Huawei launches P40 series smartphones with better cameras and up to 10x optical zoom

SINGAPORE – Chinese handset maker Huawei unveiled its new flagship line of smartphones, the P40 series, on Thursday (March 26), touting better cameras compared with last year’s P30 phones.

In a live-streamed video, a departure from last year’s Paris launch event for the P30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s consumer business group, said of the phones: “We will move mobile photography to a new height.”

This year’s P40 line-up comes in three models, up from P30’s two – the P40 which has a 6.1-inch screen, and the larger P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ which each have a 6.58-inch display.

Like last year’s P30, the P40 has three cameras on the back but the wide-angle unit is better than the P30’s 40-megapixel (MP) one. This means the P40’s camera can pick up more details in photos than last year’s model.

The P40 has a 50MP wide-angle camera, a 16MP ultra-wide-angle camera and a 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom.

The P40 Pro has a similarly better wide-angle camera than last year’s P30 Pro, but doubles the megapixels for the ultra-wide-angle camera and bumps up the telephoto camera too.

The P40 Pro’s rear four-camera system sports a 50MP wide-angle camera, a 40MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 12MP periscopic telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom and up to 50x digital zoom, and a depth-sensing camera.

Finally, the new P40 Pro+ model ramps up the photography capabilities of the phone even more with a rear five-camera system that boasts 10x optical zoom, which outstrips the 5x optical zoom for last year’s P30 Pro and many other flagship phones.

The P40 Pro+ has a 50MP wide-angle camera, a 40MP ultra-wide-angle camera, a 8MP 3x optical zoom telephoto camera and a 8MP periscopic telephoto camera with 10x optical zoom, as well as a depth-sensing camera. In addition, it supports up to 100x digital zoom.

All three P40 models also feature a 32MP hole-punch front-facing camera for selfies but only the larger P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ phones come with an additional front-facing depth-sensing camera for better bokeh effects which create out-of-focus backgrounds in photos.

The P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ also have super narrow bezels and their displays have a fast refresh rate of up to 90Hz, compared with 60Hz for last year’s phones, which means videos on the screens will appear smoother.

All three P40 handsets also feature fingerprint sensors built within the screens that Huawei said are able to scan fingerprints and unlock the phones 30 per cent faster than last year’s models.

Like Huawei’s recently launched Mate Xs, the P40 models are powered by the Kirin 990 5G chipset, which means the P40 phones are 5G ready. The three phones support faster next generation Wi-Fi 6 Plus technology. The bigger P40 Pro and P40 Pro+ also feature 40W wireless fast-charging.

The P40 and P40 Pro will be available in three glossy glass finishes of white, blue and black, as well as two matte glass finishes of gold and silver. The P40 Pro+ will come in ceramic back finishes in two colours – black and white.

Due to the continued ban of Huawei arising from the United States-China trade war, the P40 series will not feature Google Mobile Services such as the Google Play store and Google Maps, despite running on Android 10.

Instead, Huawei is touting its own app store, the AppGallery. Launched in March 2018, the AppGallery is available in more than 140 regions, including Singapore. With more than 390 million monthly users worldwide, Huawei claims it is the third-largest app store in the world.

The availability, colours and pricing of the P40 series in Singapore have yet to be confirmed.

But the P40 and P40 Pro will be available on April 7 for 799 euros and 999 euros respectively. The P40 Pro+ will go for 1,399 euros in June. Huawei did not specify which countries the three phones would be launched in.

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