Huawei P40 Pro review: Oozing with tech appeal

Over the past several years, Huawei has been setting new bars for mobile photography with its P series of smartphones. And so, following the footsteps of its previous flagships, Huawei yet again pulls out all the stops in its latest phones’ Leica-branded camera systems. The Huawei P40 series—composed of the P40, P40 Pro, and the ultra-caffeinated P40 Pro+—boasts the company’s latest and greatest: a 50MP Ultra Vision Wide lens main camera.

We got our hands on the middle child of the series, the P40 Pro, which comes with four rear cameras and 5x optical, 10x hybrid, and 50x digital zoom.

Design & display

Like a lot of high-end smartphones today, the P40 Pro sports a 3D curved glass back design. What sets it apart, however, is the refractive matte finish that’s quite resistant to smudges.

Because the screen curves on all four sides—or what Huawei calls Quad-Curve Overflow Display—the device has virtually no hard corners or rough edges anywhere. Its even weight distribution makes it comfortable to hold, and the glass-and-metal finish feels premium and durable. The phone also has an IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating.

The power button (with red accent) and volume rocker are on the right side while the IR blaster and noise-canceling mic are up top. At the bottom end is where you’ll find the USB port, mic, speaker grille, and SIM card slot, which holds two nano-SIM cards.

The screen is a large, edge-to-edge 6.53-inch OLED panel that refreshes at 90Hz. “Not 120Hz?!” you ask. Well, the visual difference between a 90Hz screen and a 120Hz one isn’t really that noticeable, unless you actively seek the difference. Plus, the lower 90Hz refresh rate means it won’t drain the battery as fast as a 120Hz display.

And speaking of battery, the P40 Pro sports a 4,200mAh cell. With a full charge at 8am, I’m able to use the phone heavily throughout a regular work (from home) day and still have around 20% left by 10pm. Juicing it back up to 100% is fast with its support for the 40W SuperCharge standard. If you have compatible hardware, you can opt to wirelessly top up the device at a rate of up to 27W.

Apps, UI, and Performance

The P40 Pro is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 990, a 5G-ready chip with eight cores. (Sure, 5G remains out of the reach of many, but it’s a good thing to have). This chipset is paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

Performance-wise I had no issues at all throughout the time I used the P40 Pro. This phone tackles pretty much anything you throw at it without so much as a hiccup.

The phone runs EMUI 10.1 based on Android 10 and comes with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), an ecosystem of the company’s services that includes App Gallery, its marketplace for apps. The AppGallery already features several local apps that are useful to Filipino mobile users: Grab, LalaFood, Lalamove, PayMaya, GCash, BDO Personal Banking, Shopee, Lazada, TikTok, Viu, and WPS Office, among others.

Huawei also supports sideloading of apps, but you can’t be assured of full compatibility especially if HMS doesn’t support the app. Right now, the quickest way to download your favorite apps on your Huawei P40 Pro is to use the Phone Clone app. Set your P40 Pro as the new phone and have it find the phone that you want to clone as your old phone. Aside from apps, it can also import contacts, calendar notifications, and messages. Not all will work, however, especially if cloning a phone that has Google Mobile Services in it.

Camera

Arguably the star of the show is the quad camera system featuring a newly designed 50MP lens with a large image sensor. A 40MP wide-angle camera, a 12MP telephoto camera that’s capable of 5x optical zoom or 50x digital zoom, and TOF depth sensor round up the rear shooters. All these are housed in a large-ish rectangular camera bump.

As mentioned, the main 50MP RYYB camera has a mammoth sensor—1/1.28-inch—and the images that come from this thing are just gorgeous. They’re detailed, vibrant, and color-accurate, and the dynamic range is good as well. In extreme low light conditions, like my room with all the lights turned off, the resulting image is jaw-dropping.

Here are some sample photos we took in and around the house (because ECQ, you know?):

Shot in a nearly pitch-black room

Night Mode

The P40 Pro also has a 32-megapixel front-facing selfie camera with autofocus. It’s paired with an infrared depth-sensor, so it’s no surprise that it can produce beautiful bokeh selfies.

Speed says

The Huawei P40 Pro is easily one of the best flagship phones out there. It’s got superb build quality, a beautiful curved display, powerful internals, future-proof 5G connectivity, and a fantastic camera system. While Google’s absence can’t be ignored, Huawei Mobile Services and the App Gallery are getting bigger and better, and you’re not left without options. Retailing for P50,990, this device is worth its price tag.

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