2019 was particularly bad for Huawei due to obvious reasons and at least some of us thought that 2020 would. Still, against all odds, Huawei managed to stay afloat and was even able to launch some great products ranging from headphones and smartwatches to smartphones and notebooks. Huawei had a big shift in its strategy with the company now focusing a lot on non-smartphone in the west.
As we already pointed out, 2020 was a bumpy year for Huawei and Honor so here’s our quick overview of the highlights. Let’s start with the first winner in our books.
Winner: Huawei Mate 40-series
The Mate 40 Pro+ os an excellent phone in almost every aspect but more importantly, it’s arguably the best cameraphone currently on the market. Combining technologies such as omnidirectional PDAF and ToF 3D sensor and offering 3x and 10x telephoto cameras, its versatility is unrivaled. The Pro version has a bit different camera setup but it’s still the best shooter available in the west.
Too bad the latest US sanctions limited the availability of the Mate 40 family, limiting the supply of Kirin chips. Plus the lack of Google services will always cause issues for western users accustomed to the ecosystem of the search giant.
The lack of Google services in the west causes a lot of inconveniences, forcing a lot of people to stay away from what is otherwise excellent and attractively priced hardawre. Huawei has been working hard building up its own ecosystem and has gone a long way towards convincing us you can have a good smartphone experience without Google’s services, but people will still need time getting used to the alternatives it provides.
Hopefully, things in 2021 will continue to improve for the Chinese tech giant as more competition benefits everyone.
Winners: MateBooks, MagicBooks and various accessories
With AMD aggressively competing in the CPU market and Huawei/Honor adopting the new chips at relatively low prices, this year’s MateBooks and MagicBooks are clear winners. Honor is doing what it can do best – offer excellent hardware with competitive pricing. The MagicBook 14 and Pro, for example, are nothing short of amazing for the asking price even punching way above that.
Huawei’s counterparts, the MateBook 14 and X Pro, are leaning towards the high-end segment, but they still remain competitive price-wise. Arguably the biggest appeal would be the 3:2 aspect ratio and the excellent screen quality.
We also have to mention the smart wearables such as the Huawei Freebuds Pro, the Honor Choice TWS Earbuds and, of course, the Huawei Watch GT2 Pro. All excellent premium products that prove that Huawei still delivers excellent value for money.
Winner or Loser: Honor
If it wasn’t for the US-China trade war, Honor would have still been part of Huawei. The company has helped propel Huawei into the top three biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world and it’s sad to see the end of an era.
But this can go both ways. On one hand, Honor going independent will cut it off from the vast R&D budget and extensive supply chain of Huawei. This will inevitably hurt Honor’s competitiveness in the short term.
On the other hand, Honor can finally fly free and hopefully be granted permission to operate normally by the US government. Getting back in the game won’t be as hard since Honor has already made a name of its own.
Hopefully, 2021 would be a better year for both Huawei and Honor and we’ll actually see both contest in global markets increasing competition, rather than witness both of them fail and have limited choice as a result.