Camera zooms all of them: Huawei P40 Pro +: high end without happy end

The Huawei P40 Pro + is a technical treat, the absolute highlight of which is a camera with a ten times optical zoom. Still, not many users will buy the 5G smartphone, and that's not just due to the lack of Google support.

There are currently no great innovations in top smartphones, which is why manufacturers try to outdo each other, especially when it comes to camera equipment. At the top of the "photo wonders" is the Huawei P40 Pro +, whose snaps with ten times optical zoom is a technical masterpiece. The hardware also convinces almost all along the line. Huawei's problem remains the lack of Google support, even if the variety of apps has been increased by alternative stores.

Huawei has given its 5G top model a noble body. The IP68 waterproof and dustproof device does not have a glass back, but a ceramic one. You can't see the difference, but the material should be particularly scratch-resistant. Otherwise, the Chinese didn't reinvent the wheel in design. Without a label, the switched-off smartphone could also be used as a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra or another device with laterally curved front and back sides. The P40 Pro + is still chic.

Due to the curved sides, the display edges look even narrower than they already are.

The first eye-catcher is the approximately 6.6-inch OLED display. It offers strong contrasts, bright colors and can shine brightly. Huawei has limited itself to the resolution Full HD + and a refresh rate of 90 Hertz (Hz), other top smartphones boast with 4K and 120 Hz. But neither one is really necessary and consumes a lot of power. With a pixel density of 441 ppi, the display of the P40 Pro + is sharp enough and 90 Hz are sufficient for a constantly smooth display. The integrated fingerprint sensor works precisely and quickly.

Heavy, but persistent

The very narrow edges around the screen are striking, which makes the device still quite handy despite the powerful display diagonals and disappears in most pockets. However, the smartphone is quite heavy at 226 grams. This, in turn, is accepted with pleasure, because the device's high weight is largely due to its battery, which holds 4200 mAh. With this, the P40 Pro + comes easily even over long days even with activated 5G and intensive use and still reserves.

The in-house Kirin 990 processor with integrated 5G modem also contributes to this, which delivers top performance, but is relatively economical. Even a whole day without WiFi in the 5G network changes little, which the battery in devices with a separate modem can hardly hold out. The RAM is reasonably large at 8 gigabytes (GB), the expandable flash memory is generously sized at 512 GB.

Great camera equipment

The biggest difference to the "simple" Huawei P40 Pro is the second zoom lens in the powerful camera unit on the back. Huawei has managed to achieve a tenfold optical magnification via prisms. Since the camera is optically stabilized (OIS), amazingly good telephoto pictures can be taken from the hand. Because of the technically high ISO value, the software has to visibly smooth out a high level of noise, but the results are impressive, especially when the sun is shining. Digitally supported up to a hundredfold enlargement is possible, but then the quality of the pictures quickly deteriorates.

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With the 50-megapixel main camera (OIS) excellent f / 1.9 shots are possible with aperture f / 1.9, otherwise it does an excellent job. The second telephoto snaps with triple optical zoom and the wide-angle camera, which are also optically stabilized, also provide beautiful photos. The fifth camera is actually a 3D sensor, which provides a very appealing artificial bokeh, especially for portraits. The P40 Pro + also cuts a fine figure with videos, if you want, you can record 4K clips at up to 60 frames per second. For selfies with beautiful bokeh, the device has a front camera with 32 megapixels and a 3D sensor.

App shortage that can hardly be compensated

Up to this point, the P40 Pro + makes most smartphone competitors look rather old – if it weren't for the US boycott that forbids Google to offer Huawei its services. This means that many functions are not available at all or only partially, which is a matter of course for many Android users. This primarily affects the variety of apps that Huawei has so far not been able to produce in its store despite high investments.

That's what Petal Search is now for. This is a universal search that is also used to find applications in alternative app stores. These are largely unproblematic and Huawei increases the security through scans by the service provider Avast. Whatsapp and other messengers are available, the Chinese have brought a good alternative to Google Maps on board with Here WeGo.

Sure to fail

If you use Huawei's relocation app Phone Clone, you can also transfer applications from an older Huawei smartphone that you would otherwise not be able to install. But many of them insist on Google Play services, are not upgradeable, or Pro licenses paid in the Play Store are not accepted. Only those who can do without the large variety of apps and prefer to avoid Google services anyway are well served with the Huawei P40 Pro +.

Then the extremely high price of around 1364 euros still remains. You can't avoid it, no German provider has the P40 Pro + as a contract cell phone. That will deter users in normal times, in the corona crisis Huawei may find it even more difficult to find buyers for its Google-free top smartphone. And if you want to dig deep into your pocket for one of the best current smartphones with strong cameras, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra from 1080 euros. Too bad the P40 Pro + deserves more, but it seems doomed to fail.

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