Huawei P40 Pro in the test

With the P series, Huawei focuses particularly on the camera equipment and was able to create a “photo miracle” last year with the P30 Pro. Even the optical zoom via the periscope camera made for impressive photos in the smartphone area. With the Huawei P40 Pro, the Chinese manufacturer is now launching the latest model in the range and improving the smartphone in many ways – including the camera, of course. However, there is a big change: Google Play services are no longer on board. What exactly that means and how the P40 Pro performs in everyday life, you can find out in this review.

Overview

The Huawei P40 Pro and the Huawei P40 are expected to be launched on May 2, 2020. The standard model starts at 799 euros RRP, with the pro model 999 euros UVP. However, there is one until May 1st attractive pre-order campaign, which is a Huawei Watch GT2e and Huawei FreeBuds 3 (test) there. In addition, Huawei keeps it very simple this year, because both devices are only available in one memory configuration – 8 + 128GB for the Huawei P40 and 8 + 256GB for the Huawei P40 Pro. In terms of color, the manufacturer has opted for a somewhat simpler but elegant selection this year: Black, Silver Frost (our test device), Blush Gold.

scope of delivery

  • Huawei P40 Pro – smartphone
  • USB Type-A to Type-C cable
  • SuperCharge power supply with 40W
  • In-ear headphones (USB Type-C)
  • transparent protective cover
  • Slot tool
  • operation manual

Huawei P40 Pro – design & workmanship

The Huawei P40 Pro is a real flatterer , especially the matt back of the color “Silver Frost” just feels great. The aluminum frame gives the smartphone a good grip and on the front there is a quadruple curved glass. The front shows the biggest innovation compared to the predecessor, because that Huawei P30 Pro (test) offers “only” glass bent to the sides. The glass of the new P40 Pro, however, bulges up and down to the frame, especially on the lower edge, the “curve” is very drastic. But why does Huawei rely on such a unique design?

Fresh look with the “Quad-Curved-Display”

The smartphone should be feel like it’s made of one piece. The metal frame only shows up at the corners and almost disappears through the bulges. Thus, the Huawei P40 Pro a bit of a breath of fresh air into the otherwise monotonous world of smartphone designs. By the way: the bulge at the bottom is ideal for gesture control.

What else is on board? The power button and volume rocker are on the right side, the left side is kept perfectly clean. On the top there is a microphone and an infrared transmitter. Opposite there is a USB Type-C connection, a loudspeaker and the SIM card slot. Either two nano SIM cards or one nano SIM + NM card (for memory expansion) can be accommodated here. Of the Speakers unfortunately only reproduce mono sound and does not pair up with the “handset” to form a stereo pair – a shame, because other manufacturers can do it.

Dual SIM and integrated eSIM, but unfortunately no stereo sound

Huawei’s own “Nano Memory Card” standard is somewhat smaller than microSD cards, but in a direct comparison (e.g. 128 GB with at least 90 MB / s) it is also somewhat more expensive and can only be used with current Huawei smartphones. A 3.5 mm jack connection is not available, but this is now common for flagship smartphones. Accordingly, in-ear headphones with USB-C connection are included. Alternatively, Bluetooth headphones, such as the Anker Soundcore Liberty 2 Pro (test) or Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC (test) be used.

The processing can continue to convince you Huawei P40 Pro leaves a very high quality impression. An IP68 certification is on board, which completely protects the smartphone against the ingress of water and dust. Compared to the predecessor, the Huawei P30 Pro, the design was able to evolve in some places – for example also in the front camera. The Chinese manufacturer is now using this pill-shaped punch hole, but there are more details about technology & features. The smartphone is 8.98 mm slim and weighs around 209 grams, compared to devices like that Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or that Oppo Find X2 Pro (test) it is a bit more compact.

Huawei P40 Pro – technology & features

On the hardware side, Huawei relies on the P40 Pro Kirin 990 processorwho is already in Huawei Mate 30 Pro (video) is used. The 7 nm SoC has eight cores and clocks at up to 2.86 GHz. There is also a 5G modem (SA + NSA) integrated directly, which means that the P40 Pro is also equipped for the new mobile radio standard. Other features include WiFi 6 (WiFi 802.11 ax) as well as Bluetooth 5.1 and NFC. In terms of storage there is 8 gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of internal UFS 3.0 storage. A memory expansion, up to a maximum of 256 gigabytes, is possible, as already mentioned, via Huawei’s own NM card.

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First-class performance and integrated 5G for the future

In practice, the Huawei P40 Pro can convince us with a great performance. The smartphone also makes a great impression when playing games, especially the increased refresh rate is wonderful for moving content – but more about that at the same time. Some competing models with 12 gigabytes offer a bit more RAM, but the difference is only noticeable in isolated cases.

