Ah, a new Photo king rises, but its kingdom of apps was taken away before its birth. What happens next then, the crowd asks? Will its subjects flee with the riches now gone? Or will the Huawei P40 Pro break new paths through this uncharted territory and keep its former glory? The crowds shall get their answer!
It was tough for Huawei to lose Google support, but it will be even more challenging to sell in the current stagnated market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But the P40 series is having its launch despite the global health crisis, and the P40 Pro surely looks like it is ready to stand its ground.
The P40 Pro provides a premium camera experience with improved sensors and a focus on the optical zooming, plus it has the new 90Hz 1200p OLED screen. There is an even more premium device than the Pro – the new P40 Pro+ with a ceramic body and a jaw-dropping 10x optical zoom.
The Pro+ launch was moved for this summer season though and it seems it will be more of a limited edition, quite expensive at that. So, all eyes on the P40 Pro here, please, as it is the star of this show.
The P40 Pro is Huawei‘s first smartphone with a high-refresh-rate screen – it now has a 6.58″ curved OLED with high-resolution of 1200p and 90Hz refresh rate. The elliptical punch-hole is quite the eyesore but packs a brand-new 32MP selfie camera with autofocus (finally!) and a ToF snapper. It seems that Huawei is making up for the lost pixels Huawei by putting the tech needed for 3D face unlock.
The main camera is what everyone will be talking about, of course. It has a new 50MP sensor with a RYYB filter that will spit 12MP photos. Then comes the ultrawide shooter lifted straight from the Mate 30 Pro – a 40MP sensor with RGGB filter and autofocus. The zoom camera seems to have an identical periscope lens for 5x optical zoom as seen on the P30 Pro’s – but gets a new 12MP sensor with RYYB filter and will allow more light at nighttime. And finally, there is another ToF camera for portraits and autofocus assistance.
The new Kirin 990 5G is at the helm of the P40 Pro. At 4,200 mAh, the battery capacity has remained unchanged since the P30 Pro but charging should be faster.
Huawei P40 Pro specs
- Body: Glass front and back, aluminum frame; IP68-rated for dust and water resistance.
- Screen: 6.58″ quad-curved OLED, 1,200×2,640px resolution (440ppi); HDR10.
- Chipset: Kirin 990 5G, octa-core processor (2xA76 @2.86GHz + 2xA76 @2.36GHz +4xA55 @1.95GHz), Mali-G76 MP16 GPU, tri-core NPU.
- Memory: 8GB RAM, 256GB UFS3.0 storage (expandable via Nano Memory – hybrid slot).
- OS/Software: Android 10, EMUI 10.1.
- Rear camera: Primary: 50MP (RYYB filter), 1/1.28″ sensor size, 23mm f/1.8 lens, OIS, PDAF; Telephoto: 8MP (RYYB filter) 1/4.0″ with periscope 125mm f/3.4 OIS lens, 5x optical and 10x hybrid zoom, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 40MP (RGGB filter), 1/1.54″, 18mm, f/1.8, PDAF; ToF camera; 4K@60fps video capture, 720@7680fps slow-mo; Leica co-developed.
- Front camera: 32MP, f/2.2, 26mm; ToF camera.
- Battery: 4,200mAh; Super Charge 40W; 27W wireless charging; reverse wireless charging.
- Security: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical), 3D face recognition.
- Connectivity: 5G/4G/3G/GSM; Dual SIM, Wi-Fi 6+, Dual-band GPS, Bluetooth 5.1 + LE, NFC, USB Type-C.
- Misc: IR blaster, acoustic display acts as earpiece, bottom-firing loudspeaker.
The Huawei P40 Pro seems to be lacking so little but the elephant in the room – the absence of Google Mobile Services – is something that raises many questions. And you will get those answered if you stick for a while with us.
Unboxing the Huawei P40 Pro
There are no surprises within the P40 Pro retail box – its contents are worthy of a flagship. Inside you will find the 40W power brick and the enhanced USB-C cable that goes with it.
Huawei is also throwing a pair of its wired earbuds ending on a USB-C plug. Those have the same shape as Huawei’s FreeBuds 3, they are just not so free.
Some markets may be getting a silicone case with the P40 Pro, but our box did not offer one.
