Huawei P40 Pro review
Without a doubt, the P40 Pro is one of the best phones Huawei has ever made. This flagship device boasts a stunning design, glorious screen, great camera and epic battery life. But now, the Chinese firm has tried to improve on its winning formula with the new and incredibly premium Huawei P40 Pro+.
Although there are plenty of similarities between the standard P40 Pro and Pro+ you’ll find some striking differences including a ceramic case – which takes the company four days to make – and a camera that pushes the boundaries of smartphone photography.
You can read our original P40 Pro thoughts here, but for everything that’s new on the P40 Pro+ carry on reading for our full review below…
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: design
There’s no denying that Huawei has created one of the best looking phones of the year with its P40 Pro+. We were already big fans of the way the P40 Pro looked, but the Plus takes things up a notch with the stunning ceramic finish offering a gorgeous style you won’t find on any of the competition.
For our review, we took delivery of the Ceramic White model, which certainly wouldn’t look out of place at the most glamorous of fashion shows. This premium finish provides an element of luxury to this phone and there’s nothing else on the market that comes close to this lavish look.
Huawei says this beautiful design takes around four days to create, which might be one of the reasons the P40 Pro+ demands such a high price. There’s no question that this phone will get plenty of attention when you pull it from your pocket and its soft curves make it really nice to hold.
The only thing worth noting is that it is pretty heavy. We placed it on our scales and it weighs in at just over 222g. That makes it beefier than some of its lighter rivals.
The P40 Pro has a ceramic design which looks stunning
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: quick charge
The P40 Pro already has fast-charging, but once again, the P40 Pro+ cranks things up a notch and can be refilled even quicker. Huawei has popped a 40W SuperCharger in the box, which means this phone can go from flat to 100% in under an hour.
You can also boost things to 30 percent in just 10 minutes, which is perfect if you’re heading out for the evening and want to make sure the battery will last until the pubs kick you out.
It’s nice to see Huawei has supplied this phone which such a powerful charger and other premium manufacturers should definitely sit up and take note. It’s also worth remembering that the Pro+ can be fast refilled wirelessly if you splash out on addition wireless charger.
The P40 Pro comes with a fast charger in the box
Huawei has included an improved zoom on its P40 Pro
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: camera
As you can read in our P40 Pro review, this phone has a very capable rear camera which is one of the best snappers currently available on the market. The P40 Pro+ gets all of the same features with its rear lenses including a giant 50-megapixel sensor along with a wide-angle and depth-sensing camera.
However, something you’ll get in addition to all of the above is the ability to shoot images with a 10X optical zoom. That means you don’t lose any picture quality when snapping people or pets close-up.
This update really is very impressive and adds plenty of extra appeal to what is also a brilliant camera system. Along with its hardware, Huawei includes plenty of software enhancements to ensure every photo looks like it’s been taken by a professional.
Like most new flagship phones, there’s also a superb Night Mode which snaps images in the dark without the need for a flash and you’ll find other extras such as Pro Mode and Dual-View which shoots images with both the front and rear camera at the same time.
Using clever AI the Pro+ can also remove people who might have photobombed your pictures and there’s an option to instantly remove reflections when shooting images through glass. So, there’s really no excuse for coming back from your next holiday with any bad snaps.
Night shots on the P40 Pro are excellent with plenty of detail in the image
Most images shot on the P40 Pro are sharp and packed with detail
The P40 Pro zoom lets you get closer to the action
A close-up shot on the P40 Pro
The phone even cope with the most demanding conditions
Another area that’s impressed us with the P40 Pro+ is when it comes to video. This phone allows you to shoot footage in full 4K resolution and there’s some market-leading optical image stabilisation which is mind-blowing.
Even if you jog along with the phone in your hand the video it records is silky smooth and wobble-free. For those that love a selfie, there’s a dual-lens front-facing camera which can add some DSLR-style depth of field to your Instagram posts.
There’s no question that the P40 Pro+ has a very accomplished rear camera and our only criticism is that, like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, you’ll also find a 100X zoom featured on this device.
Sadly, this headline camera upgrade is all a bit pointless. Images shot with this mode are tricky to take and the results often look blurry and horribly pixelated.
