The upcoming Huawei P40 (and its expected big brother, the P40 Pro) is one of the biggest mysteries in the tech industry - will it actually be released or not? Despite Huawei's claims that the phone will land in March, we're not sure.
Due to Huawei's ongoing restrictions, the company's new smartphones can't use any Google apps (including the Play Store), which significantly limits their capabilities and value compared to other smartphones. This will likely extend to the Huawei P40 Pro in a similar fashion to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.BERLIN WEATHER
Despite the questionable future of Huawei handsets, we are looking forward to the upcoming Huawei P40 smartphone. The 2019 Huawei P30 and P30 Pro are some of our favorite phones, with the latter long topping our list of best camera phones thanks to its 5x optical zoom periscope lens and great software.
New phones like the Samsung Galaxy S20 as well as the rumored iPhone 12 are sure to be tough competition for Huawei and its P40 phones, so it'll be exciting to see what the company unveils in 2020.
We've listed what we want to see in the Huawei P40 below, as well as what we already know or have heard rumors about. We'll keep updating this article with all the latest leaks and rumors regarding the Huawei P40 to give you the best idea of what to expect before the handset's official launch.
Latest news: It seems increasingly likely that both the likely lower-end Huawei P40 and P40 Pro will be 5G phones, with the regulatory body in China confirming this fact in the listing.
Huawei has confirmed that the Huawei P40 will be announced in Paris at the end of March.
This comes as no surprise, as the P30 and P30 Pro were unveiled in Paris in March 2019, and the P20 and P20 Pro were unveiled in March 2018. We had anticipated its launch at MWC 2020, but now that event has been cancelled.
March makes sense because Huawei likes to separate its phone launches from other big tech events, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 launch. It has previously launched new P-series handsets at MWC in Barcelona in late February, but this is a show that features a huge number of launches and gains more exposure by delaying it by a few weeks and holding its own event in March.
The price of the Huawei P40 is a more interesting conversation. At launch the Huawei P30 cost £699 / AU$1,099 (about $910) and the P30 Pro started at £899 (AU$1,599, about $1,140), which was more expensive than last year.
We've heard that the Huawei P40's price may roughly match that of the P30, but the Pro model may actually be slightly more affordable than its 2019 counterpart. The Huawei P40 Pro Premium Edition is reportedly going to set you back €1,200 (roughly $1,320, £1,015, AU$1,955), which is enough to rival the cheapest phones on the market.
Since Christmas 2019, the stream of Huawei P40 leaks and rumours has picked up a bit, and we're starting to get a clearer picture of what the phone might look like. Well, we would if some of the leaks weren't a bit contradictory.
The first bit of news is the biggest: despite Huawei's ban that has plunged the company's future into chaos, it seems that Huawei is still planning to launch the Huawei P40 worldwide.
Even if the ban is still in place while the phone is on the losing end, its launch will still happen - just without the Google app. This might make it a bit useless, since most people use smartphones just for their apps.
The Huawei P40 and P40 Pro could be 5G phones, as the listing for the Chinese regulator suggests. This makes sense as they are expected to run on the Kirin 990 chipset, which supports this new generation of connectivity.
A Huawei exec also said that the P40 will have a "never seen" design, suggesting big changes to the design, and that it will run Android 10 (without Google services), and have performance and photo quality improvements.
The phone's prototypes, and subsequent images, suggest that it will look quite familiar, with a design that is remarkably similar to what we've come to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S20 and OnePlus 8. It looks like 2020 is the year when all phones look the same. These prototypes show the different colors the phone could come in, from expected options like black and white to more interesting tones like almond and blue.
The design of the Huawei P40 may actually come without the curved screen of the P30 Pro. The leak appears to be tentative, so it could be wrong, but we could see that the newer device is a little less advanced compared to its predecessor. We've seen screen protectors that suggest the screen will be curved, so the flat screen information seems questionable.
We've also seen a leaked image of the Huawei P40's camera. The rear lump appears to be on the upper left of the phone's back, just like on the Huawei P30, and it doesn't seem too obtrusive either, at least compared to third-party devices. The prototype gives us a different angle, and it looks like the bump could be just as long, but much wider, than on the P30.
But we know what you really want to know, the exact specs, and we've heard plenty of rumors about the Huawei P40 Pro's camera specs. The device is rumored to have a five-camera array consisting of a 64MP main snapper, a 12MP zoom camera (which is supposed to facilitate up to 10x optical zoom, which would be the best in a smartphone), and ultra-wide-angle, depth-sensing, and macro cameras of unspecified resolution.
Saying that, a separate leak suggests that the main camera will be 52MP, and the fact that the leaks contradict each other suggests that we shouldn't take any of them as gospel just yet.
