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Huawei Mate 40 Pro review: The forgotten flagship

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Test report header
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro was released at the end of last year for a suggested retail price of 1.199 euros. The equipment is more than impressive, but so is the Mate 40 Pro comes with some restrictions, the RRP seems way too high. 

Fortunately, the price has dropped significantly. You can now get it for about 850 euros and whether it is recommended for this, or whether it is due to the GoogleProblematik hardly has a chance, you will find out in the following lines.

Design - indescribably high quality & beautiful

If you look at Huawei smartphones from the past, such as this Mate 30 Pro or the P40 Pro, so while these were quite large, they were still within the bounds and thus smaller than the trend of other smartphones, which also made them premium. However, that changed with the Mate 40 Pro. With dimensions of 75,5 mm in width, 9,1 mm in thickness and a weight of 212 grams, it doesn't differ much from other big flagships. One-handed operation is almost impossible.

The frame of the smartphone is made of aluminum with a high-gloss finish, which feels very high quality. However, it is extremely thin because the display curves backwards by around 90 degrees in a large edge. It is also called a "waterfall display". This ensures that you can impress people very much and that the design looks extremely high-quality and expensive. In addition, you can double-tap the volume on both sides via an on-screen controller, which I used very much in everyday life and found to be much more practical than the regular volume control with buttons. Unlike the predecessor, these are still available. As beautiful and impressive as the waterfall display looks, you have to get by with visible discolouration in everyday life when you look at the screen from the front.

Both the front and the back are made of glass. The "Mystic Silver" color I tested consists of a matt material, whereby the color is divided into many bright colors depending on the incidence of light, which looks very nice to me personally. Unfortunately, the only other option in Europe is black, which almost magically attracts fingerprints thanks to its high-gloss finish. My favorite clean white or synthetic leather as a material are withheld from the Chinese market.

Huawei goes its own way with the camera module, which is extremely different from the competition. I really like the design, this is one of the most beautiful back covers in the smartphone sector, at least in my opinion. The Leica lettering looks extremely high quality and refreshing. Together with beautiful curves, a silver ring and the symmetrical arrangement, the Mate 40 Pro the requirements in terms of independence, high quality and appearance. Huawei's many years of experience in designing flagship smartphones is once again paying off in full.

Display - small weaknesses, but not on paper

In terms of specifications, Huawei does not seem to be pushing the limits of the display. With a diagonal of 6,76 inches, it has a resolution of 2.772 x 1.344 (456 ppi), which is very similar to the iPhone. The Mate also only uses 90 Hertz for the repetition frequency, which feels less fluid compared to 120 Hertz, but represents a visible difference compared to 60 Hertz.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Display

Among other things, the punch hole contains the technology for 3D face recognition. (Image: TechnikNews)

A much bigger one ProThe problem, however, is the fact that Huawei relies on different display suppliers whose screens can differ in quality. For example, our test device has weaker viewing angles, which is why the display visibly turns yellow when tilted to the side. In addition, when the brightness is dimmed, the picture is very unclean with a lot of noise. The well-known green discolouration can also be seen on gray surfaces.

On the other hand, the color rendering and the improved brightness, which can keep up with the competition, are good.

Software - has everything but Google services

The Huawei Mate 40 has the software Pro the EMUI 11 user interface pre-installed over Android 10. Because of some known ProUnfortunately, the latest Android 11 is not yet used here. However, this is not noticed in everyday use, since EMUI is a heavily customized user interface.

Apart from many useful functions, such as a very easy to activate one-hand mode or floating windows, the extremely fluid and constant operation is a great advantage. Huawei has responded to criticism from earlier years, in which EMUI had to be criticized for micro-stuttering and performance, and now, together with iOS, it is the most fluid user interface in my opinion. While there are always minor bugs, jerks or the like when I use other user interfaces, EMUI always runs constantly and extremely stable.

As you should have noticed, the current Huawei smartphones since the Mate 30 Pro However, there is an unavoidable disadvantage, as they are delivered without pre-installed Google services. Most applications, apart from those from Google, can be downloaded from alternative app stores, the AppGallery or Petal Search. ProHowever, there are problems with banking apps and push notifications in apps such as eBay or Twitter.

