Huawei announced the Mate 40 Pro yesterday, and now we have one in hand. It may not be easy to recommend Huawei phones outside of China as the Trump administration's targeted sanctions have prevented collaboration with U.S. companies like Google. However, devices like the P40 Pro Plus and last year's Mate 30 Pro had hardware as impressive as anything else in the global smartphone market.
With the new Mate 40 Pro, the situation shouldn't be any different. It's likely Huawei's most advanced device to date – though questions still remain about how far the company can actually manufacture it.
I thought the Mate 30 Pro was the best looking phone released in 2019 and the Mate 40 Pro builds on that design. The device I have is in the “Mystic Silver” color, which Huawei advertises the most. It's a lot more unusual than the name suggests – the back is frosted glass, but there is a kaleidoscopic effect where the phone shimmers different colors depending on the light. That looks great.
The camera module is circular like last year, but this time the lenses are arranged in a ring around the Leica logo. I think I preferred the two-tone glossy effect of the Mate 30 Pro a little better, but Huawei says this year's model was inspired by a black hole. So make it what you want. This is still an attractive device from behind.
On the front, the notch was thrown off in favor of a double-wide hole cutout for the dual selfie cameras. The OLED display is slightly larger this year at 6.76 inches and still has the 88-degree waterfall curves at the edges, which Huawei calls the "horizon" display.
These edges mean that the power button on the side is still pushed back further than it is on most other phones. In contrast to the Mate 30 Pro, however, this time Huawei has found space for buttons for the physical volume, which should mean an improvement in usability.
Overall, the Mate 40 Pro looks like another physically and technically impressive Huawei flagship, and I'm excited to see what the company has achieved – especially with the camera and the new Kirin 9000 processor. The software will of course be a completely different matter. Stay tuned for a full review.