Honor’s latest affordable flagship, the View 20, is more than just a handsome piece of hardware — though with a smooth, curved glass back, eye-catching colors, and a unique chevron pattern, it’s that, too. One of the things that impressed us most in our review of the View 20 was its camera capabilities.
Around the back, it sports a 48MP primary camera (the Sony IMX 586, to be exact), aided by a time-of-flight sensor that helps with depth detection and object tracking. 48MP is a lot of information, and rather than simply presenting you with enormous files for every photo you take, Honor does what’s called pixel binning, compacting every four pixels into one for the final image, resulting in 12MP photos with more clarity and brightness than a regular 12MP sensor would be able to capture.
If that strategy sounds familiar, it’s because it’s lifted straight from other phones like the Mate 20 Pro, designed by Honor’s parent company Huawei. And it pays off. While the View 20 lacks its more expensive sibling’s ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, its single camera rivals the image quality of the Mate 20 Pro’s primary sensor.
The View 20 punches well above its price point in the camera department, capable of taking outstanding photos in the daylight. Even in challenging conditions, the 48MP camera offers terrific dynamic range and punchy (though importantly, not oversaturated) colors.
AI plays a role in photography on the View 20 as well, thanks to the dual NPU (Neural Processing Unit) found on the phone’s Kirin 980 chipset. When the phone detects certain scenes — say a grassy landscape or a shot of your lunch, the camera automatically applies effects like selective saturation or vignetting. If you prefer to have full control over your photos, though, you can simply disable AI photography with a toggle in the viewfinder.
Of course, there’s also portrait mode available, but even with the help of the TOF sensor, the View 20 doesn’t stand out much in terms of background separation. What is impressive is the phone’s low light performance, thanks to a built-in Night Mode that automatically takes 1-3 second exposures to let in more light.
You’ll need to hold fairly still, as will the subject (this is mostly intended for non-moving objects), but even handheld, you can pull off some great photos at the bar or your next concert. It’s not going to outpace the Pixel 3’s Night Sight, but the View 20 comes surprisingly close to the Mate 20 Pro in low light.
Photography is one of the most important factors for a phone these days, so it’s great to see that Honor has put such a large focus on the camera with the View 20. This is easily one of the most capable cameras within the View 20’s price range, and a great way to come close to the Mate 20 Pro’s revered cameras for considerably less money.
$759 at Amazon
£499.99 at HiHonor (UK)