Huawei Mate 40 Pro angled shot of the camera bump

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Huawei Mate 40 series is finally here. We’ve got three phones this time, in the form of the Mate 40, Mate 40 Pro, and Mate 40 Pro Plus.

Huawei considers the Mate 40 Pro to be the main phone in the series, and it sports the company’s 5nm Kirin 9000 processor. The US trade ban means that the Mate 40 series will be the last flagship to be powered by Kirin chips, at least for a while.

So, are the world’s best non-Google Android phones worth the purchase? Here’s everything you need to know!

Huawei Mate 40: At a glance

Huawei Mate 40 Pro showing the home screen at an angle on a bench

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Huawei Mate 40 series includes three devices. The most affordable is the Mate 40, which has a slightly less powerful processor and cameras than its bigger brothers. However, it retains a 90Hz screen and just about everything else. It also is the only device to include a headphone jack.

The Mate 40 Pro offers true flagship performance with the Kirin 9000 processor, three rear cameras, and super speedy charging (and wireless charging) capabilities. The Plus variant differs by offering a bit more RAM (12 vs 8GB) and two zoom-focused cameras instead of one. It has a 3x 12MP optical zoom shooter and a 10x 8MP periscope camera to cover short-range and long-range zoom, as well as a 3D ToF camera.

Read also: The best Huawei phones you can buy right now

It’s worth noting that there is one more device in the lineup the Porsche Design Mate 40 RS. Aside from a slightly fancier design and more storage, there isn’t a lot to justify the enormous price hike over the Mate 40 Pro Plus. At more than $2700 (€2,295), it’s not a device most consumers should even consider buying.

Huawei’s Mate lineup typically represents the company’s most powerful phones on the market, and this year is no different. It incorporates the best camera tech from the P40 series, some of the most powerful non-Qualcomm processors, and some innovative wireless charging tech in slick, elegant-looking devices.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Huawei's answer to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Huawei's Mate 40 Pro is a top-shelf, no compromises, flagship smartphone with all the bells and whistles.

Is the Huawei Mate 40 Pro worth buying?

Huawei Mate 40 Pro home screen

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

While the phones remain some of the best you can buy from a design perspective, there are obvious drawbacks. The biggest is that they come without Google Services. This means no Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Play Store, or other services that many users take advantage of on a daily basis.

Huawei Mobile Services mostly makes up the difference, but it isn’t quite there yet. EMUI 11 (Huawei’s flavor of Android) is based on the older Android 10, and the problem won’t be getting better any time soon.

If you don’t need the latest and greatest software experience, however, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is still a compelling product, provided you live outside of the US. It’s just not so easy to recommend, given the obvious software limitations.

What reviewers are saying about the phone

Huawei Mate 40 Pro held in the hand showing the rear mystic silver finish

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

In Android Authority‘s Huawei Mate 40 Pro review, our own Ryan-Thomas Shaw called it “The full hardware package” and praised it as “a contender for the best all-around smartphone in 2020.”

Aside from the lack of a 120Hz display (it’s limited to 90Hz), the phone ticked all the hardware boxes straight down the list. It has best-in-class performance with the Kirin 9000, a fantastic camera setup, great battery life, and speedy wired and wireless charging.

Ryan also liked that Huawei stepped away from the cookie-cutter designs that other manufacturers are using with a unique, rounded camera module. It also has an interesting (if a bit large) pill-shaped selfie camera cutout and an elegantly curved display with tiny bezels.

However, this curved design also makes the phone slippery. He didn’t find any problems with ghost touches on the edges, but the display itself is a bit uninspiring compared to similarly priced offerings from Samsung, OnePlus, or Sony. The 90 Hz panel is certainly passable, but it would have benefitted from a bump up to 120Hz or at least a higher resolution.

Ultimately though, Ryan stopped short of recommending the phone to most users. The lack of Google apps like Chrome and Gmail make it a hard sell at over $1400 (£1,099/€1,199). If you can overlook that, however, it’s a truly fantastic device.

Other reviews from around the web

You should always try to get a second opinion, so we’ve rounded up a few more reviews from reputable sources around the web. Here’s what they had to say about the Mate 40 Pro:

  • Richard Priday of Tom’s Guide was fairly critical of the phone, even if he found the hardware “excellent.” He gave the device three out of five stars due to the lack of Google apps, writing “the software issues mean it’s not suitable for the average user, who should turn to flagships from Samsung or OnePlus instead.”
  • Tom Bedford of TechRadar had a similar opinion, writing that it’s “An incredible phone, but one that’s hard to recommend.” Again, he loved the hardware, saying that “its cameras take incredible pictures, its screen looks great, and it feels wonderful in the hand thanks to its curved display and slender build.” He felt that the app situation doesn’t outweigh the high asking price, no matter how well designed the phone is.
  • Ben Sin, writing for Forbes, was more positive about the phone, and found that he could make do without Google apps. With the exception of YouTube, there are credible alternatives readily available. He also loved the cameras, which remain best-in-class despite the competition nipping at its heels. Like others, he didn’t quite recommend the phone to the general public, writing “those who pay 1,199 euro for this will almost certainly be enthusiasts or Huawei loyal fans.”

