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Honor View 20 first look: All screen, no notch, 48MP camera

An early glimpse at the future of smartphone design.

In the run up to its January 22 global launch, Honor has unveiled the first details around its next display-centric handset, the Honor View 20. The successor to the View 10 takes the focus on screen-to-body ratios to new heights, with a new notch-defeating design similar to Samsung's Infinity-O. It's a step closer to the smartphone ideal of a full-display handset, with only a tiny chin and a 4.5mm hole for the front-facing camera.

At an event in Hong Kong today, Honor's General Manager of Product, Jimmy Xiong gave us a quick glimpse of the phone's front face. The devices we later sampled at today's event were shrouded in 3D-printed cases to obscure the final design, however we were able to get a feel for the device's performance, display quality and camera features.

The phone runs Huawei's Kirin 980 processor, and as such is an extremely speedy performer, with that chip's dual ISP able to make the most of the new Sony IMX586 sensor around the back. There's just a single camera on the back of the device, and Honor isn't going into specifics around technical details besides the sensor model itself. Based on holding the viewfinder preview, though, it didn't appear to have optical image stabilization. Nevertheless, it was able to general impressive 12-megapixel photos at both 1X and 2X zoom levels. (There's a separate option that'll allow you to spit out 48-megapixel JPEGs.)

Other specs will remain a mystery until the Chinese launch event later this month, but it's likely the internal hardware will closely match the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and Honor Magic 2. So expect something in the ballpark of 6GB of RAM and 64-128GB of storage. It's also unclear whether more exotic features like wireless charging and water resistance will make it across, but 40W Super Charging was confirmed at today's event.

The phone was running the latest EMUI 9 software based on Android 9.0 Pie, which looked almost identical to the software of the Magic 2. The only new software feature called out at today's pre-launch event was Link Turbo, a network-boosting feature that combines LTE and Wi-Fi for faster and more reliable connectivity.

More: The first Honor View 20 camera samples

Like the specs, the design and size of the View 20 were hidden away behind Honor's plastic case, but the phone appeared to be around the same size as the Mate 20 Pro, only with a flat display. It's a relatively large screen — not least because of the tiny display bezels — yet was easy to use in one hand, even with a big bulky case.

The proper View 20 rollout will commence with a Chinese launch on December 26 in Beijing, followed by a global launch event in Paris on January 22.

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