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Huawei P40 Pro Review: Refinement done right

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Final yr, the Huawei P30 Professional was the most effective digital camera telephones the business had ever seen. Its revolutionary periscope zoom digital camera and spectacular picture high quality have been nothing in need of glorious, and we liked it.

This yr, because of the controversy with the US authorities and the lack of Google apps, the P40 Professional bursts from the gate with an arduous handicap. Its lack of Google providers will possible have some shoppers dismissing it as an improve choice. Are its {hardware} strengths sufficient to make up for its software program weaknesses? Stick round to seek out out in Android Authority’s Huawei P40 Professional overview.

About this overview: I used the Huawei P40 Professional on the O2 community within the UK as my essential telephone for six days. The system was working EMUI 10.1 primarily based on Android 10 with the construct quantity: 10.1.0.112. The Huawei P40 Professional overview unit was supplied to Android Authority by Huawei. 

Present Extra

Design and show: Deliberately ergonomic on the worth of cohesiveness

  • 158.2 x 72.6 x 9mm
  • 209g
  • IP68 water and dirt resistance
  • 6.58-in Full HD+ (2,640 x 1,200), 19.8:9 facet ratio
  • Punch gap AMOLED
  • 90Hz refresh charge

Huawei P40 Pro rear cover full

Some of the refined points of the P40 Professional is its design although not in the way in which you may suppose. See, the P40 Professional has raised corners with glass that’s curved on all 4 sides to imitate water getting ready to breaking floor stress. This leads to a singular aesthetic that received’t be to everybody’s style actually not mine. I can’t fairly put my finger on it, however the ultra-thin bezels simply look odd, particularly head-on. Nevertheless, the design’s byproduct is improbable ergonomic enhancements. 

Proceed studying: Waterfall shows: The most recent design development no one’s requested for

For instance, swipe gestures have grow to be the default approach to navigate our telephones. Some gadgets wrestle to make the gestures really feel seamless as a result of harsh transition from metallic to glass, significantly the highest and backside edges. With the P40 Professional’s curved glass, swiping in from any route feels smoother than something I’ve ever used.

Huawei P40 Pro Quick settings toggle

The marginally angled aluminum sides assist the telephone relaxation in your hand effortlessly. Against this, final yr’s P30 Professional felt sharp to carry as a result of skinny facet rails, and the Mate 30 Professional felt too slippery as a result of excessively rounded waterfall show glass. This, mixed with virtually excellent weight-distribution, results in an outstanding really feel within the hand. I’m satisfied that that is the best-feeling telephone available on the market. 

Huawei P40 Pro camera module and buttons in hand

The amount rocker and home-button on the proper edge really feel exact and crisp. The highest-mounted IR-blaster and microphone are satisfyingly aligned, and the identical goes for the bottom-mounted SIM tray, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker. All the things feels calculated and clear. The handset is IP68-rated to provide you peace of thoughts that your $1,00Zero system will survive some spillage or a quick swim.

Huawei’s design decisions could maintain some trigger some potential consumers to draw back from the P40 Professional. The excessively rounded display corners, the huge digital camera bump, the distractingly-big punch-hole, and the unusual raised corners take it down a peg or two for me. You possibly can inform Huawei was attempting to 2020-ify the P30 Professional and the result’s merely not fairly the prettiest telephone on the market.

Huawei was attempting to 2020-ify the system and it is achieved precisely that.

Huawei has lastly added a high-refresh-rate show to one in every of its flagships. The P40 Professional’s 90Hz AMOLED panel seems nice. Regardless of its middling decision in comparison with the competitors, this seems like the perfect display ever fitted to a Huawei system. Viewing angles are excellent, with little to no shade shift when tilting the system off-axis. At over 440 nits sustained brightness, it’s not topping any charts, however I discovered it vivid sufficient for viewing in direct daylight. I obtained to check that out in my backyard in the course of the annoyingly sunny quarantine interval we’ve had within the UK.

