Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors


Huawei recently unveiled its new Huawei P40 family, which is made up of three high-end smartphones: Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro, and Huawei P40 Pro +. The three models have a similar design and hardware but present significant differences in their photographic capabilities and other aspects.

The US veto in force since May last year has put Huawei in a difficult situation since its new smartphones cannot incorporate Google’s mobile services or the Play Store. Far from being intimidated, Huawei continues to launch Android-based smartphones with its own mobile services.

The Huawei P40 Pro arrives with a 6.6″ FullHD + OLED screen, Kirin 990 5G processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, wide-angle rear cameras (50MP) + 5x optical zoom periscope (12MP) + ultra-wide-angle (40MP) + ToF 3D depth, wide-angle front cameras (32MP) + ToF 3D depth, 5G connectivity and 4,200 mAh battery with fast wired and wireless charging.

The Huawei P40 Pro 5G is for sale for an official price of € 1,099.

Huawei P40 Pro Review

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

Huawei P40 Pro is one of the most attractive smartphones. Its front is dominated by a large Overflow Display that not only curves to the sides but also curves in the upper and lower areas, giving rise to a modern design and different from other devices.

Although the frames surrounding the screen have not completely disappeared, they are really narrow, and, overall, we have a high screen-to-body ratio, around 92% according to the data from GSM Arena.

Huawei has included an oval-shaped cutout in the upper left corner of the screen that houses a 3D depth camera and a conventional wide-angle camera. The gap between the two cameras is quite large, so the notch has a total width of about 1.7 cm and is clearly visible.

This is undoubtedly the aspect that I like the least about the design of the smartphone, not only because it breaks the uniformity of the screen but because it can cover up useful information in certain games or full-screen videos.

Given that there is a fingerprint reader under the screen, I would not have minded doing without the 3D facial recognition (more secure than the conventional one) and the bokeh effect in the selfies in exchange for a notch more similar to that of the last Samsung Galaxy S20.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

Another of the design characteristics of Huawei P40 Pro is that it lacks an earphone on the top. Huawei has incorporated a screen that, when vibrating, makes the sound reach your ear when your ear is pressed. Although this works well for talking on the phone, it does not serve as a speaker for watching videos or listening to music since the sound is very weak when you separate your ear from the screen.

The glass back cover is also curved to the sides, which contributes to the thickness of the terminal – no less than 9 mm. The rear glass is available in a glossy finish and, as a novelty, also matte.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

What is most striking in the rear is the large rectangular camera module, which protrudes from the surface and houses the lenses and flash. Being located in a corner, the phone dances when you press on the screen while resting on the table.

Huawei has incorporated an OLED panel with somewhat higher-resolution Full HD +, which offers an abundant pixel density of 441 dpi. The Pro display is capable of displaying a wide range of colors, as it not only covers sRGB color range but also the widest DCI P3 range, commonly used in the film industry, and is also compatible with HDR content.

In Normal color mode, the display offers color fidelity spectacular. If we opt for the vivid color mode, the color fidelity worsens since, as the name itself indicates, the colors are oversaturated (although many people prefer intense colors even if they are unreal).

The maximum screen brightness is around 591 nits (measured with the screen fully illuminated in white), which is a high level of brightness, although slightly below some other high-end smartphones with 600 or 700 nits. Since the panel is OLED, the black color is pure and the contrast is very high (theoretically infinite).

The screen offers the Always Active Screen mode that permanently shows the time and other interesting information such as battery level and notification icons. You can wake up the screen with a double-tap on it or when you lift it, as well as make it light immediately when a notification arrives.

What I have not found is the Natural Tone mode that was present in previous models and that adapts the color temperature to the ambient light. I don’t know the reason why Huawei hasn’t included it.

As a novelty, Huawei has included a panel with a high 90 Hz refresh rate that makes animations look much smoother. Although some manufacturers offer panels at 120 Hz ( or even higher ), 90 Hz is sufficient in my opinion.

Under the screen, we find a fingerprint reader, which has improved in speed and, above all, in the recognition surface.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

Huawei P40 Pro has the Kirin 990 5G processor manufactured in a 7nm process. This processor offers faster CPU clock speeds than the Kirin 990 4G and a new Da Vinci NPU architecture.

The Kirin 990 features two 2.86 GHz Cortex-A76 cores, 2.36 GHz Cortex-A76 cores, and 1.95 GHz four Cortex-A55 cores. The new chip incorporates a 16-core Mali-G76 MP16 GPU.

Huawei P40 Pro is accompanied by 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, an amount more than enough to avoid problems when it comes to multi-tasking. Now, there are already smartphones with faster LPDDR5 memory and with lower power consumption.

