The Huawei P30 Pro is renowned for its world-beating cameras so how can its successor, the P40 Pro, push the bar even higher?
The quality of the snappers on the Huawei P30 Pro was so high that we named it the best camera phone of 2019, winning the coveted title from the Google Pixel 3. On top of that, it also packed impressive battery life, an attractive design, and a punchy processor. But can the P40 live up to its predecessor’s well-earned reputation – or could it even go one better?
Huawei P40 Pro – Release date
Huawei has just revealed the Huawei P40’s launch date: March 26. “Next month, in Paris on March 26 we will launch the world’s most powerful 5G flexible smartphone: Huawei P40 series,” Huawei CEO Richard Yu said right at the end of the Chinese firm’s MWC press conference, where the foldable Huawei Mate Xs was officially unveiled.
That will be precisely one year on from the launch of the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro − the last Huawei flagship devices that featured full-fat Android and Google Mobiles Services.
Huawei P40 Pro – Price
According to Twitter tipster and Slashleaks contributor RODENT950, Huawei has planned a significant (and much welcome) price-drop for its next flagship series upon its March release date. The new prices could read as follows (via GSMArena):
- Huawei P40 – €600 (~£508)
- Huawei P40 Pro – €800 (~£677)
- Huawei P40 Pro Premium – €1000 (~£846)
Not only is the entry price significantly cheaper than the likes of the iPhone 11 or the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, but it also appears that there will be a new “Premium Edition” top-spec version for the first time that trumps even the “Pro”, perhaps following the example of the latest Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Huawei P40 Pro – Design
Android Headlines unveiled the following render of the P40 Pro on January 16, teasing the upcoming device from several angles:
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 five 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 has also brought back the physical volume toggle, having ditched it in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro in favour of a touchscreen slider.
Another leak (above), this time from Evan Blass, showed off a very similar render but this time in an unusual alternative mint green colour that might attract some attention – especially from those who were fond of the same shade on the iPhone 11.
However, the above renders look quite different from what is potentially our first glimpse of the device in the wild. Described by DigitalTrends as a “member of the Huawei P40 family”, the above device is apparently a prototype with the official brand names of Huawei and Leica replaced with ‘Polarie’ and ‘Blink’ to put leakers off the scent.
Huawei P40 Pro – Software
Richard Yu, Huawei’s CEO, has confirmed that the Huawei P40 Pro will run Android 10 with Huawei’s own-brand EMUI skin. Due to the Android ban, this will surely be an open-source version of Android that lacks Google Mobile Services (GMS) – meaning that customers will not have access to Google’s handy, familiar apps such as the Play Store, YouTube, and Google Maps. This compromising reality probably explains why the price might be set to take a tumble.
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, for now it still lacks fundamental apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook – and all of Google’s own apps of course.
On top of seeking out more apps for its service, Huawei has also introduced new innovations to App Gallery such as Quick Apps (whereby you interact with apps without fully downloading them), and a more rigorous vetting process for better software security.
Future handsets might run Huawei’s own-brand Harmony OS interface, but it seems that this software isn’t yet ready for a wide release (at least in Europe).
Google has applied for a licence to work with Huawei again, and while we’re pessimistic about its chances of success it would be a huge victory for Huawei were the exemption to be approved GMS could be adopted again.
Huawei P40 Pro – Specs
The Huawei P40 Pro is very likely to sport the Kirin 990 chipset, which was unveiled back at IFA 2019. In our review of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, which also runs on this chip, 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 (albeit for admittedly stunning results).
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 was still 4G-only, and we also expect Apple to introduce 5G its iPhone 12 series.
Huawei P40 Pro – 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 can the P40 Pro improve on this enviable track record?
Surprisingly few leaks have emerged so far regarding the cameras. But one of our first insights comes courtesy of leaker @RODENT950, who claims the device will have a 52-megapixel sensor that will output 13-megapixel images after the pixel-binning process has been completed.
On top of that, Chinese source MyDrivers has indicated that the new model will boast an incredible 10x optical telephoto zoom which takes advantage of an innovative dual-prism design; this would match the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra‘s claim of 10x lossless zoom.
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