Huawei unveiled the P40 Pro series running HMS a short while ago via a global livestream. The 2020 flagship has been unveiled amid the Covid19 global pandemic and it is not known when any potential buyer will be able to get their hands on one. The nationwide lockdown in South Africa begins tomorrow, 27 March for 21 days but it’s safe to say it could be longer/indefinite.
The range includes the P40 Pro+, P40 Pro and P40. The specifications on the P40 Pro, which I have and in case you missed: it has 6.58-inch 90Hz screen with an Overflow Display + a camera cutout on the left; a Kirin 990 5G chip; 8GB RAM; 256GB storage; dual SIM card slot + eSIM; 4200mAh battery.
My first impressions of the handset is that matte grey is by far the best colour I’ve seen on any smartphone. I love grey, and the matte finish means NO MORE fingerprints. When it catches the light you can see various shades of grey, but it’s matte so it’s muted somewhat.
At 6.58-inches, it’s on the slim and long side, so easy to grip with one hand but you’re gonna need two hands for everything else. I love the narrow bezels but Overflow Display, like a wraparound screen, could likely have you hitting things accidentally. If you’re into gestures, you can scroll with your hands in the air, and take screenshots in a pinch to zoom like gesture. I am not sure I will be using these features, I find it easier to do things with your hands.
The camera cutout is now to the left but I prefer the centred look. It reminds me of the Samsung S10 Plus in reverse. That said, I’m sure there will be pretty cool wallpapers available that cleverly disguise the cameras.
Inside the box, you get a clear case, SIM tool, charger, plug, a pair of earphones and all the paperwork.
The P40 Pro that I received says it is a 5G handset and dual SIM plus it has eSIM support. Could you run 3 SIM cards on it? We’ll have to wait and see. The SIM slot features a nifty back-to-back design that doesn’t take up much space. I did put my Vodacom SIM that has been enabled for 5G into it and tested it at the 5G station by my local Spar. I can confirm that the unit does not have 5G services enabled. It just worked on 4G (I toggled the mobile data setting), and it only gave me 94Mbps down and 9Mbps up.
The quad rear cameras consist of a 50MP wide angle; 40MP ultra-wide; 12MP periscope with 5x optical zoom; and a depth sensor. It has features like directional audio and low-light video recording.
Here is a sample shot from the default photo mode:
The 32MP selfie camera also has a ID depth camera for “pro-bokeh” effects, plus it has an ambient and proximity sensor. It takes 4K selfie videos, and auto-focus selfies.
The selfie image was quite a large file; actually all the pics were large and high-res, so ideal for printing. The main camera also has 5x optical zoom; 10x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I am not a fan of any digital zoom. In fact, here are my images from my backyard. The zoomed pic took a few tries as it was very shaky with that much zoom applied. Click to enlarge:
I set up the P40 Pro using the Huawei Phone Clone app. This is typically found lumped with pre-installed Huawei apps if they are in a folder. I carried over everything from my P30 Pro. So all my social media apps are there.
I think if you have Phone Clone, it won’t be a problem to keep using Huawei handsets as you will get all your apps. The only app that I received an error with was Chrome; even Google Maps copied over. BUT as mentioned on a previous HMS post of mine, you cannot sign into any Google Mobile Services on the Huawei so none of my Maps data will be accessible; a deal-breaker for some.
These are just my early impressions but I will review it properly. EDIT: Forgot to mention there’s a new virtual assistant called Celia. Just say “hey Celia” to get going. I said it and Siri responded, LOL. I did find the naming convention to sound similar to Siri.
The Huawei P40 will retail for R16 999 and the P40 Pro is R20 999. Once the lockdown has been lifted, you should be able to get your hands on one.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. I’m usually unashamedly taking food photos (@nafisaeats on IG).