Huawei Mate40 Pro Review
2020 has been a challenging year for Huawei, but it didn’t stop the company from releasing multiple smartphones to address the users’ demand for performance, photography, and 5G. The company showed no signs of slowing down, though, and unveiled the Huawei Mate 40 Series just last month. One of those devices is the Huawei Mate40 Pro, packing almost everything the company is known to be good at. Is this the flagship smartphone to get in 2020? Let’s find out.
Design and Construction
The Huawei Mate40 Pro sports a familiar design and is like a merge between the Mate 30 Pro and the P40 Pro. We have a large screen that curves on the sides, although it seems like it has thicker bezels at the top and bottom.
Gone is the notch and is replaced with a hole-punch for the dual-front camera, similar to the P40 Pro.
We have the volume buttons and the power/lock button with a red accent on the right side. The buttons are placed near the center, so it’s still easy to reach. The buttons feel clicky but firm and solid.
Up top, we have the earpiece, loudspeaker, IR blaster, and microphone.
Below, we have the loudspeaker, USB-C port, and the card slot for the nano-SIM card and NM card.
At the back, you will see a reflective glass back, along with the protruding circular camera module that houses the 50MP main camera, 20MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto, Laser AF, dual-LED flash, and another microphone for video recording purposes.
As expected of a flagship smartphone coming from Huawei’s Mate lineup, the Mate40 Pro is every inch a premium device. It’s cool to the touch, has a decent heft, and the curves are seamless. It’s also a tall device but thin enough to be comfortably gripped.
We’re also glad that it already has a screen protector pre-installed and a clear case included in the package as the back panel attracts fingerprints and smudges like crazy. If you’re worried about water damage, you don’t have to, as the Mate40 Pro is IP68-certified.
Display and Multimedia
The Mate40 Pro is equipped with a large 6.76-inch screen with a 2772 x 1344 resolution, equal to 456ppi. The screen resolution can be adjusted between 2772 x 1344 or 1848 x 896, or choose Smart Resolution to allow the device to adjust the resolution based on your activity to save power.
It’s a pretty packed screen for its size, so icons and hi-res images and videos come out sharp. Its OLED panel produces punchy colors and deep blacks, while the 90Hz refresh rate is just visually pleasing with its smooth animations and transitions.
Go in the display settings, and you will see several options to tweak. You can adjust the color mode and temperature, activate Eye Comfort and enable and disable Dark mode. You can also select between 60Hz and 90Hz, depending on your preference or power needs. If the hole-punch bothers you, there’s also an option to hide it. However, it would look like it has a thick forehead.
When it comes to audio, the Mate40 Pro boasts two speakers, one at the top and one at the bottom. As expected of the Mate series, the audio is excellent. It’s not as good as a dedicated Bluetooth speaker, but it’s loud, rich, and full. You will really enjoy the experience if you’re just casually enjoying a movie or TV show on a couch or bed.
Huawei’s most powerful cameras are not just reserved for the P-Series. They’re also found in the Mate-series. For the Mate40 Pro, it has a triple camera setup consisting of a 50MP F1.9 Ultra Vision primary, 20MP F1.8 Cine Camera ultrawide, and 12MP F3.4 telephoto with OIS. It comes with the following modes: Aperture, Night, Portrait, Pro, Slow-mo, Panorama, Monochrome, AR Lens, AI Lens, and Dual-View, to name some.
Images produced, as expected, are just excellent. The images produced are one of the sharpest we’ve seen, even when cropped. The colors are punchy yet accurate, the contrast is just right, and the dynamic range is great. It’s easy to just point-and-shoot as the autofocus is fast in most cases, even in low-light. It’s quite slow, though, when shooting in macros.
For its zoom, it’s capable of 5x optical, 10x hybrid, and 50x digital. Images taken using the optical zoom are good, the hybrid zoom is decent, but the digital zoom lacks detail. If you’re wondering if it can still take a photo of the moon, yes, it can.
Portrait shots also look amazing with a good subject and background separation. Huawei is improving in this aspect as it was able to identify loose hair and still separate it from the background.
One of the things we noticed about the Mate40 Pro is how well it post-process the images in certain situations. In most smartphones, what we see on the screen before we press the shutter is the kind of image that we can expect. But in the case of the Mate40 Pro, what you see on the screen is different in the output. And when I say different, I mean better. This is usually observed when taking photos in extreme low-light. What you’ll mostly see on the screen is just black, but once you take the photo, the resulting image is brighter and clearer than what you’re actually seeing. It’s cool to see how the Mate40 Pro brings out the details in very dark environments, even when not using Night mode.
