Huawei’s P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus are high-resolution camera powerhouses with 5G but no Google

Saurabh Singh
Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40-series is official. Expectedly, it's all about the cameras. Unexpectedly, Huawei is going a step further, launching not one, not two, but three new phones – the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus. To be clear, the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus are literally the same phones, just that the Plus would get you one more additional camera and faster wireless charging. All the three phones are powered by Huawei's in-house Kirin 990 processor, support 5G connectivity (there will be no 4G option at all), and vouch for a life beyond Google apps and services – more on that later.

Since Huawei's new phones are, as always, all about the cameras, let's just start with that. All the three phones have the same primary rear camera with a whopping 50MP resolution. Huawei is one-upping Samsung here with the sensor size. The P40, P40 Pro and P40 Plus' main camera uses a sensor that's 1/2.28" in size – larger than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra's 1/1.33". Huawei is also using a custom RYYB colour filter, something that we've already seen in last year's P30 Pro for 'enhanced' low light photos. The 50MP main sensor sits behind an f/1.9 lens. There's optical image stabilization plus something that Huawei is calling 'Octa Phase Detection AF' which should entail in even faster focus.

The P40 Pro Plus has five cameras, the P40 Pro has four, and the vanilla P40 keeps things simple with three shooters on the back.

Both the P40 Pro Plus and P40 Pro come with a 40MP ultra wide-angle camera sensor sitting behind an f/1.8 lens. Both the phones also share a Time-of-Flight or ToF sensor for portrait photography. Both the phones also come with a periscope-style zoom camera – like the P30 Pro – but with different capabilities. While the P40 Pro Plus has an 8MP telephoto capable of 10x optical zoom, the P40 Pro has a 12MP telephoto for up to 5x optical zoom – both have OIS but the P40 Pro also gets a RYYB filter. The P40 Pro Plus will also get you another 8MP telephoto camera with OIS for 3x optical zoom (non periscope-style).

The vanilla P40 meanwhile comes with an 8MP telephoto with OIS for 3x optical zoom (non periscope-style) and another 16MP ultra wide-angle camera – in addition to the 40MP main camera.

All the three phones have a 32MP front camera – but only the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus have autofocus. The P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus also get an IR-sensor for advanced Apple Face ID-like face unlock. Speaking of which all the three phones have an in-display fingerprint scanner for biometrics. Huawei says they're faster and occupy a larger area (up to 30 per cent more) than the one on the P30 Pro.

The P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus boast of an 'overflow' display which basically means the display curved on four sides to melt into the side frame and there are minimal bezels all round – Huawei is using a pill-shaped punch hole cutout. The P40 Pro Plus and P40 Pro both come with a large 6.58-inch OLED display with a 2640 x 1200 pixel resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. The vanilla P40 has a relatively flatter 6.1-inch OLED display with a dialed down 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution and 60Hz refresh rate.

Both the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus are further backed by a 4,200mAh battery with 40W fast charging support. The P40 Pro Plus also supports 40W fast wireless charging – the P40 Pro supports 27W fast wireless. The vanilla P40 meanwhile has a smaller 3,800mAh battery and supports 22.5W fast charging – there’s no wireless charging on this one. Additionally, while the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus are IP68-certified, the P40 has IP53-certification.

Let’s talk software now. All the three phones run Android 10 (based EMUI) but they will ship without Google apps and services due to Huawei’s current predicament with the US government. Huawei has been placed under an ‘entity list’ by the Trump administration which means US tech companies can’t do business with it without proper authorization. Huawei isn’t authorized to use the full commercial version of Android which includes Google apps and services including the Google Play Store. It can only use the open source version which is how these phones run Android. To counter that, Huawei will be shipping the P40-series phones with its own AppGallery, a Google Play Store alternative, with relevant apps. The list does not include the likes of WhatsApp though.

Now let's talk about the pricing. Huawei has launched the P40 Pro Plus with 8GB RAM and 512GB storage for Euros 1,399 (roughly Rs 1,15,600) – available in June 2020. The P40 Pro has been launched with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for Euros 999 (roughly Rs 82,600), while the P40 has been launched with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for Euros 799 (roughly Rs 66,000). Both the P40 Pro and P40 will be available from April 7, 2020. India availability and pricing isn’t known yet.