Huawei P40: The best phone of 2020?

by Rob Duke | Apr 09, 2020
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Can the latest Huawei flagship outperform the iPhone 11 and the Galaxy S20? We take a closer look.

When was the Huawei P40 released?

The Huawei P40 range was announced in late March. The two standard versions came out on the 7th April in the UK, and we’re still waiting for an official release date for the P40 Pro Plus. 

How much do they cost?

There are three models of the P40, each with a different price tag:

- The standard P40 (from £699), 6.1-inch display, 3 camera system.
- The P40 Pro (from £899), 6.58-inch display, 4 camera system.
- The P40 Pro Plus (from £1,299), 6.58-inch display, 5 camera system.

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What features do they have?

The formidable Kirin 990 chipset used in all versions of the P40 is an absolute beast; it gives the tech in the most recent Apple and Samsung flagships a run for their money. The processor is supported by an impressive 8GB of RAM, so you can guarantee it’ll stay snappy, even during heavy usage.

We’re also pleased to report that all versions of the P40 come with 5G as standard, so it’s definitely a handset that’ll stand the test of time. 

The cameras are cutting edge too. Each version has the same excellent 50MP main lens, but the Pro has an enhanced setup with an extra super-zoom optic. The Pro Plus has an additional (frankly incredible) 100x zoom-lens and a unique audio feature that focuses on what you’re zooming in on. You won’t get that anywhere else. 

All versions can record video in 8K too; so when it comes to versatility of media capture, the p40 range is unparalleled.

In terms of aesthetics, these are the best-looking Huawei phones released to date. The handsets are available in a range of colours; the P40 in white, black, and light blue; the P40 Pro in silver and gold; and the P40 Pro Plus in black and white. It’s an intentional shift away from the gradient and two-tone styles of previous models (which some people found a bit garish). A smart move in our opinion.

You can also get the P40 Pro and Pro Plus with a curved screen, reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Edge handsets, and they look even slicker than the standard versions.  

There’s a slight raised area on the back for the camera array (de rigueur these days) and the front-facing punch-hole camera is slightly bigger than seen on some other flagship phones, but it’s not really noticeable.

They have exceptionally thin bezels, so the front is almost all screen. Plus the displays are among the best available, with vibrant colours, fast refresh rates and high resolutions (2340x1080 on the P40 and 2640x1200 on the Pro and Pro Plus). What’s not to like?

All three handsets charge in under 60 minutes and last for a full 24 hours, but only the Pro and Pro Plus come with wireless charging. Not a dealbreaker, but worth being aware of.

What about the missing Google apps?

Due to the US trade ban, Huawei can’t offer Google Mobile Services or Google Play Store on the P40.

This will be a sticking point for some (particularly people who use Google apps to organise their lives) but a lot of the browser-based versions of services like Youtube and Gmail are still available - so for casual users, it probably won’t be too jarring. Plus, there’s a decent range of alternative apps available on Huawei’s platform, so if you’re open to starting afresh with new calendar widgets etc., you’re covered.

Worth the money?

We reckon the standard P40 is the most powerful 5G smartphone available for less than £700, and that’s a big deal. We’d say that Huawei might’ve finally managed to one-up the Samsung S20 with their latest effort. However, the iPhone 11 Pro probably *just* edges out the P40 Pro Plus due to its refined user interface and similarly impressive camera. 

Either way, we have to give credit to Huawei for continuing to step their game up among such fierce competition. The P40 range is definitely among the best smartphones money can buy.

You might also like:

- Gadget insurance with Protect Your Bubble: get your devices covered now*.

- Samsung Galaxy S20: Everything you need to know about this incredible handset.

- iPhone 11 - Worth an upgrade?: Find out whether Apple’s new flagship cuts the mustard.

* Underwriter Assurant General Insurance Limited. Gadget age restrictions, T&Cs & excesses apply. Customer UK 18+.

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