Hands on with the new Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Under normal circumstances, this would be up for phone of the year

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Last week, at an online event, Huawei unveiled the Mate 40 series, the company’s new flagship series. Packing cutting edge specs and a breathtaking new body, the Mate 40 series should be in the running for phone of the year.

Iconic design meets innovative hardware

I’ve been using the Mate 40 Pro for about a week now and if there’s ever been a phone that’s caused people to stop and stare and ask me about the phone I’m using, it’s this one. That’s thanks to the striking new Space Ring camera design and the breathtaking Mystic Silver colourway which showcases every colour under the sun depending on how the light hits it.

The Mate 40 Pro’s design prowess moves beyond the breathtaking colour and Space Ring design though. As the successor to last year’s Mate 30 series, the Mate 40 series is proof that Huawei listens to its customers and adapts based on their needs.

While the Mate 30 Pro 5G was an impressive piece of hardware, I found it to be a bit too boxy with edges that were a bit too sharp. The Mate 40 Pro takes that boxy design and softens it with rounded edged and an 88° Horizon Display. This makes the phone more comfortable to hold, despite it being wider than both the P40 Pro and the Mate 30 Pro 5G.

Huawei has also brought back the physical volume rocker on the Mate 40 Pro, something they removed on the Mate 30 Pro 5G in favour of on-screen volume controls. You’re still able to use these on the Mate 40 Pro but it’s nice to have the option between using the physical hardware and the software solution.

Flip the phone around and you’re greeted by the 6.7-inch 90Hz FHD+ display. Not only is it bright and legible in direct sunlight, it also makes great use of the pill-shaped cutout in the top left corner which houses the wide-angle selfie camera and the 3D depth-sensing camera.

Another new feature on the Mate 40 Pro is the presence of dual speakers. Yes, Huawei has experimented with speakers in the charging port and having the earpiece double up as a speaker, but this time you’ll find 2 dedicated speakers on the device which results in the loudest audio I’ve ever heard on a Huawei phone.

Huawei’s cameras get even better

Earlier this year, Huawei unveiled the P40 series which broke records and established the brand as the undisputed reigning smartphone photography champion. The Mate 40 builds on that and is now ranked as the number 1 smartphone camera according to DxOMark who praised the impressive dynamic range.

Here are shots taken with the Mate 40 Pro:

These are compressed, so unfortunately you won’t see the full quality of these images, but they do confirm DxOMark’s statement that the Mate 40 Pro is a dynamic range beast.

When it comes to night mode, the Mate 40 Pro proves that yet again, Huawei’s cameras can see better in the dark that we can.

One of the most intriguing new camera features is the new Story Creator which lets you take a combination of pictures and videos and compiles it as a montage.

More battery than you’ll ever need

One of my favourite things about Huawei phones is the battery life. I have yet to use a phone with a battery that outlasts any Huawei battery.

As a power user, I need a battery that will get me through the day with more than just a few percent left on the battery indicator, and the Mate 40 Pro is it. Despite having a slightly smaller 4400mAh battery compared to the Mate 30 Pro 5G’s 4500mAh battery, Huawei’s newest flagship outlasts every device I own. At the end of each day, I’m left with a comfortable 27 – 30% battery life, which means that the average person will easily get 2 full days usage out of a single charge.

When you do need to top up your battery, you’ll be able to do so in about 45 minutes thanks to the company’s 66W SuperCharge technology (yes charging cable and charging brick are both in included in the box).

The 66W charging brick is so powerful that I’ve been using it as the main power brick for all my USB-C devices, including my MacBook Pro.

Final thoughts

Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro is a symphony of design and functionality. Instead of packing in features that serve no purpose or including design elements that just look good, Huawei’s Mate 40 Pro strikes a delicate balance between beautiful design, functionality and usability.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro specs

OSEMUI 11 on top of Android 10
Display6.76-inch FHD+ OLED with 90Hz refresh rate (2,772 x 1,344)
Processor5nm Kirin 9000
RAM8GB
Storage256GB (expandable via Huawei NM card)
Rear camera50MP Ultra Vision Camera (Wide Angle, f/1.9 aperture)  + 20MP Cine Camera (Ultra-Wide Angle, f/1.8 aperture) + 12MP Telephoto Camera (f/3.4 aperture, OIS) ,support AF + laser sensor
Front camera13MP wide-angle f/2.4 + 3D Depth Sensing
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 5G, NFC, USB Type C
SensorsGesture Sensor, 3D Face Recognition, Gravity Sensor, Infrared Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Barometric Pressure Sensor, Gyroscope, Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Laser Sensor, Colour Temperature Sensor
IP RatingIP68
Battery4,400mAh with 66W SuperCharge
Dimensions162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1 mm
In The BoxPhone (Built-in battery) x 1
Charger x 1
USB Type-C Cable x 1
USB Type-C Earphones x 1
Flexible Clear Case x 1 (Depending on Markets) 
Quick Start Guide x 1
Eject Tool x 1