Huawei Mate 40 Pro hands-on: A beautiful phone that we can’t recommend

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 Observe collection. Wrapped up in a horny 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.

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 can 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 like the pearlescent end on the again of the telephone. Have a look at it from one angle and it reveals smooth orange and lightweight blue tones. Tilt it within the gentle and people colours shimmer and mix into deeper blue and purple hues. Transfer it round extra and I am certain you can determine much more colours that I am unable to even title.

The design is satisfying and concurrently offers the telephone a wonderful and fashionable aesthetic. The frosted glass feels extraordinarily premium too, as does the steel edging and the general stable construct. There isn’t any query that it looks like a top-end system once I’m holding it in my hand.

The 6.76-inch show is shiny, pin-sharp with slim bezels that stretch proper to the sting. It curves attractively to fulfill the steel 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 total

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


Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, normal lens.

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  Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, huge lens.

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, 5x zoom.

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Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, normal lens.

Andrew Hoyle/PJDM


Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, normal lens.

Andrew Hoyle/PJDM


Huawei Mate 40 Professional digicam check, huge lens.

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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 taking pictures completely different compositions, though I discovered that the main focus often drifted out and in when taking pictures at 5x zoom. Additionally, the HDR mode in video is as heavy-handed because it was in photographs. 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 steadiness a shiny sky that was shifting round within the body.

There isn’t any query that it is a good digicam total, however I really feel that a number of software program tweaks might go a protracted strategy to making it a fantastic digicam. 

Mate 40 Professional processor, 5G and battery life

Contained in the telephone is Huawei’s Kirin 9000 processor, which gives superfast 5G connectivity, and 8GB of RAM. Navigating across the telephone’s interface is swift and I did not discover any lag whereas taking part in  the demanding racing sport Asphalt 9: Legends. The sport additionally confirmed constantly excessive body charges. Nonetheless, on paper not 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 checks on the telephone, based mostly on our anecdotal experiences up to now, the telephone appears able to getting by a full day of combined use, with loads to spare into the subsequent 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 huge software program and app drawback

Whereas the telephone runs Android software program at its core, it does not use Google’s companies, which implies it may possibly’t entry the Google Play retailer. Apps like Gmail and YouTube will not be accessible in any respect, though you may nonetheless entry YouTube by the net browser. 

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


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The difficulty of doing this, nevertheless, is that it’s important to trawl by 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 important to be in your guard and it isn’t as nice an expertise as searching by a daily app retailer. Additionally, putting in apk information 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 snug doing it on a telephone that additionally contained my banking particulars, contact lists and work electronic mail accounts. 

Huawei says it is working with builders to carry extra apps to its retailer. As an example, it launched a system whereby if a sure app  is not accessible, you may log your curiosity and, assuming sufficient folks do the identical, Huawei will prioritize that app and  carry 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 if you happen to’re into getting the most recent 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 huge 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 most important optical zoom we have ever seen on a telephone. What photographs seem like at this zoom vary stays to be seen. The extremely huge lens on the Mate 40 Professional Plus additionally guarantees much less picture distortion because of a ‘free-form’ lens. 

There’s additionally the Mate 40 RS, made with design agency Porsche Design. The know-how stays mainly the identical because the Mate 40 Professional, however it’s bought a tweaked total aesthetic and there is a Porsche Design model of Huawei’s current Watch GT2 as properly. 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 collection 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