Mobile devices are certainly among the most competitive segment within the consumer electronics market. Every month, we’ll be greeted with brand new flagship phones from various OEMs which promise to deliver lofty upgrades over their preceding models.
As such, there’s inevitably a fallacy that latest flagship phones are normally the best in the market or perhaps, “more worthy” than older models regardless of their brands.
For instance, if there are two different flagship phones launched in March and September respectively, most will be quick to assume that the model launched in September will be packed with the most updated technologies and software which make the device faster and more advanced than the slightly older models.
That’s certainly not true. We can easily have a six-month-old flagship model that still resides among the top 3 positions of DxOMark’s best smartphone photography. Likewise, we can also have a six-month-old model that’s still rocking one of the fastest charging speed among flagship devices.
The Huawei P40 Pro+ will be a classic example for such age-defying device.
Refreshing Design & Robust Build
In terms of design, the Huawei P40 Pro+ certainly has one of the most refreshing and distinctive design that stands out of the crowd.
Unlike those typical curved display we saw among mainstream devices, the P40 Pro+ features a unique quad-curve display (a.k.a overflow display) said to be inspired by the “beauty and form of flowing water”.
Those beautiful and subtle curves along the four edges of the front display gives the device a sleek and elegant outlook at all angles. On top of that, its impressively high screen-to-body ratio also makes it even more visually attractive.
Despite its curvy design, there isn’t any issue with false touches or visual distortion which is surely a huge plus point.
On the flip side, the Huawei P40 Pro+ employs a ceramic rear panel which not only brings greater durability to the device, but also feels more luxurious as well.
It is in fact one of the few flagship devices that come with a robust ceramic back instead of the usual glass or polycarbonate finish. Besides the White Ceramic variant used in this review, there is also another variant dubbed as Black Ceramic.
Courtesy of its ergonomic design, the P40 Pro+ is really nice to hold on hand in both portrait or landscape orientation despite weighing slightly over 200 grams.
Of course, the main highlight at the back is none other than its rectangular camera bump that houses not three or four, but five highly capable camera sensors.
Although this may boils down to personal opinion, but the rectangular camera island actually blends well with the back panel despite its sheer size.
No doubt, there will be some who felt uneasy with such huge bump at the back, but that’s pretty much a pre-requisite for all high-end camera system. Look at the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or the Vivo X50 Pro (Review), all of them have a camera bump too.
Rich & Vibrant Display
Coming to the specifics, the front display of the P40 Pro+ is an OLED display measuring 6.58-inches diagonally. It boasts a 2,640 x 1,200 pixels screen resolution along with HDR10 support that deliver rich and accurate colors.
Just like its P40 Pro sibling, the “Plus” model also carries support for 90Hz screen refresh rate – a much needed improvement over last year’s P30 series lineup. Therefore, you can expect the contents on the screen to play out really smoothly.
Most importantly, the upper limit of the device’s screen brightness does it job well in ensuring that the screen remains visible even under direct sunlight which is particularly important for outdoor photography during noon time.
Other than that, it also comes along with all the goodies of an OLED display including support for AOD as well as in-display fingerprint scanner.
Sitting at the heart of the device is none other than Huawei’s proprietary Kirin 990 5G chipset manufactured by TSMC under a 7nm process. It sports a total of more than 10.3 billion transistors, and is also the “industry’s first 5G SoC” which has a built-in 5G modem.
It is the same chipset that is also found in most other Huawei flagship models including the Huawei Mate 30 series as well as the Huawei Mate Xs foldable phones.
The octa-core architecture of the Kirin 990 5G consists of two Cortex-A76 clocked at at 2.86GHz, two Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.34GHz, as well as four Cortex-A55 clocked at 1.9GHz. For graphic intensive tasks, it relies on 16 Mali-G76 GPU cores for a lag-free graphical experience.
Overall, the Kirin 990 5G has proven to be a highly trustable workhorse. During everyday use, the Kirin 990 5G definitely brings more than enough horsepower to ensure a smooth user experience and fast-launching of apps.
Even when we talk about gaming (under the highest settings possible on the phone), you can expect an immersive and fluid game play with no obvious jittering. Likewise, it also holds an important role for the speedy image processing when shooting photos or videos – and that’s particularly important for a camera-centric smartphone like the P40 Pro+.
Moving on, the Huawei P40 Pro+ is also assisted by 8GB of RAM in the memory department, which is more than sufficient to prevent a memory bottleneck.
Coupled with the GPU Turbo 3.0 and EROFS file system that comes along with EMUI 10, the P40 Pro+ definitely has more than enough muscles for power users or mobile gamers.
Top-tier Camera System
Coming to its camera department, that’s where all the excitement lies. The Huawei P40 Pro+ is currently the only flagship phone in the local market that sports a penta-camera setup at the back.
The additional cameras turn its rear camera system into a versatile, all-scenario photography beast that excels in all kind of settings and environment.