That 52MP claim has been repeated, with the source adding that it will use "Quad Bayer" technology to combine 16 pixels into 1, resulting in images as small as 3.25MP, but with a massive pixel size that would likely allow for great low-light shots.
The source reiterated the claims of a 10x zoom lens, saying that this would be made possible by using two prisms in the mechanism, rather than the single prism that current smartphone periscope lenses use.
One of the sources above also stated that the base Huawei P40 will have four rear cameras, dropping one of the last two, but another rumor suggests that the Huawei P40 will have the same three cameras as the Huawei P30.
We have reservations about this, as it wouldn't make sense for a device with such an emphasis on photography to not innovate in the camera department, but perhaps Huawei has something else up its sleeve.
When the Huawei P30 Pro came out with four lenses, it was one of the first smartphones to do so, and even the three P30s were impressive.
But now more affordable smartphones have four cameras, such as the Honor 20, so one way for Huawei to continue its dominance in photography and stand out from the competition would be to add another lens.
The best choice for this additional lens would be a Motorola One Action-style "Action Cam" for video recording, since video cameras are things we haven't seen much of in cameras.
An anamorphic lens would also be great for video recording as this type of lens is used by professional filmmakers as it captures footage and captures lens flare, with other advantages.
This is something that we ask for in every new phone as it is a feature that gets bigger and bigger with time, but wireless charging on the Huawei P40 would be a really useful feature that would match its premium status.
Hopefully this feature will be added - the Huawei P30 Pro had wireless charging, as did the Mate 20 Pro, so it's probably a matter of time before Huawei brings this feature to its phones.
If we had to sum up the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro's displays, it would be "good, not great" - OLEDs are HDR10, which is good for viewing content, but nothing on competitors with QuadHD or even 4K displays.
Huawei is always trying to be competitive in the camera department, and you're going to need better and better displays to see more and more amazing photos, so it would make sense for Huawei to update its offerings.
Perhaps by equipping the Huawei P40 with AMOLED on-screen technology, QuadHD or even 4K, Huawei could get ahead of the competition.
We want the Huawei P40 to retain the notch of the P30. This is something controversial, so stay with us here - but we don't want Huawei to follow the trend of increasingly bizarre alternatives.
The reason for this is that there are currently no better solutions to the front-facing camera problem. The pinhole cutouts take up just as much, if not more space, and the pop-up cameras are a gimmick that can be inconvenient when done right and very annoying when not.
It would be nice if Huawei could reduce the P30 Pro's notch, which is quite thick, but the P30 is slim and inoffensive compared to many other phones. It's better to emulate that than try something else that ends up burning you out.
This will be a less controversial opinion - we'd like to see Huawei redesign EMUI, its own user interface, in time for the Huawei P40.
Currently, EMUI is probably pretty glaring (some would call it garish), and it comes with a lot of bloatware that can be uninstalled right away. Chinese phone manufacturers often have UIs that are popular in China but not so much elsewhere, and EMUI is a perfect example.
If Huawei could dust off this UI for the Huawei P40 (which can be a simple task if the phone runs on Harmony OS), it would certainly be much more pleasant to use.
One of the Huawei P30's most impressive camera features was the digital and optical zoom available on the camera, but we'd love to be thrilled again if the Huawei P40's zoom was improved.
The Huawei P30 allowed for 3x optical and 30x digital zoom, and the P30 Pro up to 5x optical and 50x digital zoom - pretty impressive. But now that smartphones like the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom support crazy 60x zoom (despite the name), Huawei will have to pull out the big guns to stay competitive.
We may have seen an improved telephoto lens in the P40 and P40 Pro, as well as a better megapixel count, so the digital zoom produces less grainy effects.
Huawei smartphones are known for their rear camera arrays, but we'd like to see the Huawei P40's front-facing cameras to allow for competitive shots as well, and the best way for Huawei to accomplish this would be to have multiple front-facing cameras.
We've already seen this in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, which has two front-facing cameras that "see" depth to add proper background blur. If there was something similar in Huawei's upcoming phones, even just the Huawei P40 Pro, it would give the device a competitive edge.
While the Huawei P30 Pro had an IP68 rating, making it pretty accident-proof (meaning it's dust-resistant and can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water for half an hour), the P30 only had an IP53 rating, so it was protected from dust and splashes, but if you submerge it in the bathtub along with the P30 Pro, it won't turn on after that.
We'd like to see the Huawei P40 stand up to its P40 Pro partner - we don't like worrying about the safety of our smartphone at all times, and if the P40 matches the P30 Pro's protection, it will help us sleep safe and sound at night (and over water).