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Huawei P40: 14 things you need to know now

Huawei has just launched its latest flagship smartphone range, the P40 series, and global availability (for certain variants) will begin in April. Interestingly, Huawei has come up with 3 variants: the Huawei P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Pro+.

Here are 14 things that you need to know about Huawei’s brand new P40 series.

1. 5G support across the board

All variants in the P40 series will have full 5G support, which is slightly surprising. In contrast, the range-topping Mate 30 Pro was the only model to be given 5G connectivity in the Mate 30 lineup.

Huawei has already featured the Kirin 990 5G SoC with their past two flagships: the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Mate Xs. Still, there could be LTE models in certain markets outside of China.

In the past, Huawei has explained that the Kirin 990 5G offers “real” 5G connectivity, which basically means that global bands and standards supported on the Huawei P40 series.

2. The UltraVision Leica Camera

In line with the photography-centric nature of the P-series, the P40 Pro features some serious tech underneath that large (and rather familiar-looking) camera module on the back of the device. All three variants in the series have 50MP f/1.9 “UltraVision” main cameras with OIS, and there is also something called “Octa Phase Detection” autofocus, focuses on subjects faster in low light.

The non-pro version of the P40 has a different set up to the Pro version, besides the 50MP main camera: a 15MP ultra-wide angle shooter, an 8MP telephoto lens. Meanwhile, the P40 Pro features a 40MP ultra-wide Cine Camera, a 12MP “SuperSensing” telephoto lens, as well as a 3D ToF sensor.

The Pro+ is fairly similar to the Pro in this regard, sharing the same main camera and 3D Depth Sensing camera. However, the flagship variant features two 8MP zoom cameras: the SuperZoom Camera and the telephoto camera.

Which brings us to…

3. 50x SuperSensing Zoom

It looks like everyone in the mobile industry is focusing on zoom nowadays. Just like its predecessor, the Huawei P40 Pro features some serious zooming capabilities, along with the SuperZoom periscope design. Huawei says that the RYYB sensor used with the 50MP main camera and the P40 Pro’s 12MP telephoto periscope shooter  allows for 40% more light to be captured, with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and AI Stabilisation (AIS) helping to proved a better experience when zoomed in. Optical zoom is supported at up to 5x with the 12MP telephoto camera.

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The P40 Pro+, meanwhile, offers optical zoom of up to 10x, a hybrid zoom of 20x, and a maximum zoom of 100x—which puts it right up there with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Huawei also says that the P40 series will feature directional audio zoom, which means that audio sources will supposedly be isolated when the camera zooms in on a particular subject. During the launch, Richard Yu showed off examples of this at work—capturing the roar(?) of a lion cub.

4. All variants water-resistant—to varying degrees

All three variants in the series are water-resistant, as is the norm for most flagship devices nowadays. The base model P40 is rated at IP53 for water resistance, while the P40 Pro has a bumped up IP68 water resistance that is shared by the flagship P40 Pro+.

5. A “Quad-curve Overflow Display”

While the Mate 30 Pro was criticised for only having a Full HD screen, the P40 Pro and Pro+ feature a 6.58″ AMOLED display which pushes a resolution of 2640 x 1200 pixels—not quite a market-leading figure, but still a higher resolution than FHD. The P40, on the other hand, comes equipped with a lower-end (and smaller) 6.1″ Full HD+ AMOLED display. As per its name, the edges of the P40 Pro and the Pro Plus curve over the sides of the phone—similarly to the Mate 30 Pro.

6. Huawei’s first 90Hz display

This one had to happen. The P40 Pro and the Pro+ are the first phones from Huawei to launch with high refresh rate displays: 90Hz. While some competitors have even launched smartphones with 120Hz displays, the inclusion of a high refresh rate screen has certainly been a long time coming.

According to Huawei CEO Richard Yu, they could have gone even higher with the refresh rate—however, 90Hz is the best “balance” between having a smoother experience, and managing battery life, he explained. It’s worth noting that this is a feature that is exclusive to the Pro and Pro+ versions in the series. The standard Huawei P40 will have a 60Hz display, as per the norm.

