Of course, not everyone will get the chance to use one. Honor, if you're not familiar, is a brand built and owned by Huawei, the Chinese electronics giant that's currently facing serious legal pressure from the United States government. Huawei's plans to bring the Honor View 20 to the US were pretty nebulous even before those lawsuits were filed, and at this point, we'd be surprised if this phone made an official appearance in North America anytime soon. That's too bad. Smartphone makers of all stripes are busy making premium devices with more reasonable price tags, but few of them pack the allure and technical savvy that the View 20 does.
Hardware & Design
We're suckers for pretty hardware, and the View 20 definitely fits the bill. It doesn't take long for the phone's design to suck you in, either: the first thing you'll notice is the phone's gleaming glass back, engineered so that light refracts in a signature V pattern. I'm a fan (especially of the red model Honor didn't give us), though I can see how it would come off a little gaudy to some. Say what you will about Huawei, but few smartphone makers are as ambitious when it comes to crafting new finishes. That glass back also houses the snappy rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and a whopper of a dual camera.
And of course, we need to talk about this display. The race is on to eliminate the dead space around smartphone screens, and if 2018 was the year of the notch, 2019 is gearing up to be the year of the hole-punch. The cut-out houses a 25-megapixel front-facing camera and, like notches before it, you'll almost certainly stop noticing it before long. And naturally, it takes up much less space than a "traditional" notch -- having a screen that stretches entirely across the phone's face is worth the mild weirdness of seeing a hole cut out of a corner.
It helps that Huawei has generally done a good job making sure the camera hole never really gets in the way. Icons that pop up in the notification bar are shifted slightly to the right, and in general, the software here is smart enough to keep the hole from obscuring crucial UI elements. If it turns out the hole really isn't your thing, though, it can be obscured entirely with a black bar.
As novel as this notch-less design is, the 6.4-inch IPS panel that actually surrounds that camera hole leaves us with a little less to get excited about. This LCD runs at 2310 x 1080, and while it's far from the most outright impressive screen I've ever used, it has been pleasant enough in day-to-day use. During my week of testing, I never had trouble reading or framing up photos on the View 20 in broad daylight, and its colors are seriously punchy for an LCD, too. In fact, the point some would argue they're a little too punchy -- thankfully, there are options to tune the color mode and temperature.
So yeah, the View 20 is a striking device to behold. More importantly, the phone is remarkably comfortable to use. Other devices in this price range, like the excellent OnePlus 6T, feature glass backs and slim edges that make the phone more difficult to grip. The View 20's edges are a little thicker, and for me at least, it makes a noticeable difference in stability. Rounding out the package is a decent single speaker that suffers from the same issue as most phone speakers: it's decently loud but lacks any depth. But, rejoice! Huawei included a standard headphone jack.
The biggest knock against the View 20's hardware is its of lack of wireless charging and IP-rated water and dust resistance. I can forgive the former, but as someone who has drowned at least one phone just by running in the rain, Huawei's promises of splash resistance don't fill me with much confidence.