our opinion and our impressions of the new flagship

The Mate 40 Pro, which has just been unveiled by Huawei, has been in our hands for a short week. Enough to give us time to test it from all angles and give you all our impressions of Huawei’s new spearhead.

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro has arrived! Here it is finally, the successor to the Mate 30 Pro which had made so much talk about it last year. Because the smartphone was at the time the first device without Google services (GMS) marketed by Huawei in Europe. Despite its many qualities, especially in terms of design, photo or performance, the lack of Google apps made the Mate 30 Pro difficult for everyday use.

The Mate 40 Pro disembarks, still deprived of supermarkets, but offering a whole new SoC engraved in 5 nm and once again giving pride of place to photography and video. Huawei also learned from its mistakes and reintroduced a volume button, that’s pretty good news. And the device offers itself a larger screen, even more impressive than those of the P40 Pro and P40 Pro + released earlier in the year.

We therefore tested the Huawei Mate 40 Pro for a good week and give you all our conclusions. So, can the Mate 40 Pro really become your everyday smartphone, or does it still lack that little “extra” (GMS, in this case) to really make it the best premium phone in the world? year?

Price and availability of the Mate 40 Pro in France

The Mate 40 Pro will be marketed at a price of 1199 euros. In Europe, two colors are available: black or mystic silver.

Huawei also offers other variations of its Mate 40 range. However, no marketing is planned in France. We find in particular the Mate 40 Pro +, a premium model, as well as the Mate 40 Pro RS Porsche Edition, an ultra premium smartphone. As a guide, the first is worth the equivalent of 1,400 euros, while the second is priced at nearly 2,500 euros.

Huawei mate 40 pro

Design: still good despite a little weight gain

As with all of its top-of-the-range models, Huawei puts the small dishes in the big when it comes to working on the design of its devices. At the front, we find the famous curved edges that made the success of the previous models in the Mate range, as well as the P30 Pro and P40 Pro … And of course the success of competing models, notably at Samsung. Of course, if you don’t like this kind of display, no need to convince yourself: the 88 ° curvature of the edges of the Mate 40 Pro is really very pronounced. If you’re struggling to get your hands on this kind of phone, this one should definitely convince you to stick with a flat-screen model.

Huawei mate 40 pro

On the other hand, those who prefer the rounded and elongated shapes of smartphones with curved edges will be delighted. The grip of the device is excellent, handling the device is a real pleasure. Note, however, that like the P40 Pro +, this type of smartphone remains difficult to use in transport with one hand without using the appropriate mode. One-handed mode which is obviously integrated into the Mate 40 Pro (Huawei has never repeated the mistake made when leaving the P Smart Z and that’s good).

Still on the front face, we notice that the manufacturer has housed its double selfie sensor at the top left of the device, in a horizontal notch which could have been even more discreet if the two had been isolated from one another. other. Either way, the curved edges and shallow black bands at the top and bottom of the device make the Mate 40 one of the most aesthetically successful smartphones.

There is a small speaker on the top edge of the device, as well as a second on the bottom edge. At the bottom of the device, the Mate 40 Pro also has a classic USB-C port, as well as a small slot for the SIM card as well as the storage card. As usual, this is a format more specific to Huawei and called the NM Card (NM for Nano Memory), the size of which is smaller than that of a standard microSD card and whose dimensions are similar to those of the SIM card.

Huawei mate 40 pro

A good point is to mention about the periphery of the device: the Mate 40 Pro sees the big return of the volume control knob. This had completely disappeared on the previous model, in favor of a small window simply displayed on the screen. It was perhaps a gain in general aesthetics, since only the power button remained on the right side of the device. But this change was really not the most practical and by Huawei’s admission, many users have complained about the drastic design change. The manufacturer listened to them and therefore reintroduced the physical button to adjust the sound level.

Huawei mate 40 pro

The rear of the device is no exception. We find the super neat design of the previous generation, with its well rounded edges that offer a very good grip of the device. The back is made of Gorilla Glass 6, but Huawei has ignored the “shiny” side of the previous model this time. At least on the model we received, the mystic silver. The result is a dorsal shell that changes color slightly depending on the light. In addition, thanks to its coating less glossy than most competing smartphones, the back of the Mate 40 Pro is partially free from fingerprints, even if they still appear from time to time.

The Huawei logo, which was on the left side of the device, is now located in its center, still on the bottom of the smartphone. But the most notable change concerns the photo sensor island. If it still takes a circular shape, it has gained in size. While the Mate 30 Pro’s photo module was located in a 2.9cm diameter circle, the Mate 40 Pro’s is 4.2cm. In fact, Huawei has decided this time to integrate the flash, which was housed in the left side of the device on the previous version. The manufacturer also wanted to highlight its partnership with Leica, whose logo is now located in the center of the photo module.

Huawei mate 40 pro

Note, however, that the Mate 40 Pro has taken a little weight compared to the previous version. It weighs exactly 213 grams on the scale, compared to 197 grams for the previous edition. In terms of design and handling, this is perhaps the only point on which we would have liked Huawei to work more.

