Huawei, the second-largest smartphone maker is popular in the Android ecosystem for its well-designed smartphones with high-end specs, enhanced camera features. Over the past few years, the Chinese tech released a host of smartphones under its flagship ‘P series.’ The Huawei P series journey dates back to 2012 when the company announced its first P series flagship phone- the Ascend P1. Back then the Huawei devices featured design-cue similar to Sony’s Xperia models with the square-cut body, thick bezels covering the display, speaker grille upfront.
With growing competition, Huawei began tweaking the design aesthetics, upgrading the hardware, implementing better quality panel and staggering camera lens. Along with these changes, Huawei even skims out the labels (like Ascend, Mate) and rather opted for numbers for instance- P8, P9, P10 and the latest being Huawei P40 series.
The new Huawei P40 series retain the Leica-branded lens which means the devices will boast exceptional photography prowess like the previous iteration. This time around Huawei has made a few tweaks in the software and added a bunch of features on the high-end variant- Huawei P40 Pro.
The Huawei P40 Pro flaunts 90Hz refresh rate screen, a big 1/1.28-inch 50MP ultra vision camera, and high-end custom Kirin 990 SoC. Although the specs sheet looks good on paper, the question remains is what unique features Huawei has packed on its new P-series tech box to compete with its rivals. In this article, we compare the Huawei P40 Pro with premium competitors: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Google Pixel 4 XL.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Design
The new flagship in town, Huawei P40 Pro flaunts a genteel design although the rear panel looks identical to Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. The phone features a square-cut design with tall form-factor and curved edges on all four sides. The metal and glass sandwiched body has a matte texture to protect the back panel from fingerprint smudges (at least you won’t have to pull your fibre cloth ofttimes to wipe off the smudges). The phone has a rectangular camera block at the top left corner. The curved edges between the front and black panels are crafted to offer better ergonomics. The Huawei P40 Pro features an edge display with a pill-shaped cutout that houses the dual-sensor selfie camera. At the bottom, the phone has a USB Type-C reversible connector.
The premium Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is encased in a glass body with a metal frame chiselled in between the Corning Gorilla Glass 6 panel. The curved bezel-less display has a small cutout at the top center to embed the front camera. Unlike the Huawei P40 Pro’s rectangular camera bump that covers some portion of the back panel, the square-shaped box on the Galaxy Ultra 20 chuck out half the space on top. That aside, the volume keys and power button are thankfully placed on the same side (unlike the previous models) for easy access. At the bottom, the speaker grill sits alongside the USB-C port.
Compared to these premium smartphones, Google’s flagship Pixel 4 XL features a thick bezel display that often pulls your eye to the black outline while streaming content. The design is no doubt bold and kind of refreshing unlike the previous iteration however the phone misses out on the elegancy. The phone has Gorilla Glass 5 front and back panel (with the black version having gloss back) with a matte black aluminium frame to save from accidental drop. Like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, it has a square camera bump on the back. There’s no cutout for the selfie camera, but thick bezels where the front camera and speaker sit giving it a bold old look. At the bottom, there’s a USB-C port for charging.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Display
Huawei has upgraded the screen refresh rate on its new P40 flagship phone. The phone features a bezel-less 6.58-inch OLED 90Hz screen to offer clearer image quality. The display has a resolution of 1200 x 2640 pixels and gets HDR10 support. The all-screen panel with curved edges offers a striking look and pleasant viewing experience.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra sports a slightly large display. It has a 6.9-inch panel with a 3200 x 1440 pixel resolution. The Galaxy S20 Ultra takes the edge over the Huawei P40 Pro in terms of refresh rate. The phone’s screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, however, you are required to switch the resolution to 2400 x 1800 pixel.
Meanwhile, the Google Pixel 4 XL features a 6.3-inch Quad HD+ pOLED display with a native resolution of 3040 x 1440 pixels. The phone has an adaptive 90Hz refresh rate screen which means the display switches to 60Hz when it is not required.
Both Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra embeds an in-display fingerprint sensor. However, Google neither has an in-display fingerprint sensor or a physical fingerprint lock.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Camera
Huawei’s P series smartphones are best known for camera innovation. This year is no different, with the Huawei P40 Pro getting Leica branded lenses. The phone features a big 1/1.28-inch 50MP ultra vision RYYB main sensor (meant for better light sensitivity), a 40MP wide-angle sensor, a 12MP telephoto sensor, and a time-of-flight sensor. The big sensor will likely provide a better dynamic range and reduced noise.
Upfront, the Huawei P40 Pro sports a 32MP selfie camera and an infrared sensor for fast facial recognition. The phone supports 4K recording as well both with front and rear cameras. The camera software gets a bunch of AI-photo tricks as well.
Meanwhile, the rear quad-cameras on the Galaxy S20 Ultra boasts a 108Mp sensor with f/1.8 aperture, ultra-wide-angle 12MP camera with f/2.2, an optical telephoto 48MP camera with f/3.5, and a time-of-flight camera for better depth processing. The different camera modes on the phone offer Night Mode, Night Hyperlapse.
The camera is capable of recording 8K video (though it’s barely of any use as only a few TVs support 8K and are quite expensive) and delivering 100x zoom. The phone has a 40MP front-facing camera and a ToF sensor that yields accurate depth-sensing information.
