Mate 40 Pro Review

Tsepz_GP

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The smartphone industry simply cannot stop and give us a break, year after year we get bigger, better and more efficient and Huawei have certainly not held back. It’s a great time for those of us who enjoy seeing mobile technology advance and it is great for everyone in general as it means the more advancements are made the more cool things begin trickling down to lower priced smartphones.

I have had the Huawei Mate 40 Pro for about week now and absolutely enjoying this incredibly capable flagship smartphone.

Design

Huawei have continued to use the Waterfall Display and in the Mate 40 Pro the screen is so steeply curved the Volume and Power buttons are almost facing the rear of the phone, this leads to quite a solid feel and expensive look thanks to the aluminum frame. I was quite hesitant about this design but thanks to there being a case included with the phone I was able to use the phone with very little mistouches.

My favourite part of the design is the “wider stance” Huawei tend to give their Mate series phones. In a world where more and more phone manufacturers are making their phones Taller and Narrower, Huawei has made the Mate 40 Pro wider, in fact this phone is wider than its P series sibling the P40 Pro and I am very happy with that, the screen feels better to type on and the phone sits very nicely in hand. The Mate 40 Pros more squared off design also makes it a lot easier to grip than the P40 Pro which is great if you spend a lot of time reading articles, eBooks or browsing social media on your phone.

The Mate 40 Pro is made of a Aluminum frame sandwiched between the front and rear are glass. The rear glass is the most interesting as it has a matte glass finish. The one I have is the Mystic colour and it shifts colours depending on lighting around you, it is absolutely stunning. The P40 Pro I have is silver frost and it has a similar effect to the Mystic of the Mate 40 Pro so you will see some colour shift in some of the pictures below. Another noteworthy mention is that Huawei have kept the Mate 30 Pros fantastic camera design with the circular housing


In terms of measurements this is how the Mate 40 Pro, P40 Pro, Mate 30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro compare:

Mate 40 Pro: 162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1 mm weight: 212 g
P40 Pro: 158.2 x 72.6 x 9 mm weight: 209 g
Mate 30 Pro: 162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1 mm weight: 212 g
Mate 20 Pro: 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6 mm weight: 189 g

Mate 40 Pro vs P40 Pro
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P40 Pro vs Mate 40 Pro
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Mate 40 Pro vs P40 Pro
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Due to the Mate 40 Pro being slightly larger and very slightly slightly heavier the weight gain is barely noticeable, in fact I thought they had made the Mate 40 Pro lighter but I guess it’s because it has more surface area to spread its weight and therefore feels a tad lighter due to this.

Display
Goodbye notch!
The Mate 40 Pro brings a slightly larger 6.76inch OLED display with a pill cutout, 90hz refresh rate that supports HDR10, it comes with a slightly larger resolution as well at 1344 x 2772, for comparison the P40 Pro has a 6.58inch screen with 90hz refresh rate at 1200 x 2640 with HDR10, Huawei have stuck to a formula that works as the Mate 40 Pro screen is bright and incredibly smooth. This is also a larger screen than what the Mate 30 Pro (the Mate 40 Pro predecessor) had and eliminates the notch for the pill cutout much like the P40 Pro.

I have been very happy with the display, it’s great even outdoors, it gets bright and is great for reading and browsing social media.

The Always On Display also has a cool feature where it uses an AOD version of your current wallpaper which keeps everything very consistent in the UI.
You will also notice the Mate 40 Pro much like previous Huaweis features an Under Screen Fingerprint reader that is incredibly fast and seems to get more and more reliable with each new phone. This works great for when you are wearing a mask and are unable to use the Facial Recognition.
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Speaking of Security the Mate 40 Pro also features a Time of Flight sensor in the display cutout on the top left, this combined with the front facing camera that is in the same display cutout is used for the Facial Recognition feature and has been great to use when at home without a mask. It’s great Huawei has given us both options of Secure Facial recognition and secure fingerprint recognition which can lock and unlock the phone as well as apps that you specify.
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Audio

Huawei have been innovating a lot in this area, and the Mate 40 Pro is the latest to benefit in this regard.

