With Huawei having just unveiled its new flagship smartphones, we were fortunate enough to get our hands on the P40 Pro (just) ahead of the official launch. We’re still messing around with it to figure out what this baby can do but let’s be clear about one thing: The P40 Pro is a powerful piece of hardware.
Which is a really good thing for Huawei because there’s a lot riding on the P40. With the ongoing trade war between America and China making it more difficult for Huawei to install Western software onto their devices, they’ve been forced to do things their own way. You might be skeptical about using a smartphone without Google support, but so far it’s turning out to be doable.
Beyond software, what are we working with here? Well, the P40 Pro’s internals are certainly chunky. Running Huawei’s Kirin 990 5G processor and being pushed by 8GB of RAM, the Pro is capable of powering high-end software without breathing hard. You also get 256GB of storage space, more than enough to fit the apps you need, and have some left over for mountains of videos and photos. We’ve been fiddling with the P40 Pro’s four camera sensors — the 40MP main sensor, a 50MP Ultravision Wide sensor, the 12MP 5x optical telephoto lens, and then that Time of Flight (ToF) sensor — and we’ll have an early verdict on that for you soon.
Yet the biggest question around the P40 Pro is how it handles software. Since Google’s apps aren’t allowed, you’ll be making do with Huawei’s home brewed solutions and honestly? They’re…fine. There seems to be just a few too many ads for our taste; the first time the Huawei Music app was booted up we were greeted not with the app itself but an advert for some kind of jackpot game. Not a great first impression.
That said, all of Huawei’s apps work as intended, with maybe the only real disappointment being the Music app and the actual Huawei App Store itself. Otherwise we’ve been pleasantly surprised. The App Store is a little hit and miss, with the actual organisation of apps proving to be rather cluttered. There obviously isn’t the range of apps you’d expect to find on the iOS App Store or Google Play but Huawei can hardly be blamed for that. The P40 Pro also comes with TikTok pre-installed, if that sort of thing is important to you.
The P40 Pro is shaping up to be a real competitor to Samsung’s S20. While it might not have the same raw computing power as its rival, it is still a beast of a machine capable of holding its own in a digital brawl. It’s expected to come in at a lower price point than Samsung’s contender, a point which makes an even stronger case for Huawei over the S20. Huawei’s P40 Pro is definitely doing its best to impress — we’ll see if the Chinese company has what it takes. We’ll be back with a full-blown review within the week, so watch this space.