Honor View 20 vs. OnePlus 6T: Hole punches versus notches

Honor View 20 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The notch is dead — long live the hole-punch display. Honor’s View 20 is the forerunner of the new hole-punch movement, and it’s a doozy of a phone, with a powerful Kirin 980 processor, a massive display, and some gorgeous good looks. But here be monsters, and the OnePlus 6T is the kraken of the midrange phone market, with power, looks, and features far beyond its sub-$600 price tag. Can the Honor View 20 take down the beast and claim a place in the pantheon of the best phones of 2019? We took a look to find out.

Specs

Honor View 20 OnePlus 6T
Size 156.9 x 75.4 x 8.1 mm (6.18 x 2.97 x 0.32 inches) 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm (6.20 x 2.94 x 0.32 inches)
Weight 180 grams (6.35 ounces) 185 grams (6.53 ounces)
Screen size 6.4-inch IPS LCD 6.41-inch AMOLED display
Screen resolution 2310 x 1080 pixels (398 pixels per inch) 2340 x 1080 pixels (402 pixels per inch)
Operating system Android 9.0 Oreo (under Magic UI 2) Android 9.0 Pie
Storage space 128GB, 256GB
128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Kirin 980 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
RAM 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera 48MP (with 3D Time-of-Flight sensor), 25MP front Dual 16MP (with OIS) and 20MP (with OIS) rear, 16MP front
Video Up to 2,160p at 30 fps, 720p at 960 fps Up to 2,160p at 60 fps, 1,080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes (in-display)
Water resistance No No
Battery 4,000mAh

Fast charging (55 percent in 30 minutes)

3,700mAh

Warp or Dash fast charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support T-Mobile, AT&T T-Mobile, AT&T
Colors Sapphire Blue, Phantom Blue, Phantom Red, Midnight Black Mirror Black, Midnight Black
Price TBA (expected around $500) $549
Buy from Honor OnePlus, Amazon, T-Mobile
Review score 4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Honor View 20 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You’ll find two top-notch “flagchips” going head-to-head here, and there’s little to part the OnePlus 6T’s Snapdragon 845 and the View 20’s Kirin 980 in benchmarks and real-life performance. Both of these offer tip-top smoothness and powerful gaming performance. Both pack roomy storage, with 128GB and 256GB storage options, as well as models with 6GB and 8GB of RAM.

But what of battery life? The View 20 has an edge over the OnePlus 6T with a battery that’s 300mAh larger, but the excellent software means you’re likely to see two days of battery life on the View 20. The 6T is no slouch there either though, managing a day-and-a-half on a single charge — but the View 20 is clearly superior. There’s no wireless charging on either phone, but both come with super-fast charging that’ll refill your battery in no time at all.

It’s a close-run competition, but the View 20’s larger battery life wins it the round.

Winner: Honor View 20

Design and durability

Borders are well and truly gone, and both of these phones boast exceptional bezel-free designs. Modern style is prevalent here, and so we find glass builds, sleek looks, and subtle refractions built into the back panels — the “S” on the 6T and the reflective “V” on the View 20. Glass means both phones are susceptible to damage, and neither come with water-resistance, which is a real shame.

However, the really big difference between the two looks like it’ll be a 2018 versus 2019 issue — the hole punch versus the notch. The 6T’s teardrop notch is subtle for a notch, but the hole punch almost seems to disappear during normal use. We think it’s a big enough difference to give an edge to the View 20.

There’s a clear winner here, but it’s important to note that both phones are gorgeous, and you won’t be disappointed with either. However, the hole punch is superior to the notch — even a discreet notch like the 6T’s. The Honor View 20 wins.