In the CPU benchmarks, Huawei P40 Pro gets very high scores, on par with other high-end smartphones but below the latest chips such as the Snapdragon 865 or the Exynos 990. On a daily basis, the Huawei P40 Pro moves quickly and I have not suffered any stops when moving around the interface, loading heavy apps/games, or multitasking.

The 3D graphics performance is good but it lags behind other high-end smartphones. I have tried three demanding 3D games like Asphalt 9, Dead Effect 2, and Call of Duty Mobile, and in all of them, I have measured very high average refresh rates, close to 30 or 60 FPS, depending on the limitations of the title. Therefore, today, if you are a fan of games, you will have no problem enjoying maximum demanding 3D titles.

Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt 9: Legends
Developer: Gameloft SE
Price: Free
Dead Effect 2
Dead Effect 2
Developer: App Holdings
Price: Free

The Huawei P40 Pro is available with 256 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, so you can store a good number of photos, videos, and movies. Huawei has added the ability to expand storage through its proprietary card format called NM Card, which is more expensive than micro-SD cards.

In terms of connectivity, the Huawei P40 Pro is well served with WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac / ax in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and supports WiFi 6+. It also supports Bluetooth 5.1 (but does not support sending to two devices at the same time), dual-frequency GPS, and NFC.

The Huawei P40 Pro offers 5G connectivity of SA and NSA types. The Kirin 990 5G integrates its 5G modem directly on the chip, allowing for greater energy efficiency compared to Qualcomm’s 5G discrete modem. Now, the lack of support for mmWave puts it at a certain disadvantage compared to the Snapdragon 865.

Huawei has added eSIM support, so we can make use of Dual SIM functionality through two nano-SIM cards (at the cost of losing the NM Card slot) or through a nano-SIM card and an eSIM.

The Huawei P40 Pro has a large 4,200 mAh battery that, in tests, has obtained a spectacular autonomy with the refresh rate at 60 Hz and a very good autonomy with a 90 Hz rate.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

Also, it has fast charging SuperCharge 40W that allows you to recharge the battery in approximately 1 hour, as well as wireless charging at 27W. As a curiosity, the Huawei P40 Pro is also capable of charging other smartphones wirelessly.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

The Huawei P40 Pro lacks a 3.5mm jack. and therefore does not offer an FM radio either. The speaker sits on one side of the USB-C connector, making it easy to inadvertently cover it up when playing or watching a video. It does not offer stereo sound.

Focusing on phone software, the Huawei P40 Pro runs EMUI 10.1 on Android 10. Now, as is well known, it does not incorporate Google’s mobile services (GMS) or the Play Store app store.

Huawei has incorporated its own App Gallery app store with its Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), but the range of apps available in the App Gallery is very limited. You can install a third-party app store, but even so, those apps and games that depend on GMS will not work. Therefore, you are almost forced to install the GMS services and the Play Store to have access to your favorite apps.

Although there are unofficial ways to install the GMS and Play Store, it is far from being an ideal solution. On the one hand, we have to download and install APKs of unknown origin, which is always a risk, and follow instructions that are not easy for a street user and do not always work the first time. We also have no guarantee that this method will continue to work in the future.

On the other hand, some apps (not many) do not work since, even after installing the GMS, the P40 Pro appears as a “device not certified by Google” and the SafetyNet test fails. This means that some streaming apps (for example, Netflix) or mobile payments such as Google Play are not available. Even if you can install Netflix on the outside, you won’t be able to watch HD content without being Google Widevine certified.

Therefore, today, the Huawei P40 Pro has limitations in the software section that are not present in other devices, and that makes it inadvisable for users who are not techies.

Leaving aside the absence of Google services, EMUI 10.1 brings a modern-looking interface inspired by a magazine where colors with low saturation and white spaces predominate. With the latest version, Huawei has included new more realistic animations.

EMUI adds a large number of functionalities that complement Android such as additional energy-saving modes, granular app permissions, twin app, private space, app lock, file safe, projection in desktop mode wirelessly, or Game Center. Now, I miss the smart rotation functionality of the screen based on the position of your eyes (useful when you are lying down) that was present in other models.

With EMUI 10.1, Huawei has improved some new functionalities such as multi-window mode or greater integration between the smartphone and its MateBook laptops and has added some new ones such as the sidebar, the multi-device control panel, the video conferencing app high-quality MeeTime or Celia virtual assistant (these last three are not yet available).

