Review: Huawei Mate 40 Pro Smartphone
Last year, Chinese tech giant Huawei launched its highly anticipated next generation of 5G Mate 40 flagship smartphones to much fanfare.
The leading Chinese phone manufacturer announced four new models in its Huawei Mate 40 series—the Mate 40, Mate 40 Pro, Mate 40 Pro+ and Porsche Design Mate 40 RS. All four models from the series will run on Huawei’s Kirin 9000 processor, the tech firm’s latest 5G SoC (system-on-chip) with more than 15.3 billion transistors.
However, only the Mate 40 Pro was made available in Singapore. Recently, I was given the opportunity to spend about two months using this smartphone. It’s my first time using an Android smartphone, so it was a whole new world for me. Needless to say, there were both highlights and (mini) challenges throughout my time with the phone.
Here’s what I thought:
First impressions and design
The phone features an edge-to-edge 88-degree Horizon Display with rounded corners for a stunning visual and ergonomic experience, with a visually pleasing Space Ring camera system at the back of the phone. It comes in just two colours: mystic silver and black. I used the mystic silver version but what distracted me (in a pleasant way) was the phone case that was loaned to me too. I absolutely loved it, but more on that below.
Be honest: What do you mostly use your phone for? Texting, replying to emails, using social media and taking photos—these are the usual activities related to smartphone usage. I did all of the aforementioned on the phone rather seamlessly, although it did a little getting used to when I was typing on the Mate 40 Pro, be it for texts or emails. I was not used to the keypad but this was something I expected since I had never used a Huawei smartphone prior to this experience.
As someone who's been used to smartphone cameras that are not particularly spectacular, I was impressed by this phone's camera prowess. The camera's high-resolution sensors produce better pictures and even better colour capture. Several other tech reviews on this phone have raved about this feature so it is not an exaggeration. The zoom feature is also worth mentioning as details of faraway objects remain clear in photos and videos.
The Ring Light Case was a game-changer for me. It features a retracting LED ring flash so your selfie game remains on point even in darker settings. The LED ring can be used by just pressing the button on the case and it will flip up. There are also three brightness levels, low, medium and high, which can be adjusted easily. The ring light consists of 54 LED lights, so it will work incredibly for shooting portraits.
Four lenses sit in the Space Ring camera system—a 50-megapixel, f/1.9 aperture Ultra Vision camera; 20-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture Ultra Wide Cine camera; laser sensor; and 12-megapixel Telephoto camera that supports up to 10x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom.
The high-performing camera system is complemented by AI features like the XD Fusion HDR Video mode, which optimises colours, brightness and contrast, and details; Steady Shot for stabilised videos even when you’re on the move; and Tracking Shot to keep subjects within the centre of the frame at all times.
At the front, a 13-megapixel Ultra Vision Selfie Camera integrates a wide-angle lens and a gesture sensor which supports up to three types of wide angles in the adaptive selfie mode. It also supports features such as 4K video, ultra-wide view recording, front and rear dual-view video, and slow-motion selfie videos.
As mentioned above, the Mate 40 Pro runs on Huawei’s Kirin 9000 processor, which features a powerful CPU with a big core clocking at up to 3.13Ghz for improved performance and power efficiency; a 24-core Mali-G78 GPU for impressive image processing, offering a heightened gaming experience and a re-imagined NPU that supports a wide range of AI functions that include gesture controls, object recognition, and camera features.
Here is another aspect that blew me away. I haven't experienced a smartphone, at least not in the past few years, that allowed me to go for more than a day without having to charge it overnight. The battery life of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is exceptional and proves to be a huge pull factor for customers keen on purchasing this phone.
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The floating window was initially a feature I was not used to, but I soon realised it was a convenient way of keeping my apps on tap. Multi-tasking is a core part of my job so the resizable floating window allowed me to reply to texts instantly without interrupting any task that I would be in the middle of. It can be accessed from the app dock, and shrunk into an unobtrusive bubble, so that you can shift from app to app with newfound ease.
Mate 40 Pro also offers features to optimise work and productivity, such as the upgraded Multi0screen Collaboration that supports the display of multiple phone apps on your PC; a Notepad that allows you to scan, extract and share text and image; and support for the Huawei M-Pen 2 to write, draw or sketch seamlessly across multiple Huawei displays.
Transferring of documents
I was also able to try out Huawei Share, while I was on a Huawei-themed work-cation earlier this year. The Huawei MateBook 14’s touchpad is integrated with Huawei Share for multi-screen collaboration to function with a single tap. You basically get to transfer photos and documents from your phone to your laptop seamlessly, thanks to the power of AI. It was a feature that was new to me so I did feel that it was especially useful for those of us who frequently need to transfer documents from our smartphones to laptops, which can indeed be a hassle at times. Of course, this means you will need to have a suite of Huawei products, so if you are already comfortable with the brand's tech offerings—it is worth trying this out.