First let’s look back at the P30 Pro and P40 Pro bone conduction technology which vibrated their screens to produce sound in voice calls directly to your ears while on a phone call.
With the Mate 40 Pro it seems Huawei wanted to take things up a notch, not only did they want to give us Dual Speakers but they also wanted to ensure they don’t lack in earpiece volume, so they built two openings from the top speaker to make it work as a earpiece speaker when in calls as well as a second loudspeaker when you play music or go into loudspeaker mode when on a call, this means you now have a great Dual Speaker setup on the Mate 40 Pro which is missing in the P40 Pro.
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Top loudspeaker speaker and earpiece (slit between screen and frame)
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Bottom loudspeaker
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The Mate 40 Pro will be great both for voice calls and using the loudspeaker if you are watching a quick video or listening to a voice note, it’s clear and loud.

Camera

The Mate 40 Pro is a fantastic shooter, Huawei have solidified their Camera prowess and it shows, with each flagship they get better with larger sensors and more advanced in terms of using AI to adjust correctly for scenes and they also seem to be getting to grips with their post processing. If you are the sort of person who likes to take full control and don’t believe in the fancy AI stuff then Huawei has also made this camera for you with a Pro mode gives you full control of the powerful photography hardware they have put in this phone.


The Mate 40 Pro brings the same 50 MP, f/1.9, 23mm (wide), 1/1.28", 1.22µm, omnidirectional PDAF with Laser AutoFocus main camera as the P40 Pro for incredibly detailed pictures and it also manages to capture a lot of light in dark scenes.

The Mate 40 Pro also has the same 12 MP, f/3.4, 125mm , PDAF, OIS, 5x optical zoom Periscope Scope camera as the P40 Pro, this gives you great magnification in places where you may find that you cannot get any closer to your subject and have to zoom. The zoom retains great detail.

The rest of the setup is slightly different from P40 Pro.

The Mate 40 Pro has a new 20 MP, f/1.8, 18mm, PDAF ultra wide camera which takes a slight step back from the Quad Bayer unit in the P40 Pro to a conventional Bayer RGB filter array.

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The Front camera setup features a 13 MP, f/2.4, 18mm ultrawide fixed focus unit. Once again this is a step back from the P40 Pro which featured a 30MP Quad Bayer with Autofocus.

What we always need to keep in mind with Mate series is that it is aimed more towards a Content Consumption audience that spends more time watching videos, social media and reading, hence the screen got larger (taller and wider), while the P series is focused on Photography and is more centered around Content Creation and therefore on a P series Huawei will go far with every single camera unit ensuring it gets the very best for every function. I personally fall in the former category and have always favoured Mate series due to their more “all round nature”.

Enough with the talk let’s get to the pictures, as I said, I am more of a content consumer, so I am not the best photographer out there but I found that the Mate 40 Pro was a great performer.

Some pics taken with the Mate 40 Pro...
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To be continued in the next post...
 
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Tsepz_GP

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Now for the Zoom! We will start from Wide, got Normal, and then 5x Optical Zoom and end off at 10x Zoom which is a combination of the 5x Optical Zoom and Digital Zoom.

Wide
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Normal
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5x Optical Zoom
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10x Zoom (5x Optical & Digital)
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The Mate 40 Pro is an incredible shooter and in my opinion I believe Huawei have built the perfect balance of smartphone here, I feel the same about the Mate 30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, they all really hit this great balance of bringing great features while not leaning too hard on one area, I simply cannot put this device down.

Battery Life

This is another where Huawei simply excel without trying, it seems to be in their DNA to ensure that if you are going to make a Smartphone no matter the price point it NEEDS to excel in Battery life, these devices are crucial to our daily life and Huawei gets that at every price point.

One negative here is an oversight I believe Huawei have made in EMUI11 by making the Battery Usage screen only show a calendar day, meaning if you charge today and then use the phone over 2 days it will only show the current days usage and nothing else, this is a great shame as the Mate 40 Pro could easily be setting battery time records.
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The Mate 40 Pro comes with a 4400mAh battery, a slight drop from the Mate 30 Pro (4500mAh) but an increase from the P40 Pro (4200mAh), despite the Mate 40 Pro having a lesser capacity to than its precedessor it actually performs better due to the new Kirin9000 chip. The Mate 40 Pro was the first smartphone to be released with a chip built on the brand new cutting edge 5nm process fitting even more transistors along with integrating the 5G modem which is another first as most other smartphone chips have an external 5G modem.

So what does this all mean for you? It means the Mate 40 Pro is a lot more efficient while delivering a lot more power.