Performance - impressive progress of the Kirin

For a strong performance potters under the hood of the Mate 40 Pro the brand new Kirin 9000 5G SoC. As the first ProAs a processor in the Android segment, which is manufactured using the five-nanometer process, it is at the forefront in terms of performance and even has an advantage over the Snapdragon 888 in terms of energy consumption. It is also supported by 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SFS storage as standard performs significantly better than UFS 3.1 storage in terms of read and write speeds.

More important, however, is the performance in everyday use. This is where the Mate 40 does Pro of course flawless. Apps start and close extremely quickly, you won't find any stutters or delays, and overall the operating speed is at a very high level. Together with the constant 90 Hertz refresh rate, the operation feels extremely smooth. Even with complex games, the smartphone has none Probleme, the good cooling is particularly noticeable here, which with the efficient Kirin 9000 ensures that the smartphone gets below average warm.

Battery - good, but not perfect

Huawei gives the Mate 40 Pro a 4.400 mAh battery, which is even smaller than its predecessor. Bigger than the battery in the P40 Pro+ however, he already is. Oddly enough, you don't notice much of this in everyday life, especially if you use the smartphone in the mobile network. Then I can get through a day, but only manage 6 to 7 hours of screen-on-time, which sounds relatively good but is not too convincing by my standards. My P40 Pro+ performs here despite the smaller battery and older Kirin 990 Proprocessor noticeably better.

If, on the other hand, I use the smartphone in the WLAN, my screen on time increases to about 8 hours, which I am satisfied with.

Thanks to 66 watts fast charge, the Mate 40 Pro fully charged in under 50 minutes. That's slower than the 65-watt Fast Charge from the competition because Huawei doesn't use a two-piece battery for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, the charging speed is completely sufficient for everyday use. Wireless charging is possible with up to 50 watts.

Camera - very good despite the setbacks

Huawei smartphones have been impressing with their enormously powerful camera setups for several years now. With the P40 Pro the manufacturer introduced a periscope camera with the in-house RYYB technology for the first time at the beginning of last year, whereby colors are reproduced even more accurately and the low-light performance is also visibly improved. Unfortunately, Huawei is going with the Mate 40 Pro another way and does without the RYYB technology. The 12 megapixel sensor with 5x optical magnification comes with the usual green pixels. There is also a 50 megapixel main camera, which unfortunately does not have an OIS. This is also a step backwards compared to the P40 Pro. After all, the ultra wide-angle camera gets an upgrade. It has a resolution of 20 megapixels and can capture an extremely large amount of light due to the large sensor size. The front camera has a resolution of 13 megapixels.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Camera

The cameras have advantages and disadvantages compared to the P series. (Image: TechnikNews)

Compared to the P40 Pro The more realistic color reproduction is definitely noticeable, even if the main camera of the Mate 40 Pro tends towards warmer colors. The sharpness is excellent as usual and there is also a very good dynamic range. As soon as it gets darker, Huawei offers a night mode in which the images are exposed for a few seconds. Due to the lack of optical image stabilization, shots can quickly become blurred, which is why I recommend all potential buyers to shoot in manual mode. This usually results in better, more realistic recordings. Photos are nice and bright in manual mode, convince with a high level of sharpness and the white balance is mostly accurate, although it sometimes misses a lot. Overall, I like the P40 in low light conditions Pro and P40 Pro Plus a little better, but so does the Mate 40 Pro plays here at the forefront.

There are slight improvements to the ultra-wide-angle camera. Colors look very natural, sometimes even a little too pale. The poor color matching between the main and ultra-wide-angle cameras is particularly noticeable. Otherwise the quality is on a very high level. Above all, the sharpness and the low-light performance are almost perfect. When it comes to sharpness, even OPPO can do with the Find X3 not quite keep up. On the other hand, OPPO is slightly ahead in poor lighting conditions.

