Huawei P40 Review Huawei’s P40-series is official, and while all eyes are on the Huawei P40 Pro Plus, with its dual zoom system and ceramic design, the Huawei P40 Pro and vanilla P40 will likely be the more popular options, given their comparative affordability.
The Huawei P40 is the smallest, lowest-spec’d option, but it’s no slouch. While its demure 6.1-inch screen might lead you to think otherwise, inside, you’ve got the same power as found in the P40 Pro, 5G connectivity, and the same 50MP primary camera sensor too.
Huawei has also included some smart UI flourishes, including floating windows and simple multi-tasking; and anyone with a Huawei laptop or tablet can enjoy integrated multi-screen experiences. But is this enough to compensate for software limitations owing to the Huawei ban?
The compact flagship – it’s a niche fewer dare to explore, no matter potential or demand. Sony has given up on the Compact series, unfortunately, and the iPhone SE 2 is in a Schrödinger’s state of uncertainty for all we know. But Huawei P40 is already here, already available worldwide, and it brings a ton of premium perks stuffed into a pocket-friendly body.
The P40 is the smallest and least expensive of the new P40 series trio by Huawei. It relies on a more reasonably sized 6.1″ OLED screen, although 60Hz instead of 90Hz, with similar sharpness and boasts Huawei’s top-of-the-line Kirin 990 5G chip. The screen vibrates to make sound just like on the other P40’s, and the under-display fingerprint scanner is of equal rapidity and accuracy.
Being a Photography-centric smartphone, the P40 also offers some of the key camera features found on its Pro siblings like the new 50MP main shooter, complete with the RYYB filter, OIS, and 4K at 60fps capturing. The zoom range is limited to 3x as there is no periscope lens, while the ultrawide shooter uses a more mainstream 16MP sensor vs. 40MP on the Pro. There is no fourth (ToF) camera on the back of the P40 as there is on the Pro.
The selfie camera enjoys the high-res 32MP sensor available on the Pro models, but it omits autofocus and we were really bummed to find this. At least it got the IR camera helper, so Face Unlock is possible.
The P40 is a smaller phone and it has a smaller 3,800 mAh battery. Its charging speed isn’t as impressive at 22.5W, but still fast enough. There are no wireless charging capabilities on the P40 though, which is yet another obvious difference from the Pros.
Well, besides the lower screen refresh rate, reworked secondary cameras and slower charging, the Huawei P40 has one more thing different the more premium Pro versions – it is only splash-proof with IP53 rating, instead of water-resistant with IP68 or similar. This has been an ongoing thing with Huawei’s flagships for years now and we dream for the day where Pro and non-Pro headliners will have feature parity.
Huawei P40 release date and price
The Huawei P40 is set for an April 7 release across selected European markets. You can expect it to land on April 16 in Australia. So far, we know the phone will be available in the UK, other parts of Europe, Australia and the Middle East.
Huawei will only release the phone in one configuration – 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and it will be available in three colors: Ice White, Deep Sea Blue and Black. As for the price, you’re looking at around £699 / AU$1,049.
Huawei P40 has a 6.1″ OLED display of extended 1080p resolution. The screen, unlike the Pro models, supports only the standard refresh rate of 60Hz and that’s probably the biggest difference between the regular and Pro version.
The actual screen resolution is 1,080 x 2,340, which makes for sharp 422ppi density within this 6.1″ panel and 19.5:9 aspect. There is an elliptical cutout at the top left corner for the dual-selfie setup.
The screen has a flat piece of strengthened glass on top of it, but we don’t know who made it. Our unit also came with a factory-applied screen protector and we had some really hard time when trying to peel it off for our display test.
We measured a maximum brightness of 440 nits when adjusting the slider manually, which in line with most of the Samsung-made OLEDs. With Auto enabled, the P40 is lighting up to 590 nits – a nice improvement and makes for a substantial boost under bright sunlight.
The Huawei P40 packs a 3,800 mAh Li-Po battery. It supports Huawei’s first-generation Super Charge rated at 22.5W. Naturally, the P40 is bundled with the said charger. While the 22.5W charging may not be the fastest around, it can replenish the P40’s battery from 0% to 60% in just 30 minutes, while an hour of charging gets you to 90%. So, it’s still competitively fast, just not the fastest around.
Huawei P40 supports smart battery charging – if you hook the P40 for an overnight charge, it will eventually lower the speed and complete the full charge just before sunrise.
Unlike the Pro models, the P40 does not support wireless charging.
We’ve completed our battery tests and the results are very good. The phone can last north of 13 hours on web surfing, or more than 18 hours on playing videos. The 3G talk time isn’t spectacular, and nor is the standby performance – and these led to a bit lower than expected, but still great endurance rating of 89 hours.
EMUI 10.1 + Android 10 – Google
The Huawei P40 boots the EMUI 10.1. It’s the latest version of Huawei’s skin and it’s based on Android 10. It has no Google services and has no access to the Play Store, but we guess that’s old news already. Huawei does offer its new proprietary Mobile Services complete with Huawei’s AppGallery. More options are available, but we’ll talk about those in a bit.
Let’s start with how you unlock the Huawei P40. Both fingerprint and IR-based Face Unlock are available and both can work side by side – whichever happens first. The under-display optical fingerprint sensor is the fastest currently available and it’s on par with the conventional scanners – it lights up with a white light the moment you touch it, and before you know it, you are on the Homescreen.
The Huawei P40’s Leica-branded camera setup consists of a 50MP f/1.9 primary camera, a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto camera that’s capable of 3x optical zoom, just like the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus. Unlike the P40 Pro, there’s no time-of-flight (ToF) sensor here.
Huawei continues to use an RYYB sensor on its latest flagship line, and this time it’s a huge 1/1.28-inch size, which is the largest sensor Huawei has ever used, and bigger than the one found on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Using pixel binning (whereby four of the sensor’s pixels are combined into one ‘superpixel’), the phone’s main sensor can take 12MP shots that deliver improved low light performance over traditional 12MP camera phones.