That said, this is a great camera and even the most amateur of photographers will find all of their images looking like they’ve been snapped by a pro.
P40 Pro review
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: storage
This is Huawei’s most premium P40 and that means you get more storage for your money.
Inside the P40 Pro+ is 8GB of RAM, which is the same as the standard Pro model but there is double the internal storage. That means this phone is boosted from 256GB up to 512GB.
If you have endless videos, photos and music then this could be the best option as 512GB should be ample, even for the most memory-hungry users.
P40 Pro review
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: price
The P40 Pro+ is a premium flagship phone and that means your bank balance had better be ready for a serious shock. This phone will set you back £1,299 which is £400 more than the standard P40 Pro. Yes, you do get that sublime ceramic finish, faster charging, extra storage, and improved camera …but it’s a lot more to pay for those features.
Huawei is trying to soften the blow with a bunch of extras thrown-in, like a Huawei Watch and wireless charger for free when you add the P40 Pro+ to your shopping basket, but there’s no hiding from the fact that this is a very expensive smartphone and that price makes it a pretty niche product.
The P40 Pro is resistant to spills
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: the Google issue
Of course, all that great hardware is nothing without some solid software and, like the P40 Pro, this is where the Pro+ falls flat. With the US trade ban still in full force, Huawei can’t include any Google applications or services, including Google Maps, Google Photos, Gmail, YouTube, and of course, the all-important Play Store.
That means you won’t be able to download all the usual apps, games, eBooks, magazines, music or movies that you’d usually get via Google. Worse still, you won’t even be able to restore all of the purchases or apps you’ve installed on previous Android smartphones or tablets.
Huawei is doing its best to solve this crisis by launching its own version of the Play Store, known as the Huawei App Gallery. It also includes a feature called Phone Clone, which transfers apps from your old phone straight to the P40 Pro+ and something called Petal Search which tracks down apps on the web.
To be fair to Huawei, it’s not a bad attempt at fixing this digital nightmare with many applications working without a hitch.
We’ve been easily able to install popular services such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, plus you’ll find apps such as TikTok and Snapchat all available on Huawei’s new store.
P40 Pro review
However, despite plenty of positives we’ve still encountered way too many negatives and it just makes you lose all faith in the phone. For example, with no dedicated Gmail app we’ve been using this email client via the phone’s web browser and it’s simply a massively inferior experience.
Some apps we installed with Phone Clone failed to work and others simply won’t copy across. Also, downloading applications you can’t find on the store and installing them via the web using APKs is something that many security firms warn users against.
Of course, downloading a WhatsApp APK from the Facebook-owned app’s website is fine. But getting into the habit of searching online and downloading APKs could lead to P40 Pro+ users who aren’t well-versed with threats to Android accidentally installing malware onto their shiny new phone.
If you’re an avid Android fan then there are plenty of ways of getting around the Google block but with both Huawei and Google advising users not to do this we wanted to experience the P40 Pro+ in its most pure form and we’re afraid that means it falls short of what we’ve come to expect.
Huawei P40 Pro review
Huawei P40 Pro+ review: final verdict
PROS – Stunning design • Incredible camera • Great screen • Access to 5G • Fast charging battery
CONS – Very expensive • Still no Google apps and services • App Gallery getting better but a long way off perfection
Huawei’s P40 Pro+ is, without any doubt, one of the best smartphones when it comes to hardware. This latest device looks sensational, has an incredibly premium build and a camera that most of its rivals can only dream of. The screen is also fast and bright and the Kirin 990 processor offers a slick user experience plus it future proofs the phone with access to the those latest 5G data speeds.
There’s so much to love about the P40 Pro+, but one massive thing to hate.
That Google ban continues to be a terrible problem for Huawei and, despite their best attempts to fix it, the P40 Pro+ still falls well short when it comes to software. This is a very expensive phone and the fact there’s so many apps that aren’t available or simply don’t work make it almost impossible to recommend.
Sorry Huawei, we’ve been bowled over by the P40 Pro+ but we’ll have to look elsewhere for the ultimate Android experience.