Huawei P40 Pro drop down shade

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, although. First, the shadowing brought on by the curved glass edges is noticeable when flat colours. That is significantly apparent on the left and proper edges. Second, while 90Hz is an enchancment, the shortage of 120Hz and Quad HD decision signifies that the P40 Professional doesn’t fairly match the competitors. This wasn’t a problem throughout on a regular basis use, however it’s prone to put some consumers off an already sketchy buy.

Proceed studying: Refresh charge defined: What does 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz imply?

Efficiency & {hardware}: Ok

  • Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G chipset
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB storage
  • NM card slot
  • 4,200mAh battery
  • 40W SuperCharge wired
  • 27W SuperCharge wi-fi
  • 27W reverse wi-fi

Huawei P40 Pro Rear housing shine

Final yr’s Mate 30 Professional gave us a preview of the P40 Professional’s efficiency because of its equivalent processor/reminiscence setup. In abstract, the Kirin 990 is a good system-on-a-chip (SoC) with related CPU energy to the Snapdragon 855, however with lesser GPU efficiency.

The P40 Professional was largely buttery easy because of the Kirin 990 5G and 8GB RAM. There have been a few body drops in high-intensity 3D gaming titles, significantly  Fortnite and PUBG Cellular. They weren’t game-breaking by any means, however they have been noticeable. This is probably going as a result of inferior GPU. To assist the telephone maintain excessive body charges, Huawei actually might want to improve the GPU within the subsequent iteration of the Kirin chipset. 

Proceed studying: The perfect telephones for gaming

Spec heads is likely to be dissatisfied with 8GB of RAM when there are telephones with 12 and 16GB of RAM on the market. Nevertheless, I can safely say that 8GB is sufficient reminiscence in 2020. It helps that Huawei’s process administration is brutal and continuously releasing up reminiscence by killing previous apps. On the flip facet, this could detract from the expertise. Some customers have reported podcast and music apps disappearing from their recents as a result of Huawei’s aggressive RAM administration.

Huawei P40 Pro Home screen handheld blurry background

The P sequence positive factors 5G because of the Kirin 990 5G chipset, which helps sub-6GHz 5G bands. Its lack of mmWave assist places it at a drawback in comparison with the Snapdragon 865 on paper. That stated, there’s way more sub-6 protection proper now.

Unlocking the telephone is as fast as must be anticipated from a tool costing 4 figures. The optical in-display fingerprint scanner, which Huawei claims is 30% bigger and 30% quicker than the earlier mannequin, is a noticeable enchancment. It registered my thumb with a means higher hit charge than the P30 Professional. 

The face-unlock is super quick, too, though not quite as snappy as the Pixel 4’s in my experience. The P40 Pro relies on infrared technology to help detect the user’s face, even in the dark. It works as advertised.

Huawei has developed a reputation for creating smartphones that last forever on a charge. Two days is what I’ve come to expect from a Huawei flagship. The P40 Pro is absolutely no different, and I consistently got two days out of the phone.

Huawei P40 Pro Peeking over shoulder to the home screen

One day I decided to try to kill the device by running it at full resolution, full refresh rate, and maximum brightness whilst sinking as much time into 3D games as I could. What I observed was something rather remarkable. (Remember, this is not typical phone use.) The P40 Pro still managed over seven hours of screen-on time despite these unrealistically intense conditions. That means you should easily be able to get eight, if not ten, hours when being more cautious with the settings.

Continue reading: The Android phones with the best battery life in 2020

A 40W SuperCharge adapter is included in the box to take the 4,200mAh battery from zero to 100% in 74 minutes. This might not sound all that impressive, but it gets all the way to 97% in just 60 minutes. The P40 Pro trickle charges the last few percent to preserve long-term battery life — something I’m definitely on board with. 27W wireless charging is also supported, though I was not able to test the wireless charging due to the lack of hardware availability.

