Mobile Technology

Huawei P40 flagship phones have big camera upgrades but no Google apps

Huawei P40 flagship phones hav...
The new Huawei P40 phones come in five colors
The new Huawei P40 phones come in five colors
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The new Huawei P40 phones come in five colors
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The new Huawei P40 phones come in five colors
The standard P40 is the smallest and the cheapest of the three new handsets
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The standard P40 is the smallest and the cheapest of the three new handsets
The P40 Pro, like the other two phones, has a front display with curved edges on all four sides
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The P40 Pro, like the other two phones, has a front display with curved edges on all four sides
The P40 Pro Plus has five lenses in its rear camera and offers 10x optical zoom
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The P40 Pro Plus has five lenses in its rear camera and offers 10x optical zoom
The Huawei Watch GT2e is Huawei's newest wearable
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The Huawei Watch GT2e is Huawei's newest wearable
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Say hello to the Huawei P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Plus, Huawei's first major flagship phones of the year. As it usually does, Huawei is putting camera upgrades front and center, and the company also has a new smartwatch to show off.

Building on the strong Huawei P30 range of handsets we saw last year, these three P40 models all come with Huawei's own top-end Kirin 990 processor and 5G connectivity. That's where the similarities mostly end though, although they do all share a similar design aesthetic.

The standard P40 is the smallest of the three, with a 6.1-inch, 1,080 x 2,340 pixel OLED display. RAM options are either 6 GB or 8 GB, with either 128 GB or 256 GB of internal storage. Camera-wise, you get a triple-lens 50-MP wide + 8-MP telephoto + 16-MP ultrawide unit on the back with 3x optical zoom.

Up your pick to the P40 Pro and you'll find a phone with a 6.58-inch, 1,200 x 2,640 pixel OLED screen, 8 GB of RAM, and either 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB of internal storage. The rear-facing camera gets an upgrade to a quad-lens 50-MP wide + 12-MP telephoto + 40-MP ultrawide + 3D depth sensor, and that gives you 5x optical zoom.

Last but not least, the P40 Pro Plus keeps the same display as the P40 Pro, and indeed the same memory and storage configurations, except for the 128 GB internal storage option. The main camera is the best of the bunch, a five-lens affair: 50-MP wide + 8-MP telephoto + 8-MP telephoto + 40-MP ultrawide + 3D depth sensor, and that'll get you 10x optical zoom.

Huawei has always pushed camera improvements year on year, and it says the sensors embedded in these new phones will once again improve low light capability and color accuracy. Given the company's track record, these phones should be capable of some very impressive shots.

The P40 Pro, like the other two phones, has a front display with curved edges on all four sides
The P40 Pro, like the other two phones, has a front display with curved edges on all four sides

And they might need to be. Huawei is still suffering from trade blocks by the US, which means no Google software and no Google apps. If you're going to buy one of these handsets, you're going to have to live without Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and so on.

In terms of the design, the three phones all have what Huawei calls a "quad-curve overflow display" – one that's rounded on all four sides, essentially. According to Huawei's press materials, it creates "a shape that is reminiscent of water on the cusp of overflowing from the rim of a filled cup," and marketing-speak aside, it does look rather good.

White, blue, black, gold and silver are your color options, and we should also note that the P40 doesn't have wireless charging, though the other two models do. The P40 has a lower IP53 rating for protection against dust and water too, while the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus have the maximum IP68.

All three phones are going on sale in Asia and Europe initially, with wider availability to be announced. The pricing has been set at €799 (about US$880) for the P40, €999 (about $1,100) for the P40 Pro, and €1,399 (about $1,540) for the P40 Pro Plus.

Huawei has also launched another smartwatch today – the Huawei Watch GT2e. It doesn't offer any major innovations, but has a slightly tweaked design compared with its predecessor, and will do the usual activity tracking duties, as well as showing you alerts from your phone (and telling the time). Pricing is set at €199 (about $220).

Product page: Huawei P40

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2 comments
alexD
Too late.. I cannot have one as I have already sold my soul to Google. Anyway... why bother with curved edges ? Those kind of rounded edges makes the phone slip out easily from your hands... then there's the usual "protective case" that will cover everything so, edges are pointless ...
christopher
Android itself is google. What O/S does this run? Dispensing with google sounds like the best feature to me.