With its powerful Kirin 980 chipset and intuitive Android Pie-based UI, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro was already a formidable smartphone before Huawei engineers decided to equip it with the Leica Triple Camera, which includes the new Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens. The result is a truly killer digital device that also happens to boast the world’s best smartphone camera.
The Leica Triple Camera on the Mate 20 Pro is organized as a handsome grid on the back of the smartphone. In the upper-left corner is a flash, followed clockwise by a 40MP RGB lens at ƒ1.8, the aforementioned 20MP Ultra Wide Angle Lens at ƒ2.2, and an 8MP telephoto at ƒ2.4. The variety of lenses in the Leica Triple Camera ensures superior resolution from shot to shot, whether you’re taking pictures under everyday conditions, capturing a grand landscape, or trying to zoom in on a distant focal point.
The Ultra Wide Angle Lens is the star of Leica’s camera collection. A tap on the Camera app is all it takes unleash its capabilities, while a tap or a swipe on the magnification button in the viewfinder will let you shoot at 1x, 3x, 5x, or 0.6x (the camera’s ultra-wide macro setting) on the fly. Alternatively, you can select the ultra-wide 18.8:9 resolution in the Settings menu.
Why go wide, you ask? Well, for those of you still using smartphones that are a generation or two behind the curve, a wide angle lens gives your social-media portraits and other photos an instant sense of spaciousness by capturing peripheral elements in the frame, as well as, of course, the main object of your photographic desire. Wide angle lenses are also excellent at documenting sweeping landscapes, city skylines, and events such as football games and music festivals.
As if those weren’t reasons enough to go wide, the Mate 20 Pro’s Leica Ultra Wide Lens also lets you get intimate when you shoot in Super Macro mode. In fact, the same lens that’s at home in open spaces is also the perfect lens for shooting close-ups of details, even if they are as close as 2.5cm from the lens. On the face of it, that sort of range is astonishing, but the Mate 20 Pro also makes getting close simple. When the camera’s Master AI is enabled, or if you are already shooting at 0.6x, Super Macro mode kicks in automatically when you bring your smartphone in for a close-up, which means all you have to do is lean in and shoot.
All of these benefits and features make the Mate 20 Pro’s Leica Ultra Wide Lens as much of a day-to-day workhouse as its main 40MP RGB lens. Sometimes, though, you need to get closer to objects that are far away. That’s where the Leica Triple Camera’s 8MP telephoto lens comes in handy. Endowed with a 3x optical zoom, the telephoto lens can be accessed as easily as the wide angle—just go to the Camera app and give it a tap.
Regardless of which of the Leica Triple Camera’s lenses you choose, your photographs will benefit from the Mate 20 Pro’s industry leading 1/1.7 inch sensor. Now, you should know that a sensor of this size is 125% larger than the one in the iPhone Xs Max or Galaxy Note 9. Bragging rights aside, though, larger sensors allow more information into a camera, which is just another of the many reasons why pictures taken with any of the Mate 20 Pro’s three Leica lenses are always clear and sharp. And when you add a light sensitivity ISO of 102400 to this large sensor size, the result is a camera that seems to see in the dark, taking high-quality photographs even at very low levels of light.
So far, our look inside the Mate 20 Pro’s Leica Triple Camera has mostly focused on hardware, but as with all Huawei smartphones, the Mate 20 Pro is also strong when it comes to filters and AI. In particular, its Master AI, which can be easily enabled or disabled in Camera Settings, recognizes 5,000 objects in 25 different categories. Why does that matter? Well, when colors are optimized based on real-world data rather than a color-wheel algorithm, you can share moments instantly and with confidence, without wishing you had spent a lot of time color correcting manually before pressing “Share.” Similarly, Mate 20 Pros come with HiVision built right in, putting an encyclopedia of places and objects, including many of the great paintings of the world, right in your purse or pocket.