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Huawei P20 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: Flagship Frontrunners

By: Ajaay Srinivasan, The Mobile Indian, New Delhi Last updated : April 27, 2018 10:37 am

Both high-end devices from Huawei and Samsung feature close to 6-inch narrow displays, pack 6GB of RAM, run on Android Oreo and are priced around Rs 65,000 in India.
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Known for having brought the concept of a dual camera setup on a smartphone, Huawei has been known to mix and match its flagships with the best thing one could possibly buy and some more. The Chinese smartphone giant introduced its flagship P20 Pro and again went on to be the first company to release a triple camera system on a smartphone, which when combined with its unique design and high-end specifications showcases itself alongside other flagships in the market. 

 

And when you say flagship, there’s always that one specific lineup that comes to mind and if it wasn’t obvious enough, yes, we’re talking about Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus. They were right when they said that you only fix things that are broken and in case of the Galaxy S9 Plus, not much has changed - the phone was already great and just needed the right set of tweaks. The device came with 6GB of RAM and dual cameras that featured for the first time in a smartphone - a variable aperture. All things considered, the Huawei P20 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ could well be the flagships to beat, if we’re going to the extent of an Android phone. And here we place the two against one another and see for ourselves what’s different and what’s not. 

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Design: 

 

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus is a lot familiar yet very well differentiable if placed next to its predecessor. If the South Korean had one thing to learn from last year’s mistake, it was the placement of the fingerprint scanner and learn it did. The sensor is not aligned to the centre axis of the device and is a lot more useful than how it was a year ago. That means one more thing for the less careful and that’s fewer smudges on their camera glasses. 

 

Moving on to other aspects of the design, the frame on the edges seem a lot more shiny and polished and thus the S9 Plus feels more secure and grippy. The buttons are larger while the back panel is still Gorilla Glass 5 protected and the whole device is water and dust resistant with its IP68 rating. Available in Titanium Gray, Midnight Black, Coral Blue and Lilac Purple, the S9 Plus is surely as pleasing as it minimalistic and elegant. 

 

Huawei’s P20 Pro, on the other hand, is the smartphone one would crave for if being looked at for the first time. Though the device comes in four different colour variants, the two that would please an eye would very well be the Midnight Blue and the Twilight version, the latter of the two boasting of a dual-tone finish. Though the mirror finish on the phone is a thing to look at, the fact that smudges will be one thing to be worried about makes it difficult to digest but that wouldn’t be a question since even the Galaxy device has a glass back. 

 

There’s a slight camera bump on the 40MP module while the monochrome lens sits relaxed taking no extra physical space and all of this is lined up vertically like that of the iPhone X. 

 

Winner: Huawei P20 Pro

 

Display:

 

The display on the P20 Pro is a 6.1-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2240 pixels and 18.7:9 aspect ratio. If not for the front placed home button which also doubles up as the fingerprint scanner, the Huawei phone bezel-less on three sides with a slight chin on the bottom. Thus the screen-to-body ratio of the device is 82 percent thanks to the notch on the top which cuts out along with a front-facing camera, microphone and ambient light sensor. The pixel density of the taller display is 408 ppi. 

 

Galaxy S9 Plus packs in a slightly larger 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display that employs a resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels, clearly resulting in a higher 529ppi pixel density. There’s no Apple-like notch on the front but that’s saved by a thinner bezel at the top and bottom owing to a larger screen-to-body ratio of 84.2 percent. 

 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

 

Hardware:

 

The P20 Pro is powered by the Huawei’s own top of the line Kirin 970 chipset with Mali-G72 MP12 for graphics. It comes with a specific configuration of 6GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage. The device charges through a USB Type-C port and the same can be used for data transfers as well. Connectivity options include the ability to do cashless transactions with NFC, infrared port to control IR based equipments, WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, and GPS. 

 

The S9 Plus taken into consideration is the 64GB onboard storage variant since it’s the only one in the Galaxy S lineup that matches to the Huawei flagship. The Galaxy S9 Plus is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 or its own Exynos 9810 Octa-core processor, which is what’s available in India. The device comes with 6GB RAM and similar connectivity options like the ones seen on the P20 Pro. 

 

Winner: Huawei P20 Pro, for the extra storage. 

