Technology

Huawei Mate 40 Pro hands-on: A beautiful phone, but here’s why we can’t recommend it


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 Word sequence. Wrapped up in a horny physique, it is full of the newest high tech and 5G. However whereas it is received strong specs on paper, it suffers from one main downside.

Because of the ongoing restrictions imposed by the US authorities, Huawei’s phones cannot use any Google companies, 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 telephone troublesome to advocate over any of its rivals. 

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The Huawei Mate 40 Professional will likely 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 beautiful design

I am keen on the pearlescent end on the again of the telephone. Take a look at it from one angle and it reveals mushy orange and light-weight 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 positive you’ll determine much more colours that I can not even identify.

The design is satisfying and concurrently offers the telephone a lovely and fashionable aesthetic. The frosted glass feels extraordinarily premium too, as does the steel edging and the general strong construct. There is no query that it appears like a top-end system once I’m holding it in my hand.

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

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Mate 40 Professional’s four rear cameras are good total

The 4 rear cameras are respectable, however not excellent. The principle digicam balances publicity nicely and delivers correct, vibrant colours. The 5x optical zoom captures impressively detailed pictures, and even at 10x zoom there’s nonetheless a number of readability within the picture. The super-wide digicam is much less spectacular, producing pictures usually with extra subdued distinction and generally a noticeable shift in white steadiness, seemingly attributable to an overenthusiastic HDR mode lifting the shadows. 

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, commonplace lens.


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  Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, vast lens.


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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, 5x zoom.


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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, commonplace lens.


Andrew Hoyle/PJDM

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, commonplace lens.


Andrew Hoyle/PJDM

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, 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 superb, and it managed to seize easy footage even once I was strolling at a quick tempo. The optical zoom is useful for capturing totally different compositions, though I discovered that the main focus ceaselessly drifted out and in when capturing 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 may see the software program struggling to steadiness a vibrant sky that was shifting round within the body.

There is no query that it is a good digicam total, however I really feel that just a few software program tweaks may go a protracted strategy to making it a terrific digicam. 

Mate 40 Professional processor, 5G and battery life

Contained in the telephone is Huawei’s Kirin 9000 processor, which offers superfast 5G connectivity, and 8GB of RAM. Navigating across the telephone’s interface is swift and I did not discover any lag whereas enjoying  the demanding racing sport Asphalt 9: Legends. The sport additionally confirmed constantly excessive body charges. Nonetheless, on paper no less than, its rating of seven,827 on the 3D Mark Slingshot: Limitless benchmark check sits beneath each the OnePlus 8T (9,802) and the iPhone 12 ($799 at Apple) (10,988). 

Whereas I have never ran the same old battery rundown assessments on the telephone, based mostly on our anecdotal experiences up to now, the telephone appears able to getting via a full day of blended use, with a lot to spare into the following day. It helps quick charging too, so giving it a fast increase earlier than heading out is not an issue. 

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Mate 40 Professional’s massive software program and app downside

Whereas the telephone runs Android software program at its core, it does not use Google’s companies, which suggests it might’t entry the Google Play retailer. Apps like Gmail and YouTube usually are not accessible in any respect, though you possibly can nonetheless entry YouTube via the net browser. 

To assist fight this, Huawei launched its personal app retailer and, to its credit score, it is finished lots to shut the gaps in current months. Massive 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 out there from third-party companies, as is the case for a wide range of Android apps. 

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The problem of doing this, nonetheless, is that you must trawl via web sites that appear adamant on tricking you with adverts. Many I visited used the trick of a giant “Obtain Now” button that is really an advert, and buried the precise, a lot smaller “set up apk” button additional down. You must be in your guard and it isn’t as nice an expertise as searching via 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 making an attempt this out with my evaluate system, however I would not be comfy doing it on a telephone that additionally contained my banking particulars, contact lists and work e 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 accessible, you possibly can log your curiosity and, assuming sufficient individuals 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 truth stays that its cabinets are comparatively naked proper now and should you’re into getting the newest video games and companies then this is not the telephone 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 telephone. What photographs appear like 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 expertise stays principally the identical because the Mate 40 Professional, however it’s received a tweaked total aesthetic and there is a Porsche Design model of Huawei’s present Watch GT2 as nicely. 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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Author

Andrew Hoyle