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Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing, Hands-On Review: Still the Best Shooters in Town?

Is this the Camera Phone of 2020?

Early Verdict: The Mate 40 Pro easily builds on what this series of phones from Huawei has been known for — its stellar camera performance. Based on the handful of shots we’ve taken so far, we can easily see it as one of the top dogs when it comes to taking mobile snaps.

While the camera may be one of its biggest highlights, the Mate 40 Pro is also packed with amazing hardware and a ton of features that’s fitting for Huawei’s annual showpiece.

The Mate series has always been the phone where Huawei flexes their muscles and shows off the very best of what they can do. You’ve seen us react to the launch of this year’s Mate series already but we finally got it in our hands on it to see what they have in store for us this year and it’s as feature-packed as ever.

 

Unboxing and Packaging Contents

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro comes in the usual black cardboard box that the brand usually reserves for their flagship phones but you’re also getting a hint of the phone’s signature design aspect — the space ring.

We do have to mention that we received a marketing sample from Huawei so it is missing the usual set of documents you would get if you decide to purchase this phone. Other than that, you’re getting the usual accessories, such as: a SIM ejector pin, jelly case, a pair of USB-C headphones, the charging cable and the 66W SuperCharger.

Design and Display

Let’s get this out of the way. We know that people have been making comparisons between the Mate 40 Pro and the iPod due to the Space Ring camera system that it’s rocking. While we do have to admit that it’s pretty undeniable with all the renders we’ve seen, experiencing the device first hand and seeing how well this phone is finished made us forget about it.  For a little bit at least.

Our review unit for the Huawei Mate 40 Pro comes in this year’s hero color — Mystic Silver — with the same iridescence that’s been a huge trend as of late. The shifts in hues are subtle and, combined with the matte finish of the device, it gives it an air of elegance. It also helps avoid smears and smudges too.

Overall ergonomics for the device are pretty good since you do have that insane Horizon display that bleeds over the edge of the display. The Mate 40 Pro is one of the weightier flagships we’ve experienced this year but it’s nothing extreme.

 

Since we’ve already touched on the display, the one on the Mate 40 Pro measures in at 6.76-inches at a resolution of 1344 x 2772 so not quite a 2K panel but close to it. You’re also getting an OLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate on this device so expect picture quality to be really good with deep blacks plus smoother, snappier navigation through the device.

The OLED panel also gives you access to things like an in-display fingerprint scanner that’s extremely accurate and unlocks the phone quickly. Huawei also put an eyes-on-display on this iteration of the Mate that allows you to glance at your phone to see if you have any notifications or simply check the time.

For the button and port layout, on the right side you have the power button and the returning volume rocker; although if you dug the virtual ones from last year, it’s still available.

On the bottom you have the USB-C port, a speaker grille, and access to the SIM tray.

And up on top, you’ve got another speaker, an IR blaster, and a microphone.

Cameras

As we mentioned earlier, the biggest draw for the Mate series has always been its cameras and you’ve got a great set of shooters in the Space Ring. It’s led by a 50-megapixel Ultra Vision Camera at an aperture of f/1.9. You’re also getting a 20-megapixel Ultra Wide Cine Camera at f/1.8 and a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that has 5x optical zoom but is capable of 50x digital zoom. You’re also getting Laser Autofocus on this device as well.

The weather has been a little uncooperative lately but check out a couple of our samples so far.

For selfies, Huawei has equipped the Mate 40 Pro with a 13-megapixel front camera in the pill-shaped punch hole on the screen that’s accompanied by a gesture sensor.

We still have to test out the cameras further, especially when it comes to the video side of things, but we’re pretty impressed so far.

Performance and Battery

This year’s Mate 40 comes equipped with what claims to be their most powerful SoC yet — the Kirin 9000. It’s been paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. We haven’t put it through the wringer just yet, but so far we’ve seen some impressive benchmark scores coming from this device and we’re curious to see what the improvements to the architecture has done to the overall performance of the device.

Juicing up the entire system is a 4400mAh battery and, given the track record of Kirin processors in the past and the battery management capabilities of EMUI, we fully expect this device to last for quite a time. Huawei has also beefed up the charging speeds on the Mate 40 Pro from 40W to 66W.

Wrap Up and Early Conclusions

It’s always tough to make conclusions without the price tag for the phones and, unfortunately, we don’t have the official SRP for the Mate 40 Pro as of press time. But, from what we’ve experienced so far, the Mate 40 Pro is shaping up to be one of the best Android phones for mobile photography that’s available to us here in the Philippines.

No surprises there since that’s what Huawei’s flagships have always been known for.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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