Huawei Mate 40 specs

 Huawei Mate 40Huawei Mate 40 ProHuawei Mate 40 Pro PlusPorsche Design Mate 40 RS
Display6.76-inch FHD+ OLED
(2,376 x 1,080)
90Hz refresh rate
6.76-inch FHD+ OLED
(2,772 x 1,344)
90Hz refresh rate
6.76-inch FHD+ OLED
(2,772 x 1,344)
90Hz refresh rate
6.76-inch FHD+ OLED
(2,772 x 1,344)
90Hz refresh rate
ProcessorKirin 9000E
Octa-core CPU
1x Cortex-A77 (3.13Ghz)
3x Cortex-A77 (2.54Ghz)
4x Cortex-A55
(2.05Ghz)

NPU (1x big core, 1x little core)
Kirin 9000
Octa-core CPU
1x Cortex-A77 (3.13Ghz)
3x Cortex-A77 (2.54Ghz)
4x Cortex-A55
(2.05Ghz)

NPU (2x big cores, 1x little core)
Kirin 9000
1x Cortex-A77 (3.13Ghz)
3x Cortex-A77 (2.54Ghz)
4x Cortex-A55
(2.05Ghz)

NPU (2x big cores, 1x little core)
Kirin 9000
Octa-core CPU
1x Cortex-A77 (3.13Ghz)
3x Cortex-A77 (2.54Ghz)
4x Cortex-A55
(2.05Ghz)

NPU (2x big cores, 1x little core)
GPUMali-G78 MP22Mali-G78 MP24Mali-G78 MP24Mali-G78 MP24
RAM8GB8GB12GB12GB
Storage128/256GB256GB256GB512GB
CamerasRear:
50MP f/1.9
16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto with OIS

Front:
13MP f/2.4
Rear:
50MP f/1.9
20MP f/1.8 ultra-wide
12MP f/3.4 5x periscope camera with OIS

Front:
13MP f/2.4
3D ToF
Rear:
50MP f/1.9 with OIS
20MP f/2.4 ultra-wide
12MP f/2.4 3x telephoto with OIS
8MP f/4.4 10x periscope camera with OIS
3D ToF

Front:
13MP f/2.4
3D ToF
Rear:
50MP f/1.9 with OIS
20MP f/1.8 ultra-wide
12MP f/2.4 3x telephoto with OIS
8MP f/4.4 10x periscope camera with OIS
3D ToF

Front:
13MP f/2.4
3D ToF
Battery4,200mAh
40W wired charging
40W wireless charging
4,400mAh
66W wired charging
50W wireless charging
4,400mAh
66W wired charging
50W wireless charging
4,400mAh
66W wired charging
50W wireless charging
Audio3.5mm portUSB-CUSB-CUSB-C
SecurityIn-display fingerprintIn-display fingerprint
3D face unlock
In-display fingerprint
3D face unlock
In-display fingerprint
3D face unlock
Operating systemEMUI 11
Android 10
EMUI 11
Android 10
EMUI 11
Android 10
EMUI 11
Android 10
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

How is the Huawei Mate 40 Pro camera?

Huawei Mate 40 Pro close up of the camera bump

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • Rear:
    • 50MP, f/1.9, 23mm, RYYB, OIS
    • 20MP ultra-wide, f/1.8, 18mm
    • 12MP 5x periscope zoom, f/3.4, 125mm, OIS
  • Video:
    • 4K 60fps, 720p 3840fps
  • Front:
    • 13MP, f/2.4
  • Video:
    • 4K 60fps

The Mate 40 Pro camera is truly one of the best on the market. It doesn’t quite have all the bells and whistles (you have to spend a bit more on the China-only Mate 40 Pro Plus for that), but it’s a fantastic shooter with a lot of versatility.

The 50MP main sensor captures photos that are sharp and full of detail. They also feature great dynamic range, even if the post-processing leaves the final photo a bit contrast-heavy. The 20MP ultra-wide sensor performs well too, although the results are noticeably softer than those of the main sensor. Not too soft, just softer.

Huawei has been using periscope zoom technology for a few years now, and the Mate 40’s 5x periscope camera is no different. It’s not quite as good as the other two cameras, but as far as zoom capabilities go, it’s a solid performer. If you spend find the Mate 40 Pro Plus, you can get even more zoom with two separate cameras: one 3x and one 10x.

As in previous efforts, the Mate 40’s low-light photos are nothing short of incredible. They can literally see in the dark. Portrait mode also performs well, producing natural and realistic roll-off.

Check out some full-size photo samples in this Google Drive folder.

How is the Mate 40 Pro battery life?

Huawei Mate 40 Pro quick settings shade

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Mate 40 camera is easily one of its stand out features. The cheapest Mate 40 device has a 4,200mAh battery, and the two larger models both have 4,400mAh batteries. That’s actually 100mAh less than the previous model, but don’t let that fool you. In our testing, we regularly got two full days of battery life out of the Mate 40 Pro.

