A year has passed since Huawei launched its successful P30 series smartphones, and many things have happened since then. Following a trade war between the United States and China, Huawei ended up being sanctioned, with the most noticeable effect that the company no longer has access to Google’s services. Last fall, we saw the launch of the Mate 30 series, the company’s first flagship phone to be shipped without GMS. We had argued that those phones lacked enough hardware differentiation to make up for the lack of Google services, and it would be some time before we saw Huawei’s HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) mature to a state that represents a viable alternative for everyday. This goal is getting closer and closer as Huawei spends great resources and efforts to involve developers in its ecosystem.
Today Huawei is doubling its efforts to regain western market share, revealing brand new hardware and expanding the company’s AppGallery app store, introducing the new P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro +.
The trio of phones is the successor of the P series focused on the company’s photography, once again pushing the envelope in terms of innovative camera hardware, adding some exclusive new sensors to the mix, including a new large 1/1 RYYB unit , 28 “52MP, and as coming soon with a number of various other modules, including a large selection of telephoto modules.
Huawei P40 Series
P40 Pro +
HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G
2x Cortex-A76 at 2.86 GHz
2x 2.36 GHz Cortex-A76
4x Cortex-A55 at 1.95 GHz
Mali G76MP16 @ 700MHz
2640 x 1200 (19.8: 9)
4200 mAh (typical)
4200 mAh (typical)
RYYB 50MP 1 / 1.28 “sensor
f / 1.9 OIS
f / 2.4 OIS
f / 3.4 OIS
10x optical periscope
f / 4.4 OIS
f / 1.8
f / 2.2
24MP f / 2.0
32MP f / 2.0
32MP f / 2.0
128 / 256GB
+ proprietary “nanoSD” card
802.11ax (Wifi 6),
4G + 5G NR NSA + SA Sub-6GHz
Resistant to splashes, water, dust
(no water resistance)
(water resistant up to 1m)
Start the operating system
AOSP 10 with EMUI 10
without Google services
In terms of hardware, we are talking about phones that now use the new Kirin 990 5G platform, currently the only SoC produced on TSMC’s N7 + EUV node. The new chip is expected to work comparably with the Kirin 990 4G that we tested in the Mate 30 Pro a few months ago, but we expect some slight differences in power consumption and, for example, even higher AI performance thanks to the large dual- NPU core used in this variant.
The most remarkable aspect of the P40 Pro is its design, in particular its realization of a curved screen from edge to edge. The AMOLED display panel is among the first to allow a device not only to have curved edges on the sides of the phone, but also at the top and bottom. The first thing I want to get out of the way is that I’m super happy that Huawei did not choose to continue with the 90 ° side curve design as we saw on the Mate 30 Pro: I felt that that design was extremely impractical and harmful to the ergonomics of the telephone. The P40 Pro doesn’t have this problem and the screen curvatures actually have a smaller radius than the P30 Pro, with a deeper and larger curvature on the back of the phone which gives it a fairly excellent hand ergonomics.
The screen on the P40 Pro and P40 Pro + has a resolution of 2400 x 1200 – halfway between 1080p and 1440p – which Huawei says is a weak point between resolution and energy efficiency. I immediately noticed that it’s sharper than previous Huawei devices, so it’s a positive development. Probably more important, however, is that the new screen is capable of operating at 90Hz and is ready for use with this higher refresh rate. It is something that I immediately noticed when I was handling the phone and I also feel that Huawei has done very well in terms of touch latency as it feels much better than the other phones.
P40 Pro vs P30 Pro
The upper and lower curvatures are new and I honestly didn’t really know what to think of such a design until I tried it on the P40 Pro. I only had the phone for a short time, but my first impression is that it is neither a great advantage nor damage to the phone. It makes the edges softer and gestural navigations such as scrolling from top to bottom are easier since you no longer touch the edge of the frame.
The screen is not curved in all points of the frame: the glass does not cover the corners of the phone, here the frame protrudes outwards from the corners. I don’t think this was a limitation that Huawei could extend the glass in the corners, but rather a deliberate design decision in order to better protect the phone’s screen from falls. The corners would have been an obvious weak point in a completely curved glass design, and in this way, if the phone falls, it falls on the frame. I don’t mind the design, but it seems a little unusual.
P40 Pro vs P30 Pro
The elements of the flat top and bottom frame of the P30 series have now disappeared in the P40 and the frame is round again, perhaps helping with the ergonomics of the landscape.
The size of the frame on the sides is thicker than the P30 Pro, but this is not due to the variations in curvature, but because the new phone is definitely thicker than its predecessor. It is immediately evident when holding the phone, but thanks to good ergonomics and rounded design, it is not a handicap.
What is very disappointing is that Huawei continues to have a pretty terrible audio solution, with only a low-power multimedia speaker and a piezoelectric exciter under the screen as a speaker for calls. If you’re looking for good audio quality, the P40 Pro isn’t.
S10 + vs P30 Pro vs P40 Pro
Immediately evident in the design of the phone is the cutout of the front camera, which is simply huge. Huawei was by no means conservative here in keeping it small as it was crammed into all relevant sensors and a ToF (Time of flight) sensor next to the main camera. If you didn’t like Samsung’s pill-shaped cutout in last year’s S10, you will hate Huawei’s implementation as it is thicker and longer and also wastes some screen space above it, making it the status – the bar takes up a lot of space at the top of the screen.
At the top of the phone, we continue to see a simple design with only one hole for the microphone and the IR blaster.
2020 seems to be a year of square camera elements and Huawei also adopts this design aesthetic here. The P40 Pro here actually has no more sensors than the P30 Pro – I have to wonder if it was actually necessary to extend the protrusion of the camera by such an amount when the P30 Pro was able to house the flash and the ToF sensor in the body. It makes sense for the high-end P40 Pro + which adds an additional telephoto lens under the flash.
The super boot of the new camera hardware is Huawei’s new 1 / 1.28 “50MP sensor of the main unit, which allows Huawei to claim to have the largest camera sensor in a smartphone as it is a bit more hair. large unit of 1 / 1.3 “of the S20 Ultra and Xiaomi 108 MP phones. However, being only 50 MP, Huawei has much larger pixels than its 108 MP competition in the same size category – and continues to be an RYYB sensor that is said to be more sensitive in low-light conditions.
The camera housing is still reasonably sized given the sensor arrangement, not being as absurd as the Samsung unit on the S20 Ultra.
The large main sensor still determines the Z height of the lens and the back of the phone’s camera and, as on the S20 Ultra, it is over 10 mm thick, protruding much more than any other past Huawei phone.
The story continues … we will update the piece as we get more detailed information.