When it comes to selfies, the 13MP F2.4 main shooter does a good job producing bright selfies with great detail and accurate colors. The beautification effect is also impressive as it was able to clear out blemishes without removing essential facial features like wrinkles, making it look more natural. The 3D Depth Sensing Camera is also effective in providing that bokeh effect.
As for video recording, you can shoot up to 4K resolution at 60fps. Like the images, the quality is also good with great dynamic range, accurate colors, and sharp details. If you want videos with minimal shakes, make sure to activate the Steady Shot feature on the upper left corner of the camera UI.
OS and Apps
Running the software side is EMUI 11 based on Android 10 and uses HMS instead of GMS. While it doesn’t have Google services and apps, it does come with cool and handy features. Some of them include the Smart Always On Display, which activates the AOD when you glance at it, floating multi-windows, side dock for apps, multi-screen collaboration, Petal Search, and Huawei Share.
When it comes to pre-installed apps, there’s Snapchat, Agoda, AliExpress, and Lazada. There are five folders of recommended apps as well. The apps are not installed, though, so you can remove them, which can be cumbersome.
Despite the beautiful UI and nifty features, we still can’t ignore the disadvantage due to the lack of the Google Play Store. Even with the presence of the rapidly growing AppGallery, there are some apps that we find hard to install, like benchmark apps. Sideloading some APKs from sources like APKPure, APKMirror, and APKMonk gives us parsing errors. We’re not sure yet if this is an issue with EMUI 11, but we’re hoping to sideload more apps.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Mate40 Pro is the new Kirin 9000 (5nm) SoC, with 8GB RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1. While we can’t install some of our benchmark apps and other games we want to play, we can still say that the performance is top-notch. Apps launch and load quickly, switching between apps is a breeze and snappy, the biometric scanners are fast and accurate, and Asphalt 9 in its highest settings didn’t even stutter. Warming can be felt on the backside, but not hot enough to be a serious concern. Check out the benchmark scores below:
• 3DMark Wild Life – 6,180, 37 Average FPS
• 3DMark SSE – 6,238 (OpenGL ES 3.1)
• AndroBench – 2,047.18 MB/s (Seq. Read), 1,215.01 MB/s (Seq. Write)
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Huawei Mate40 Pro is equipped with the latest in mobile connectivity. There’s 5G, 4G LTE, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and multi-band SatNavs. While we don’t have 5G in our area, we noticed that the Mate40 Pro picks up better LTE-A signal and produces faster download speeds compared to other smartphones we have on hand.
The battery has a 4,400mAh capacity with support for the 66W SuperCharge and 50W Wireless SuperCharge. The Mate40 Pro is good in battery management as we’re getting more than a day using it for heavy social media, light photography, and at least 8 hours of continuous LTE WiFi hotspot.
Our video loop test, which involves playing a 1080p video on loop in Airplane mode at 50% brightness and volume with headset plugged at 90Hz refresh rate, got us 16 hours and 13 minutes of playback, which is not bad. On the other hand, charging, using the 66W SuperCharger, took less than an hour from 0% to 100%.
The Huawei Mate40 Pro, without a doubt, is the best smartphone the company has released to date. It’s almost the perfect phone, checking out the requirements we want for a 2020 flagship — a large immersive screen with a high refresh rate, great speakers, the most powerful cameras in the smartphone market, amazing performance, great battery life, cool software features, and comprehensive connectivity features.
What will probably ruin the experience for some users is the lack of Google support, and it’s not even Huawei’s fault. But even if you consider that, the pros mentioned above can easily overwhelm the glaring con. But in a world where Huawei has access to Google, this is the perfect smartphone.
Huawei Mate40 Pro specs:
6.76-inch FHD+ (2772 x 1344) OLED display, 456ppi
90Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate
Huawei Kirin 9000 octa-core CPU
• 50MP F1.9 Ultra Vision Camera (main)
• 20MP F1.8 Cine Camera (ultrawide)
• 12MP F3.4, OIS (telephoto)
13MP F2.4 Ultra Vision Selfie Camera + 3D Depth Sensing Camera
5G, 4G LTE
WiFi 6, 2 x 2 MIMO, HE160, 1024 QAM, 8 Spatial-stream Sounding MU-MIMO
Bluetooth 5.2, BLE, SBC, AAC, LDAC
GPS (Dual-band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS (Quad-band), GALILEO (Tri-band), QZSS (Dual-band), NavIC
USB 3.1 Type-C
USB Type-C earphone jack
3D Face Recognition
IP68 water and dust resistance
EMUI 11 (Android 10)
4,400mAh battery w/ 66W SuperCharge, 50W Wireless SuperCharge
162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1mm (Glass) ~ 9.5mm (Vegan Leather)
212 g (Glass, Vegan Leather)
Mystic Silver, White, Black, Green, Yellow