No more Google? Full review of Huawei P40 Pro

March 26, Huawei introduced the flagship smartphones P40 series. In Belarus, the Huawei P40 Pro was estimated at 2599 rubles. For this money, the device offers a Leica main camera with four modules, as well as a proprietary AppGallery application store. There are no Google services on the smartphone. Below we understand what else the device can offer.

Huawei P40 Pro
Huawei P40 Pro

Metal, glass and advanced face activation

The design of the P40 Pro was clearly created under the impression of the previous model in the series – the P30 Pro. In my opinion, this is good: continuity is felt, dimensions and weight are similar. The back and front sides of the device are covered with tempered glass, the supporting frame is metal. The asset also has technology for protection against water and dust according to the IP68 standard. The device is allowed to immerse in water to a depth of one and a half meters for half an hour.

Metal, glass and advanced face activation
Metal, glass and advanced face activation

There are no questions about the ergonomics of the Huawei P40 Pro: despite the left and right sides of the display is quite rounded, there were no false clicks in two days. The power button and volume rocker are on the right side of the smartphone, under the thumb of the right hand. This is convenient, especially when compared with the Mate 30 Pro. It had to adjust the volume with virtual buttons.

Not the most standard solution that migrated to the P40 Pro from the P30 Pro is a conversational speaker, hidden under the display. I tried to call from a noisy room – the interlocutor’s voice is heard well, there are no problems. You to hear normally.

Huawei P40 Pro Finger Lock
Huawei P40 Pro Finger Lock

An optical fingerprint scanner is also placed under the screen. The manufacturer claims that, compared with last year’s flagship, the response rate increased by 30%. Checking such a statement is at least difficult: the sensor really quickly (in a second or even less) recognizes the owner of the device, but no more.

But with unlocking in the face, the situation is better than in most other Android smartphones. In an oval neckline for two frontal photo modules creating a three-dimensional face map, an infrared emitter is located in the upper left corner of the P40 Pro display. This means that the smartphone recognizes the owner even in complete darkness in literally a split second. A similar system is only in smartphones from Apple and several devices from Huawei itself.

From strange moments: there is no support for working simultaneously with two nanoSIM cards. Moreover, you can physically install them on a smartphone, but only one will act. At the same time, Huawei P40 Pro can work with new-fashioned eSIM. Perhaps this is a feature of our test, not yet the final apparatus. Another option: regional restrictions, that is, depending on which market the device is supplied to.

What I liked: P40 Pro is visually and ergonomically in no way inferior to the flagships of its competitors – despite the rounded edges of the display, I did not notice false positives. The smartphone quickly unlocks in the face in almost any environment, all thanks to the IR emitter.

What I didn’t like: a single speaker – there is no stereo effect like competitors do. Expanding memory is allowed only with nano sd cards, but finding them is more difficult than microSD. It is a pity that the device cannot work simultaneously with two nanoSIM cards, but only with one ordinary SIM card and built-in eSIM.

Great display

The Huawei P40 Pro has a 6.58-inch display. The matrix is ​​OLED, the resolution is 2640 by 1200 pixels (441 ppi), there is support for HDR10 and the DCI-P3 color space.

Huawei P40 Pro has a Great display
Huawei P40 Pro has a Great display

In short, the only complaint about the display is the maximum brightness level. This does not mean that the smartphone “fades” in the sun or under strong artificial lighting, but the supply is not very large, I would like the panel to be even brighter.

From the pluses – the minimal frames above and below the panel. Visually, this makes the smartphone “slimmer”. On the left and right, the faces are quite rounded. We saw something similar a couple of years ago, for example, in Samsung’s flagship smartphones.

But I repeat: I did not notice accidental clicks, holding the device with one hand and at the same time typing, in two days of testing. True, if you look at the display even at a slight angle, at the bend points the white color turns into bluish. Unpleasant, but not fatal – in general, you have to pay for beauty.

Huawei P40 Pro Has Metallic Body
Huawei P40 Pro Has Metallic Body

What I liked: a convenient diagonal – the device can still be used with one hand, but you can’t name the miniature display. Minimal frames around the edges of the panel visually make the smartphone frameless.

