Huawei P40 vs P40 Pro vs P40 Pro +: what's the difference?
This page has been translated using AI and machine learning.
(Pocket Ribbon) – Not satisfied with releasing its usual two-model flagship series release program, for 2020 Huawei has stepped things up by releasing not just one, not two, but three different P-series handsets : the P40, the P40 Pro and the P40 Pro +.
It's a move that came as no surprise, in a world where many competitors have taken a similar route – take a look at Samsung's S20 series, for example – but now with three P40 series models to choose from, how different they actually?
Design: colors and finishes
P40 Pro only: Silver Frost, Blush Gold with matte finish P40 Pro + only: Black ceramic, White ceramic All models: Ice White, Black, DeepSea Blue
The standard P40 is smaller than the P40 Pro and Pro +, the latter two are the same size.
But the color options and finishes are where things differ. At the entry point, there are white, black and blue glass back finishes. The P40 Pro also has a silver and rose gold finish, both of which have a matte finish that is said to be fingerprint resistant – despite still being made of glass.
Finally, there is a ceramic finish, in black or white, only for the P40 Pro +. Huawei tells us that this "nanotech ceramic back" consists of ceramic beads, which are compressed under higher pressure and then fished at 1500C for five days, creating a sapphire back with a reflective index "comparable to diamond."
Screen: size and resolution
P40 Pro & Pro +: Edge-to-edge Overflow Display with curved edges / P40: Flat display P40 Pro & Pro +: 6.58-inch OLED, 2640 x 1200 resolution P40: 6.1-inch OLED, resolution of 2340 x 1080 P40 Pro and Pro +: 90Hz / P40: 60Hz
As mentioned, the P40 is the smaller handset due to the 6.1 inch screen. This screen is also flat, not curved, with slightly larger bezels than its larger models.
The P40 Pro and Pro + have a 6.58-inch screen so are not as huge as some current handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. We think this is a wise decision to increase ease of use with one hand.
Whichever of the Pro and Pro + models you choose, you will get what's called an Overflow display. That's Huawei's way of saying Waterfall Display, which means that the edges overflow, just like a waterfall, so the edge is barely visible. This applies to all edges – sides as well as the top and bottom – for a truly screen-dominating design.
The result is no notch, instead there is a double perforation present on all three handsets. More information about the (extensive!) Cameras can be found further down the page.
While the P40 offers a standard 60Hz display, the Pro and Pro + offer a 90Hz refresh rate – which is 50 percent higher than typical 60Hz panels. That's all well and good, but with OnePlus with 120Hz panels and others with up to 165Hz panels in gaming phones (the Red Magic 6 being the first example of that), you might be wondering why Huawei hasn't hit the stars here . The answer, we suspect, is cost, battery performance and, frankly, that this extra rate isn't going to make a big difference in the way most people see apps and content perform anyway.
All models: Kirin 990 processor, 8 GB RAM P40 Pro & Pro +: 4200 mAh battery P40: 3,800 mAh battery P40 Pro +: 40 W fast charge (incl. 40 W wireless) P40 Pro: 40 W fast charge ( incl. 27 W wireless) P40: 22.5 W fast charging (no wireless charging)
All three P40 models will offer a similar experience, given their Kirin 990 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 5G connectivity across the board.
However, none of the three come with Google Services, which means no access to Google Play Store (instead, there's Huaweis App Gallery, which is currently missing some of the majors, such as WhatsApp (you can download it as an APK with a browser) – but no Google Drive means no backup), and more, despite the P40's launch on Google's Android 10 operating system, with Huawei's EMUI 10.1 user interface.
It's in the battery department where the three models differ a little more. The P40 has a 3,800 mAh cell, which is quite small by today's standards, while the Pro and Pro + go up to 4,200 mAh – which is roughly on par with what the current competitors offer.
Charging those batteries is also fast. The P40 sticks to the well-known 22.5W fast charging, while the P40 Pro and Pro + this goes up to 40W – which is fast, but not the fastest out there (that goes to OnePlus with its 65W Warp Charge 65T for the OnePlus 9 Pro).
