To notch or not to notch: Huawei P20 family gets detailed in latest leaks in all its notch glory


The notch. Mark that word “notch” because you are going to hear a lot more about it in coming days. It simply refers to the cut-out at the top of smartphones like the Essential phone and the iPhone X to accommodate the camera system and sensors that may otherwise lack a home given the thin (or none at all) bezels and a screen that appears to take up the entire front view of a device. It’s what Dell would’ve done to its XPS series of power laptops touting InfinityEdge displays if it didn’t see it fit to have a “chin-up” camera system.

Instead of being a feature that exists simply because there are limitations as to how far a company is able to stretch its capabilities as far as hardware is concerned (I am of the opinion that Apple could’ve done better and come up with a “notchless” iPhone X), the notch is today the subject of intense, shameless and blatant copy-pasting by Android device makers, some of whom should know better.

At the just concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, there was no shortage of self-disrespecting devices that showed up packing the ugly notch. If the latest leaks are anything to go by, the happenings in Spain over the last few days may be just the tip of the iceberg. Just like the last two years have been the years of dual-cameras and 18:9 displays, 2018 is already shaping up to be the year of the notch. Thanks, Apple.

None other than Chinese device makers, notorious for aping everything that Apple does (refer to past generations of Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and other Chinese brands’ devices), are spearheading this notch-full future. The shameless trend, it turns out, cuts across all industry players, big or small. Or how do you explain Huawei’s insistence on copying the notch and even the exact camera module arrangement that can be found on the iPhone X?

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The latest images of the Huawei P20, flanked by other members of the P20 family, posted online by serial leaker Evan Blass aka @evleaks, confirm, without leaving any doubts in our minds that what we have known for a while now, and probably dreaded, is going to happen whether we like it or not: the notch is coming.

This is the Huawei P20:

This is the Huawei P20 Lite:

This is the Huawei P20 Pro:


Can you tell them apart?

Notch matters aside, as you can see from the above image of the Huawei P20 Pro, the device will have three camera lenses, something apparently confirmed by the event e-card that Huawei sent a few days ago to the tech press for the launch event slated for Paris on March 27th.

Of course, as can be deduced from the e-invite above, the P20 family will also be including what has now become an industry marketing buzzword even when device makers don’t mean it: AI (Artificial Intelligence). It is worth noting, however, that Huawei has been at this AI business on devices for a while now, having started all the way back in late 2016 with the launch of the Mate 9. Last year, for the Mate 10, it even unveiled a dedicated AI chipset.

According to Roland Quandt, this is the pricing of the P20 in Europe (so get your calculators out and make that Kenya shillings conversion):

The P20 Lite was recently “spotted” rocking 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage so it won’t be so “lite” after all. A 5.84-inch display whose resolution can’t be ascertained at this moment is also on the cards. Its dual-camera arrangement is said to be 16MP + 2 MP at the back. On the front, a 16MP (or 24MP depending on who your favourite leaker of such informations is) snapper is rumoured to be eyeing all the attention.

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Of course, it will be Android Oreo buried under the many layers of Huawei’s EMUI that will show up on the trio.

What we have not heard so far from Huawei, as was the norm from rivals such as Samsung in the run up to their big product launch this year, is the unveiling of a new processor. That pretty much leaves us to speculate that the Chinese device maker will be sticking with the tried and tested benchmark-topping Kirin 970 processor that debuted on the Mate 10 last year. That also means we most likely won’t be seeing a new chipset from Huawei’s subsidiary HiSilicon meant for its high-end devices until after August 2018. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it, so they say.

Bar the obvious triple camera system on the Pro model, we still have a lot to figure out when it comes to the differences between it and the standard model. The other obvious difference we can count on so far is battery sizes. A 4,000mAh juice pack on the Pro model and a 3,320mAh pack on the standard model are being touted as possibilities.

There is not much definite information on the Huawei P20 family despite a few concrete leaks here and there but the situation should change seeing as it is we are already under 20 days to launch day at the Grand Palais.

Still, we might know quite a bit about the colour options that will be on offer in coming days:

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at]