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Huawei P40 5G long-term review: Better than you think

Huawei P40 5G back
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2021 TechnikNews)

This is the Huawei P40 5G, the little brother of the P40 Pro. With a compact form factor and price, Huawei is pursuing a different strategy that has proven successful in the past. 

Even with this smartphone, however, we have the well-known Problem the missing google services. In this review, you can find out whether it could still do well in everyday life and whether the price that has now fallen is justified.

Design - high quality

As a flagship series with a focus on the younger target group, the P series has always not been faulty in terms of design. The small P40 lacks the quad-curve display, but it is still on a high level. From the front we have an almost completely symmetrical design with a straight display and thin bezels. The punch hole is very large, but everything looks quite fitting and in my opinion it gives the front a stability, even if it could have been smaller.

I am very grateful that Huawei has always kept the size of the normal smartphones of the P series relatively compact, contrary to the trend. 6,1 inches is a good comprobetween usable space and the in-hand feeling. This is also supported by the weight of 175 grams, which is really very light by today's standards.

Huawei P40 5G front

Picture: TechnikNews

However, I am still thrilled with the back, because in my opinion the color Silver Frost is one of the most beautiful on the market. Together with the matt material, the high-gloss metal frame and the direct transition to the beautiful camera hub with Leica lettering as a contrast, the Huawei P40 5G feels very high quality and expensive. The processing is also in line with the price. There is a nice transition to the screen and the buttons have good pressure points. All of them are easy to reach, which is partly due to the compact housing.

Display - not high-end, but sufficient

On the display side, Huawei installed a 6,1 “OLED display from BOE. With a repetition frequency of 60 Hertz, there is a visible drawback here compared to some competitors, because some of them already use 90 Hertz or even 120 Hertz panels. However, I don't find this a problem with the P40, because I was able to get used to it comparatively very quickly. There is more information on this in the software area. The color rendering and black values ​​are typically OLED at a high level.

Let's get to the downsides: The sharpness of 2340 × 1080 pixels sounds average, but the display looks a bit spongy due to BOE's own pixel matrix. Lines on small fonts cannot be rounded cleanly on closer inspection, but that didn't really bother in everyday life.

Weaknesses in the viewing angle stability can also be identified, because when the display is tilted, it visibly changes color to yellow. However, I could not detect any rainbow-colored discoloration. The maximum brightness is sufficient, but nothing more. There is still some room for improvement. You can see a comparison with that below Apple iPhone 11.

Huawei P40 5G screen viewing angle against iPhone 11

Picture: TechnikNews

Performance - no reason for criticism

An in-house works under the hood Kirin 990 5G SoC. This is supported by 8 gigabytes of LPDDR4X RAM. Of the Prozessor may not be the latest, but it is still stronger than any mid-range chip on the market. Even in everyday life I never had Protrouble. Apps start extremely quickly, the smartphone always ran constantly and without dips. Games also run very smoothly and often with 60 frames pro Second.

Software - perfect with one shortcoming

Huawei's in-house EMUI software has not always had the best reputation in recent years. In my opinion that should change with EMUI 11. I really like the design and I would like to highlight the following points separately:

  1. Animations: The update improved these again. Everywhere in the software they are just as smooth as butter and super nice to look at. Closing apps works, for example, with the background and foreground in the app icon. The background image is also reduced in size. In the multitasking menu, the first app takes precedence, the others follow suit as if magnetically. Such details can be found everywhere and have really improved my user experience a lot. Due to the extreme fluidity, it is a smartphone, as mentioned above, on which I can completely forget about the 60 Hertz display.
  2. Stability: Huawei is now really good at coordinating software and hardware. Because with the P40, unlike with many other devices, I have never had any crashes or small stutters. Huge praise for that!

The big drawback, however, is, as expected, the lack of Google services. The question here is whether you can live with it now. My answer is positive. As long as you're not deeply rooted in the Google cosmos and don't need specific banking apps that don't work due to software restrictions, anything goes. I had absolutely no difficulties in everyday life. You only have to expect to use all Google apps (apart from Translate and Chrome) via a browser shortcut or to have to resort to alternatives.

