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When it comes to hot new smartphones, Samsung and Apple typically nab the lion's share of the attention. The Google Pixel series grabs a few scraps too. And even though the company has faced some challenges with security controversies, Huawei is really making a name for itself with some truly remarkable hardware. And the Huawei Mate 20 Pro really epitomizes this rising trend. It's making headlines and for good reason.

In-Screen Fingerprint Sensor

Remember when we saw the Vivo Apex concept (which evolved into the Vivo Nex) earlier this year? Almost half the screen there featured an in-display fingerprint reader. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro isn't as ambitious, but it may be a lot more practical in its implementation.

Whereas Apple has done away with Touch ID (at least for now) in favor of Face ID, most Android phones still have a physical fingerprint reader somewhere and this affects the physical design of the phone. By going with an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the Mate 20 Pro breaks new ground and even beats the OnePlus 6T to the punch.

Reverse Wireless Charging

Qi wireless charging isn't new. It was a pretty remarkable thing when we saw it way back with devices like the Google Nexus 4 and Nexus 5. Today, we see it on a variety of devices, including the inclusion of wireless charging on the new Google Pixel 3.

But with all these phones, the idea is that you use Qi to charge the phone. That function is included in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro too, but it also supports the reverse. And that is exactly what it sounds like it is.

If you go into the settings and enable the feature, you can literally place another Qi-compatible phone on the back of the back of the Huawei. And this phone will charge the other phone. This seems like such a strange feature to have, because you'd necessarily lose some efficiency in the transfer and you're effectively draining one phone to charge another, but there you have it.

Square Triple Camera Array

The Huawei P20 Pro is widely regarded as one of the best smartphone cameras available today. My friend, James Smith of SocialDad.ca, swears by it, and the photos we see on his blog and via his social media are tremendous.

With that phone, the three cameras on the back are aligned in a single row, mostly pushed up against one side. The Mate 20 Pro takes an entirely different approach. The three cameras, along with the flash, are arranged in a square in the upper-center of the back. It makes for this larger "block" rather than a row.

I'm not entirely sure why they took this approach -- maybe the three modules can be closer together? -- but it sure makes for a distinctive look. And I'm certain the resulting photos and videos are pretty spectacular too.

Infinity Display (With a Notch)

Easily one of the coolest features on the Samsung Galaxy S and Note series smartphones is the Infinity Display. Remember when we first saw this idea in the Galaxy Note 6 Edge and the Galaxy S7 Edge? By curving the display over the sides of the phone, they essentially eliminated the side bezels.

But we still see side bezels on phones like the Pixel 3 and iPhone Xs, but not on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Combined with the notch at the top and the relatively minimal chin on the bottom, this phone boasts a screen-to-body ratio of just under 88%. That 6.39-inch, 1440 x 3120 AMOLED is pretty sweet.

And if you want to step up into Crazy Town, there's the Mate 20 X with its 7.2-inch, 1080 x 2244 (87.6% screen-to-body ratio) AMOLED. That's no longer a phablet; it's a tablet that happens to be a phone.

Nano Memory Cards

Remember regular-sized SIM cards? Those got replaced by micro-SIM cards, which were subsequently replaced by nano-SIMs. Most (if not all) new phones use the tiniest SIM card available these days. Why hasn't this happened with SD cards? We've got full-size SD cards, and then there are microSD cards. What about one step further?

Well, Huawei decided to take that one step with nano-memory cards. The NM cards have proprietary Huawei technology and, as you can imagine, are smaller that microSD cards. Based on the pictures I've seen, they're the same size of a nano SIM and go up to 256GB in capacity.


Will we see some of these features filter through to other manufacturers and devices in the coming year? I'd say that's a smart wager.

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