Huawei will launch its latest smartphone range, the Huawei P40 series, before the end of the month, and reports say it will comprise three different models: the standard Huawei P40, the Huawei P40 Pro, and the badly named Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition.
Last year’s Huawei P30 series was brilliant. The P30 scored an excellent 4/5 stars and the Trusted Reviews Recommended seal of approval in our review, while the Huawei P30 Pro went even further, topping our list of the best camera phones for months and earning a near-perfect 4.5/5 stars.
Of course, things have changed dramatically since then, and because of the US government the Huawei P40 series will not be able to run the full version of Android or any of Google’s big-name apps.
But Huawei’s been keen to show its punchy side over the past few months, and we’re intrigued to see what it has up its sleeve. Read on for everything we know about the Huawei P40 ahead of its launch.
The Huawei P40 at a glance
- March 26 launch
- Triple rear cameras
- Kirin 990 chipset for 5G
- Will launch alongside P40 Pro
- May also be a P40 Pro Premium Edition
- Won’t run full-fat Android
Huawei P40 release date
The Huawei P40 series will launch on March 26, exactly a year after the P30 range was officially revealed.
The company had planned an event in Paris, but due to the coronavirus outbreak the launch will be live streamed instead. Huawei hasn’t yet revealed specific timings for the launch, but we imagine it will take place in the early afternoon.
Huawei P40 price
Huawei is believed to have planned a significant price-drop for the P40 series, and there are no prizes for guessing why. Yes, it comes down to the US government’s executive order.
According to Twitter tipster and Slashleaks contributor RODENT950, the prices for the entire P40 series could be as follows:
- Huawei P40 – €600 (~£500)
- Huawei P40 Pro – €800 (~£680)
- Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition – €1000 (~£850)
Of course, since none of these numbers have come directly from Huawei, they can’t be taken as cold, hard fact.
But if they’re accurate, the P40 series would significantly undercut the likes of the iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy S20. From its name, it sounds like the rumoured Huawei P40 Premium Edition is intended to go up against the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, which is one of the most expensive phones on the market right now − starting at £1199.
Huawei P40 design
As you can see from the images above, the P40 and P40 Pro will have the same basic design, though the screen on the Pro model appears to have curved edges, which allows for slimmer bezels.
The following multi-angle P40 Pro renders from Android Headlines all but confirm this. The design looks somewhat similar to the P30 Pro, thanks in part to a rounded rectangular camera module (though this time it seems that it packs in four rather than three lenses).
The screen slightly curves around the edges (but perhaps not to the same extent as the ‘waterfall display’ Huawei Mate 30 Pro), and the camera bump looks particularly prominent.
It appears that that the brand is also bringing back a physical volume toggle, having ditched it in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro in favour of a touchscreen slider.
However, the above renders look quite different from what is potentially our first glimpse of the device in the wild. Described by Digital Trends as a “member of the Huawei P40 family”, the above device is a prototype with the official brand names of Huawei and Leica replaced with ‘Polarie’ and ‘Blink’ to put leakers off the scent.
The rumoured P40 Pro Premium Edition, perhaps?
In an official video posted by Huawei, we can see shots of the device from oblique angles, but even that’s enough to show that it will have a curved screen (shown above) and a large rounded oblong camera module.
Unusually, we haven’t heard a great deal about the Huawei P40’s display yet. Last year’s P30 sports a 6.1-inch FHD+ resolution OLED display, and the P30 Pro has a 6.4-inch, 2340 x 1080 OLED.
Both are still very good, but we’d like to see Huawei embrace variable refresh rates with the P40 series, even if certain aspects like resolution and pixel density stay the same.
What we do know is that it’s out with the notch and in with the hole-punch cutout.
Huawei P40 colours
We’ve seen a lot of leaks over the past several months, and something they’ve shown us is a veritable rainbow of different colour schemes.
For instance, the leaked image above, from the reliable tipster Evan Blass, shows off the Huawei P40 Pro in an alternative mint green colour that might attract some attention − especially from those who were fond of the same shade on the iPhone 11.
Aside from that, we’ve spotted blue, grey, black, almond and white shades, and some eye-catching iridescent finishes too.
Huawei P40 software
Due to the Android ban, this will be an open-source version of Android that lacks Google Mobile Services (GMS) − meaning that P40 users will not have access to Google’s handy, familiar apps including the Play Store, YouTube, Google Maps, Chrome and more.
In the meantime, Huawei is spending £20 million of its funds to entice developers to introduce more apps to its own-brand App Gallery store, and while this currently offers some very popular apps such as TikTok and Snapchat, it still lacks fundamental apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook – and all of Google’s apps of course.
On top of seeking out more apps for its service, Huawei has also introduced handy functionality to App Gallery, such as Quick Apps, whereby you interact with apps without fully downloading them, and a more rigorous vetting process to protect users.
Future handsets might run Huawei’s own-brand Harmony OS interface, but it seems that this software won’t be ready in time for the P40.
Huawei P40 specs
In our review of Mate 30 Pro, we found that it could deal comfortably with everyday tasks and could also run the most demanding games on high settings; however, the post-processing of images would sometimes cause a noticeable delay − though you would get stunning results afterwards.
A listing on TENAA, China’s official telecommunications certification body, has revealed that all four models in the P40 series will have 5G connectivity. This doesn’t come as a massive shock, since only one model in the Samsung Galaxy S20 series is 4G-only, and we also expect Apple to introduce 5G its iPhone 12 series later this year.
And we’ve got further information on the P40’s specs thanks to a Geekbench posting spotted on March 16.
This confirmed some specs including its Android 10 operating system and 8GB of RAM, but most significantly it gave us an idea of the device’s real-world performance: it scored 776 on the Geekbench 5 single-core test, and 3182 on the dual-core assessment.
This makes it extremely likely the device does indeed run on the Kirin 990, which hit scores of 749 and 2910 on the respective tests.
Huawei P40 camera
Without a doubt, the key feature of last year’s Huawei P30 Pro was its camera, which we described as being “super versatile”, singling out its low-light performance and 10x hybrid zoom for particular praise. So we’re expecting big things from the P40 series − in particular, the P40 Pro, which is expected to feature four rear camera sensors.
According to mobile industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Huawei will become the latest firm to add significant lossless zoom technology to the camera array, using the periscope technique.
Kuo says only P40 Pro’s periscope lens will take photos at an 8-megapixel resolution and offer an f/4.0 aperture. It will contain two mirrors and an extended field of view in order to his the high-end zoom capabilities, TF International Security analyst Kuo said in a note to investors.
If the information is accurate, the P40 Pro would be Huawei’s first camera with a 10x optical zoom.
The standard edition of the P40 will have three rear camera sensors − likely to be a high-resolution main camera, a telephoto lens and an ultra-wide angle snapper.
It will reportedly offer a 5x optical zoom camera, similar to the P30 Pro released earlier this year, which also contained a periscope lens. Kuo reckons that future versions of the high-end Nova, Honor and Mate phones will also get the 5x periscope camera down the line.
Both handsets will sport dual selfie cameras that are set into the display.
An official tweet from Huawei has also shown off the camera bump in a video that prominently features the hashtag #VisionaryPhotography − showing that once again, the camera is undoubtedly going to be the key selling point.
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