As a quick run through, its rear cameras include a 50 megapixels “UltraVision” RYYB sensor, 40 megapixels ultra-wide cine lens, 8 megapixels 3x periscope optical lens, 8 megapixels 10x periscope optical lens, as well as a ToF camera for depth sensing.
For default shots, the Huawei P40 Pro+ make use of its 50 megapixels “UltraVision” RYYB sensor that make use of 4-in-1 pixel binning to produce 12.5 megapixels images with large 2.44 micrometres pixel. Images shot with the primary shooter are among the best (if not the best) you can ever obtain from a smartphone camera.
They possess wide dynamic range and good color depth (seen from the different tone of green in Default Mode Sample #3) that accurately describe the scenes. On top of that, they also maintain good exposure and high level of details to ensure every tiny bits of the scene are captured in the photo even if you do pixel peeking.
In low-light environment, the P40 Pro+ has a dedicated Night mode that did well in lighting up the scene. In most of the images, the scene looks natural with the Night mode activated, and you hardly find any instances where the scene are overly brightened. The good exposure for its Night mode is also partially owed to the OIS stabilization in its primary shooter.
For wide angle shots, it relies on its 40 megapixels ultra-wide cine lens that deliver images with comparable quality as those clicked by the primary shooter. In fact, the PSA port at distant remain well-detailed even if you crop into it.
On top of that, the ultra-wide camera also performs incredibly well under low-light environment thanks to its large sensor.
Coming to its zooming capabilities, that will be another headlining feature of its rear camera system. Currently, the P40 Pro+ offers the highest zoom level among all flagship phones in the local market, except for the Galaxy S20 Ultra which also caps at 100x digital zoom.
However, its the only smartphone currently in the market that offers up to 10x lossless optical zoom that shoots images that are of way better quality than those shot using 10x hybrid or digital zoom. In fact, you can even shoot portrait shots with nice background blurring (sample above) if you zoom from anywhere between 1x to 10x zoom level. Dynamic range and details are visibly preserved with optical zoom.
Needless to say, the quality of the image will inevitably starts to deteriorate after you cross the 10x mark. More specifically, noise in the image becomes more prominent and colors start to appear flatter. Nonetheless, even at 50x or 100x zoom levels, you can still easily recognize the subject or words in the image.
Its also worth highlighting that the camera will automatically switch to a custom Moon mode when you zoom over 10x. This feature actually makes use of AI wizardry that execute some magical algorithms to give you a clearer and more realistic view of the moon.
Although the use cases for the 100x zoom is pretty limited, but the 10x optical zoom certainly comes in handy for those who enjoy wildlife photography as it allows you to shoot images from a distance without distracting them.
As for close up shots, you can see that the subjects in the foreground are accurately separated from the background thanks to its dedicated ToF camera.
The bokeh effect on the background looks natural and the level of blurring is enough to make the subject stood out in the image. Its really impressive that all the fine details of the subject are well-preserved without being erroneously blurred out.
For selfies, the Huawei P40 Pro+ has a dual camera setup at the front lead by a 32 megapixels (f/2.2 aperture) as well as a 3D ToF sensor. No doubt, selfies clicked using the default or portrait mode are flattering and instaworthy. There’s absolutely no issue with any unwanted beautification as the image appears natural and colors remain true to life.
Ever-lasting Battery Life
With respect to its battery life, the Huawei P40 Pro+ features a respectable 4,200mAh battery at the helm that can easily last you through the day with at least 20% battery remaining.
Even if you forget to charge the device overnight, there’s really nothing much you need to worry about. The Huawei P40 Pro+ supports 40W fast-charging via both wired and wireless chargers, and is able to hit the 90% mark within an hour. Therefore, you’ll probably have more than enough battery on the phone once you’d gotten ready for the day.
Other than that, its worth noting that the device comes with support for 27W reverse charging as well.
Mind Blowing Software
Recently, Huawei had already confirmed that the P40 Pro+ will be eligible for the latest EMUI 11 update that will bring loads of exciting features and utilities including new AOD styles, revamped gallery, smart multi-window, feature-rich NotePad and many more.
If you’re interested, you can check out our hands-on review of the EMUI 11 here as well!
In the local market, you can get the Huawei P40 Pro+ through the local telcos, as well as other online and offline channels.
Pricing for the device kick off from as low as S$0 under a two-years mobile contract with M1, Singtel or StarHub. Otherwise, it will be available at an off-contract price of S$1,698 via Lazada.
With all the advanced features that come along with the Huawei P40 Pro+, the device is definitely among the best flagship phones in the local market. It has every traits it need to be a perfect, all-rounded flagship phone which is suitable for kind of users whether you’re a mobile photographer or gamer.
Although it isn’t the most affordable flagship phone in the market, but its surely worth every penny you fork out. For the few extra hundreds, it will get you premium features like the 10x optical zoom that you don’t see among other flagship phones. And its exactly these bonus features that put the P40 Pro+ ahead of its competitors.