Screen: it’s beautiful, it’s fluid, there is nothing to complain about

The Mate 40 Pro’s Amoled screen is enlarged very slightly compared to the previous version, going from 6.53 ″ to 6.76 ″. In comparison, the device is the same size as the P40 Pro released earlier in the year. Like the latter, it has a refresh rate of 90 Hz, which gives it a certain comfort of daily use in games, page scrolling, etc. Small bonus: the refresh rate is adaptive, that is, it varies from 60 to 90 Hz depending on the application running. Technology that we have already seen on Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, or on Xiaomi’s Mi 10T Pro. Of course, Huawei is still confined to 90 Hz where the competition has crossed the threshold of 120, or even 144 Hz. But it’s not already so bad, especially since the screen of this smartphone is very good bill.

Huawei mate 40 pro

We have put the device to the judgment of our X-Rite i1display Pro Plus probe, and the results we have obtained are most favorable. In the default display mode, set to “vivid”, the temperature level is very high, causing the screen to appear slightly blue. Its contrast level is perfect, even one would expect no less from an Amoled display. Its delta E level is also very good, except perhaps on the primary colors, which are again a bit high. As for the gamma level of this screen, there is nothing to say: it is flawless across the board. Almost all of the minor hazards he may encounter are swept away by setting the device to normal mode and using the cold temperature option.

Performance: the Kirin 9000 reveals its power

While the Mate 30 and P40 were both equipped with a Kirin 990 engraved in 7 nm, it is a brand new SoC that makes the heart of the Mate 40 Pro beating: a Kirin 9000. And it is a a great first for a smartphone, since the processor of this smartphone is engraved in 5 nm. For more than two years, founders have been in the race for one to release a 5nm SoC and bring it to market on a large scale, so TSMC is kicking the ball. This fine engraving saves energy efficiency and computing power (in short, because it’s a bit more complicated than that in reality). And this is partially verified on the Mate 40 Pro …

We have subjected the smartphone to various benchmark tools such as Geekbench, 3D Mark or even PC Mark. In some cases, Huawei’s new SoC overtakes a Snapdragon 865, and even goes neck-and-neck with the Snapdragon 865+, but that’s not always the case. Under Geekbench, for example, we observe a multi-core score of 3311, against 3155 for the OnePlus 8T equipped with a Snapdragon 865. On the other hand, Huawei’s SoC is beaten under 3DMark, obtaining a score of 6261, against 7212 for the OnePlus 8T processor.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro benchmark

In short, while the Kirins have always lagged behind the more powerful Snapdragons a bit, the gap is now narrowing considerably. On a daily basis, the processor performs real prowess: no slowdown is to be noted, whether for the instant processing of shots or in the most demanding 3D games.

Last point: no big surprise, the Mate 40 Pro is 5G compatible. Provided you have the right network, Huawei announces a speed gain of around 100% compared to the Mate 30 Pro. It remains to be seen whether this development requires end-to-end Huawei equipment, or whether such performance can also be seen on competing networks.

Audio: finally a real stereo, but a little unbalanced

In terms of audio, the Mate 40 Pro has a little novelty: a “real” speaker located at the top of the screen. This is not housed under the screen, but comes in the classic form of a small grid located on the top edge of the smartphone, as well as a small gap placed between the screen and the edge of the screen. ‘apparatus. There is obviously a second speaker placed at the bottom of the Mate 40, which allows the device to enjoy a … stereo! Finally a high-end Huawei smartphone with a real stereo system, it’s about time.

Huawei mate 40 pro

The audio quality of the whole is quite decent, even if we know it, this remains the weak point of all the smartphone manufacturers. The bass is not very present here, the fault of the lack of a sound box. We can bet that the system found by Samsung with a “removable” screen that reveals a sound box will one day prove its worth.

Let’s also make another note about the Mate 40 Pro: on the lower part of the device, if the sound is at full power, it is lower on the upper part of the smartphone. As a result, the stereo is a bit patchy on one side when holding the smartphone horizontally, whether gaming, listening to music, or watching a TV series.

Autonomy: Huawei masters its subject

In terms of autonomy, the device has a 4400 mAh battery and a 65 W fast charge. We also find in the box of the smartphone the appropriate charger, which is very good news for those who wants to take advantage of the maximum charge as soon as the phone is purchased. However, we note that the battery has lost 100 mAh compared to the Mate 30 Pro last year. Is there anything to change the situation when it comes to autonomy? Good news, but you probably expect it: it doesn’t change the behavior of this smartphone in any way. We used the Mate 40 Pro under the same conditions as the Mate 30 Pro and saw almost no difference.

Huawei mate 40 pro

Autonomy is therefore still one of the strengths of Huawei’s Mate range, as is also the case of the P series. By using the smartphone rather intensively, without pushing it to its limits either, the device is able to last nearly two days without flinching. For example, after 24 hours of use, and after taking care to recharge the device to 100%, we have 48% battery left. Our uses have been diverse and varied, ranging from listening to streamed music for an hour, to watching a series on Netflix for an hour as well. Not to mention the use of GPS for the same duration, unrestrained web browsing, chatting on WhatsApp and Facebook repeatedly, a good hour of phone calls, etc. In short, the device has not been idle and the results are there: it is one of the most autonomous smartphones that we have tested recently, playing on equal terms with the Mi 10T Pro and its 5000 mAh battery. .