What I did not like: there is enough maximum brightness, but without a margin. Due to the design with rounded left and right sides of the panel, when viewed from the side, they turn a little blue. But there are no false clicks.

What gives a refresh rate of 90 Hz

As befits the flagship smartphone of 2020, the P40 Pro is equipped with a display with an increased refresh rate of 90 Hz instead of the standard 60 Hz.

Huawei P40 Pro Display Photo
Huawei P40 Pro Display Photo

This means that the actions on the panel – turning over the desktops, message feeds in the messenger, the site in the Internet browser or news in the social network – visually seem smoother. And in general, the sensations of working with a smartphone are changing for the better, the device is perceived much faster than it actually is.

But I will say bluntly: in the 120-Hertz panels of the recent Samsung Galaxy S20 or, for example, Apple’s new iPad Pro, the effect of increased smoothness is noticeably stronger. The difference, of course, is not so striking in comparison with the return to the 60-Hz panel, but it is still noticeable.

However, the decision to choose a scan of 90 Hz instead of 120 Hz for the Huawei P40 Pro display has a plus: not so strong energy consumption. Simply put, the charge of the smartphone lasts longer.

Autonomy is better than expected

The battery capacity of the new Huawei P40 Pro is 4200 mAh. The smartphone supports 40-watt wired charging, 27-watt wireless and 15-watt reverse charging. In addition, as in other Huawei smartphones, the P40 Pro by default uses fairly aggressive energy-saving algorithms that “kill” background processes.

Simply put, a smartphone is able to withstand a day and a half without connecting to an outlet in a fairly intense use mode with the image display mode turned on at 90 Hz. You can count on at least six hours of the active screen or even a little more. In the photo above, the “active screen” time is almost three hours, while the device still has 44% of the battery charge.

In short: you can actively use your smartphone for at least a day (if you try, one and a half) without recharging – a good result.


Huawei P40 Pro runs on the manufacturer’s proprietary processor – Kirin 990 5G (built on a 7-nm process technology). RAM in the device – 8 GB, permanent – 256 GB. The operating system is Android 10 with the proprietary EMUI 10 shell, but more on that later.

In short: performance is one of the main distinguishing features of the device. The P40 Pro clearly uses a successful cooling system: the smartphone heats up slightly even under load (for example, in a synthetic test).

We tested the pre-release version of the smartphone, on which the AnTuTu benchmark refused to run. However, in the eighth version of the program, the Mate 30 Pro with the same chip gains about 480 thousand points. P40 Pro will probably show a similar result.

Huawei P40 Pro Performance
Huawei P40 Pro Performance

But on our Huawei P40 Pro, a throttling test will start (a drop in performance under load). In the balanced mode, the smartphone clearly artificially underestimated the indicators – this can be seen in the jump diagram above. I will assume that the energy conservation algorithms already mentioned above are “guilty” of this. In maximum performance mode (can be activated in the settings), the result is almost a reference.

But, most likely, an ordinary user will never know about the possibility of such “jumps”. I played several rounds of the “heavy” Call of Duty Mobile at maximum graphics settings in a balanced performance mode and did not notice a drop in fps – it was very comfortable to play.

In general, performance is one of the strongest features of the device, which is clearly not worth worrying about.

Again without Google

Details about why the new Huawei smartphones lack Google services and how to live with it, I recently talked about in a review of the Huawei P40 Lite. In the top-end P40 Pro, the situation has not changed: the manufacturer relies on its own AppGallery application store.

Installing Google Mobile Services (GMS) on the device is officially impossible, unofficially I also did not succeed. This means that getting the same YouTube app to work, even if you install it from alternative sources, will fail. The only option is to open YouTube in a browser. This applies to almost all branded Google applications in which synchronization with a Google profile is important.

At the same time, Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and most other programs will still be uploaded: there are special mirror sites that store installation files of popular programs from the “Play Store”. But there’s a catch: to guarantee 100% that these copies are completely harmless, no one will undertake. If you encounter any problems – for example, with your personal data – all responsibility will rest with the user.