Winner: Honor View 20

Display

Honor View 20 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Much like bezels, it seems small phones have had their day. Both the View 20 and the 6T are enormous, with screens that exceed 6 inches in size. The View 10’s 6.4-inch LCD display runs a 2310 x 1080-pixel resolution, and it’s good, with plenty of user customization available. However, it pales next to the OnePlus 6T’s 6.41-inch AMOLED display. While it runs a similar 2340 x 1080-pixel resolution, the AMOLED screen tech means crisper contrast, blacker blacks, and more vibrant colors. It’s simply the better screen.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Camera

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You’ll find a 16-megapixel and a 20-megapixel lens on the back of the OnePlus 6T, backed up by a 16-megapixel lens around the front. It’s probably the best camera suite we’ve seen from OnePlus so far, and it takes some great photos. The portrait mode edge detection is particularly worthy of note. The OnePlus 6T’s camera suite also includes a 2x telephoto zoom lens, and slow motion at 480 frames per second.

But is it good enough to beat the View 20? Bucking Honor’s usual trend, the View 20 only packs a single lens. But it’s a monster — 48-megapixels, and backed up by a 3D Time-of-Flight sensor. The front-facing lens is a similarly monstrous 25-megapixel beast. Normally, we don’t put much stock in numbers, but the View 20 walks the walk, and produces some excellent shots in a variety of circumstances. While not on the level of the Pixel 3 or the Mate 20 Pro, we feel it’s almost there — and that’s a shocking thing to admit in a phone this price. The View 20 also comes with twice the amount of slo-mo at 960 frames per second.

While the OnePlus 6T has a great camera suite, the View 20 has kicked Honor off to a great start in 2019.

Winner: Honor View 20

Software and updates

Honor View 20 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Android 9.0 Pie is a beautiful thing, and you’ll find it on both phones — though you might not initially realize it. OnePlus’ Oxygen OS is the closest to a stock Android, being rather similar to the version of Android we see on Pixels. That’s very much a good thing, and it’s customizable too. There’s even the option to use Android’s new swiping-based gesture navigation. The View 20 has Honor’s own Magic UI 2, and it’s a heavily customized version of Android based on Huawei’s EMUI software. If you’re not used it, prepare yourself; this isn’t anywhere close to a normal Android experience. But it still has its charms, and we’ve grown to enjoy it.

The update situation is a little more lop-sided. OnePlus has always been fairly snappy with updates, while Honor traditionally puts out updates a little bit later — mostly due to the work needed to build the heavily customized skin. Will that change with the new Magic UI 2? Maybe, but for now, OnePlus has the faster update speed and a slimmer Android interface, and that counts for a lot.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Special features

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Budgets have to be cut somewhere with midrange phones, and with top specs and designs, there’s not much room for many special features. However, there’s still some stuff here to be excited about. Both phones have a gaming mode that strips away distracting notifications and boosts gaming performance and network speed, and both phones have facial unlocking options. The OnePlus 6T’s in-display fingerprint scanner may be enough to wow some, but we found it a little unreliable in practice, even if the tech is really cool in itself. Speaking of other slight disappointments, despite AptX HD support, sound on the Honor View 20 failed to match our expectations.

This category is a hard one to crack, but we’re giving it to the OnePus 6T, simply because the in-display fingerprint scanner is so cool.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Price

The OnePlus 6T is currently available, with prices starting from $549. You can get it directly from OnePlus, or pick it up from T-Mobile or Amazon. It will only work with GSM networks like T-Mobile and AT&T.

The Honor View 20 starts from 500 British pounds (currently around $650), though it’s worth noting that the OnePlus 6T also starts from 500 British pounds in the U.K. It’s unclear whether the Honor View 20 will be officially released in the U.S., but if you import it we expect it will only work fully with T-Mobile and AT&T.

Overall winner: Honor View 20

It’s a close run competition, but for our money, the Honor View 20 pulls ahead of the OnePlus 6T with a strong battery, a design that’s very 2019, and a pretty amazing camera. But that doesn’t mean the OnePlus 6T is without its charms — it’s beautiful, it’s powerful, and it’s a bargain. But the Honor View 20 is just stronger at this point. We imagine the OnePlus 7 will put up a good fight though, and we’ll be sure to pit the View 20 against OnePlus’s latest when it arrives.

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