Battery - small but nice

The battery life of the P40 is really good, because Huawei gets a lot out of the capacity of only 3800 mAh. With comparatively normal use of the WLAN, I can use the display for 7 to 8 hours in everyday life, which can easily cover a day. When you consider the size of the smartphone, that's almost impressive. A Oppo Reno 4 Lasts one to two hours less for me with more capacity.

The small disappointment, however, can be found in the charging speed. With the included 22,5 watt power supply you are on the standard of the Huawei P10. Charging is fast at the start, but the speed is greatly reduced, especially towards the end. Wireless charging is not supported on the P40.

Huawei P40 5G charging chart

Picture: TechnikNews

Camera - one step ahead?

Huawei smartphones have been around since P20 Pro the reputation of good cameras. We now want to find out to what extent this continues with the P40.

The main camera here is the large 50 megapixel Sony IMX700 RYYB sensor. Compared to Pro only the optical image stabilization is missing. In addition, there is a 16 megapixel ultra wide-angle camera and an 8 megapixel zoom camera, which with a focal length of 80 millimeters corresponds to a triple optical zoom.

Let's start with the main camera. This is absolutely fine in daylight. Colors are not always the most realistic, but they are mostly aesthetic to look at. The dynamic range is very good, as is the sharpness. Because of the large sensor, we don't have a lot of image noise in darker areas. The ultra-wide-angle & zoom cameras are absolutely not at the flagship level in terms of quality, but they are nice-to-have and definitely better than other 400 euro smartphones.

However, the main discipline of Huawei smartphones is night photography. With the large sensor, you can create impressively bright and realistic images. The lack of OIS is very noticeable, as you have to struggle with high exposure times in low light. This means that images are quickly washed out, especially in night mode, which is why I absolutely do not recommend using this. Pictures in normal mode are shot much faster with one click and at least at the same level if you are not taking pictures with a tripod. That’s really impressive at times.

Test shots

Below you can see some test shots. The comparison device differs because I think that you can get a better picture with it across all prices.

Others

The Huawei P40 5G houses a mono speaker. On the other hand, it sounds quite good, because the sound is comparatively full. The sound does not come close to stereo speakers, especially when it comes to spatiality.

A fingerprint sensor is integrated in the display. Like 2D face recognition, it works really quickly and reliably. For this purpose, it is active at all times without activating the display. the totalproThanks to an infrared sensor in the punch hole, facial recognition also works very well in the dark. Warning: it is still two-dimensional.

The vibration motor is good, but not great. It is a Z-axis linear motor. It does not come close to vibrations like those from Google or Apple, but it is absolutely usable for people like me, who have activated them everywhere, and does not reduce the feeling of high quality.

Summary

Evaluating this smartphone was actually quite difficult for me. It always depends on whether you want to buy it for the RRP of 799 euros or the current price of around 400 euros. The former is of course much too high. Just consider the 60 Hertz display, the lack of OIS and the slow charging. For currently 400 euros, I can recommend it across the board, because the camera, display or other features slide into the positive again at the low price.

I now rate this smartphone by this price as well. You get an extraordinarily high-quality design, a really strong performance with extremely nice software, a very good battery life and an excellent camera. Only the display provides a bit of the compromiss, but you hardly notice it in everyday life. As the little brother of the series, there is of course still the reason for buying compactness, because this hardware with such a good battery life is rarely found in such a small case.

The biggest Proproblem are still the missing Google services. Here everyone has to decide for themselves whether they can get along with it. Otherwise, the Huawei P40 5G is an excellent smartphone that you can buy without hesitation.

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Yinan Xia

Yinan has always been interested in technology, especially smartphones. That's why he started two years ago with a YouTube channel about current technologyProducts and now reports for TechnikNews about current topics that interest him.

Yinan has already written 28 articles and left 6 comments.

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