Huawei typically likes to use its flagship P-Series phones as a catalyst to show off its fancy new photographic-centric tech co-developed with Leica.
With the loss of Google services, and a growing range of bans on its products in international markets the latest P-Series Phone needs to be extraordinary. If the new features on the Huawei P40 (particularly the Huawei P40 Pro) are any indication, people with access to Huawei’s phones are in for an amazing treat.
The main highlight of the P40 series has to be its Leica quad camera setup. Similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S20 line, the P40 line is split between three different models: the standard P40, the P40 Pro, and the P40 Pro+, with the latter being the only one to feature all of Huawei’s new tech. That means not only does the P40 Pro+ come with a 50-MP primary wide-angle camera, a 40-MP ultra-wide Cine Lens, an 8-MP 3x telephoto lens, and a 3D time-of-flight camera, the Pro+ also gets another 8-MP 10x optical zoom lens. And when those two zoom lenses are combined, Huawei claims it has created the world’s first dual optical telephoto camera system.
Huawei The Pro
Another cool thing about the P40 series is its overflow display, with curved edges on all four sides. The 6.1-inch bezel-free screen is not only beautiful to look at, it’s actually really comfortable to hold. But enough about that. Lets get to the meat and potatoes.
At first glance, you’ll immediately notice the hole-punch display, with a dual selfie camera at the top left of the screen. This not only allows you to take stunning 4K selfie videos, it also supports Air Gestures and Face Unlock in low light conditions.
The primary camera comes with a very large 1/1.28″ 50MP Quad-Bayer sensor that produces 12MP image output. As with other devices with similar sensors, it uses pixel binning to increase dynamic range and low-light capabilities. The lens features an f/1.9 aperture and nominal 23mm-equivalent focal length; however, Huawei crops the field of view to a more conventional 27mm. This decision was presumably made in order to design a thinner camera unit, but it should also help with reducing such artifacts as corner softness and distortion. Optical image stabilization, which can be challenging to implement on such large image sensors, is on board as well.
Like with the Mate 30 Pro, Huawei implements a large and high-resolution image sensor (40MP 1/1.54″) in its ultra-wide camera, which combined with a fast f/1.8 lens, should make for excellent low-light image quality. The downside of such a large sensor in the ultra-wide is lens design. It’s a challenge to design a lens that provides a very wide angle of view and still fits into the thin body of a high-end smartphone. This is why Huawei settled on a compromise at 18mm, which is noticeably wider than the main camera, but not as wide as that of some competitors, such as the latest Samsung devices and iPhones, which offer 12mm and 13mm lenses, respectively.