Huawei Mate 40 Pro Hands-On: Class-Leading Camera
October 24, 2020 Andrew Cheng

Despite its current predicament, Huawei continues to release some impressive flagship smartphones, and the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is no different. After spending a brief time with the device, I’m convinced it’s high-end smartphone through and through, and it can easily go against the best in the market now.

But the fact that the Mate 40 Pro doesn’t ship with Google’s apps and services is still its biggest shortcoming, though Huawei is taking steps to fill the void left by Google. Nonetheless, there’s no denying the fact that the Mate 40 Pro is an excellent flagship smartphone with some fantastic hardware, including a killer camera.

Since camera performance is usually one of the biggest talking points of any flagship Huawei device, let’s get to that first. The Mate 40 Pro features a triple camera system made up of a 50MP “Ultra Vision” f/1.9 primary sensor, a 20MP f/1.8 ultra-wide angle shooter, and a 12MP f/3.4 periscope telephoto lens. There is also a laser autofocus system to lock in focus quickly and accurately.

So how is it like shooting with the Mate 40 Pro? As expected, it can take some amazing shots. Not only does its ultra-wide angle lens’ distortion correction is great, the camera as a whole has excellent colour reproduction as well. Even noise level is kept to a minimum with good detail preservation. Though there’s a lot of post-processing involved, the results look great.

Basically, if you want a smartphone that can take very flattering-looking shots, you will not be disappointed with the Mate 40 Pro.

In the performance department, the Mate 40 Pro is powered by Huawei’s very own Kirin 9000 chipset. Not only does it still support 5G networks (naturally), it’s also built on a 5nm process. In fact, Huawei is the second company to do so after Apple with its own A14 Bionic chip.

The fact that the Kirin 9000 is a 5nm chip means that it will be more power-efficient than its predecessor, the 7nm Kirin 990. This power efficiency, paired with the Mate 40 Pro’s 4,400mAh battery, means you can expect to get good battery life out of this phone.

Speaking of which, the Mate 40 Pro also supports 66W SuperCharge wired charging. On top of that, the phone can also do 50W wireless charging. It’s an impressive feat, given that not many smartphones support this level of wireless fast charging.

As for build quality, it goes without saying the Mate 40 Pro is a solid smartphone that feels premium in the hands. Despite the aggressive curve of the display, it still feels surprisingly comfortable to hold. It’s ergonomically-sound too with very good palm rejection.

The screen itself is also befitting of a flagship smartphone. The Mate 40 Pro sports a bright and vibrant 6.76-inch 1080p OLED display with an oblong-shaped hole-punch cutout for the 13MP f/2.4 selfie camera and 3D depth sensing sensor. On top of that, the screen has a 90Hz refresh rate as well.

While this refresh rate isn’t quite as impressive as its competitions’ faster 120Hz displays, it still offers good motion clarity and smooth animations. Plus, it’s not exactly easy to tell the difference between 90Hz and 120Hz, unless you’re comparing the two refresh rates side by side.

Without a doubt the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is a refined, capable flagship smartphone with a very promising camera system. However, the lack of Google Mobile Services is the phone’s biggest shortcoming. After all, Google’s range of apps and services practically define an Android smartphone.

Of course, Huawei is doing its best to address the lack of Google on its smartphones. According to the company, it is actively adding more apps to the AppGallery – which is basically Huawei’s answer to the Google Play Store – so that it would be a viable alternative to the Play Store. In fact, Huawei said that over 90% of Malaysian’s most frequently used apps are available there.

But at the end of the day, most consumers still rely heavily on Google’s apps and services. It won’t be easy to get accustomed to the absence of these features on the Mate 40 Pro, or any recent Huawei device for that matter. Yes, it’s a compelling flagship smartphone, but without Google, it’s still tough for the average user to consider getting this device.

Of course, it’s still possible to access some of Google’s services with the Mate 40 Pro, but you would have to jump through hoops to get that done. If you’re willing to do that, and you want a flagship smartphone with easily one of the best hardware in the market now, this phone fits the bill.

Now all that’s left is for Huawei to officially introduce the Mate 40 Pro in Malaysia.