As mentioned above, the device has a fast charge of 65 W, allowing it to be fully recharged in 51 minutes, watch in hand. It’s fast, very fast, even if we are starting to see even faster on the competition side (especially at Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi). As it should be for a flagship, the Mate 40 Pro is also compatible with wireless charging.

Huawei mate 40 pro

EMUI 11 takes up residence

Contrary to what some recent rumors have suggested, the Mate 40 Pro does not run Android 11, but Android 10. On the other hand, the smartphone is the first to benefit from EMUI 11 in its finalized version. This new edition offers some interesting new features, such as a customizable Always on Display. The screensaver can now accommodate small preinstalled animations, even your own small videos. Additionally, screensaver info and animation are displayed only when you are viewing the device. What to save the battery, in addition to the dynamic refreshing mentioned above.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro EMUI 11

Another small novelty of this edition: better management of multi-window mode. For example, it is possible to display small “bubbles” as a window, so that the windows do not overlap each other. A perfect solution for those who wish to consult and reply to their SMS, without leaving the current application. In this 11e edition, EMUI is still as rich, fast and customizable.

Environment: can we do without Google services?

As mentioned a few weeks ago during the review of the new features of EMUI 11, it is the version of Android 10 that is currently found on the Mate 40 Pro. Huawei does not rule out offering Android 11 to its smartphones and is already in the process of integrating it into its smartphones.

If Huawei is still in turmoil because of US restrictions and still cannot do business with Google, the Chinese giant continues at all costs to take out smartphones deprived of GMS (Google Mobile Services) and offer them in Europe. A year ago, he launched the Mate 30 Pro, the first Huawei smartphone marketed in France without the famous Google applications. Instead of these services, we found Huawei’s own tools called HMS (Huawei Mobile Services). If the smartphone showed undeniable qualities at the time, we have to admit that it was difficult to use on a daily basis … Unless you hack the smartphone in order to force the installation of GMS, which we had hastened to do of course. Because at the time, Huawei’s store was really poor and it was complicated to rely on alternative applications and not always very effective.

A year has passed: Huawei has since made every attempt to make up for the lack of Google services and applications. The AppGallery, the alternative store replacing the Google Play Store, now has more than 90,000 apps in Europe. Not only has Huawei managed to convince a number of developers and publishers to join its cause, but it has also found a way to offer its users two alternatives when an application is not available within its own. AppGallery. On the one hand, it is possible to install a shortcut to the publisher’s website, but also to submit a porting request to Huawei, so that it can send it to the developers. And if the AppGallery is not enough, there is always a way to call on Petal Search.

The Mate 40 Pro is therefore easier to use today than the Mate 30 Pro when it was released. Does he manage to do without Google services? The answer is: it’s complicated …

Photo and video

You will probably not be told anything by telling you that the Mate 40 Pro is equipped with photo sensors designed with the help of the famous Leica brand. A guarantee of quality that has been verified for several years now and Huawei has never disappointed us on this point, whether on its P or Mate range. And once again the Huawei / Leica duo have done a really good job.

Huawei mate 40 pro

The device has 3 sensors at the back, which are distributed as follows: a main sensor of 50MP (aperture f / 1.9), an ultra-wide angle of 20MP, f / 1.8, and a telephoto sensor of 12MP (aperture of f / 3.4), which offers an optical zoom x5. Its technical data sheet of the device being very close to that of the Mate 30 Pro, we therefore find substantially equivalent shots in full light, as in total penumbra, or almost. Note, however, a small originality: there is a colorimetry sensor at the rear. Up front, we have a dual sensor: a 13 MP main module, and a ToF (time of flight) module. The latter is one of the other novelties of the Mate 40 Pro in terms of photography.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro day photo

So what about the Mate 40 Pro’s photographic prowess, if not that they are very good? In full light, the sharpness is perfect, the image is sharp and the noise, even in the darkest areas of a shot, really very little. The colors are a bit bright at times, but it’s really occasional. The Mate 40 Pro’s 50 MP sensor doesn’t disappoint.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro day photo

In low light, this is also faultless. The pictures are very well made, as long as we do not use the optical zoom. In this case, and as soon as we try to zoom in on an element in x5, artefacts appear on the photo. But a shot in this kind of situation is ultimately very punctual. In all other conditions, the night mode allows you to take very good shots.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro night shot

In short, we expected it a little: the photo part of this Mate 40 Pro is almost flawless. On the video side, Huawei has integrated a brand new video tracking function into its smartphone. Simply tap the screen to isolate a moving person, animal or object, and the device will then follow it instead, as long as it doesn’t stray too far from its field of view . It works wonderfully, the sensor manages to follow the person you indicate to it without any worries. On the other hand, we noted a small delay in the follow-up, the time that the sensor manages to recenter the image on the element which must be tracked.

A software update for the Mate 40 Pro will also provide a Picture-in-Picture mode which will allow the image of the front camera to be integrated into that of the rear camera, and vice versa. This update will be released in November 2020.

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