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Huawei P40 Pro 5G Review: Stunning Photography, Future Connectivity

Huawei P40 Pro Review

The Huawei P40 Pro has huge shoes to fill in place of its predecessor, the Huawei P30 Pro. The P30 Pro already had so much going for it. Be it design, the overall UI, camera experience, it ticked off almost everything we’ve wanted in an Android smartphone. Now that the Huawei P40 Pro is the first P series device to launch without Google’s core services, is it a deal breaker? We beg to differ. Let’s get into the phone’s specifications first.

Specifications

Here’s how the Huawei P40 Pro differs from its younger and elder siblings.

SpecsHuawei P40Huawei P40 ProHuawei P40 Pro+
CPUKirin 990 5GKirin 990 5GKirin 990 5G
Display6.1-inch OLED FHD+ Quad-curve Overflow Display
90HZ Refresh Rate
19.8:9 Aspect Ratio
DCI-P3 HDR
6.58-inch OLED FHD+ Quad-curve Overflow Display
90HZ Refresh Rate
19.8:9 Aspect Ratio
DCI-P3 HDR
6.58-inch AMOLED FHD+ Quad-curve Overflow Display
90HZ Refresh Rate
19.8:9 Aspect Ratio
DCI-P3 HDR
RAM8GB8GB8GB
Storage128GB256GB512GB
Camera50MP RYYB Ultra Vision Main Sensor
16MP Ultra-wide Cine Sensor
8MP Telephoto Sensor

Zoom
3x Optical Telephoto
204800 ISO
50MP RYYB Ultra Vision Main Sensor
40MP Cine Ultra-Wide Sensor
12MP RYYB SuperSensing Telephoto Sensor
3D Depth Sensing Sensor

20x Hybrid Zoom
5x Optical Telephoto
409600 ISO
50MP RYYB Ultra Vision Main Sensor
40MP Cine Ultra-Wide Sensor
8MP SuperZoom Sensor
8MP Telephoto Sensor
3D Depth Sensing Sensor

20x Hybrid Zoom
10x Optical Telephoto
409600 ISO
Selfie Cam32MP FF Sensor
IR Depth Sensor
4K Selfie Video
32MP AF Sensor
IR Depth Sensor
4K Selfie Video
32MP AF Sensor
IR Depth Sensor
4K Selfie Video
Connectivity5G (NA + NSA)
USB Type-C
NFC
Dual nanoSIM
eSIM
Wi-Fi 6+
5G (NA + NSA)
USB Type-C
NFC
Dual nanoSIM
eSIM
Wi-Fi 6+
5G (NA + NSA)
USB Type-C
NFC
Dual nanoSIM
eSIM
Wi-Fi 6+
Battery3,800mAh
22.5W supercharging
4,200mAh
40W supercharging
27W wireless super charge
4,200mAh
40W supercharging
40W wireless super charge
OSEMUI 10.1
Android 10
EMUI 10.1
Android 10
EMUI 10.1
Android 10
Misc.In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
IP53 Rated
In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
IP68 Rated
In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
IP68 Rated
ColoursDeep Sea Blue
Silver Frost
Blush Gold
Deep Sea Blue
Silver Frost
Blush Gold
Ceramic Black
Ceramic White

Design

Huawei P40 Pro Back

The Huawei P40 Pro’s design took a rather huge jump from its predecessor – the Huawei P30 Pro. It now has a slightly larger display at 6.58-inches with an even higher screen-to-body ratio of 91.6%. Surprisingly, the curved edges doesn’t make the phone awkward to hold. I’ve tried phones that have curved edges, but they would often mistake my palms for a side touch gesture. It’s pretty annoying, and I’d have to get used to it by holding the phone in weird hand gestures. Thanks to the Quad-curve Overflow display, the curved edges on the phone gives it a natural yet luxurious feel, making it an extremely comfortable phone to hold.

The Huawei P40 Pro does have a thicker camera bump compared to the P30 Pro, but because it is also wider, it wobbles less as it covers more surface area when it is laid flat on its back. If you’re putting a phone case on the P40 Pro (you’re going to do it anyway), it would also further help eliminate any wobbling too.

