Huawei P40 Full Review

With basically the entire world crippled with the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s largest mobile phone company still decided to push through with the launch of their newest flagship series – the Huawei P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Pro+. With these three brand new flagships (launched in select countries only), Huawei is producing another set of their phones without Google Services (the Mate 30 being the first one last Sept 2019). Thankfully though, these phones are packed to the core with features that can rival other brands’ similarly-priced models.

The question is – Is that enough to make users outside of China buy into Huawei’s latest offerings?

For this article, we’ll unbox the P40 and give our initial impressions. Full disclosure – This review unit is borrowed from Huawei but is not sponsored. Huawei has never offered to pay us for any support for this review, does not do advertising with us, and we will be giving back our review unit to them. All contents and opinion of this handset are from the real experiences of our editors with the Huawei P40.


PACKAGING AND INCLUSIONS (from our unboxing article)

Like most phones at this price range, the P40 doesn’t come with a lot in its package. It just comes with the main unit, some earphones, it’s Huawei Supercharge charger, SuperCharge cable and SIM card ejector tools. The box did come with space for a clear case, but we’re not sure if was missing in the package that Huawei gave to us, or if it really doesn’t come with it. Hopefully, the clear case should be included in the retail package.


The Huawei P40 is very solidly built, and shines among the rest in terms of design and its overall feel.

For the Pro and Pro+ models, the glass panel is made with a new technology Huawei calls “overflow display” – which is basically just a curved glass. However, the P40 does not have this – its front glass display has a flat panel (perhaps to keep costs down versus the pro model) but is not really a huge downside. Having used a Samsung Note 10+ for a few months now, I can safely say that curved glass displays are more of an added bonus rather than a significant feature, aside from keeping the phone narrower than phones with flat panels.

That said, the metal frame on the sides of the P40 are solid, and has a nice heft to it. Considering that my Note 10 is huge compared to the P40, it felt great to handle a phone that’s fits just right in my hands.

The front of the phone contains two very important parts: the front facing camera and the in-display fingerprint scanner. There is no visible speaker grille as Huawei used a technology which uses vibrations in the glass to mimic the same output of an earpiece. Pretty cool. The front-facing camera is housed in a huge space that’s hard not to notice, but it does have an Infrared scanner to detect 3D surfaces better and more securely (more on that tech on an in-depth review). The space also seems like initially a nuisance in most games I tried, although it is not a big issue after some time.

The in-display fingerprint sensor is amazingly quick and didn’t run into issues like not being able to detect my thumb. It does shine bright when a user presses it to show that the fingerprint scanner is being used. Cool. Overall using it for the past few days was a pretty good experience.


The Huawei P40 has a USB Type-C port at the bottom which is compatible with Huawei’s proprietary SuperCharge technology with 22.5W rating. It is currently not the fastest charging available, and the Pro and Pro+ models have a whopping 40W charging. However, for most people, this should not be much of an issue as the P40 can still be charged in a little over one hour, charging from zero. Most phones top out at 10-15W wired charging.

I also tried to charge it using a third party PD/QC3.0 charger and the P40 detected it as just “quick charging”, with almost equally the same charging time as the SuperCharger it comes with. This is very different from how Samsung does proprietary charging, where most third-party chargers are not usually detected as compatible with Samsung’s current charging technology. This is great news for those who use third party chargers!

In terms of stamina, the battery lasted more than a day with semi-active usage (games, facebook, some email), but as with most battery tests, it will differ per person’s usage. With the P40 just on standby from 100%, it lasted more than 3 days and just barely drained 15%. This would have been more if cellular network was turned on, but hey still shows great battery optimization from Huawei. In contrast, my Note 10+ barely lasts two days on standby.

In addition, Huawei also uses a new Smart charge feature where it uses AI to learn your usage patterns and enables when to slow down charging, usually when it reaches 80%. This is also the reason why most charging tests would differ for some Huawei phones. For reference, charging to 100% usually isn’t too good for most batteries, and it’s generally recommended to just charge up to 80%. However, if users do want to charge up to 100% immediately, they can just disable this smart charging feature.

The dual-SIM card tray is capable of accepting either 2 nano sims or 1 SIM and an NM card for storage. NM cards are still a rarity, as opposed to the widely used microSD, so this is still not a favorable decision on the part of Huawei. On the bright side, according to Huawei, using boths SIMS at the same time for calls or internet should not be much of an issue.