In day to day usage it does not slowdown as is in typical Huawei fashion quite fast and very smooth, if you turn off the UI transitions it can almost feel too instant in the speed it does things.

Overall I have been impressed with its performance and in terms of endurance I was able to get 1.5days of usage out of this phone, depending on your usage you can probably get 1.5-3days easily, 3 days if you are a moderate user.

You will be glad to know that the Mate 40 Pro comes with a huge 66W charger that can take the phone from 0-100% charge in about 45 minutes. In my personal usage I would use it up until around 10-11% and it would charge to 100% in about 43 minute. This means that if you get back from a heavy day at work and want to go out that night you can get home, plug your Mate 40 Pro in, have a shower, call your Uber, get dressed up and ready and you should be at 100% or very close to it by the time your Uber arrives.

The Mate 40 Pro comes with a 66W Supercharger, IN THE BOX, in a time where most manufacturers are no longer including chargers in the box.
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Plugs in at 11%
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Boom, 100% in 43mins!
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The Mate 40 Pro also supports 50W Wireless Charging which is faster than most phones wired charging.

Conclusion

The Mate 40 Pro is a fantastic device, the hardware is top notch, premium build quality, great hardware in terms of screen, camera and battery and it performs incredibly well in day to day usage, no lags or stutters, it is incredibly fast.

The Huawei App Gallery combined with PetalSearch is seeing great amounts of developer attention, more and more apps are being added.

All the major banks have their apps on App Gallery, along with most Insurers, delivery (including food deliveryand online shopping like Takealot and Bolt Food).
In terms of Maps you are covered by HERE Maps as well as Petal Maps and Waze is available on Petal search.
If you are a Gmail user you may use the built-in Email app to access Gmail, Outlook and others but you can also use AquaMail if you prefer 3rd party. WhatsApp can be downloaded straight from WhatsApps website.

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Microsoft also have a presence in AppGallery and Petal Search

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Huawei are on an interesting road in building their ecosystem and it seems more and more companies are buying into it.

Pricing
The Mate 40 Pro is now available for pre-order for R19,999 with a great bundle offer, it does seem to be for limited time though:

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Claymore

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Great review!

Are there apps you haven't managed to get or replace? Have you tried loading Google services?
 

Tsepz_GP

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Great review!

Are there apps you haven't managed to get or replace? Have you tried loading Google services?
All apps that I use either have a replacement or an APK that can be downloaded from Petal Search and Findorra.

Have not tried doing the Google Services on this one, I am simply using it as it comes to get a better idea of how it is to love without them.

I was able to get MS OneDrive to replace Google Drive for example, and I was able to get YouTube Vanced to watch YouTube. In terms of document reading there is MS Office. Social Media apps I got in Findorra.
 

Jase

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Brilliant review Tsepz!

Thanks for the info on the apps as this would be the most concerning aspect when looking at Huawei.

Now my main question is: P40 Pro or Mate 40 Pro? I love the camera on the P30 Pro and the zoom is super handy for getting a few pics of countryside I am currently stuck in (Mainly Camels and Horses off in the distance :D).
 

Tsepz_GP

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Brilliant review Tsepz!

Thanks for the info on the apps as this would be the most concerning aspect when looking at Huawei.

Now my main question is: P40 Pro or Mate 40 Pro? I love the camera on the P30 Pro and the zoom is super handy for getting a few pics of countryside I am currently stuck in (Mainly Camels and Horses off in the distance :D).

Thanks a lot Jase!

If you don’t mind the Mate 40 Pro’s weaker Ultra Wide Angle camera and weaker Selfie Camera then go for the Mate 40 Pro, as its Main Camera and Telephoto camera come straight from the P40 Pro and the Mate 40 Pro has the newest chipset (5nm -Kirin9000), it has the bigger screen and bigger battery with faster charging.

However if you are the sort of person who takes a lot of Ultra Wide photographs and Selfies then the P40 Pro is the one to go for, I do think the Mate 40 Pro would suit most people though.
 

Jase

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Thanks for the tips. I use the ultrawide mainly for quick snaps at work so the quality is not that important.

I'll have a think as my contract is due for renewal soon.
 

Claymore

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Got mine yesterday, did a Phone Clone from my Mate 20 Pro.