In terms of physical buttons, nothing changed. The power and volume buttons are still on the right side, and they feel firm and tactile when pressed on.

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One thing you’re going to notice is how big the front notch is. It is long and takes up quite a bit of notification space up top. It took a bit of getting used to, but if you want to have more notifications appear in the notification bar, you can try:

  • Hiding the network carrier name
  • Show battery percentage within battery icon
  • Hiding the clock and use the homescreen clock widget instead

Display

Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40 Pro has a 6.58-inch OLED display with a FHD+ resolution. It is also the first device in Huawei’s line-up to have a 90Hz refresh rate screen. After being spoiled with 120Hz refresh rate screens, I’d say 90Hz is still an acceptable refresh rate for a daily driver. The display itself is already magnificent to lay eyes on. Colours are vivid, images are sharp and clear. Thanks to the Quad Overflow display, the viewing experience is made even more immersive. But to pair it with a 90Hz refresh rate screen? Every transition and animation on-screen is just really nice to look at. Huawei just made their smartphones even more pleasurable to use with EMUI 10 on board.

Another thing I really appreciate Huawei for is that they have finally included customisation for their Always On display. I mean, Xiaomi has had it for a while now, and I am really glad Huawei finally gave their customers what they want. Instead of a boring old clock, you now get full coloured images and animation decorating your screen when it’s not in use.

Huawei P40 Pro

Now, one gripe I have with the display is the notch on the top left corner. It, is, huge. There’s the under-display 32MP selfie sensor, which is capable of 4K selfie videos. That’s fine, but they added the IR depth/gesture camera and a proximity sensor within the notch too. It doesn’t look too bad, but I just thought Huawei could’ve moved at least the proximity sensor to the top part of the device, like they did with some of the Nova series devices. That would’ve made the notch a tad bit smaller.

User Experience

Huawei P40 Pro

Upon unlocking the device, I immediately felt that the fingerprint scanner is much faster and more accurate than before. On my Huawei Mate 20 Pro, there have been times when it took me a few tries to get the phone to recognise my fingerprint. On the Huawei P40 Pro, all it takes is one tap on the screen and a short unlock animation, I’m in. Maybe that’s why the fingerprint sensor area is a lot brighter than before too.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. The Quad Overflow display on the sides are incredibly smooth to the touch, the curved edges feel absolutely seamless. I’ve always opted for navigation gestures instead of a navigation bar, and I must say, I’ve never felt a smoother side edge on a phone before. Even the P30 series edges didn’t feel as smooth as the P40 Pro’s.

Huawei P40 Pro

On top of that, edge gestures now has a new function. If you swipe from the edge towards the screen and hold it, you can bring up the multi-app bar. From here, you can add any app you’d like and launch them as a floating window. Think of it as a quick shortcut panel to get to your favourite apps faster. Alternatively, you can also hold the floating window and drag it to the edge of the screen for split-screen display.

The Huawei P40 Pro might be a little slippery at times, but there’s always the provided phone casing to give it that extra grip. The power and volume buttons still remain on the right side of the phone, where it’s most comfortable to reach.

Initially, I thought the camera bump on the P40 Pro would make it as wobbly as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. I’m glad Huawei proved me wrong. The camera bump might look thick, but it actually holds out well and doesn’t wobble the phone that much when it’s on a surface or table.

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So, What About Google?

I didn’t feel left out from not having Google. To me, it’s all about getting used to. Before Google, we made peace with Symbian and Jave 2 Mobile Edition (J2ME). Yes, Google is a big company and we’ve grown accustomed to the services they offer. But, Huawei is showing that it’s okay to live with a phone that doesn’t have Google. You can still take great photos, get your work done, send messages, share all your memes, and still access Google services, just with a different method of doing it.

From our time with the Huawei P40 Pro, we might not have Google with us, but in no way did we feel disconnected from it either. Huawei’s Phone Clone did a spectacular job at transferring all my files and settings over from the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. Even for Gmail, I could just login to my Gmail account using Huawei’s email app. All my favourite apps were intact, and the best part was, I did not need to re-login to them one by one.