Benchmark results

model Oppo Find X2 Pro Huawei P40 Pro Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Geekbench 5 (singlecore) 911 pts 777 pts
Geekbench 5 (multicore) 3,255 pts. 3,173 pts.
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme (OpenGL ES 3.1) 7,110 pts 6,130 pts
GFX Bench Car Chase 24 fps 54 fps
GFX Bench Manhattan 3.1 41 fps 60 fps

The P40 Pro is based on the front 6.58-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2,640 x 1,200 pixels. Huawei chooses a middle ground between FullHD + (1,080p) and QHD + (1,440p). In addition, the display has a increased refresh rate of up to 90 Hz, which ensures a much smoother display of moving content. In addition to videos and games, scrolling through websites is also much smoother.

Good compromise: slightly increased FullHD + resolution at 90 Hz

Competitors like the Oppo Find X2 Pro, for example, offer a tick “more display performance” with QHD + and 120 Hz, but Huawei also seems to keep an eye on the battery life here. The display in the Huawei P40 Pro can still convince, as is usual for an OLED panel, there are crisp colors and great contrast values. In terms of brightness, there is no manufacturer information, in our quick test with an X-rite i1 Pro display profiler we up to 533 nits (at 100% APL) to reach.

In contrast to other manufacturers, Huawei seems no APL control to use, which means that the brightness cannot be increased at 20% APL. The display is easy to read in everyday life, but it becomes difficult with direct sunlight. The overall color scheme is very coherent, the user can also make some adjustments in the settings.

In terms of battery capacity, nothing has changed compared to its predecessor Huawei P40 Pro continues to use up to 4,200 mAh – but that’s not bad at all! Together with the efficient processor, one comes up, of course, depending on the use at least a full day. We achieve with the highest resolution and activated 90 Hz between 5-7 hours of display time – but of course that also depends on usage behavior. The smartphone is charged via SuperCharge with up to 40 watts, the P40 Pro is then fully operational after approx. 80-90 minutes at 100%. Alternatively, it can wireless with up to 27 watts be supplied with power, and reverse wireless charging is also on board again. Nevertheless, an upgrade to 4,500 mAh or more would of course have been even nicer.

Huawei P40 Pro – camera

The Huawei P30 Pro already scored with its excellent camera and is still a wonderful photo smartphone today. Huawei has now decided on a significant upgrade for the P40 Pro and is once again advertising the “new photo miracle”. The Chinese manufacturer uses the following quad camera for this:

Main sensor 50 megapixels with f / 1.9, 1 / 1.28 inch sensor size, Octa-PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
Ultra wide angle sensor 40 megapixels with f / 1.8, 1 / 1.54 inch sensor size
Telephotosensor 12 megapixels with f / 3.4, OIS, zoom: 5x optical, 10x hybrid, 50x digital (max)
Depth sensor ToF 3D camera (Time of Flight)
Front camera 32 megapixels with f / 2.2, AF + infrared depth camera

The main camera snaps with 4-to-1 pixel binning as standard, which gives photos a resolution of 12.5 megapixels. The ultra-wide-angle camera also uses this technology and therefore snaps with 10 megapixels. To explain briefly: a “large” pixel is created from four “small” pixels, which can capture more image information and thus provide more details and brightness in the image. The full resolution, at least for the main sensor, can be activated in the menu. In contrast, the front camera snaps with the full resolution of 32 megapixels.

The camera software has been further improved, a special feature is the new one “Golden Snap” function. It can be activated in automatic mode “Photo” when “moment” photos (small circle symbol) are taken. The smartphone records a few high-resolution images for a few seconds and then offers a wide range of adjustment options. In addition to a “best photo” suggestion, reflections can also be reduced, passers-by removed or effects added. Under “More” there are other modes, for example the Slow motion at over 7,000 fps or that Pro mode including RAW format. Can the Huawei P40 Pro and its sensors convince in terms of camera quality?

Example photos with the Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei has also done it again with the P40 Pro, one excellent camera in a smartphone. Compared to the Huawei P30 Pro there is another decent upgrade, which is reflected in each of the three large sensors. The main sensor in particular can score with crisp, detailed, high-contrast photos, and there is a high dynamic range. In some cases, the software tends to overexpose slightly, but this can be adjusted very well manually. Overall, the coloring is more natural, but surprisingly tends to be a little desaturated.

Very the new Octa-PDAF was noticed positively, which, together with a laser AF, ensures incredibly fast and precise focusing. Even with fast-moving objects, such as flowers on trees, the focus was always behind. However, the Huawei P40 Pro is no longer quite as suitable for macro shots as it was in the predecessor. The Huawei P30 Pro (test) could still focus up to about 3-4 centimeters, the P40 Pro has to “stop” at about 9-10 centimeters. The ultra wide-angle camera can often provide a remedy, but no macro shots are possible there either.

Great main sensor and successful ultra wide-angle camera

However, it can be said that the new sensor under the Ultrawide lens is particularly fun. Although it offers a slightly smaller angle of incidence compared to other smartphones, its high resolution can ensure razor-sharp photos. Brightness, contrast, dynamics and colors are also right here. In addition, the sensor is wonderfully suitable for videos and (finally!) Enables recordings with up to 4K at 60 fps. The stabilization is flawless and can keep the picture calm even with strong movements.

