Which one wins?
Many people like to describe the Honor 10 as the poor man’s Huawei P20. With the same processor, camera setup and AI-powered shooting smarts, the phone sounds like a cheaper version of the P20, sans Leica branding.
Huawei P20 Specs
- 2.4GHz HiSilicon Kirin 970 octa-core processor
- Mali-G72 M12 GPU
- 4GB of RAM
- 5.8-inch Full HD+ LTPS IPS display, 2240 x 1080, 429 pixels per inch
- 128GB of internal storage
- 12-megapixel RGB camera at f/1.8 + 20-megapixel monochrome camera f/1.6 Leica cameras with PDAF, OIS,
- 24-megapixel front camera. f/2.0 aperture
- Dual SIM
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
- A-GPS, GLONASS
- Fingerprint scanner
- 3400mAh battery with SuperCharge
- Android 8.1 Oreo w/ EMUI 8
Honor 10 Specs
- HiSilicon Kirin 970 octa-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- 5.84-inch Full HD+ display, 2160×1080 resolution
- 128GB of expandable storage (up to 128GB)
- 16-megapixel f/1.8 RGB and 24-megapixel f/1.8 monochrome rear cameras with PDAF, Dual Tone LED flash, and AI Camera
- 24-megapixel f/2.0 front camera
- Dual SIM (Hybrid Tray)
- 4G, LTE, VoLTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- Fingerprint sensor
- USB Type-C
- 3400mAh battery
- Android 8.1 Oreo (EMUI 8.0)
But after we used both in Vietnam for a few days and comparing the shots that we took, there are quite a few differences when it comes to overall image quality. The old adage you get what you pay for certainly applies here, as you’ll see in the shots below.
Let’s start with what the Honor 10 has over the P20. Images shot from the Honor 10 are vibrant and rich. We’ve already seen that in our blind camera test article from a few days before, but it bears repeating. Photos of the brick pagoda are far redder and richer on the Honor 10, though the P20 has the more accurate color in real life.
That vibrancy does have its downsides. Not everyone prefers saturated colors since it’s not an accurate representation of what you’re actually shooting. The P20 has more natural colors and thus is more desirable for people who look beyond richer-looking photos.
The Honor 10 also suffers from blown-out highlights. The photo of A-1 Skyraider shows this clearly, as the clouds are properly exposed in relation to the scene with the P20. The Honor 10 is a blown-out mess, though colors are still vibrant highlights are less than ideal.
The shot of the M110 howitzer clearly demonstrates this the best. Looking at the trees right above the artillery piece, you can see how many of the individual leaves are clearly blown out.
It’s the same deal with the shot of the stuffed toys with harsh backlight inside the War Remnants Museum.
But what truly sets the P20 apart is its AI-stabilized night shooting mode. Just look at the big difference between the shot of the Honor 10 and P20 of the Apartment Cafes. The Honor 10 tries valiantly to take a good photo with the available light:
Compare that with the shot of the P20:
That’s a huge difference since you can now clearly read the names of the cafes since they’re no longer just blobs on the screen.
This extreme low-light shot of the Bitexco Financial Tower also highlights the capabilities of the AI-assisted stabilization of the P20 more than words will:
What’s nice about that night mode is that you can use it in daylight as well, to make details that were previously hidden by the shadows pop. Here it is in action in our shot of an altar:
Compare that to the Honor 10:
With the P20 you can also clearly see detail in photos in museums, for example, that don’t get picked up by the camera of the Honor 10:
The Honor 10 is a great phone, but after this test, it’s clear now that it’s not just a P20 without the Leica branding. The P20 offers quite a bit more in terms of overall camera performance. That extra money you pay for is more than worth it for its almost magical AIS capabilities.