Finally, it’s time to talk about its excellent rear quad camera consisting of wide-angle (50MP, f / 1.9), ultra-wide-angle (40MP, f / 1.8), 5x telephoto (12MP, f / 3.4) and ToF to measure distances.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

Starting with the main camera, its performance in bright light conditions is excellent. When light is scarce, the main camera achieves good shots with a low noise level, beating almost all the rivals. We have faced it with (the OPPO Find X2 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro seem to have a slight advantage when it comes to preserving detail, possibly due to the greater aperture of your lenses).

The ultra-wide-angle camera has a large sensor, which helps take good shots even in low light conditions. Other smartphones neglect this camera and the quality of the images is usually quite inferior at night, to the point that its use is not recommended.

The third camera is the telephoto camera, with a lens that offers 5x optical zoom thanks to a periscope-type lens. This camera is ideal if you want to get close to the details, but sometimes this magnification can be excessive for objects that are not so far away. Let’s not forget that any magnification less than 5x is achieved by the digital zoom of the main camera.

The last camera is the ToF depth camera which helps to achieve a more natural blur effect in portraits. In tests, the blur looks quite natural and outperforms many other smartphones in tricky areas like hair or “spaces” between the arms and body, for example.

When recording video, the Huawei P40 Pro offers recording up to 4K at 60fps with stabilization but does not allow recording in 8K. The image quality is good even at night (except at 60 fps, where a lot of grain is noticeable) and it shows a big difference with other smartphones when using the ultra-wide-angle camera.

Huawei has included some modes that squeeze the most out of AI capabilities, like Aperture mode that applies the bokeh effect even to video recording. The Huawei P40 Pro is also capable of capturing images before and after pressing the shutter button to suggest the best shot afterward (Golden Snap) or even delete people who have crossed behind the person we photographed, although these functions do not seem to be available yet (or I haven’t had a chance to see them in action).

In the absences section, I miss the Macro mode that was present in the Huawei P30 Pro last year.

The front camera has a 32 MP resolution and captures good quality selfies whenever we are in good light conditions. It allows you to take very good selfies in Portrait mode thanks to the use of the second depth front camera in addition to, of course, applying beauty effects.

Huawei P40 Pro Review, Specifications, Price and Competitors

In conclusion, the Huawei P40 Pro is a highly recommended smartphone for its design, screen, power, autonomy, and cameras, but you should be aware of its software limitations since it is not a smartphone for all audiences.

Huawei P40 Pro Full Specifications

Width:72.6 mm
Height:158.2 mm
Depth:8.95 mm
Weight:Approx. 209 g (including the battery)
COLOURSilver Frost
6.58 inches

16.7 million colours

OLED, up to 90 Hz frame refresh rate

2640 x 1200 Pixels

2 x Cortex-A76 Based 2.86 GHz + 2 x Cortex-A76 Based 2.36 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 1.95 GHz

16-Core Mali-G76

Dual Big Core + Tiny Core NPUs (Neural-network Processing Unit)
OPERATING SYSTEMEMUI 10.1 (Based on Android 10)

External Memory Support:
NM SD Card, up to 256 GB
CAMERARear Camera:
50 MP Ultra Vision Camera (Wide Angle, f/1.9 aperture, OIS) + 40 MP Cine Camera (Ultra-Wide Angle, f/1.8 aperture) + 12 MP SuperSensing Telephoto Camera (f/3.4 aperture, OIS) + 3D Depth Sensing Camera
Video recording: Support for 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) 60fps video recording

Front Camera:
32 MP Selfie Camera (f/2.2 aperture) + Depth Camera*
Video Recording: Support for 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) 60fps video recording
BATTERY4200 mAh (Typical Value)
CHARGINGHUAWEI SuperCharge (Max 40 W)

Wireless HUAWEI SuperCharge (Max 27 W)
SENSORSGesture Sensor
Gravity Sensor
Infrared Sensor
Fingerprint Sensor
Hall Sensor
Ambient Light Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Colour Temperature Sensor
IN THE BOXPhone(Built-in battery) x 1
Charger x 1
USB Type-C Cable x 1
USB Type-C Earphones x 1
Protective Case x 1 (No in Western Europe and Northeast Europe)
Quick Start Guide x 1
Eject Tool x 1
Warranty Card x 1

All images credits and The specifications reference is the official website of Huawei “P40 Pro

The Best and Worst about Huawei P40 Pro

The best:

