The recently launched Huawei P40 Pro is the Chinese manufacture’s newest release to compete for leadership in the smartphone market. The device competes directly with the likes of the Galaxy S20, Samsung’s very own headliner. Besides the robust technical specifications, the Chinese giant has made great improvements to the camera, which now offers a 50 MP main camera with the largest sensor in the market.
The negative point, however, is the Android system, which does not make use of Google’s Mobile Services and technologies. That’s no downfall though, as we found in our review of the P40 Pro device here. To be fair, we had to put both the Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung S20+ on a show off and let the best man win.
Design and Screen
The Huawei P40 Pro flaunts a refined design although the rear panel looks almost identical to Samsung Galaxy S20+. The phone features a square-cut design with a tall form-factor and curved edges on all four sides. The metal and glass sandwiched body has a matte texture to protect the back panel from fingerprint smudges (at least you won’t have to pull your fibre cloth to wipe off the smudges). The phone has a rectangular camera block at the top left corner. The curved edges between the front and black panels are crafted to offer better ergonomics. The Huawei P40 Pro features an edge display with a pill-shaped cut-out that houses the dual-sensor selfie camera. At the bottom, the phone has a USB Type-C reversible connector.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ is encased in a glass body with a metal frame chiselled in between the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 panel. The curved bezel-less display has a small cut-out at the top centre to embed the front camera. Similar to the Huawei P40 Pro’s rectangular camera bump that covers some portion of the back panel, the S20 has similar traits. That aside, the volume keys and power button are thankfully placed on the same side (unlike the previous models) for easy access. At the bottom, the speaker grill sits alongside the USB-C port.
Huawei has upgraded the screen refresh rate on its new P40 flagship phone. The phone features a bezel-less 6.58-inch OLED 90Hz screen to offer clearer image quality. The display has a resolution of 1200 x 2640 pixels and gets HDR10 support which offers a striking look and pleasant viewing experience.
The Samsung Galaxy S20+ sports a slightly large display. It has a 6.7-inch panel with a 1440 x 3200 pixel resolution. The Galaxy S20+ takes the edge over the Huawei P40 Pro in terms of refresh rate. The phone’s screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, however, you are required to switch the resolution to 2400 x 1800 pixel.
Both Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20+ embeds an in-display fingerprint sensor. We’re in favour for Huawei’s version as it much quicker and covers a larger area on the screen.
Huawei’s P series smartphones are best known for camera innovation. This year is no different, with the Huawei P40 Pro getting Leica branded lenses. The phone features a big 1/1.28-inch 50MP ultra vision RYYB main sensor (meant for better light sensitivity), a 40MP wide-angle sensor, a 12MP telephoto sensor, and a time-of-flight sensor. The big sensor will likely provide a better dynamic range and reduced noise.
Upfront, the Huawei P40 Pro sports a 32MP selfie camera and an infrared sensor for fast facial recognition. The phone supports 4K recording as well both with front and rear cameras. The camera software gets a bunch of AI-photo tricks as well.
Meanwhile, the rear quad-cameras on the Galaxy S20+ boasts a 12Mp sensor with f/1.8 aperture, ultra-wide-angle 12MP camera with f/2.2, an optical telephoto 64MP camera with f/2.0, and a time-of-flight camera for better depth processing. The different camera modes on the phone offer Night Mode, Night Hyperlapse.
The camera is capable of recording 8K video (though it’s barely of any use as only a few TVs support 8K and are quite expensive) and delivering 50x zoom. The phone has a 10MP front-facing camera and a ToF sensor that yields accurate depth-sensing information.
In terms of software, the Huawei P40 Pro runs custom EMUI 10.1 based Android 10. Although the phone runs Android OS, it misses out the major Google apps and Google Play Store (all because of Huawei’s tussle with US regulatory). Instead, you will find Huawei’s own AppGallery store that does offer some popular apps. The software includes custom MeeTime which is basically video/audio call service. This service is yet to roll out in Mzansi.
As for the Samsung Galaxy S20+, it runs in-house OneUI based Android 10. The software includes system-wide dark mode enhancing the night viewing experience. Worth noting that Huawei pioneered night mode a few years ago. There is an ‘Edge panels’ feature that allows quick access to apps, actions, tools and more with a swipe from the side which can be rather frustrating when you’re trying to exit some activity.
All that power
As far as hardware is concerned, the Huawei P40 Pro is powered by the in-house Kirin 990 SoC paired with Mali-G76 MP16 for rendering graphics. The phone is available in 8 GB RAM which is paired with 256 GB onboard storage. The native storage can be further expanded up to 256GB via a microSD card.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ meanwhile is powered by either Exynos 990 chipset which is paired with Mali-G77 MP11 GPU. Compared to the Huawei P40 Pro, you the same RAM/storage option with the Galaxy S20+. The phone comes in 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage.
As for the battery capacity, the Huawei P40 Pro is backed by a 4200mAh battery and comes with 40W wired charging and wireless charging support.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ gets a mammoth-sized 4500mAh battery with 25W fast charging and reverse wireless charging support, too.
Similar to its previous models, Huawei has kept its focus intact on the camera. The Huawei P40 Pro’s stellar design, bezel-less display, Leica-branded camera with a bunch of modes and tweaks will no doubt have an edge over the other premium phones. However, with the missing Google apps, some users might be reluctant to switch to a Chinese custom skin-based Android OS. Fear not, for we have found that live without Google is not the worst thing as everyone’s fear proclaim.
Nevertheless, the new Huawei P40 Pro’s impressive camera and high-end specs with a tall screen will turn heads. The Huawei P40 Pro retails for R20 999 in either Black or Silver Frost.