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7. Wi-Fi 6+ support

All 3 variants have WiFi 6+ technology, which Huawei says will enable peak Wi-Fi speeds of up to 2.4Gbps. Currently, WiFi 6 is the highest Wi-Fi standard right now, with theoretical peak speeds of 10Gbps—we’ll have to wait and see if Huawei shares more information to clarify this one.

8. 40W fast-charging via Huawei’s SuperCharge, both wirelessly and wired

The P40 Pro+ comes with 40W charging—for both wired and wireless charging. Wireless SuperCharging, in particular, is a significant improvement over the P30 Pro (15W), and even the Mate 30 Pro (27W). Still, Huawei has shared that users will only be able to charge at these speeds with a special SuperCharge charger and cable which are sold separately.

The P40 Pro, on the other hand, can be wirelessly charged at 27W—just like the Mate 30 Pro. And of course, the P40 Pro and Pro+, like other Huawei flagships, feature reverse wireless charging so you can charge other compatible devices.

But Wireless charging is still only a top-level option, it seems. The P40 will feature a 3,800mAh battery—an average size, by today’s standards—that can be fast-charged at 22.5W via USB-C. The lack of wireless charging isn’t really so much of an issue, but I think that users would certainly have preferred for the base-model P40 to have improved charging speeds.

9. Two huge camera sensors for both photos and videos

Huawei have also retained the RYYB sensor from the P30 Pro; the P40 Pro features two RYYB sensors on board—one for shooting videos, and another for capturing images. Huawei claims that the use of RYYB sensors means that twice the amount of light information can be processed.

10. Golden Snap: The ideal shot, as told by AI

This one is pretty interesting. Huawei has implemented the use of AI-based tech for its selfie camera to capture multiple 4K photos for a short period of time, and then to select the most ideal shot of the selection.

To get this “Golden Snap”, AI also removes pesky bystanders in your shot, along with reflections. Then, the Kirin 990 5G’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) powers the AI that chooses the three best photos for you. Pretty neat.

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11. Android 10, but of course…

It almost goes without saying, but for the uninitiated: just like Huawei’s other newly-released phones, the P40 series does not come with Google Mobile Services (GMS). This means a reliance upon Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and the AppGallery; basically, the phone will be running on an open-source version of Android.

And on top of Android 10, the P40 series will come shipped with EMUI 10.1.0—the latest version from Huawei which is also powering the recently-launched Mate Xs.

12. 7 colour options, depending on the variant

The Huawei P40 and P40 Pro will be available in 5 different colours: Black, Deep Sea Blue, Ice White, Sliver Frost, and Blush Gold. However, the range-topping P40 Pro+ only comes in 2 colours: Ceramic Black and Ceramic White—and as per the names, the P40 Pro+ has a ceramic back.

13. Huawei’s first phone with a hole-punch cutout, two cameras

The P40 Pro has a 32MP front-facing camera with an F/2.2 aperture—and it’s housed a hole-punch cutout, as is the trend nowadays. This marks the first time we’re not seeing a notch on one of Huawei’s flagship phones since the P10/Mate 10 generation.

There are two cameras housed in the cutout, wit h an infrared sensor complementing the 32MP selfie shooter for the P40 Pro. All three variants also come with an IR sensor housed in the cutout, which Huawei says will help with unlocking the phone with face recognition in low light.

14. Available at different dates

There appears to be only a single variant available for the Huawei P40 Pro+: 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Global availability will start from June 2020, with a RRP of EUR1,399 (about RM6,698).

Meanwhile, the P40 and the P40 Pro will both be available globally on the 7th of April 2020. As for pricing, the P40 (8GB + 128GB) will retail for EUR799 (about RM3,820), while the more expensive P40 Pro will retail for EUR999 (about RM4,776)—with double the storage.

Huawei P40 Pro+ – 8GB RAM, 512GB storage – EUR1,399 (about RM6,698)

Huawei P40 Pro – 8GB RAM, 256GB storage – EUR999 (RM4,776)

Huawei P40 – 8GB RAM, 128GB storage – EUR799 (about RM3,820)

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