The zoom camera left me with mixed feelings. The sharpness is quite convincing, but colors are often reproduced too palely and the photos occasionally appear slightly overexposed. True, the zoom camera is clearly superior to Apple, OnePlus, OPPO and Vivo, but considering that Huawei with the P40 Pro and P40 Pro Plus can deliver even more, I'm a bit disappointed, especially with such a high recommended retail price of 1.199 euros.

Videos can be recorded in 4K at up to 60 FPS and look really good, even if they don't quite get close to Samsung.

Selfies look really good too. Faces are drawn a little too soft for my taste, but the image sharpness is great. In addition, the front camera is extremely wide-angled, which can be a huge advantage for group selfies.

Test photos

Let's take a look at a few test photos. The following images are absolutely unprocessed, but compressed without loss in order to keep loading times and memory consumption of the website low.

Comparison with the Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Last but not least, we want to compare the camera with the competition in different situations. I chose the Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra decided because the P40 Pro is the closest competitor from the company and since the S21 Ultra is similar to the Mate 40 at the market launch Pro cost.

Daylight

Both the main and the ultra-wide-angle camera can convince across the board. Huawei could improve the color matching a bit with future updates, but the dynamic range and especially the image sharpness are excellent. When it comes to zoom, however, I see the other smartphones a little further ahead, especially when it comes to color reproduction.

low light

Despite the lack of optical image stabilization, the Mate 40 plays Pro even with Lowlight at the forefront. Sometimes I even like it a little better than the P40 Pro, whereby this one has the edge in terms of sharpness and especially in extremely poor lighting conditions. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does a solid job, but has to admit defeat to the smartphones from Huawei.

Other - finally complete

While Huawei's flagships from previous years had always been liked for their special features, one had to be aware of having to accept some weaknesses. For example, it was the mono speakers, the lower display resolution or a not very high-quality vibration motor. The Mate 40 Pro is the first flagship from Huawei, which is also fully included in the other equipment.

The balanced stereo speakers sound really good. They ensure a very full, balanced sound with nice bass. These are some of the best loudspeakers on the market, because I think they are one too My 11 from Xiaomi are superior.

The built-in vibration motor also feels very high quality. The competition from Xiaomi is a bit better here, for example due to better optimization, but that doesn't prevent the Mate 40 Pro through clean, short vibrations clearly in front of a S21 Ultra, OPPO Find X3 Pro or Huawei P40 Pro positioned.

The Mate 40 is unlocked Pro either via a three-dimensional face recognition in the slightly larger punch hole on the front or via a fingerprint sensor in the display. This luxurious combination alone is second to none. In addition, both methods are among the best on the market on their own. The three-dimensional face recognition works extremely reliably and unlocks the smartphone extremely quickly. This also works in poor light conditions and in all directions. The in-display optical fingerprint sensor is also among the best on the market, given the speed compared to the very fast P40 Pro was further improved. In addition, it is different from the OnePlus 9 Pro, easy to reach with the thumb and unlocks the device extremely reliably.

In addition, the Huawei Mate 40 supports Pro of course the latest standards, such as an IP68 certification against the ingress of water and dust, a USB-C 3.1 connection for fast transmission speeds or WiFi 6+. In my everyday life, too, it was the case that more expensive smartphones from Huawei actually always had a better network and Internet access than comparable ones Proproducts could exhibit.

Summary

In conclusion, I can say that the Huawei Mate 40 Pro liked it very much: Starting with the unique and high-quality design, through the smooth performance to the camera and the speakers. Almost everything is just right here. It is all the sadder that Huawei is not allowed to use Google services, which is why the Mate 40 Pro unfortunately can hardly be recommended. However, if you can imagine being able to get by with the limitations mentioned, you can certainly access it, but you shouldn't lose sight of the equally expensive smartphones from the competition.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro buy

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Fabian Menzel

Fabian has been part of since mid-September 2020 TechnikNews and regularly provides the site with various news, but also with some test reports on smartphones. It's a lot of fun for him and he's extremely grateful to have such a great team at his side. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to music and occasionally taking photos with his Huawei P50 Pro.

Fabian has already written 273 articles and left 22 comments.

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