Huawei P40 Pro

Cool factor 4/5
Usability 3/5
Value for money 3/5

Covid-19 forced Huawei to unveil its flagship device for 2020 by livestream. The P40 Pro is the first smartphone that will go on sale in SA without Google Mobile Services (GMS) post-lockdown.

The handset runs Android 10 but gone are apps like the Google Play Store, Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and so on. Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) will replace GMS and it has its own app gallery, browser, mail, reader, cloud, video and music apps.

The P40 Pro has a large 6.58-inch screen that runs at a 90Hz screen refresh rate, features a camera cutout on the front, and is powered by a Kirin 990 chipset with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage. It has a dual SIM slot plus eSIM functionality, 5G support and a 4200mAh battery.

Flip it to the back and you cannot miss the large camera bump that houses a quad camera. It has a 50MP wide angle lens, a 40MP ultrawide lens, a 12MP periscope with 5x optical zoom and a depth sensor for portrait shots.

The handset has a glossy-looking yet matte finish that does not attract fingerprints.

When I set up the P40 Pro 5G unit I received ahead of lockdown, I used Huawei’s Phone Clone app to transfer data from the P30 Pro.

Huawei’s app gallery makes a special effort to include SA services from banks, travel and lifestyle but it does not have some big global names such as Twitter, Instagram and Netflix. An external link is available to download Facebook and WhatsApp. Though both Twitter and Instagram carried over onto the P40 Pro, I’m still not clear if I’ll be able to update those apps.

Like its predecessor, the camera is excellent. From portrait to low light to ultrawide, you can’t really fault it. The only feature missing is super macro mode. The 32MP selfie camera supports 4K videos at 60fps.

The P40 Pro runs smoothly and offers top-notch hardware with 5G support. The phone’s biggest limitation is its software. The app gallery still has a long way to go. If you rely on GMS particularly for apps such as Chrome, YouTube or Google Maps and the Play Store itself, the P40 Pro is not for you. It will be a long time before Huawei can replicate the diversity of the apps in its store.

The Huawei P40 Pro will be available after lockdown for R20,999.