the iPhone X produced more vivid colors compared to the P20 Pro.


Very little separates the two top-tier flagships in terms of speed, both running the latest versions of iOS and Android, respectively, and powered by the newest processors.

Apple's A11 'Bionic' enables the three-dimensional face scanning or Face ID as well as the animated emojis.

The P20 phones run on Huawei's own Kirin 970, which with its dedicated AI unit, allows the phone to automatically adjust camera settings and allocate power depending on the owner's usage.

The iPhone X easily lasts until early evening with under 50 percent of juice but the P20 Pro, with its 4,000 mAh cell, lasts longer, sometimes up to a second day.

Huawei's Super Charge is among the fastest, but the P20 and the P20 Pro don't support wireless charging, which the iPhone X has, along with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

There are also some unique annoyances to both flagships. After a restart, the iPhone automatically adjusts the date and time to standard. This is a burden to those who keep their timepieces ahead several minutes of the standard.

The Huawei phones, on the other hand, set the brightness setting to automatic after a restart. 


Both phones offer a premium build but the iPhone X is still a status symbol, and with good reason. The handset is solidly built and it's the first major redesign of the iPhone since 2014.

The P20 and the P20 Pro, however, are no slouches and Huawei made sure to encase the Leica-engineered triple cameras in a shiny, color-shifting shell.

The deciding factor for many will be the price. Nearly half a year since its release, the iPhone X starts at nearly P65,000 in official stores and some P55,000 in the grey market.

The P20, which has a similar sized screen, sells for P34,990 while the P20 Pro with a slightly bigger screen and the triple cameras retail for P44,990.