Huawei Mate 40: A Detailed Review of the Latest Phone from Huawei


As the world’s third largest phone manufacturer, Huawei has been playing the catch up game since it jumped into the game in 2012. Its good work in China meant that it was already a top three phone manufacturer in 2013. Hopes were high as it started a global push in 2014, with a phone with very good build quality, that is now regarded as one of the best phones of the year. However, things went south as well as in September of that year, as the US Government issued a ban on the sale of some phones and networking gear to some of its allies – mostly China. It was later expanded to Australia and New Zealand, which largely shut down its direct access to the global market.


Huawei is arguably one of the only major smartphone companies in the world that does not follow the long-established industry tradition of naming its phone models with a number. Instead, it’s given its phones names inspired by themes, with some of its earlier phones such as the Mate 10 and P20, having names that look a bit like food. The Mate 20 Lite is the latest addition to the Mate 20 range, and it’s an enormous step-up from the Mate 10 Lite that came before it. The Mate 20 Lite is fitted with a 6.3-inch full-HD+ display, making it slightly larger than the P20 Lite (5.84-inch display). However, there’s no notch. Instead, Huawei has used a dewdrop-style notch at the top that’s similar to that of the Essential Phone.


the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro (for 2018) both ran EMUI 9 on top of Android 9.0 Pie, but this time around, Huawei’s operating system will run on top of its own proprietary skin, called the MagicUI. As such, some users will prefer the Pixel-like clean look of stock Android, and some might prefer the more ‘convenience’ approach of EMUI. With a foreboding black, white, and grey look that looks like it could be a BlackBerry variant, I’d be inclined to opt for stock Android myself, even if it means I have to wait a little longer for the latest features to hit my device. EMUI in MagicUI (top to bottom) While the interface is still familiar, Huawei’s decisions to put it on top of a custom skin are starting to make it look more and more tired.


Performance & Battery Life

The Mate 20 Pro came with 6GB RAM and 256GB storage, and we saw huge gains in everyday performance and the overall user experience. It has a Kirin 980 SoC with dedicated NPU chip for AI tasks, which gives the phone AI-enhanced and improved performance. In our Geekbench 4 results, we saw that it got 8,497 points in single-core performance and 53,199 points in multi-core performance, which is unheard of for an 8GB RAM phone, let alone a Huawei one. It is worth noting that the Note 9, which has 8GB RAM, scored 10,147 points in single-core and 84,199 points in multi-core, so the Mate 20 Pro’s benchmark score should be an improvement over the S9 Plus (8GB RAM, 1.6GHz Exynos 9810 octa-core SoC), which scored 7,501 and 12,030, respectively.



aHuawei Mate 40: A Detailed Review of the Latest Phone from Huaweifter the review of the Mate 30 Pro, we were again impressed by Huawei’s Kirin 970 SoC and its power management in the Mate 30. The Mate 20 Pro continued this trend with its AI chips, which on paper are 10% faster than Kirin 970. In addition, the Mate 20 Pro’s in-display fingerprint scanner managed to be the fastest sensor in the market, so it had a lot going for it. While these are indeed impressive results, it’s worth noting that the Kirin 970 still holds a better score. So, on paper, these new Mate 20 phones don’t look as compelling as their predecessors. So how does this compare to the competition?


Camera Apps

For the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro, Huawei used Leica cameras and Leica’s hardware-software fusion solution. This allowed it to boast some pretty incredible camera features, such as 3x optical zoom with a 10x digital zoom and Hybrid Autofocus. For the Mate 40, Huawei has taken things a step further by creating its own AI algorithm. Unlike the Mate 30 series, which was already on a par with the best smartphones in the world, the Mate 40 includes what it calls “Night Mode”, which dynamically optimises the sensor’s sensitivity to the light in the environment, and enables brighter photos at night, something which Apple’s Live Photos and Google’s Snapseed app have long been able to achieve.



For those who have not been following Huawei’s releases, the Mate series has been gradually changing from mostly metal/glass phones to mostly-metal phones with a soft-touch metallic coating. The Mate 20 Pro brought back metal chassis in a slightly curved rear, as well as with curved sides on the front, while the Mate 20, Mate 20 X, and Mate 20 RS all adopted a slim 7.7mm-thick chassis. In the midst of this, Huawei introduced the Mate 20 with in-display fingerprint scanner. The Mate 20 Pro has an overall taller 6.39-inch (2340x1080p) display, with a 91.5 percent screen-to-body ratio and notch, while the Mate 20 Pro uses the older, smaller, 5.84-inch panel with an 84.2 percent screen-to-body ratio. Both have curved glass edges and rounded corners.


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