Magnifications are possible via the periscope lens, which can provide even sharper results with its new sensor. The 5x optical zoom looks great, and the 10x hybrid zoom makes a good impression. However, the optical telephoto zoom is only activated from 4.7x magnification, until then the zoom is purely digital as standard. A smaller zoom lens, like the one on the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (test) would be practical, of course. Up to 50x digital zoom is possible, which is suitable, for example, for photographing the moon. However, the high, digital magnifications are often of limited use.

Also a great camera for zooming and for night shots

In addition, the night mode can convince again. Thanks to the very bright main sensor, photos are very sharp and bright even in poor lighting conditions, and noise is rarely noted. Often, however, the dedicated night mode is not required at all, since the purely automatic mode “Photo” often ensures bright photos at night.

There is a clear upgrade for the front camera, which takes really chic selfies, so the slightly larger display section seems to be worth it. Portrait shots also work quite well here, but the demarcation from the blur still has some potential.

The sticking point: Android without Google services

As an operating system comes Android 10 based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project) Huawei uses the EMUI 10.1 user interface. Since Google services, such as the Google Play Store, are missing on the smartphone, the Huawei App Gallery in focus. It offers a wide range of apps, but (as of early April 2020) it does not yet have every application on offer. However, the wish list is very practical here, where users can add a missing app and then receive a notification when it is available in the AppGallery.

Some applications can of course also be downloaded and installed manually as an APK file. On A practical tool is the app search, a kind of “app store search” that searches other app stores or websites. A good example is WhatsApp – the app is not available in the Huawei AppGallery, but can be officially downloaded in the AppSearch on the WhatsApp page.

Another option is APKPure, an app store with APK files for download. However, caution is required here, because not every file has to be “clean”. Of course, there are always “black sheep” in the Google Play Store, but with manual APK installation, the risk is slightly higher. There is also the Amazon App Store and many other options. We have a compact list of the most important apps made and looked in which app store they are available:

App / app store Google Play Store Huawei AppGallery APK Pure Amazon Apps
Amazon Prime Video Yes Yes
DB Navigator Yes No
Disney + Yes No
Facebook Yes Yes
Instagram Yes Yes
Gboard Yes
Gmail Yes
Google Chrome Yes
Google Drive Yes
Google Maps Yes
Google calendar Yes
Netflix Yes
PayPal Yes
Snapchat Yes
TikTok Yes
Twitter Yes
WhatsApp Messenger Yes
YouTube Yes

An alternative is also available for some apps “Phone Clone” an app offered by Huawei for transferring files from the old device to the new smartphone. It also loads some apps that are not yet in the Huawei App Gallery. Unfortunately, it must be said that not every app works 100%. Some applications either use Google Play Services, the Google Maps map services or Google Firebase for app development. We will make you a separate setup video on the subject of Huawei P40 Pro and Android + EMUI – so be excited!

Huawei P40 Pro – conclusion

The Huawei P40 Pro is a really chic, high-quality smartphone with top features. Not only the design can convince, the high-performance hardware and the new quad camera can also score points. Huawei has consistently developed the predecessor and brings a bit of a breath of fresh air into the otherwise monotonous world of smartphone designs with the quad-curved display. But in the end everything depends on the software, and opinions differ here.

On the one hand, everyday life is easily possible without Google services. There are several alternative apps, the Huawei AppGallery will continue to be filled with new apps and many Google applications can also be used in the browser. Of course, the lack of Google apps gnaws at the convenience, especially if you are a user deep in this ecosystem. However, one should also ask the question: Why not go to new shores, turn everyday life upside down with a smartphone and get to know new things?

The Huawei P40 Pro is priced at 999 euros and will be available in stores from the beginning of May. Until then, the pre-order campaign, which includes the Huawei FreeBuds 3 and a Huawei Watch GT2e, is very attractive. In the end, everyone has to ask themselves whether they really rely on Google services. However, if it is to be the latest technology and some conversion and familiarization are not a problem, then you can easily use the Huawei P40 Pro. This continues to be an alternative Huawei P30 Pro (test) or the new one Oppo Find X2 Pro (test).

“An excellent smartphone that can provide fun in everyday life even without Google services – however, some getting used to and changeover are also involved!”

Smartphones

Allround-PC.com


04/2020

Huawei P40 Pro

Per

  • elegant design and high quality workmanship
  • strong performance
  • good battery life + fast 40W fast charging
  • chic OLED display with 90Hz
  • great quad camera
  • fast fingerprint sensor
  • IP68 certification
  • Dual SIM

Contra

  • Display could be brighter
  • severely restricted app offer & no Google services
  • unfortunately no stereo sound
  • Macro shooting is only possible to a limited extent

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Leonardo ZiajaLeonardo Ziaja
… is primarily responsible for the areas of smartphones and mobile, but is also testing other hardware highlights such as new notebooks. In addition, he also ensures his own, high-quality images in the test reports and is responsible for our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram). In addition to Allround-PC.com, he studies business informatics at the University of Cologne and is an enthusiastic fan of the “foals”.
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