If someone thought Huawei was done after Google cut them off – they were wrong. The Mate 30 and the P40 series are here to prove that there is a life after Google, and it’s not as bad as you might think initially.
Google’s absence is still obvious and while we are pretty sure the Play Services will find their way on to the P40 phones, one way or another, the third-party stores are getting better and stronger, and you are never left without options. The Amazon AppStore and APKPure are perfectly capable to keep most of your apps up to date.
The hardware package is mightily impressive though, and this is where everyone should be focused, not on the Google stuff. The P40 Pro has an excellent screen with top-notch resolution and high refresh rate. The new Kirin 990 5G is one of the best on the market, with solid thermal properties.
But the new Leica camera on both ends are the attention grabbers. Huawei has kept the same arrangement on the back as on the P30 Pro, but has improved the sensors, lenses, and the processing algorithms. New video options are available, too. Meanwhile, at the front, the selfie shooter has finally gotten an autofocus, while with the help of the ToF camera you will get some amazing portrait shots.
With the right price position, stimuli (the pre-orders get FreeBuds 3), and most important – marketing push – the Huawei P40 Pro has every chance of not only surviving but beating the odds.
Well, we can’t start this chapter without mentioning one great alternative sold at nearly half the P40 Pro price. Huawei P30 Pro figure was slashed numerous times post the USA vs. Huawei war, and it is currently a hot deal pretty much everywhere. The previous generation flagship offers a similar experience in terms of performance and camera (read great). Sure, you will lose the 90Hz refresh rate and the top-notch ultrawide camera, but the P30 Pro almost €500 cheaper! Oh, and it has all Google services on board and already runs on Android 10 + EMUI 10.
Huawei P40 Pro next to the P30 Pro
The Galaxy S20+ is your next option. Its price is a close match to the P40 Pro, but it’s Dynamic AMOLED is larger and of higher resolution. The screen also supports HDR10+, and you can enjoy high-definition content from all popular streaming services thanks to the entirety of Google’s package. The camera experience and quality are similar even if the optical zoom has a shorter range. The Galaxy also offers stereo speakers, 120Hz refresh rate instead of 90Hz, 8K video capturing, and a bit faster performance.
Oppo Find X2 is an interesting alternative to consider if available in your region. It’s a great flagship ran by the Snapdragon 865 and uses a 6.7″ 120Hz Quad HD AMOLED screen. It has high-res wide and ultrawide snappers and a 13MP cam witha periscope lens for 5x optical zoom. Stereo speakers, Android 10, and 65W fast charging complete the flagship bundle.
Finally, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro will be launching soon, and it will cost as much as the Huawei. We know it will have a 6.67″ 90Hz AMOLED of 1080p resolution and the newest Snapdragon 865 chip. The quad-camera at the back is quite peculiar – a 108MP primary, a 20MP ultrawide, an 8MP telephoto for 10x hybrid zoom, and a 12MP portrait camera with 2x optical zoom. 8K capturing is available on its main camera, stereo speaker setup is present, Android 10 as well, and the Mi 10 supports 50W fast charging.
Huawei P30 Pro • Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus • Oppo Find X2 Pro • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
The Huawei P40 Pro is the right kind of a flagship – it offers cutting-edge tech across the board. The OLED screen is both high-resolution and with a high refresh rate, the performance is brilliant and yet won’t suffer from throttling from heating, and then the battery is relatively large and very fast to recharge.
Photography is what the P40 Pro is all about, and the phone excels in that even if there were some hiccups along the way. We are sure Huawei will fix the minor issues we observed with an update, and we already like its plans for EMUI’s expansion.
The fate of the brand lies in its supporters, but we are seeing no reason why you should stay away from it. The P40 Pro is an excellent flagship specimen worth experiencing, be it with Google functions or not.
- Eye-catchy curved design, water-proof body.
- Excellent high-res 90Hz OLED screen.
- Flagship-grade sustained performance.
- Dependable battery life, blazing-fast charging.
- Excellent photo quality day and night across all cameras.
- Top-notch selfies.
- Great video quality at 30fps across the board, excellent stabilization.
- All-round connectivity, though no 3.5mm jack
- Only takes NV cards for memory expansion.
- No Google Mobile Services means some apps and games will never work no matter what.
- The photo Night Mode is not a big leap forward.
- 4K60 videos are disappointing.