To get a bit more juice out of the phone, you can also turn on various power saving modes in the settings. These allow you to turn off 5G, the Always On Display, and other features to last a bit longer.

Learn more: The fastest charging phones 

On the charging front, the Mate 40 overperforms once again. It has 66W SuperCharge wired charging and 50W SuperCharge wireless charging to top off the phone from empty to full in less than an hour. Reverse wireless charging is also present, although limited to just 5W.

How fast is the Mate 40 Pro?

Huawei Mate 40 Pro close up of the bottom half of the display

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Mate 40 Pro and Pro Plus have Huawei’s latest Kirin 9000 processor, which is a top performer. It’s an octa-core CPU featuring four Cortex-A77 cores and four Cortex-A55 cores. Graphics are handled by the latest generation Mali-G78 GPU, with 24 cores in tow.

The Cortex-A77 isn’t the latest and most powerful Arm CPU though. The newer and beefier Cortex-A78 and Cortex-X1 are available in the Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 chipsets. Nevertheless, it still delivers a good level of performance, with Huawei claiming the CPU and GPU are 10% and 52% faster than the 2020 Snapdragon 865 Plus respectively. Our in-house Speed Test G benchmark suite didn’t quite back up those numbers, as the Mate 40 Pro was competitive with the OnePlus 8T in terms of CPU performance but lagged behind big-time when it came to the GPU-related tests.

In real-world usage, the lower GPU score doesn’t prevent the Huawei Mate 40 Pro from running the latest and greatest games. Every game we tested ran buttery smooth with very few hiccups. If you’re looking for a gaming phone, the Mate 40 Pro won’t disappoint, but expect better performance (especially over time) with the latest Snapdragon 888 devices.

Huawei has paired the Kirin 9000 chipset with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. And yes, Huawei is still using its proprietary Nano Memory cards for storage expansion as opposed to microSD cards. Unfortunately, these tend to be more expensive than the more common microSD cards.

What are some Mate 40 Pro alternatives?

Apple iPhone 12 Max vs Huawei Mate 40 Pro EOY 2020

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

For most consumers, the lack of Google apps will be a dealbreaker, but there are plenty of great alternatives to try out. None can match the Mate 40 Pro in all respects, but all of them have access to the Google apps you already know and love.

We’ll mostly be focusing on phones available in Europe and the UK, since the Mate 40 series is not for sale in the US. You may be able to import it, but doing so will cost significantly more than the sticker price.

The first Mate 40 Pro alternative will sound familiar to just about anyone who follows the smartphone industry. The $1,200 Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the Korean firm’s power user device. Expect a Snapdragon 888 SoC or Exynos 2100 chipset, S-Pen support, a cutting-edge camera setup (featuring two zoom-focused cameras), and a huge 5,000mAh battery. One of the biggest downsides is that you aren’t getting ultra-fast wired or fast wireless charging here, but at least the QHD+ 120Hz screen delivers the goods.

Next up is the OnePlus 9 Pro, which might scratch any itch you have for a premium phone from a major Chinese brand. The new phone offers high-end features like a QHD+ 120Hz OLED panel, Snapdragon 888 processor, high resolution main and ultra-wide rear cameras, and a 3x telephoto lens. Other notable features include a 4,500mAh battery, 65W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and IP68 water/dust resistance.

Don’t mind leaving the Android world? Then the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a great option. Apple’s flagship smartphone also has a 6.7-inch display and a triple-camera setup to capture great shots in just about any situation.

Where to buy the Mate 40 Pro

Huawei Mate 40 Pro close up of the punch hole selfie cameras

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Like most Huawei phones, if you live in the US you’re out of luck. Ongoing troubles between the US and Chinese governments have left Huawei in the lurch, and its phones along with it.

For those of you in the UK or Europe, you can buy the phone directly from Huawei via the link below. We’ll update this article as soon as more retailers carry the phone, but for now that’s your best bet.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Huawei's answer to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
Huawei's Mate 40 Pro is a top-shelf, no compromises, flagship smartphone with all the bells and whistles.

Other FAQ

Q: Can you buy the Huawei Mate 40 Pro in the United States?
A: The Mate 40 lineup is not officially available in the US. You can import it by other means, but this isn’t recommended.

Q: Does the Mate 40 series support 5G?
A: Yes, all phones in the lineup support 5G.

Q: Does the Mate 40 family have a headphone jack?
A: Only the cheapest Huawei Mate 40 has a headphone jack. The Mate 40 Pro and Pro Plus do not.

Q: Is the Mate 40 range water-resistant?
A: The Mate 40 Pro and Pro Plus are IP68 designs for water and dust resistance, while the standard Mate 40 has IP53 splash resistance.

Q: What colors does the Mate 40 Pro come in?
A: The Mate 40 Pro comes in Mystic Silver, White, Black, Olive Green, and Sunflower Yellow.

Q: Does the Mate 40 Pro support storage expansion?
A: Yes, but only with Huawei’s proprietary Nano Memory cards, rather than the more ubiquitous microSD.

Q: Does the Mate 40 Pro come with a charger?
A: Yes, there is a wired charger included in the box. However, you will need to buy a wireless charger separately.

Comments
Read comments