I was able to test the 27W reverse wireless charging. This worked really well for Qi-charging watches, earphones, and even phones (though not advertised). I topped up my iPhone 11 in a pinch and while it wasn’t quick, sometimes you just need enough juice to make it to the next power outlet and this is perfect for that.

Camera: Genuinely magnificent

  • Main: 50MP RYYB, f/1.9,  23mm
  • Ultra-wide: 40MP, f/1.8, 18mm
  • Tele: 12MP RYYB, f/3.4, 125mm
  • Time of flight (ToF)
  • Selfie: 32MP, f/2.2, 26mm
  • Ultra HD / 4K at 60fps (front and rear)
  • 720p HD at 7680fps
  • 1080p Full HD at 960fps

Huawei P40 Pro Taking a photo with camera app with settings

Huawei refined the camera the staple feature of the P-series  to a point where it is the best camera on any phone to date. You get wide, ultra-wide, telephoto, and time of flight (ToF) cameras on the back. Up front is a 32MP selfie shooter backed up by laser-guided autofocus. The setup is pretty stacked, as it needs to be to compete with other 2020 flagships.

What isn’t so common is this particular combo of cameras. The main 50MP RYYB camera has a mammoth 1/1.28-inch sensor, making it the largest of any smartphone on the market  eclipsing even the Samsung’s 108MP S20 Ultra’s 1/1.33-inch sensor. The images that come from this thing are superb. The colors are bright and vibrant without becoming an eye-sore; dynamic range is fantastic thanks to Huawei’s HDR tuning; detail is incredible even in the pixel-binned mode, and natural subject isolation is simply amazing. The below shots weren’t taken in portrait or aperture modes, this is what the hardware is capable of in the de facto “Photo” mode.

Some of us at Android Authority feared the P40 Pro might struggle with autofocus similar to the S20 Ultra due to the large sensor. Unfortunately, our fears were well-founded, though the P40 Pro doesn’t struggle as much. Most of the time the phone locked focus without a hitch, but particularly close or small subjects would throw the system off briefly.

From a zoom perspective, it’s the same 5x periscope optical and 30x digital hybrid setup from the P30 Pro. This time, though, the sensor has been upgraded to a 12MP RYYB affair, which drastically improves the amount of detail captured in zoom photos. Given a healthy amount of light, the optical zoom results are superb. When you go below a certain light level, however, the software switches to the primary camera and crops digitally. This results in noticeably softer images, though they are otherwise relatively good.

Portrait and aperture modes didn’t need much tweaking. Huawei refined these features further and they’re now that much better. The results from the P40 Pro’s portrait mode don’t disappoint. Subject isolation is on point, as is the focus roll-off where there isn’t a sharp divide between in focus and out of focus points. Huawei allows you to change the type of simulated bokeh, and I very much enjoyed playing around with this feature.

Low-light photography has been a strong point for Huawei and the P40 Pro doesn’t deviate. The RYYB sensor seems to help a lot with detail capture, and the P40 Pro can truly see in the dark with its night mode. I live in a fairly light-polluted town, yet the phone could handily capture the stars right above my house. There were a few less-than-perfect results due perhaps to my shaky hands, but on the whole I was very impressed with what the P40 Pro could do. 

The 40MP ultra-wide cine camera from the Mate 30 Pro made its way to the P40 Pro and it’s a brilliant upgrade. It’s a significantly larger sensor than the P30 Pro’s with four times the resolution. This results in much better low-light performance in ultra-wide mode, and some really clean-looking images at the expense of a slightly tighter shot. The previous ultra-wide lens was a 16mm equivalent, whereas the P40 Pro’s is an 18mm affair with a narrower field of view. This also means that the P40 Pro omits Huawei’s staple Super Macro mode, which utilized the 20MP ultra-wide camera.