One quick point to note though is that with the huge photo and video capabilities of this phone, the internal 128GB storage of the Huawei P40 is definitely not enough for a lot of media storage, mst especially if you record a lot of 4K video. Considering that flash storage now has definitely gone down in prices, thoughm Huawei should have offered a configuration with 256GB or even 512GB to be more competitive. But, of course it seems like they are trying to push for an upgrade using the proprietary NM cards, or keep costs at the right price without sacrificing too much.


I’ve used EMUI on a phone i used to use as my daily driver before (and quite a long time too) and I have to say – it’s much more tolerable compared to Samsung’s offerings. EMUI, for me, has a slightly more polished feel plus a whole lot of helpful features, and the EMUI on the P40 is no different. It’s quick and easy to use. However, the P40 does come with a lot of bloatware in the guise of “recommended apps”. The great thing is that it’s only optional to download, but it’s still annoying to see it right on opening the phone.

The P40 series supposedly should come with Huawei’s newest voice assistant, Celia, but the P40 doesn’t have them. I was excited to try it out but apparently, it’s only available on the Pro and Pro+ models. Sad.

Gaming Experience

Using third party apps, I was able to install Mobile Legends and PUBG: Mobile. I cranked up the settings to the highest possible value and experienced a smooth gaming experience for both games. Of course, with the Kirin 990, I expected nothing less. The back of the phone also did not heat up as much, even while playing for around 30mins, which is fantastic. Overall gaming should not be a problem with the Huawei P40 since it has a very well-rounded hardware configuration.


This is the part where most users would just totally disregard Huawei’s great hardware offerings, just because they are not too familiar with Huawei’s Appgallery, the equivalent of the Google Playstore. It’s perfectly understandable to have this feeling. Users buy phones to make their lives easier, not to make it more difficult, and not being able to use their apps that they’re so used to is a burden for most people.

However, upon using the AppGallery, it’s definitely not as bad as I have expected it. Again, it’s already the third-largest application store in the world, and quickly growing by incentivizing developers. It will only take a bit more time to adopt more apps moving forward.

For the most part, I have already been to install some of my most used apps, such as:

  • Social
    • Facebook
    • Snapchat
    • Tiktok
    • Viber
    • Whatsapp
    • WeChat
  • E-commerce and Lifestyle
    • GCash
    • Globe Rewards
    • ClicktheCity
    • Gmovies
    • Robinsons rewards
    • GetGo
    • Lazada
    • BDO
    • Carousell
    • Paymaya
    • Booky
  • Business
    • Camscanner
    • SSS Mobile App
    • WPS office
  • Travel
    • Philippine Airlines
    • Booking.Com
    • Grab

For games, this one is a bit more limited, but then again I feel this wasn’t really the focus of Huawei. Available major titles include Naruto: Slugfest, Zombie Frontier, and Asphalt 9.

A great thing is that most other applications can still be downloaded via third-party platforms or directly from websites. Our personal favorites are Aptoide and APKPure. I have actually been doing this before for some apps that are not registered with Google Playstore (for example, Pornhub, hehe). We’ll discuss this in a separate article soon.


This is the hero feature of the Huawei P40, in our opinion.

Huawei has always been proud of their partnership with Leica, and the the Huawei P40 sports a triple-camera setup at its back, with its flagship 50 MP f/1.9 “Ultra Vision” camera, along with a 16 MP Ultra-Wide Angle (f/2.2 aperture) lens , and an 8 MP Telephoto Camera (f/2.4 aperture). It supports optical image stablization and a load of fantastic other features.

From the past few days of using it, the camera performance is fantastic. It’s probably the best camera I’ve used on a phone, even trumping my Samsung Note 10+ in certain areas of clarity, low-light performance, and sharpness.

The only issue I have so far in my first impressions is that the camera module sticks out quite a lot at the back. The bump is even bigger compared to the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, and I can imagine it’s even larger for the P40 Pro and Pro+ models, which all have more cameras and sensors fitted at its rear.

I get worried when its flat back on the surface for fear or scratching it. Thankfully, though, it seems the coating is of durable glass and there are still no visible etches throughout the whole duration of my review.