Huawei’s AppGallery is safe to use because it has four layers of protection, so it won’t be that easy for anyone to inject malware into your device. There’s also the Quick App feature, where you can immediately use the app without installing it. Thus, saving space on your phone if you only intend to use the app once. To further expand your storage, Huawei is also giving P40 series users 12 months of 50GB quota on the Huawei Cloud. This lets you backup your files and easily move across Huawei devices in the future.

Huawei MeeTime

Another thing I was interested in trying out is Huawei’s MeeTime, a video calling feature that is exclusively for Huawei users only. It’s kind of like Apple’s FaceTime, but for Huawei users. Apart from being able to video call smoothly in full HD resolution, I noticed it consumes less data as well. This is a big plus especially for those who are on a limited monthly data quota.

The feature also included optimisation for video calls in poorly-lit environment, which is absolutely necessary because other video calling apps might just show a black screen if you’re in the dark. Huawei’s MeeTime may currently only be available on EMUI 10.1, which is on the Huawei P40 series and Huawei MatePad Pro. But, the company will release an update for the MeeTime feature to be added to older Huawei devices in the near future.

Performance

Huawei P40 Pro

The 90Hz refresh rate screen aside, the Kirin 990 5G chipset on the Huawei P40 Pro does an amazing job of multitasking. Doesn’t matter if I’m launching an app, rapidly switching between apps, or conjuring up multiple apps in split-screen view, the Kirin 990 chip spreads them all out like butter. I’ve never once had a jagged app or lagging screen when I’m navigating through the phone. I expected no less from the Kirin 990 5G chipset, because that’s the epitome of how a flagship smartphone should perform.

But I did notice one thing when I’m switching apps. There is this short audio lag when I exit an app that had audio playing. For example, I’m watching a video on Facebook. If I swiped up and went back to the homescreen, the audio will continue playing for another half a second before it abruptly stops. Maybe it’s an “exponential fade” to go along with the disappearance of the app, but I didn’t quite like it. I would’ve preferred if the audio just stopped as soon as I swiped up.

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I ran the Huawei P40 Pro through 3DMark and GeekBench benchmarking apps, and below are the results.

Gaming

Huawei P40 Pro

You know how some phones have unique aspect ratios and certain games just can’t scale across properly? Yeah, the Huawei P40 Pro isn’t one of those phones. The company made sure every popular game title out there scales well with the P40 Pro, so it doesn’t take anything away from the immersive gaming experience it’s supposed to give.

The Mali-G76 MP16 GPU on the Huawei P40 Pro performs excellently when it comes to games. There is no screen tearing, graphics are smooth, with game elements and details remaining crisp. It’s often the small things in a game that truly gives the game its experience, and the P40 Pro does very well in carrying that across. Just slap on any game with the P40 Pro, and you’re in for a very good time. Oh, there’s very little heat while gaming too, and that’s a huge plus for me.

Audio

Huawei P40 Pro

I was really impressed with the Huawei P40 Pro’s speakers when I tested them with Tweekacore’s “Crash & Burn”. Despite having just one downward firing speaker, the P40 Pro aces with bass management, while retaining high levels of clarity. The vocals doesn’t get muffled when the bass drops. And the best thing is, even on 100%, there’s not one bit of audio distortion, regardless of what genre of music I’m playing.

Volume wise, it is a little soft. I can barely hear anything at 20%, so I’m always hovering at the 40% to 50% volume mark. It’s loud enough for me, and at the same time not too loud to annoy anyone around me.

Camera

Huawei P40 Pro

User Experience

The camera UI on the Huawei P40 Pro is minimal and user friendly. Buttons are laid out nicely, and they’re easy to understand. There is no shutter lag when you’re capturing a photo, even the viewfinder is smooth when you’re panning around looking for your subject. Auto focus is quick, and the camera is able to determine where, what, or who the focus subject should be. It is worth noting that after prolonged use of the camera, the phone does get mildly warm. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a difference between warm and hot. The heat generated from the P40 Pro is still comfortable to touch.

Huawei P40 Pro

Another thing I realized with the P40 Pro’s camera is that in Settings, you can only choose which aspect ratio you want your photos be, as it doesn’t let you choose which resolution to take photos with anymore.