However, Huawei is introducing 40W wireless charging for the Pro +. It means wirelessly charging the handset in just over an hour – which is impressive. However, the standard P40 has no wireless charging option.
P40: Leica triple camera system P40 Pro: Leica quad camera system P40 Pro +: Leica penta camera system Main camera: All models: 50MP SuperSensing sensor (RYYB), 1 / 1.28 inch wide f / 1.9 aperture, optical stabilization (OIS ) Focal length (approx.): P40 on 27mm, Pro on 25mm, Pro + on 24mm Ultra-wide camera: P40: 16MP, f / 2.2, 17mm equiv. P40 Pro & Pro +: 40 MP cinema lens, f / 1.8, 18 mm equiv. Zoom lens # 1: P40 & Pro +: 3x optical (80 mm equiv.), 8 MP, f / 2.4, OIS P40 Pro: 5x optical (125 mm equiv.) RYYB sensor, 12 MP, f / 3.4, OIS Zoom lens # 2: P40 Pro +: 10x optical (240mm equiv.) Periscope zoom, 8 MP, f / 4.4, OIS P40 Pro & Pro +: Time-of-Flight (ToF) depth sensor All models: dual selfie camera, 32 MP
The camera setting is always the most important function of the P-series. We thought the P30 Pro had set a new bar when it launched in 2019 – something that improved upon the P40 series.
It's a bit complicated though, as the camera settings are quite different for each device. The P40 has a triple rear camera, the P40 Pro a quad setup, the Pro + a penta system.
However, all three offer one consistent thing: the same main camera. This is a 50-megapixel SuperSensing sensor – the same red, yellow, blue (RYYB) technology found in the P30 Pro – and with a size of 1 / 1.28 a lot larger than a typical camera sensor.
That makeup and physical size work to its advantage in delivering a clean signal for overall better picture quality. Not to mention using four pixels in one pixel on the screen, oversampling means for even better quality (12.5MP output) – a method already used by many others. And there are also 100 percent on-sensor phase detection pixels for autofocus.
There's also a wide-angle camera on every P40 model, but it's one of two variants: the P40 has a 16-megapixel sensor at 17mm focal length, while the Pro and Pro + offer 40MP at 18mm (so slightly less wide, probably because of the quality of the edges / corners). The higher resolution offering is described as a cine lens, as it is also used for video, up to 4K.
Then there is the zoom element. All three P40 models have an optical zoom lens: the P40 a 3x zoom lens, the P40 Pro a 5x zoom lens, the P40 Pro + a 10x zoom lens. That 3x is the same as we've seen in the P30, with only 8 megapixels of resolution for the P40 and P40 Pro +. The 5x is different from the one in the P30 Pro, as Huawei also uses the RYYB SuperSensing technology for the P40 Pro's zoom lens here. The 10x was the first time we saw such a periscope zoom, as reserved for the P40 Pro + only (and used in conjunction with the 3x zoom optics to provide the ability to step through zoom levels to provide the most appropriate tools for each task. ).
The P40 Pro and Pro + also come with a Time-of-Flight depth sensor, which derives distance information, which the software can use in layers to create background blur (bokeh) in portrait mode.
All three P40 cameras offer familiar modes, from AI shooting to night mode. These are advanced, however, with the AI tech now being able to take multiple frames before and after pressing the shutter button to select the best of a burst and suggest a top three selection.
The front cameras can be found in a double perforation or pill cutout in all three P40 models. The main camera is 32 megapixels, which also uses standard four-in-one oversampling for 8 MP output, combined with a depth sensor for background blur software effects and more.
Price, release date and conclusion
P40: € 799 (at launch) P40 Pro: € 999 (at launch) P40 Pro +: € 1399 (at launch)
Once again, the P40 series seems to be struggling for camera dominance. And that variety of versatile cameras – especially on the Pro + model – makes for great reading pleasure.
That said, the absence of Google Play Store on these devices is a major pain point. Of course there is an App Gallery, and consumers can choose what is important to them. But at the moment it is difficult to recommend the P40 series.
Written by Mike Lowe.