Huawei’s P40 series set to redefine smartphone photography, again

Huawei P40

With Huawei’s P30 series smoking competition on camera smarts, it seems the Chinese smartphone manufacturer is playing to their strengths with their new flagship P40 series. This time the phone comes in three different versions – P40, P40 Pro, P40 Pro+ – and hosts an impressive spec sheet that should easily make up for the glaring lack of access to Google’s Android-dominating services.

Announced late last week, the P40 series promises remarkable horsepower along with the camera innovations which will no doubt be front and centre of all discussions henceforth.

That Camera Tho

This time around there’s an exciting penta-camera array on the Pro+ – dubbed the Ultra Vision Leica camera system – looking slick behind that rectangular camera bump on the back. It consists of a 50MP main sensor, a 40MP wide-angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lense for 10x optical zoom, and another one for 3x, and a ToF sensor.

The Pro version tightens things up with a quad-camera array consisting of a 50MP main sensor, 40MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP telephoto lens, and a ToF sensor. Expect a 5x optical, 10x hybrid, and 50x maximum zoom. The 5x optical telephoto camera should easily steal the show here, with a RYYB colour filter array to boost light intake and improve quality of zoomed shots.

Meanwhile the standard P40 cuts back to a triple-camera setup with a 50MP primary, 16MP ultra-wide and an 8MP telephoto lens.

Bumping up to the P40 Pro+ will bring you a whopping 100x SuperZoom array with a new periscope design that reflects light five times, extending the light path by 178 percent to support 10x true optical zoom. The optically stabilised Ultra Vision Wide Camera and SuperZoom Array work in tandem with AI to realise Triple OIS+AIS for vastly improved photo and video stabilisation.

Deep learning algorithms will seek to enhance lighting and detail on real-time portraits, and there’s other impressive software tricks like new features which can do away with unwanted subjects and glare from a frame, effectively removing photo bombers and pesky reflections. It’s clear Huawei are aiming this one directly for creators.

One thing that was kind of lacking with the P30 series was video; clearly Huawei are trying to atone for that. The 40MP Ultra Wide Cine Camera in the P40 Pro has a focal length of 18mm and a 1/1.54-inch sensor which supports the 3:2 aspect ratio. Built-in technology also supports 16-in-1 pixel binning to produce super pixels measuring in at 4.48μm to boost light sensitivity up to ISO51200 and enable 7680fps Ultra Slow-Motion video capture.

Perhaps most exciting is the support for real-time Bokeh effects in videos, adding progressive blur to help highlight the main subject of the footage. The telephoto camera can capture high quality zoom footage as well as 4K time-lapse videos. There’s Directional Auto Zoom as well for the Pro, allowing users to zoom in on an audio source and amplify its sound at the same time.

The Rest?

A powerful camera needs a powerful engine. For this P40 series that’ll be the Kirin 990 5G which promises a robust AI performance and power efficiency. An upgraded graphics rendering engine and 90Hz panel should keep gamers happy, complemented by 160MHz Wi-Fi 6 Plus – featured on all P40 phones – with high-speed connectivity and support for 2,400Mbps.

Display wise, the Pro has that aforementioned 90Hz panel, but the Pro+ takes that up to 120. Huawei seem to be sticking with the well-received design of the Samsung Galaxy S10 by having a small dual-camera cutout in the top left corner of the screen for the selfie camera and a 3D infrared sensor for face-unlock. Both the Pro and Pro+ sport a 6.58-inch curved OLED display with a 2,460×1,200 resolution, while the standard P40 shrinks a bit to a 6.1″ display.

EMUI

Much like the recent Mate 30 Pro, the phone will arrive with no relationship with Google, so no access to Play Store and a proprietary OS. That’s the EMUI 10.1, and Huawei’s own AppGallery which will no doubt be expanded with close collaboration with global developers.

Availability

The P40 Series – the P40 and P40 Pro – can now be pre-ordered in Australia and will be available from Thursday 16 April in Deep Sea Blue or Silver Frost. The P40 will be coming to the Huawei Authorised Chatswood Store, Mobileciti and Harvey Norman, whilst the P40 Pro will also be available from JB HiFi and Officeworks.

The P40 RRP is $1,099 and P40 Pro is $1,599, and both come with a complimentary VIP service to help consumers set up their new device.

All Australian P40 Pro pre-orders between now and 15th April will come with a free pair of HUAWEI FreeBuds 3(RRP $299 AUD). The offer will need to be redeemed by 27th May at https://www.huaweipromotions.com.au/.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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