Huawei P40 Pro+ review: Pinnacle of mobile photography

The Huawei P40 Pro+ is a lot like the Huawei P40 Pro: they’re similar in size, they have the same 90Hz OLED screen, they are both powered by the same chip, and they even have the same 4200mAh battery. The key difference? The P40 Pro+ has an even better rear camera than its non-Plus sibling. While the P40 Pro proved it can take detailed, vibrant, and color-accurate images, it’s the Pro+ that really pushes the boundary with its 10x optical zoom lens. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Design & display

The P40 Pro+ looks and feels as premium as the P40. But unlike the P40 Pro, which comes with a glass back with matte finish, the Pro+ has a nano-tech ceramic rear case. It’s also heftier at 226g; the Pro is 209g.

Large forehead or pill-shaped cutout?

The front remains unchanged: the 6.6-inch OLED display still overflows to the edges and a cutout on the upper-left corner houses the selfie camera and a depth sensor that supports face unlock with IR. Personally, I’m still not—and will never be—a fan of notches and holes on displays, but it is what it is. You can always hide it in the display settings (although the screen will look like it has a huge, ugly forehead) or go Dark Mode and pretend the cutout isn’t there.

Pill-shaped cutout aside, the screen looks great. It displays bold and bright colors, and comes with a 90Hz refresh rate that ensures that everything smoothly scrolls past your eyes. 

Like the P40 Pro, the power (with red accent) and volume buttons are on the right, while the left edge is kept clean. The IR blaster and secondary microphone are up top, while the bottom end houses the SIM/memory card tray, primary mic, USB Type-C port, and speaker. There’s no 3.5mm audio jack here, so you either use the included pair of USB-C earphones or invest in a wireless pair instead. For personal use, though, the single down-firing speaker is actually pretty loud and clear already.

At the back is a rectangular black bump where the five cameras and dual-LED flash are. Since it protrudes, it’s obviously prone to scratches, so protecting it (along with that gorgeous back panel) is the wise thing to do. The P40 Pro+ also has an IP68 water- and dust resistance rating, so you need not worry much if you get caught in a drizzle or accidentally splash water on the phone while using it in the bathroom. Not that we’re recommending you to use your phone in the bathroom—that’s just unhygienic.

Camera

As mentioned above, the P40 Pro+ has an even better rear camera system than the already excellent one found on the P40 Pro. This top-of-the-line device packs five cameras around the back. There’s a 50MP f/1.9 wide lens, a 40MP f/1.8 ultrawide lens, an 8MP f/2.4 3x optical zoom lens, an 8MP f/4.4 10x optical zoom lens, and a time-of-flight 3D depth sensor lens.

It’s almost impossible to take a bad photo with the P40 Pro+. The shutter speed is snappy, focusing is fast, colors are rich, details are sharp, and white balance and exposure are spot-on. See our sample shots below:

Meanwhile, night mode is awesome as it really brightens up a dark subject. However, judiciously choose when to use it as it tends to make some photos look unnatural; it’s so good it can make night look like day. 

Shot in a nearly pitch-black room

As for the 10x optical zoom, it’s quite impressive. Images taken at this zoom level look clear and crisp. While the Pro+ can push its zoom limits all the way to 100x, details are already mushy, especially if you don’t use a tripod. 

Wide
10x

100x

Performance

This flagship phone comes with Huawei’s own Kirin 990 5G-capable chipset, as well as 8GB RAM and a generous 512GB of internal storage. If that’s enough for you, you can pop in Huawei’s proprietary NM (nano memory) card to expand the storage further.

Like with my experience with the P40, the Pro+ performed without any issues. As for its battery life, the 4,200mAh cell easily lasts a full day. Charging from 5% to 100% using the bundled power brick and cable takes a little over an hour. Note that this phone also supports Huawei’s proprietary 40W wireless.

The new EMUI software on top of Android is great, but as with recent Huawei phones, this one doesn’t come with Play Store, Google apps, and apps that rely on Google services. Instead, it comes with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), an ecosystem of the company’s services that includes the world’s third-largest app store, the AppGallery. Many popular apps for productivity and play are already available in the AppGallery, and the selection is continually growing. 

Speed says

When Huawei launched the P40 series last March, only the P40 and P40 Pro were initially offered in the Philippines. Now that the P40 Pro+ is here, can we say that Huawei saved the best for last? 

The answer is a resounding yes. 

It’s a beautiful phone with a premium build, has powerful internals, and comes with a ludicrous amount of storage. Its powerful set of cameras is unmatched, and the outstanding performance of its 10x optical zoom is the pinnacle of smartphone photography.

That said, its P69,990 price tag is quite exorbitant. But if you’re serious about mobile photography and you’ve got lots of cash to spare, you can’t do much better than the Huawei P40 Pro+.

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