Huawei Mate 40 Pro: Gorgeous design doesn’t make up for this phone’s biggest problem

Andrew Hoyle/PJDM

The Mate 40 Professional is Huawei’s newest superphone, which the corporate hopes will do battle in opposition to the iPhone 12 Professional and Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and Note series. Wrapped up in a beautiful physique, it is filled with the most recent prime tech and 5G. However whereas it is bought stable specs on paper, it suffers from one main drawback.

As a result of ongoing restrictions imposed by the US authorities, Huawei’s phones cannot use any Google providers, together with Gmail, Maps and Chrome and, most significantly of all, the Google Play retailer. Whereas Huawei has its personal app retailer (which I will come to later) it is nowhere near rivalling Google’s and it makes this cellphone tough to advocate over any of its rivals. 

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The Huawei Mate 40 Professional shall be on sale later this yr for 1,199 Euros (converts to £1,082, $1,418, AU$1,996).

However the lack of apps apart, there are nonetheless issues to love concerning the Mate 40 Professional. Let’s start with the positives. 


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Mate 40 Professional has a stunning design

I like the pearlescent end on the again of the cellphone. Have a look at it from one angle and it reveals delicate orange and lightweight blue tones. Tilt it within the mild and people colours shimmer and mix into deeper blue and purple hues. Transfer it round extra and I am certain you’ll establish much more colours that I am unable to even identify.

The design is satisfying and concurrently offers the cellphone an attractive and stylish aesthetic. The frosted glass feels extraordinarily premium too, as does the metallic edging and the general stable construct. There is not any query that it seems like a top-end system after I’m holding it in my hand.

The 6.76-inch show is brilliant, pin-sharp with slim bezels that stretch proper to the sting. It curves attractively to fulfill the metallic body. Photographs look vibrant, small textual content is crystal clear and it is simple to learn outdoor in daylight.


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Mate 40 Professional’s four rear cameras are good general

The 4 rear cameras are respectable, however not excellent. The primary digicam balances publicity effectively and delivers correct, vibrant colours. The 5x optical zoom captures impressively detailed photographs, and even at 10x zoom there’s nonetheless quite a lot of readability within the picture. The super-wide digicam is much less spectacular, producing photographs usually with extra subdued distinction and typically a noticeable shift in white stability, doubtless resulting from an overenthusiastic HDR mode lifting the shadows. 


Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam take a look at, normal lens.

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  Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam take a look at, vast lens.

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam take a look at, 5x zoom.

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam take a look at, normal lens.

Andrew Hoyle/PJDM


Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam take a look at, normal lens.

Andrew Hoyle/PJDM


Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam take a look at, vast lens.

Andrew Hoyle/PJDM

Video has been a giant focus for the Mate 40 Professional, however there’s room for enchancment. The stabilization is great, and it managed to seize clean footage even after I was strolling at a quick tempo. The optical zoom turns out to be useful for taking pictures completely different compositions, though I discovered that the main target incessantly drifted out and in when taking pictures at 5x zoom. Additionally, the HDR mode in video is as heavy-handed because it was in pictures. Its processing introduced up the shadows and turned down the highlights to such an extent that the ensuing footage was a bit disappointing and suffered from odd stabilizing distortions. Particularly, I might see the software program struggling to stability a brilliant sky that was transferring round within the body.

There is not any query that it is a good digicam general, however I really feel that a couple of software program tweaks might go an extended solution to making it an ideal digicam. 

Mate 40 Professional processor, 5G and battery life

Contained in the cellphone is Huawei’s Kirin 9000 processor, which supplies superfast 5G connectivity, and 8GB of RAM. Navigating across the cellphone’s interface is swift and I did not discover any lag whereas enjoying  the demanding racing recreation Asphalt 9: Legends. The sport additionally confirmed constantly excessive body charges. Nonetheless, on paper a minimum of, its rating of seven,827 on the 3D Mark Slingshot: Limitless benchmark take a look at sits beneath each the OnePlus 8T ($749 at Amazon) (9,802) and the iPhone 12 ($799 at Apple) (10,988). 

