Huawei's P40 Pro review: The brand's best smartphone camera, instant translation features, and more
Capture it all
Exclusively crafted for a premium photography experience, Huawei's latest P40 phone series has made its propitious mark on the volatile year we've been having so far. Unveiling exciting new camera functions such as zooming with ultra-wide angles, Huawei's P40 Pro boasts not one but two telephoto cameras, as well a true optical zoom. Yet, one question remains, is it the right phone for you? We've taken it upon ourselves to play around with Huawei's P40 Pro just to see if the sleek gadget lives up to its hype.
Right off the bat, the 6.58-inch display booted with glass panel and metal frames fits snugly in your palm. The gliding in-hand feel with round corners made for an unmatched grasp, taking the viewing experience up several notches. To top it off, its overflowing display made us feel like the screen was popping out of the phone resulting in a exhillirating 3D-like vision effect.
Aside from the Huawei's P40 Pro immersive phone display, the multi-window feature caught our attention next. Dragging your finger across the screen from left to right, the split screen view can be initiated. Instead of split screen, you can also opt to open a floating window that can be adjusted in size accordingly. Which means performing basic tasks like responding to a text message without having to pause or exit the active app that you previously were on. Yes, we are aware this feature isn't a novelty with Samsung phones touted for their multitasking capabilities but — you gotta admit — it's hard not to appreciate a great multitasking function.
By far our top favourite feature had to be the air gestures. Ever wanted to experience scrolling through holographic high-tech gadgets similar to ones in futuristic movies? Huawei's Air Scroll allows you to do just that without a single screen tap. Simply hold your palm out 20-40cm away from the screen and flick your wrist up or down when the hand icon appears. That's not all — you can also air screenshot with the Grabshot feature. How? Hold your palm out in front of the screen — 20-40cm away — make a fist after the hand icon appears and voila — you've just taken an air screen shot. All that coupled with Huawei's P40 Pro 3D-like screen display and you'll feel like you have set foot into a Sci-fi flick.
Although these features are not uniquely special to the Huawei P40 flagship phone series, we couldn't discuss the phone without shining a spotlight on two prized features. The first is the instant translation feature. Yes, it's exactly what it sounds like. Say goodbye to scratching your head in confusion when starring at foreign jargon. Simply point your camera at a foreign text and just like that you receive real-time translation. The second? Online window shopping has never been easier with their shopping feature on the camera. Point your camera to an object and you'll see a plethora of similar objects at varying price points.
Here comes the main event. Embellished with the largest smartphone camera sensor on a Huawei smartphone, the P40 Pro is here to impress. Aside from the main camera, the Huawei P40 Pro has two telephone cameras to support up to 19x true optical zoom with minimal loss of detail. Yet upon trial, we have to admit the camera experimenting session did not go by without experiencing some downfalls.
One snap of outdoor scenic views will leave you with highly crisp photos. Although the idea of photos looking extra sharp sounds nice, it fell flat in execution. Realistically, photos that are too sharp in nature often come out looking unnatural, hence losing its aesthetic appeal, which is exactly what transpired. Among its periscope design, its 50x maximum zoom capacity is ideal for capturing far away shots. The zoom feature — although a cool trick — holds no substance for everyday usage.
A larger CMOS sensor means that P40 Pro has more space for larger pixels leading to greater light-gathering capability. In millennial and Gen Z terms, that translates to Instagram-worthy photos. Though having an ultra-sharp camera means that you cannot hide any flaws when taking snapshots. The saving grace? The portrait effects. Apply them and you'll see the difference instantaneously.
Yet, the P40 Pro's AI did not disappoint altogether. Dreaded flashback in your nighttime photos are a thing of the past with Huawei's night camera mode. By tweaking exposure (shutter speed) and light sensitivity (ISO), you can snap brighter photos in low-light conditions. This feature is undoubtably a game changer and a must-have for future night outs. Dare we say, you may never have to brighten your photos ever again.
Another bonus had to fall on the beauty effects on the portrait selfie mode. You can brighten your skin tone, contour your jawline or give your face a nice tan — perfect for those no-makeup days when you want to hide discolouration or under-eye bags.
The benefits of the Ultra-Wide Cine Camera transfer to its video-taking capabilities supporting low-light video capture, resulting in brighter night footage. Likewise, one of the best hidden features we discovered is that you capture two different perspectives by simultaneously filming on two rear cameras instead of one in the Dual View mode. Plus its 4k quality at 60fps enclosing crisp video shots is evidently impressive on its own.
Our final verdict
There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, the Huawei P40 Pro is a strikingly stunning handset. Its quad-curve overflow display, versatile camera and seamless design form the foundation of a top-rated phone. Created out of the desire to present a premium photography experience, its embedded features and functions encompass both highs and lows.
On one hand, the absence of Google services is a major hit on Huawei phones. No doubt, its 5G-enabled connectivity across its variants and partnership up with local apps like taxi operator ComfortDelGro and ride-hailing companies including TADA and RYDE helped to lessen the blow. For those new to Huawei smartphone devices, you will have to use Huawei's official app marketplace AppGallery with apps like OneMap, the next best alternative to Google Maps in Singapore.
Nonetheless, its 3D-like screen display, versatile camera and mind-boggling features like the real-time translator and air gestures have us intrigued. Looking for a versatile camera phone with super definition photography? The Huawei's P40 Pro is yours to own. If not, its features alone are enticing enough to try out.