Hands-on with the Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei recently unveiled its new P40 flagship smartphone range, offering new features and an overhauled software suite.

The new devices boast impressive hardware and powerful new capabilities compared to the previous generation of smartphones.

The P40 is also the first Huawei flagship smartphone to use Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) instead of Google Mobile Services (GMS), running on Android 10.

The P40 has not launched in South Africa, but is expected to launch at some point after the national coronavirus lockdown.

Huawei supplied MyBroadband with its new P40 Pro to try out, and we were impressed with the powerful hardware the new phone packs.

Hardware and camera

All P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Pro+ smartphones feature HiSilicon Kirin 990 chipsets with 5G support, which means this new lineup will be able to connect to 5G networks where these networks are available.

This includes 5G mobile networks which may launch in South Africa in the future.

The device provided to us boasted 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, expandable via a Huawei Nano Memory Card.

The P40 Pro’s new Quad-Curved Overflow display is a significant improvement over previous displays, wrapping around the sides of the chassis and housing a 6.58-inch 2,640 x 1,200 OLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate.

This increased refresh rate delivers a significant improvement to the smoothness of the display and, when paired with the Kirin 990 chipset, makes the smartphone’s interface feel very responsive.

Huawei is renowned for its cutting-edge camera technology, and the P40 Pro does not disappoint on this front, either.

The device boasts a quad-lens rear camera with a time-of-flight depth sensor for improved bokeh effects and a periscope lens for greater zoom capabilities.

Huawei has also improved the 50MP primary camera sensor for higher-quality images, and the periscope lens supports an impressive 50x digital zoom.

Using an HMS smartphone

One of the biggest changes on the Huawei P40 Pro is the lack of Google Mobile Services.

This does not mean that Google apps are unsupported – Chrome can be installed, Gmail can be added to the native mail client, and YouTube can be accessed through a browser or third-party app.

However, when starting up the P40 Pro you will not need to sign into your Google account. Instead, you will use your Huawei ID.

This should be a relatively seamless transition for previous Huawei smartphone users, as older devices also requested that users sign in to their Huawei ID.

Additionally, there is no more Google Play Store on the Huawei P40. Instead, the source for application installations is the Huawei AppGallery.

Between AppGallery, browser shortcuts, and a few alternative apps, using the HMS-powered Android operating system does not feel very different to previous GMS-powered versions.

Huawei has done a lot of work to improve the experience of its HMS ecosystem of apps, too, making the transition as seamless as possible.

We installed WhatsApp on our device, had Gmail working on the native mail client, and downloaded Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, logging into all of these platforms easily.

While it is an adjustment to drop the Google Play Store in favour of Huawei’s ecosystem, the Android experience is functionally the same – offering the same level of customisation, performance, and utility as the previous generation of devices.

Specifications and photos of the Huawei P40 Pro are below.

Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei P40 Pro
OS Android 10.0
Display 6.58-inch 2,640 x 1,200 OLED 90Hz
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G
Storage 256GB, Nano Memory Card
Front Camera 32MP, TOF
Rear Camera 50MP + 40MP + 12MP + TOF
Biometrics In-screen fingerprint sensor, facial recognition
Connectivity 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.1, USB Type-C
Network 5G
Battery 4,200mAh

P40 Hands on 5

P40 Hands on 2

P40 Hands on 3

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P40 Hands on 1

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Hands-on with the Huawei P40 Pro