 

Software: 

 

Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus comes preloaded with Android 8.0 Oreo with its own Experience 9.0 UI on top which from what we’ve come to notice is smoother on Samsung’s more expensive phone. We thus don’t count that the S9 Plus will stutter or lag and if you’re one of those people who got excited about Samsung’s Bixby assistant, then this phone might just be for you with a dedicated Bixby trigger. 

 

The Huawei P20 Pro, even though comes with the company’s own EMUI 8.1 interface, comes with the latest Android 8.1 Oreo which many flagships of the industry haven’t gotten yet. The firmware needs some getting used to and just for the sake of usability, Samsung offers a much more polished blend. 

 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

 

Battery:

 

The Huawei P20 Pro equips a 4,000mAh battery which is only slightly bigger than that of the Galaxy S9 Plus, that makes use of a 3,500mAh power unit. Though the processors in both the phones are power efficient and implement fast charging technology, the fact that the Huawei device includes a larger battery means the P20 Pro will have endurance than the Galaxy S9 Plus. 

 

Winner: Huawei P20 Pro

 

Camera:

 

We’ve saved the best for the last and rightly so as both smartphone manufacturers have brought gaming changing features to their camera that surely needs to be talked about. 

 

To start with, the Galaxy S9 Plus like its younger sibling is the first phone to pack a dual-aperture wide angle shooter and it’s also the first time that Samsung has decided to follow the dual camera trend which has gotten mainstream lately. The S9 Plus sports a dual 12-megapixel (f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture, 26mm, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF) + 12-megapixel (f/2.4, 52mm, 1/3.6", 1µm, AF) lenses with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom which offers as much details in low-lit conditions as it does in a well-lighted environment. 

 

To explain this in simple terms, the primary camera on the S9 Plus is a 12MP lens with variable aperture and pixel-sized 1.4µm that in itself can click a picture with a huge amount of detail. The variable aperture helps different cases, it makes low light pictures easy to click with the bright aperture while the darker aperture takes care of shot clicked during daylight. The variable aperture also helps in getting the right bokeh due to better control of the depth of field. Samsung also opted for a telephoto lens as its secondary lens which is another 12MP shooter with a fixed aperture of f/2.4 and offers up to 2x optical zoom. 

 

Moving on to Huawei’s flagship, the P20 Pro is the world’s first smartphone to equip three cameras in a world where dual cameras have just gotten to be a norm. The Leica-made triple camera system includes 40-megapixel primary shooter with a large 1’1.7” sensor and an aperture of f/1.8, all of which is equivalent to a 27mm lens on a digital scale. The secondary 27mm lens is a 20-megapixel shooter with an aperture of f/1.6 and is a monochrome lens. There’s also an 80mm telephoto lens that would be able to achieve up to 5X optical zoom, which is significantly more than the one on the Galaxy S9 Plus. 

 

The triple camera setup paired with Huawei’s AI brings the best pictures in every light condition. The camera can capture photos at different exposures and among the different scenes captured the blueness of the sky is perfectly absorbed with no hint of overexposure. The Portrait mode with or without the AI enabled background blur can take perfect bokeh picture with a subtle depth of field and does so with the 80mm equivalent secondary lens.

 

Keeping all this in mind, Huawei has just outbid the recently released Galaxy S9 Plus and has done an amazing job at making the most of the three cameras at the back. 

 

Winner: Huawei P20 Pro

 

Verdict:

 

Samsung and Huawei have done a lot to offer the best that money can buy at the moment. Both phones are a powerful pair of machines running the latest versions of Android on a tall 18(-ish):9 screens.While the Galaxy S9 Plus offers the best kind of display with denser pixels, a powerful Exynos chipset, and a polished software, it still comes shot on what the Huawei flagship has to offer. 

 

If the eye candy looks of the Huawei P20 Pro doesn’t charm you, the high performing Kirin 970 chipset with a larger 128GB storage and a colourful display can surely catch anyone off-guard. And if that weren’t enough, the triple camera setup is hands down, unrivalled at this moment. The P20 Pro can take amazing night shots with dope zooms which still retains the most details. 

 

Another thing that Huawei wins over with is the pricing of the P20 Pro as the only model it sells is priced at Rs 64,999 while Samsung only brings the 64GB variant of Galaxy S9 Plus for a similar price tag of Rs 64,900.

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Tags: Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Huawei P20 Pro Huawei P20

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