The main focus is on the camera

Like last year, the main emphasis in the P40 Pro manufacturer makes on the main camera. It was created in collaboration with Leica and consists of four modules. The first – at 50 megapixels, the second, telephoto – at 12 megapixels, the third, ultra-wide – at 40 megapixels. Fourth – ToF-sensor for measuring the depth of objects in the frame.

Huawei P40 Pro Back Side Camera Display
Huawei P40 Pro Back Side Camera Display

Important! Our review was visited by a test version of a smartphone with a not yet final version of the firmware. In devices that will go on official sale, the software will have time to update – most likely, the results will change. Our device, for example, “frames” the shots a bit — for now, we write this to the “dampness” of the software.

Thanks to the periscope module, Huawei P40 Pro can shoot with 5x optical and 10x hybrid zoom – in this regard, there are no differences from the P30 Pro. Only the Huawei P40 Pro + can take pictures with a 10x optical zoom (in theory, with even more detail), but there is no information on whether the gadget will appear in Belarus.

Another important point: by default, the P40 Pro shoots at a lower resolution, combining adjacent pixels with one larger size. So (in any case, in theory) more light is going to:

Below is a series of photos taken on the P40 Pro with a magnification of 1x – 5x – 10x:

Photo 1 From Huawei P40 Pro
Photo 1x From Huawei P40 Pro
Photo 5x From Huawei P40 Pro
Photo 5x From Huawei P40 Pro
Photo 10x From Huawei P40 Pro
Photo 10x From Huawei P40 Pro

And in general, I liked shooting on “shirk” no less than on the main photo module. In the afternoon, when there is enough ambient light, the detail is practically not lame (thanks to the increased resolution). When shooting in the evening, AI is included in the case, helping to level out the noise. Clarity, of course, decreases, but still, the photos are excellent.

It is interesting that the manufacturer offers shooting videos by default (maximum 4K / 60 fps) on an ultra-wide-angle camera: when you select the shooting mode for clips in the camera application, this module is automatically activated.

And here are a couple of macro frames:

Huawei P40 Pro Photo
Huawei P40 Pro Photo


Huawei P40 Pro is a logical continuation of last year’s “thirtieth” line. The pluses of the smartphone include battery life, and even with the display mode turned on at 90 Hz, the device can not be recharged for a day and a half with fairly intensive use.

There are no questions about performance, most buyers will like the display – the already mentioned 90 Hz make the process of interacting with the device much more pleasant, although a 120-Hz matrix would enhance the effect even more. And the P40 Pro has an excellent face recognition system with an infrared emitter: it works quickly and without misses, even in the dark.

But there are insulting flaws that for some reason have not been fixed since last year. For example, in the P40 Pro, there are still no stereo speakers, the solution is strange for the flagship smartphone. In our test apparatus, two nanoSIM cards did not want to work at the same time (firmware bug?), It is proposed to level this only through the connection of the built-in eSIM. The memory is expanded not by the most popular nano sd cards: it is more difficult to find them than microSD.

The Leica main camera with four modules still shoots with a 10x hybrid zoom with virtually no loss in detail quality, but last year’s Huawei P30 Pro was also able to do this. But they have seriously improved the wide-angle camera: you can take pictures of it even at night, which helps artificial intelligence. True, there were some flaws as well: our test apparatus slightly “greens” the photographs. But this point will almost certainly be corrected in updating the firmware. Our test was not the final version of the device.

But, as in the recent Huawei P40 Lite review, I repeat: this is not the reason to buy or not the P40 Pro. The smartphone does not support Google services – you need to understand that I did not succeed in installing them even in an unofficial way.

This means that the same YouTube will have to be watched in a browser, the application does not work. Other branded programs from Google – especially those in which synchronization with a Google profile is important – will also not “get started”. You can install Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and some other programs from the “Play Store”, but in a much more confusing way. True, no one knows whether they will “cover-up” such an opportunity in the future – the P40 Pro still works on Android.

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