Whereas I have not ran the standard battery rundown assessments on the cellphone, based mostly on our anecdotal experiences to date, the cellphone appears able to getting by way of a full day of blended use, with lots to spare into the following day. It helps quick charging too, so giving it a fast enhance earlier than heading out is not an issue. 


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Mate 40 Professional’s massive software program and app drawback

Whereas the cellphone runs Android software program at its core, it would not use Google’s providers, which implies it may possibly’t entry the Google Play retailer. Apps like Gmail and YouTube are usually not obtainable in any respect, though you’ll be able to nonetheless entry YouTube by way of the net browser. 

To assist fight this, Huawei launched its personal app retailer and, to its credit score, it is executed rather a lot to shut the gaps in latest months. Huge names like Amazon, Snapchat, TikTok and Tinder can be found whereas Fb and WhatsApp can each be downloaded as apk recordsdata straight from their respective official web sites. I could not discover an official obtain for Instagram, however the apk is obtainable from third-party providers, as is the case for a wide range of Android apps. 


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The difficulty of doing this, nevertheless, is that you need to trawl by way of web sites that appear adamant on tricking you with adverts. Many I visited used the trick of a giant “Obtain Now” button that is truly an advert, and buried the precise, a lot smaller “set up apk” button additional down. It’s a must to be in your guard and it isn’t as nice an expertise as searching by way of a daily app retailer. Additionally, putting in apk recordsdata from unknown sources is inherently dangerous. As a result of they do not come from official sources, you do not know in the event that they’re even updated or in the event that they’re loaded with malware. I did not thoughts attempting this out with my overview system, however I would not be snug doing it on a cellphone that additionally contained my banking particulars, contact lists and work electronic mail accounts. 

Huawei says it is working with builders to deliver extra apps to its retailer. For example, it launched a system whereby if a sure app  is not obtainable, you’ll be able to log your curiosity and, assuming sufficient folks do the identical, Huawei will prioritize that app and  deliver it  to the shop. It is also launching its personal maps service within the coming weeks. However the reality stays that its cabinets are comparatively naked proper now and when you’re into getting the most recent video games and providers then this is not the cellphone for you. 

Huawei Mate 40, Mate 40 Professional Plus and equipment

Alongside the Mate 40 Professional that I’ve examined, Huawei additionally has the usual Mate 40, which has a barely lower-spec digicam setup, together with 3x and 5x optical zoom lenses and a decrease decision extremely vast lens. The highest-end Mate 40 Professional Plus in the meantime packs a 3x telephoto, a 10x telephoto and an enormous 17x optical zoom lens which is the largest optical zoom we have ever seen on a cellphone. What photographs appear to be at this zoom vary stays to be seen. The extremely vast lens on the Mate 40 Professional Plus additionally guarantees much less picture distortion due to a ‘free-form’ lens. 

There’s additionally the Mate 40 RS, made with design agency Porsche Design. The know-how stays principally the identical because the Mate 40 Professional, however it’s bought a tweaked general aesthetic and there is a Porsche Design model of Huawei’s present Watch GT2 as effectively. The corporate additionally 

The Huawei FreeBuds Studio are the corporate’s first over-ear wi-fi headphones that promise noise cancelling, excessive decision audio and as much as 24 hours of playtime from a full cost. 

Huawei Mate 40 sequence pricing

  • Huawei Mate 40: 899 euros (converts to about £810, $1,060, AU$1,500)
  • Huawei Mate 40 Professional: 1,199 euros (converts to £1,080, $1,420, AU$2,000)
  • Huawei Mate 40 Professional Plus: 1,399 euros (converts to £1,260, $1,660, AU$2,330)
  • Porsche Design Mate 40 RS: 2,295 euros (converts to £2,070, $2,710, AU$3,820)
  • Huawei FreeBuds Studio: 299 euros (converts to £270, $350, AU$500)

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Andrew Hoyle