Photo Quality

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Photos taken with the P40 Pro are still top notch, and DxoMark’s 128 scoring for the phone’s camera is no joke. Photos come out bright and sharp, with details very much preserved well in every shot. Backlighting is magnificently handled, regardless where the light is coming from.

Huawei’s MasterAI has also taken a less aggressive approach when it comes to adjusting your photos with AI. It’s not as high contrast anymore. and the changes made are more subtle this time round. There aren’t any bugs in the whole camera experience, and taking photos has been an absolute pleasure on the P40 Pro.

Huawei P40 Pro

Video Quality

For videos, the Huawei P40 Pro is capable of recording at a maximum of 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. Videos are sharp and more importantly, they’re stable. I’ve always liked how Huawei integrates their optical image stabilisation unit in their smartphones. Without gimbals, your bare hands could do panning and dolly shots with no problems at all. The footage will come out detailed and smooth, as if it was shot with a gimbal. Imagine using the device with a gimbal, the footage would come out even better.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

Thanks to the OIS module on the P40 Pro, the telephoto lens is superbly steady even when you’re 50x zoomed in. It may not be the clearest, but you can still definitely make out what you’re zooming into.

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Battery

Huawei P40 Pro

Seeing how we are stuck in the MCO (movement control order) period, the Huawei P40 Pro is domesticated. Staying home all day, I also use my phone more often. I’ve tried my best to test the smartphone’s 4,200mAh battery by emulating my daily life in two settings – Wi-Fi only, and Mobile Data only.

Here’s what my daily routine looks like in MCO:

  • Wake up at 10am.
  • Scroll social media and eCommerce apps till 11am.
  • Get ready and go to work at my PC till 12.30pm.
  • Play games and surf social media while having lunch till 2pm.
  • Resume work at 2pm.
  • Listen to music from my phone with wireless earphones and speakers (I switch from time to time) while I work till 5pm.
  • Chill on the couch and surf social media and watch YouTube videos till 7pm-ish.
  • Have dinner while playing games till 8pm.
  • Netflix from then till 12pm.
  • Surf social media and eCommerce sites till 1am then sleep.
  • NOTE: Replying WhatsApp messages, taking calls, and replying emails are done throughout the entire day.

I start my day at 10am with a fully charged battery, and end my day at 1am on Wi-Fi only. I managed to close the day with 24% battery left, so that’s definitely acceptable since it managed to last till I got in bed. What about on mobile data? Same, I start my day with a 100% and ended the day with a mere 5%. This is understandable as cellular network does consume more battery than Wi-Fi.

I thought the battery test had ended there. But to my surprise, I plugged in the Huawei P40 Pro that had 5% battery left to charge before I went for a shower. 20 minutes later, I was greeted with a P40 Pro that had 50%. On a normal day, 50% battery could’ve at least lasted me half a day. Or if I’m conservative, it could last me the entire day too. It’s good that the Huawei P40 Pro could last the entire day, but it’s even better that it takes such a short time to get it juiced back up and ready for the next.

Conclusion

Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40 Pro is an incredible smartphone with an amazing Leica camera system to boot. Photos and videos come out great, regardless of time of day or the environment you’re in.

Sure, there isn’t Google Mobile Services (GMS) onboard, but Huawei’s Mobile Services (HMS) is doing a great job already paired with the rapidly expanding Huawei AppGallery. All essential apps are readily available to download, and even if they’re not, you can easily source them from their respective websites.

The Huawei P40 Pro also comes with 5G connectivity, thus future proofing it for when 5G technology is implemented nationwide. At the moment, the inclusion of a 5G modem has already increased 4G speeds too.

Priced at RM3,899, the Huawei P40 Pro does seem like the complete package with performance, 5G, and mobile photography in the bag. The company definitely packed the P40 Pro with a tonne of hardware and software prowess to make it a worthy successor to the Huawei P30 Pro.

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Not to mention, every pre-order of the Huawei P40 Pro comes with the following freebies worth more than RM1,300:

  • HUAWEI FreeBuds 3
  • HUAWEI CP39S SuperCharge Wireless Car Charger
  • HUAWEI Care (1 Year Extended Warranty and 1 Month Screen Protection)
  • 12 Months of Free 50GB Cloud Storage
  • 3 Months Free Premium Subscription to HUAWEI Video

Gallery

Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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