  • Screen with excellent color, high brightness, high contrast, wide color range with HDR support, flicker reduction (DC Dimming), and a high refresh rate at 90 Hz.
  • Fluent in the use of the phone thanks to the Kirin 990 5G chip accompanied by 8 GB of RAM.
  • EMUI 10.1 comes with a modern design and useful functionalities like Always Active Screen, twin app, private space, app lock, safe, wireless desktop mode, backup, multi-window, multi-screen collaboration, Game Center, or Huawei Share.
  • The fingerprint reader integrated into the screen itself with a larger recognition area. Secure 3D facial recognition.
  • Quad rear camera with angle camera, ultra-wide-angle camera, 5X telephoto camera, and ToF sensor. Excellent performance of all cameras even in low light and AI features like Golden Snap or the elimination of crossing passers-by.
  • Front camera with high sharpness and excellent Portrait mode thanks to the depth camera.
  • High-quality video recording even with the ultra-wide-angle camera. Support for 4K @ 60fps recording with stabilization and curious AI effects.
  • High autonomy even at 90 Hz (and really spectacular at 60 Hz).
  • Fast charging by cable at 40W (100% of the charge in one hour). Fast wireless charging at 27W and reverse wireless charging.
  • 5G SA / NSA connectivity. Dual SIM with 2 nanoSIM cards or nanoSIM + eSIM card.
  • Infrared emitter
  • IP68 water resistance

The Worst:

  • It does not include Google mobile services (GMS) or Play Store. The App Gallery lacks popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Uber, Cabify, Spotify, etc.
  • The process to install GMS is not supported by Huawei and requires installing APKs of unknown origin. Certain apps (eg Netflix in HD) and services (eg Google Pay) do not work.
  • Absence of Macro Photography mode that was present in last year’s P30 Pro.
  • Bluetooth connection without the support of aptX and aptX HD audio codecs (due to the US veto) or the possibility of sending audio to two devices at the same time.
  • Expandable storage using exclusive NM Cards that are thin and more expensive.
  • Absence of 3.5mm headphone jack and FM radio.

Huawei P40 Pro Price and Competitors

The Huawei P40 Pro 5G is for sale in for an official price of € 1,099 in a single variant of 256 GB of storage. In many countries, the 4G version is not marketed, which is present in certain markets for € 100 less.

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro ( € 565 ) is an interesting alternative if you want a Huawei smartphone and don’t mind dispensing with Google services. It features a curved 6.5 ″ OLED display, Kirin 990 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, 40MP + 40MP + 8MP + ToF quad rear camera, 32MP front camera, and 4,500mAh battery with 40W fast charge. .

If we look at other brands, we have several interesting options that can compete against the Huawei P40 Pro in technical specifications and all of them come with Google services pre-installed.

First of all, we have Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus( € 899 with 4G and € 999 with 5G) which has a 6.7 ″ Dynamic AMOLED screen, Exynos 990 processor, 12GB of RAM, 128/256/512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, camera 12MP (wide-angle) + 64MP (3x telephoto) + 12MP (ultra-wide-angle) + ToF, 10MP front camera and 4,500 mAh battery.

Nor can we forget its “big” brother Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (€ 1,359 at Samsung) that has superior specifications: 6.9 ″ AMOLED screen, Exynos 990 processor, 12/16 GB of RAM, 128/256/512 GB of storage UFS 3.0, 108MP rear camera (wide-angle) + 10x hybrid zoom periscope (48MP) + ultra-wide-angle camera (12MP) + depth (0.3MP), 40MP front camera and 5,000 mAh battery.

In case you are behind a 5G smartphone, the LG V50 ThinqQ 5G (€ 1,026) comes with a 6.4 ″ QHD + OLED screen, Snapdragon 855, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage + micro-SD, the rear camera of 12 MP, f/1.5 (standard), 12 MP, f/2.4 (telephoto), 16 MP, f/1.9 (ultrawide), a dual front camera of 8 MP, f/1.9 (standard), 5 MP, f/2.2 (wide), Boombox stereo speaker, 5G connectivity and 4,000 mAh battery.

A smartphone that has just been announced is the OnePlus 8 Pro (€ 909 on Amazon) that has a Fluid AMOLED screen of 6.8 ″ at 120 Hz, Snapdragon 865 processor, 8/12 GB of RAM, 128 / 256GB of storage, the rear camera of wide-angle (48MP) + telephoto (8MP) + ultra-wide-angle (48MP) + depth (5MP), 16MP front camera and 4,510 mAh battery

Another recently announced smartphone is the Oppo Find X2 Pro (€ 1,199 when it goes on sale) with a 6.7 ″ AMOLED display, Snapdragon 865 processor, 12 GB of RAM, 256/512 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, the rear camera of wide-angle ( 48MP) + 5x telephoto lens (13MP) + ultra-wide-angle (48MP), 32MP front camera and 4,260 mAh battery

We can not stop talking about the iPhone 11 Pro (€ 1,159), which has a 5.8 OLED screen that occupies almost the entire front (except the cutout on the top), A13 Bionic processor, 4G / LTE connectivity and a triple camera of 12MP.

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