Huawei has released its next generation flagship phones for 2020, the Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus. It’s a follow-up to last year’s Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro, but although the P30 range supported both Android Q and Huawei’s own EMUI operating system, the Huawei P40 range will only support EMUI.
There’s some serious kit under the hood. A Kirin 990 16-core chipset, the 5G-carrying state-of-the-art chip developed by Huawei in-house, will provide both the P40 and the P40 Pro with enormous processing power. The P40 Pro and Pro Plus pack a 6.58” vibrant Always-On Display with a four-sided “overflow”, a curved screen on all sides (bar the corners) that’s almost bezel-less. The Huawei P40 will receive a 6.1” display with the same design.
The under-screen fingerprint sensor size has been increased by 30%, providing faster unlocking working in tandem with advanced biometrics technology, and all three phone screens support a 90Hz refresh rate, which will display on-screen motion smoother than a hot knife through butter.
However, it isn’t quite up to the exceptionally high performance of the 120Hz refresh rates boasted by the Samsung Galaxy S20 range. One place the Huawei P40 has beaten its rivals is in the wireless charging stakes, with the P40 Pro Plus hitting 40W wireless charging and the Pro managing 27W, both huge improvements over the S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro.
The big draw for the P40 range is the camera, as the phone’s main selling point is “visionary photography”. The Huawei P40 Pro Plus contains a huge rear camera array: an 8MP 10x zoom lens, a 40mp ultra-wide camera, time-of-flight depth perceiving sensor, and a 50MP wide-angle lens. The maximum zoom is 100x, putting the impressive array on par with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s huge “space zoom” functionality.
The P40 Pro contains a 16MP ultra-wide camera, 12MP 5x zoom and the same 50MP main wide-angle lens, while the P40 packs a similar array as the standard P40 Pro, although the 12MP 5x zoom lens is knocked down to an 8MP 3x zoom.
Combined, the “ultravision” camera arrays are said to offer optimum image stabilising and DSLR-worthy noise reduction. Video wise, the phones look set to be one of the best ever for capturing content, with 4K video capability (from both front and back cameras), directional audio zoom and even split-screen close-ups to capture wide angle and zoomed-in shots simultaneously.
The cameras are supported with cutting-edge software, with its AI high-definition image engine said to incorporate “pixel by pixel” optimisation to maintain quality even when the photo is zoomed in or cropped.
A “super night mode” seen above and the Huawei XD Fusion engine - an algorithm that enhances images - are also part of the kit. Front-facing dual cams with 32MP sensors and autofocus to find your face, round out the new kit.
Huawei has worked to lure prospective Android users over to its own EMUI 10.1, its first non-Android-based operating system. AppGallery, EMUI’s own application store, is positioning itself as the third biggest app retailer behind Google’s Play Store and the Apple App Store, and will carry both global and local applications.
The OS includes MeeTime, a video and audio call functionality which reportedly packs the best low-light clarity of competing video calls and even allows you to change or disguise your background.
The OS also includes a new voice assistant known as Celia, yet another name to remember if you’re mixing and matching with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Celia will offer price-checking on products displayed in images, face-to-face foreign language translation and the usual voice-assistant functions such as information searching, scheduling appointments on your calendar and playing music.
The Huawei P40 will be available in ice white, black, deepsea blue, silver frost and blush gold colourways, with a ceramic white and black back for the P40 Pro Plus in refractive matte finish. No price or release date has yet to be officially revealed.