Apps that do definitely work: most of them, including FNB, Discovery (though that is flakier than usual), Whatsapp, Vivaldi, Nova Launcher, Instagram, Frost (for Facebook), Twitter, Kindle, Waze, Spotify, BlackBerry Hub+, Microsoft apps (Office, OneDrive, Outlook, Office Lens), Torque, Zomato, BA, MTN, Beagle Watch, Suunto, etc.

Apps that definitely do not work: Tasker (can't see registered version; I found an alternative that does what I need), Fenix 2 for Twitter, Strava, Flightradar24, YR weather, Uber (but Bolt works), MapMyRun.

Some workarounds: Vivino claims it needs GPS, but works anyway. Uber and Strava: Appgallery creates an "app" which encapsulates the mobile website and creates an icon; not idea, but it works. Strava won't record live that, but I use Suunto anyway.
 

Claymore

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Gspace seems quite nice; it's like a virtual machine that can run Google-dependent apps, and creates an icon for the app. Strava runs perfectly like that, also Flightradar.

The Discovery app is super flaky. Repeated login attempts, the Health part keeps prompting for login, etc. Their app development - especially their login handling - is pretty bad. [EDIT: Reinstalled Discovery, and it works fine now.]
 
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Claymore

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OK, here's a lot more detail on apps:

Working:

  • South African banking apps - FNB definitely, from my experience. Notifications are not always immediate though.
  • Discovery app - I did have to reinstall it from AppGallery; the cloned version was very broken.
  • Frost for Facebook, Twitter (no notifications though, but they work with MicroG), Talon (third-party twitter app), Sync for Reddit, Instagram, Truecaller, WhatsApp
  • Zomato, Vivino (it moaned once about GMS, but works fine)
  • Blockada, UseTool, File Manager +, Bitwarden, Fuelio, Acar, Our Groceries, XE, MTN, Beagle Watch, Snapscan (I think, GMS error, but looks fine otherwise), Takealot, Woolworths, British Airways, 22Seven, Torque, Kindle/Amazon, Gautrain, Pick n Pay, My Bar, QuickEdit, Bolt
  • Waze navigation, Sky Map, StarTracker, Star Chart, many compass apps
  • BlackBerry Hub+ (Inbox, Contacts, Calendar), though I think it's not seeing my subscription, so will revert to ad-supported. :(
  • Suunto app, Parkrun volunteer apps, MyFitnessPal, Finish Time, FNB RunYourCity
  • Microsoft Office (Word, Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint, OneDrive, Office Lens, Dynamics 365). Teams gives a GMS error, and seems a little unstable, but works. I had to re-download Company Portal and re-register to get working with my company email/Teams.
  • Google Authenticator, MS Authenticator, BlackBerry Password Keeper (no Google Drive backup)
  • Gallery (from Simple Mobile Tools), and all photo-editing tools I've got
  • Spotify, Blackplayer, Yutube Vanced, SoundHound, Shazam, DVRunning (dashcam app), VLC
  • Notic, Wallpaper Changer, WiFiman, WiFi Analytics, Spirit Level, ConvertPad, IRISCO (no notifications), Rotation, LibraryThing, Wikipedia, IMDB, iNaturalist, PlantNet, Dog Scanner, LegalMate, Total Commander
  • Vivaldi web browser. It's awesome, try it.
  • Nova Launcher
  • Swiftkey
Doesn't work:

  • Hobby Color Converter works as free, but not Premium. No data transferred over, no way of getting data without re-entering it all.
  • MapMyRun. No loss, it's a shitty app anyway.
  • What3Words
  • Strava
  • Flightradar24
  • BlackBerry Manager
  • Fenix 2 for Twitter. Error on trying to log on to Twitter. Very disappointed about this one, it's the best third-party twitter client.
  • Uber
  • Tasker (replaced with Rotation, because that's all I used it for)
Workarounds:
  • What3Words, Strava, and Flightradar24 run perfectly in Gspace
  • Google Photos runs as a PWA app. No automatic photo upload though (so I use OneDrive instead)
  • Uber runs as a PWA app
MicroG sorts out notifications for things like Twitter, iRISCO, and others.
 

Tsepz_GP

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Did some 5G tests today, was surprised we have coverage where I am. The Mate 40 Pro performed admirably, got a maximum run of 460Mbps.
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Did one more, if one stands at the right place they can average 400Mbps


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Yuu

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Isn't the mybroadband speedtest app zero-rated for speedtests on MTN's network? Don't waste your data man :p. Fantastic speeds. :cool:
 
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