I never thought that I’d be reviewing a Huawei phone in 2020/21, much less a top tier premium one like the Huawei Mate40 Pro.
After Trump went after the company in 2019 and its subsequent ban from the Google Play store ecosystem, I honestly thought that the company was done for.
Boy was I wrong.
Trump’s actions did nothing but to galvanize the company to come up with its own storefront, while also providing them with more freedom now that they’re unfettered by Google’s restrictions.
Their latest salvo in their lineup’s the Huawei Mate40 Pro, a premium smartphone meant to compete with flagships from other companies.
Does it do the job?
Read on to find out!
What is the Huawei Mate40 Pro?
The Huawei Mate40 Pro is Huawei’s latest flagship phone. It features the Kirin 9000 processor (said to outperform the Snapdragon 865+) and an ARM Mali-G78 MP24 GPU.
The phone is dual SIM capable and also comes with a 6.7 inch display (2772 x 1334) with HDR10 support, 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB storage. You can’t use a microSD card if you’re interested in expanding the storage, you’ll need to shell out for Huawei’s Nano Memory card, which can go up to 256GB.
There’s an USB Type-C port that’s used for connectivity and charging but there’s no 3.5mm audio jack, which sucks for those who love wired headphones.
Its network capabilities include WiFi 6 and 5G support. There’s also Bluetooth 5.2 support built it, with the Huawei Mate40 Pro being the first smartphone ever to have it.
Weighing in at only 212g, the smartphone is incredibly light though its weight belies its hardcore tech.
There’s a LOT of glass used in the construction of the Huawei Mate40 Pro, which gives it a really sleek and streamlined look. Our loan model was the Silver version, which while not flashy, did have a certain elegance to it. I’d have preferred a more blinged out look though…maybe Huawei will make a chrome special edition one day?
The cameras on the back protrudes a bit but the phone’s stability is otherwise perfect. It’s pretty big, so it doesn’t suffer from shakiness if placed on a table.
Craftsmanship on the phone is certainly awesome; the glass is integrated nicely with the body and everything fits snugly. The buttons are crisp and respond well whenever they’re used, which is another plus in my book!
I love that the smartphone comes with an IP68 rating, which gives it some protection against water and dust. It won’t hold up in a hurricane or tsunami, but hopefully you won’t have to experience that either.
256GB certainly seems to be big enough but with today’s 4K videos and other HD content, that’s not going to last very long, especially if you love to take videos and pictures.
I really dislike that Huawei forces you to shell out extra for its proprietary Nano Memory card, especially when microSD cards are cheaper and come in higher capacities.
Then again, if you’re buying the phone, you don’t really have much of a choice on the matter. You either take it or leave it.
Fortunately, that minor issue doesn’t detract much from the overall rating of the Huawei Mate40 Pro.
I tested the Huawei Mate40 Pro via PCmark and 3Dmark. Unfortunately, PCmark had some issues with the benchmarks refusing to run successfully. I reckon it’s an outdated version since it’s not from Google Play Store.
Rather than test with another unfamiliar benchmarking software, I decided to skip it and just proceed to 3Dmark’s range of tests.
It’s not surprising to see that the phone scores are phenomenal. Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme both test a phone’s gaming and 3D processing prowess and a high score in them (which is what I got) basically means it’ll run anything that’s out right now without performance issues.
Software issues are somewhat of a problem with Huawei devices, especially since they can’t access the app store for the latest updates. The Huawei Mate40 has a workaround in the Petal Search feature (which downloads app apks off APKPure) but it’s still fiddly and not as user friendly as on the Google Play Store.
Face it, nowadays without a killer camera suite headlining your phone, most people won’t care. Blame it on most people’s obssessive need to share and record every damn thing they do.
Luckily, the Huawei Mate40 Pro isn’t a slouch here either.
The front camera isn’t as hardcore as the back array so don’t expect too much from them. Selfies are good, but not really phenomenal. For the everyday user, it’s not going to be an issue so that’s fine.
For the triple-camera setup on the back, you get the wide-angle lens (23mm), an ultra wide-angle lens (18mm) and a periscope camera (125mm). That bad boy supports up to 5X optical zoom, with a 50X digital zoom.
The cameras are HDR capable, which makes for some stellar photography. The software behind the scenes is pretty good at editing the image for optimal quality too, rendering scenes that I took that looked dark, to be better illuminated and colored.
Videos also look damn nice with the HDR enabled. You can also record 60FPS 1080p videos but know that this will quickly eat up that 256GB storage.
With a 4,400mAh battery, the Huawei Mate40 Pro seems destined to have great battery life. It’s fully charged in about 45minutes via the 66-watt power adapter, which is impressive.
Unfortunately, that 4,400mAh battery doesn’t translate to great battery life, despite the specs. I clocked the phone lasting about 17 hours, with 50% brightness and sound and WiFi turned on. It’ll probably be much much shorter with constant use and battery degradation over time.
It’s not really that bad, but if you’re out and about for more than 12 hours at a shot, you might want to consider packing along a power bank just in case.
The Bottom Line.
The Huawei Mate40 Pro isn’t a perfect phone. It is however, a great one.
Cutting edge tech, combined with awesome cameras make for great bedfellows and it shows in the phone’s performance and video and image recording prowess.
Still, being forced to use Huawei’s Nano Memory card when I have perfectly capable (and higher capacity) microSD cards does sting. Since Nano Memory seems to be only adopted on Huawei devices for the moment, if you do decide to move on to another brand in the future, the memory card will probably go unused.
The lack of a 3.5mm jack also grates. Not being able to use wired headphones is an issue. No only for HD audio lovers, but also for people like me, who like to use the wired option in case my wireless headphones run out of juice mid-journey.
Great hardware that’s held back by some issues.
- Great hardware.
- Awesome cameras.
- Superb craftsmanship.
- Battery life isn’t spectacular.
- Forced to use Nano Memory for expanded storage.
- No 3.5mm audio jack