Here are some sample shots of the same scene while using the Huawei P40. Since not a lot of users (including myself) usually tinker around with a lot of settings, here are some results on a practical standpoint:

Standard Photo mode:

Colors came out pretty well and not much unusual discoloration. Detail were crisp. There were not much yellowish tones.

Wide angle:

Unlike other wide angle versions of lower-end cameras, the sides of the photo turned out not as distorted as expected. The field of view was definitely more than standard mode as well.

High Resolution:

This is where the P40 really stands out. Comparing the different camera modes, the high-resolution mode really does capture more detail compared to their other modes especially when zoomed in. See below:

Wide angle produces definitely more blurred details compared to the standard and high-resolution modes. Since this mode uses a different lens on the P40, some clarity is definitely sacrificed. Using the High Res mode produced a 8192 x 6144 resolution photo with a 13MB file size, compared to 4096 x 3072 ~4MB on the standard mode and 4608 x 3456 ~4MB on the wide angle mode.

Video recording (rear)

The Huawei P40 can record in the following resolutions based on its video settings:

  • 16:9 4K @30/60FPS
  • Full Screen 1080p @30/60fps
  • 16:9 1080p @30/60fps – recommended setting
  • 21:9 1080p @30/60fps
  • 16:9 720p @30/60fps

Here is an example of the 4K video at 60fps, the highest resolution and most frames possible. The resulting video was quite good and color reproduction was accurate. The gyro-assisted EIS (electronic image stabilization) provided a relatively smooth video.

Front Camera

Frankly speaking, I don’t really use front cameras that much, but the Huawei P40 has, hands down, one of the best front cameras I’ve ever seen. If I took selfies more often, I would definitely prefer this phone.

Using the phone with an extremely bright background still produced a very very result, with some blurring occurring on the background. This was due to the camera trying to compensate for the vastly different lighting levels but still an well-balanced photo.

For a normal selfie, the results were even more impressive.

The photo quality is at par with most rear cameras of high end phones. Ever tried to take a rear photo for a selfie just because you know the rear camera is just better than the front? Well, with the Huawei P40, that’s not going to be much of a problem. Vloggers will definitely love this front camera as well.

To drive this point further, here’s a video recording using the front camera, with 4K (3840×2160) at ~60FPS. Like the rear camera, image stabilization was amazing, with not much differences in details in different lighting environments.

The cameras are definitely the strongest points to the Huawei P40, and the results alone can speak for itself – it’s like having an enthusiast-level DSLR in your pocket. While not entirely perfect, it’s currently the best cameras on a smartphone today.


  • 6.1-inch OLED display, 2340 x 1080 (FHD+) resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 60Hz refresh rate
  • Processors:
    • HiSilicon Kirin 990 5G SoC, powered by an Octa-core CPU (2 Cortez A76 operating at 2.86Ghz, 2 Cortex A76 at 2.36Ghz and 4 Cortez A55 at 1.95 Ghz.)
    • DaVinci NPU (Neural Processing Core) for AI processing
    • Mali G76 GPU (16-core)
  • 6GB/8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB storage, expandable with Huawei’s proprietary NM cards (sold separately)
  • Cameras:
    • Rear: 50-megapixel, f/1.9 (main), 16-megapixel, f/2.2 (ultra wide), 8-megapixel, f/2.4 with OIS (telephoto)
    • Front: 32-megapixel front camera + IR sensor
  • Fingerprint reader (under-display)
  • 3,800mAh battery with 22.5-watt (capable of Huawei SuperCharge)
  • EMUI 10.1 based on Android 10 with Huawei Mobile Services
  • up to 5G connectivity
  • Dual-SIM


The Huawei P40 is the most basic of the P40 series and definitely lacks some key physical and internal features from its bigger brothers but is definitely not basic in any sense. With a great overall performance and the best camera performance so far in a flagship phone, the P40 currently stands out above the rest of its competitors in its price range.

The 6.1-inch screen might seem small to some, but with most flagships now becoming a battle of bigger sizes, it’s a gentle relief for those users who prefer smaller phones.

Huawei’s lack of compatibility with Google services should be a minor issue for intermediate to advanced users; However, it is not meant for users who are not too familiar with Huawei’s own portfolio of services or installing third-party apps from different sources. For those who can overlook this software setback and are willing to invest in great hardware should definitely take a look at the Huawei P40.