The recently announced Huawei P40 Pro+ is now available in Singapore! We recently had a chance to play around with it and we believe that despite Huawei’s lack of Google services, the P40+ Pro is still one of the best Android phones out there and worthy of your attention, especially when it comes to performance and camera technology.
As Huawei’s new flagship phone, the P40 Pro+ comes with the latest Kirin 990 5G chipset, making it one of the first 5G phones in Singapore. Although Singapore does not yet have any live 5G networks, it ensures that your phone will be future proof once it arrives.
In terms of performance, the Kirin 990 chipset definitely lives up to the competition. Apart from Apple and Samsung, Huawei is the only other phone brand that designs its own chipsets, which means it can ensure vertical integration between its software and hardware to bring better performance and battery life. And compared to Apple and Samsung’s flagships, the P40 Pro+ really does not disappoint. App launches are as snappy, and games and other graphics intensive apps run very smoothly, even on the P40 Pro+’s 90Hz screen.
In benchmarks, the Kirin 990 chipset beats Samsung’s Exynos in the Geekbench CPU benchmark, losing only to Apple. In the GPU-intensive 3D Mark Slingshot Extreme, it actually beats Samsung and Apple’s chipsets by quite a large margin, making it one of the faster mobile chipsets around.
Like most other flagship Android devices in 2020, the P40 Pro+ keeps up with the latest trend of having a high refresh rate screen. The display is a 90Hz OLED display, similar to the OnePlus had in their 7T. It is slightly slower than Samsung’s 120Hz display in the S20 lineup, but to the human eye, at normal distances it is almost indistinguishable.
Colours on the display are amazing and eye-popping, as is expected from an OLED display. It also conforms to the latest HDR10 standard, which allows for HDR content to be played back on games and videos that support it.
Huawei’s greatest selling point for most of its flagships has been their camera capabilities, and the P40 Pro+ carries on this trend. The P40+ Pro has 4 cameras, a standard 50-megapixel f/1.9 shooter, a 40-megapixel ultrawide, an 8-megapixel 3x zoom, as well as an 8-megapixel camera with a periscope telephoto lens that offers up to 10x optical zoom. The standard and telephoto lenses come with optical image stabilization to improve stability in low light settings. In addition, there is also a 3D Time Of Flight (TOF) sensor that gives depth sensing information, which should aid in faster focusing.
Performance of the cameras is similar to what you will find on Huawei’s P40 Pro, with photos sharp and contrasty, and on par with the latest flagships from Apple and Samsung.
The 100x periscope lens allows you to zoom in to far away objects optically without cropping, giving it far batter and clearer results compared to cropping photos from any iPhone or even Huawei’s own P40 with 50x zoom.
OS and User Experience
As with all Huawei phone reviews, we always need to address the elephant in the room. Google may have pulled support for Google Mobile Services (GMS) from the latest Huawei phones, but the P40 Pro+ still comes with the latest version of Android. Huawei has done a pretty good job of substituting GMS with its own Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), and even includes its own app store called the Huawei AppGallery.
Huawei’s app store: AppGallery
The Huawei AppGallery may still be new and lacking some apps like Facebook or WhatsApp (more on that later), but it has been rapidly expanding its offering in recent weeks, adding support for many popular apps like TikTok and LINE. There are also many apps for local services like Ryde and Foodpanda, online marketplaces like Shopee and Qoo10, and even local banks such as DBS and UOB.
Getting apps via Phone Clone
You can also use Huawei’s Phone Clone app to transfer data from your old device to the new P40 Pro+, including apps you have installed. If you have apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or WhatsApp installed on your old phone, Phone Clone will transfer all these apps automatically to your new phone, along with all your messages and other user data.
Petal Search: A Gateway to your Favourite Apps
If you are starting fresh, you may want to check out the latest Petal Search app from Huawei that is available for download from the AppGallery. Petal Search offers a gateway to Android apps that are available from and outside of AppGallery. It works like a search engine for apps and links you to the various sources that are available to install your desired app.
You’ll have to bear in mind that Petal Search is not an app store, and not all apps are guaranteed to work. Some apps such as YouTube for example, require GMS to function. You can install other popular apps that are not yet available on AppGallery like Netflix, Telegram, Reddit and more via Petal Search.
There are also many other workarounds to getting your usual apps on Huawei phones. As an Android phone, the P40 Pro+ allows the sideloading of Android applications, which means you can download the APK file from APK sites and install them directly onto your phone. In anticipation of many power users taking this route, Huawei has even implemented security measures such as running a security check before installing any app. However, as always, do this at your own risk, as sideloaded apps downloaded from non-reputable sources may introduce viruses to your phone.
As an ultimate fallback, most online platforms also offer a web browser-based experience which you can get by navigating to their website. For ease of use, you can choose to add these web apps to your homescreen for faster and easier access.
With the P40 Pro+, Huawei has once again delivered a top tier flagship device that can compete with the best flagships out there. The vertical integration it gets from building its own hardware and software has allowed it to outperform competitors in some benchmarks, and its camera’s performance is still second to none.
The main concern for many buyers of the phone will definitely be the lack of GMS. To their credit, Huawei has done an excellent job in trying to mitigate this issue, building their own Huawei Mobile Services and making it easier for users to get their favourite app. What you get from the P40 Pro+ is definitely a fully functional phone with an experience not too far different from other flagship phones. And as Huawei continues to improve HMS, we certainly hope that the user experience continues to get closer and closer to the mainstream Android experience.
The Huawei P40 Pro+ costs 1898SGD and is now available at all local telecommunications operators such as M1, Singtel and Starhub; Huawei Concept Stores, Huawei online official stores in Lazada and Shopee as well as authorised retailers including Best Denki, Challenger, COURTS and Harvey Norman. Click here for more details.