The 32MP selfie shooter is able to capture lots of detail and color in almost all lighting conditions. I was particularly impressed with the ability to accurately capture skin tones in varying environments. There no longer seems to be the unwanted and intrusive skin-smoothing which has historically been an issue even when selecting “off” in the menu. It seems to capture individual hairs very well without blending them together, and its highlight roll-off is smooth and natural. 

Dynamic range can be inconsistent, though, as you can see in my sample images (link below). Whilst the P40 Pro’s front-facing photos aren’t bad, I would still call the Pixel 4 the king of selfies due to the better color reproduction and detail capture. Huawei has definitely refined last year’s selfie shooter, but the company still has a bit of work to do to catch Google on this front. 

Continue reading: Huawei P40 Pro vs Pixel 4 XL camera

The P40 Pro’s rear camera layout is capable of shooting Ultra HD / 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, as well as super slow motion at up to an eye-watering 7680fps. Both modes are available on the ultra-wide and wide cameras. The resulting video clips are okay, but Huawei’s video always seems to lack something. There’s plenty of detail with generally quick autofocus and exposure adjustment, but it lacks contrast and character. The camera also seems to lean towards warm tones in video capture.

I’ve said it many times before and I’ll continue to say it: Huawei’s camera app is by far the best on the market. There’s a perfect balance between ease of use and a buttload of features and settings. My only complaints are that there are too many modes along the bottom and some can get lost off the screen, and that the full-resolution mode is now in a menu to the far right of the mode carousel. Other than that, this is peak camera app.

As an overall camera package, the P40 Pro is nothing short of brilliant. It’s the best smartphone shooter that money can buy, and is the reason to purchase the phone.

Full-resolution Huawei P40 Pro photo samples are available here.

Software: Un-apped potential

Huawei P40 Pro Huawei App Gallery Logo

The P40 Pro runs EMUI 10.1 upon Android 10. It may be Android, but remember that Google Play Services, the Google Play Store, and most Google apps are not available.

EMUI is a bit like Marmite — some love it, and some hate it. This is because, like many Chinese smartphone companies, it’s clear that certain parts of the OS are trying to be like iOS. Clear examples are in the weather app and the share sheet as shown below.

Old annoyances remain, such as having to turn on the app drawer or wading through a bunch of home screen folders and pre-installed apps. Thankfully these things can be fixed if you don’t mind sinking in the time. EMUI does have its perks. A double knock to screenshot is handy, as are the battery optimization tools. 

Continue reading: What is EMUI?

Now to the meat and potatoes: Huawei’a AppGallery replaces Google’s Play Store. This is rather annoying for those of us in the west who use apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube because they’re not available in AppGallery. 

Continue reading: What is HMS? All you need to know

There are a few ways to get around this. You can use Phone Clone to transfer apps from your existing Android or iOS device. Unfortunately, Phone Clone is hit and miss because it won’t transfer over all of your apps. For example, it managed to transfer just five apps, but none of them were really that important — just a few games. You can use also try third-party app stores such as APKPure or Amazon’s app store. Finally, you can install individual APKs from APK sites or services like Whatsapp and Facebook. Downloading APKs is the more successful method, but there’s no guarantee that app APKs will work once installed.

A lot of applications require Google services in order to run  including some you might not expect. Minecraft, for example, will install using Phone Clone but won’t run without Google services. While some are obvious, discovering which apps require Google — and thus are will work on the P40 Pro — will be the biggest hurdle for those who choose to buy this phone. Huawei needs (more time) to convince more developers to support its app platform. 

Another solution is to run apps through the browser and create links for them on the home screen. However, this highlights some of the issues with browser-based apps. For example, YouTube via the browser doesn’t allow you to cast to a Google device, nor can you pinch-to-zoom to fill the display. Moreover, mobile banking apps and others that required two-factor authentication, don’t work well in the browser.

A lot of apps won’t run without Google services.

This is where the P40 Pro falls flat on its face for me, and it’s not an easy fix. Unfortunately, until the company can get more apps in AppGallery, it’s a no-go for many people.

Huawei P40 Pro review: Specs

  Huawei P40 Pro Plus Huawei P40 Pro Huawei P40
Display 6.58-inch OLED, 2,640 x 1,200 (19.8:9)
90Hz
In-display fingerprint sensor
6.58-inch OLED, 2,640 x 1,200 (19.8:9)
90Hz
In-display fingerprint sensor
6.1-inch OLED, 2,340 x 1,080 (19.5:9)
60Hz
In-display fingerprint sensor
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 990
Octa-core CPU (2 Cortex-A76 @ 2.86GHz, 2 Cortex-A76 @ 2.36GHz, 4 Cortex-A55 @ 1.95GHz)
Dual NPU

Mali-G76 MP16 GPU

HiSilicon Kirin 990
Octa-core CPU (2 Cortex-A76 @ 2.86GHz, 2 Cortex-A76 @ 2.36GHz, 4 Cortex-A55 @ 1.95GHz)
Dual NPU

Mali-G76 MP16 GPU

HiSilicon Kirin 990
Octa-core CPU (2 Cortex-A76 @ 2.86GHz, 2 Cortex-A76 @ 2.36GHz, 4 Cortex-A55 @ 1.95GHz)
Dual NPU

Mali-G76 MP16 GPU

RAM 8GB 8GB 8GB
Storage 512GB 256GB 128GB
Cameras Rear:
50MP f/1.9 (RYYB) with OIS
40MP f/1.8 ultra-wide
8MP f/4.4 10x periscope with OIS
8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto with OIS
3D ToF

Front:
32MP
IR sensor

Rear:
50MP f/1.9 (RYYB) with OIS
40MP f/1.8 ultra-wide
12MP f/3.4 5x periscope
3D ToF

Front:
32MP
IR sensor

Rear:
50MP f/1.9 (RYYB) with OIS
16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto

Front:
32MP

Battery 4,200mAh
Non-removable
40W wired charging
40W wireless charging
4,200mAh
Non-removable
40W wired charging
40W wireless charging
3,800mAh
Non-removable
22.5W wired charging
IP Rating IP68 IP68 IP53
Software EMUI 10.1
Android 10
EMUI 10.1
Android 10
EMUI 10.1
Android 10

Value and competition

  • Huawei P40 Pro: 8GB RAM, 256GB ROM — €999 (~$1,080)

The P40 Pro’s price point puts it in direct competition with the Galaxy S20 Plus from Samsung and the iPhone 11 Pro from Apple. From a hardware standpoint, the P40 Pro holds up. When you consider the app situation, though, you can’t expect to sell a lot of units outside of China. 

Huawei P40 Pro A stunner of a device, with caveats

A great screen, superb build quality, incredible battery life, and of course that world-class camera system. A shame Google apps are missing.

There’s no denying that in pretty much every category the P40 Pro backs up its hefty price tag. Its camera is arguably the best on the market at the moment, the build quality is stellar, and the battery tech is brilliant. It’s a killer phone for Chinese consumers, and it’s neck and neck with Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus from a value-for-money standpoint. 

Huawei P40 Pro review: Should you buy it?

Huawei P40 Pro Home screen shine

The P40 Pro is a stunner of a device. It ticks so many boxes: a great screen, superb build quality, incredible battery life, and of course that world-class camera system. If you handed me the P40 Pro and the Galaxy S20 Plus and asked me to pick, I’d bite your arm off for the P40 Pro — if it had access to Google services.

But that’s not the situation, and that’s why I can’t recommend the Huawei P40 Pro to consumers outside of China. If you want a top-flight Huawei smartphone, I’d go with last year’s still-brilliant and Google-powered P30 Pro.


Thanks for reading! What do you think about the Huawei P40 Pro? Let us know in the comments.

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