As for the Google Pixel 4 XL, the Pixel lineup is best known for its camera prowess. Although the camera system on Pixel phones doesn’t give abundant options, the machine learning algorithm does all the tricks. The Pixel 4 XL has a 12.2MP main sensor at/1.7 aperture with OIS+EIS and a 2x telephoto lens that contributes to Super Res zoom and better portraits.
The night mode on the phone brings remarkable photos with less noise reduction. Upfront it has an 8.1 MP sensor at f/2.0 and 2x NIR (near-infrared)cameras. Although the phone doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, the NIR cameras that offer faster face unlock fill the bill.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Software
In terms of software, the Huawei P40 Pro runs custom EMUI 10.1 based Android 10. Although the phone runs Android OS, it misses out the major Google apps and Google Play Store (all because of Huawei’s tussle with US regulatory). Instead, you will find Huawei’s own AppGallery store that does offer some popular apps. The software includes custom MeeTime which is basically video/audio call service.
As for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, it runs in-house OneUI based Android 10. The software includes system-wide dark mode enhancing the night viewing experience. There is an ‘Edge panels’ feature that allows quick access to apps, actions, tools and more with a swipe from the side.
Google Pixel 4 XL runs Android 10 OS. The advantage of having a Pixel phone is that you get the first-hand experience of the latest Android OS and the features intact to it.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Processor, Battery
As far as hardware is concerned, the Huawei P40 Pro is powered by the in-house HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC paired with Mali-G76 MP16 for rendering graphics. The phone is available in 8 GB RAM which is paired with 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB onboard storage. The native storage can be further expanded up to 256GB via a microSD card.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra meanwhile is powered by either Exynos 990 chipset (global market) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (in the US) which is paired with either Mali-G77 MP11 or Adreno 650 GPU. Compared to the Huawei P40 Pro, you get a higher RAM/storage option with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. The phone comes in 12 GB RAM+ 128GB/256GB storage option and 16GB RAM and 512GB native storage.
Google Pixel 4 XL equips Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset under its hood paired with Adreno 640 GPU. When it comes to internal storage, the Pixel devices don’t have a good record. While many complained about the previous Pixel series for having a meagre 4GB RAM, Google barely paid any notice on the Pixel 4 XL. The phone offers just 6 GB of RAM with 64GB or 128GB native storage options.
As for the battery capacity, the Huawei P40 Pro is backed by a 4200mAh battery and comes with 40W wired charging and wireless charging support.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra gets a mammoth-sized 5000mAh battery with 45W fast charging and reverse wireless charging support.
The Google Pixel 4 XL skips a few beats in the segment. It packs a 3700mAh battery that can get you a day’s worth of backup. It has 18W fast charging and Qi wireless charging support.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Add-ons
Every premium device from the respective tech giants gets a few extra features to make them stand out in the crowd. The smartphones in this list include a bunch of add-ons too.
The Huawei P40 Pro now gets an IR sensor that wasn’t present on the previous iteration. The phone features Celia which is Huawei’s own voice assistant.
Meanwhile, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra supports 240Hz touch-sensing feature that is found mostly on gaming phones. The phone gets a Music share feature as well which is enabled by Bluetooth 5 and lets you use the phone as a hub for other phones to connect to a Bluetooth speaker.
As for the Google Pixel 4 XL, its Ambient EQ adjusts the color and brightness of the phone’s display depending on the ambient environment. The Motion sense on the phone allows you to swipe gestures above your phone to control without touching the screen. What makes the Pixel 4 XL unique from the other two is its Astrophotography Mode that allows capturing incredible photos of the night sky. However, to get good output, one has to keep the phone steady for a couple of seconds as the mode takes about 15-seconds long exposure, aligns them in the background.
That said, all three handsets have an IP68 rating for water resistance and have 5G support.
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Specs sheet
|Specifications||Huawei P40 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra||Google Pixel 4 XL|
|Display||6.58 inch-OLED display (2640 x 1200 resolution) with 19.8:9 ratio, 90Hz refresh rate||6.9-inch AMOLED (3,200 x 1,440 resolution) display with 20:9 ratio, 120Hz refresh rate||6.3-inch pOLED display (3,040 x 1,440 resolution)|
with 19:9 aspect ratio, 90Hz refresh rate
|Processor||HiSilicon octa-core Kirin 990 5G (7 nm+) SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (US) or Samsung Exynos 990 (global) SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC|
|GPU||Mali-G76 MP16||Mali-G77 MP11 or Adreno 650||Adreno 640|
|Front camera||32 MP at f/2.2, 26mm (wide),|
IR TOF 3D
|40MP sensor at f/2.2, AF||8.1MP at f/2.0, 2x NIR sensor|
|Rear camera||50 MP at f/1.9 (wide lens), 12 MP at f/3.4 (telephoto lens) with 5x optical zoom,|
40 MP at f/1.8, 18mm (ultra-wide lens) and TOF 3D(depth sensor)
|108MP at f/1.8, 48MP at f/3.5 (telephoto lens), 12MP at f/2.2 (ultra-wide lens), ToF sensor, Super Resolution at 100x||12.2MP (dual-pixel) at f/1.7 with OIS, EIS, PDAF, and 16MP at f/2.4 (telephoto lens)|
|Operating System||EMUI 10.1 based Android 10||One UI 2.0 based Android 10||Android 10|
|RAM||8GB RAM||12GB/16GB RAM||6GB RAM|
|Biometrics||Face unlock, in-display sensor||Face unlock, in-display sensor||Face unlock|
|Sensors||Infrared face recognition, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass||Bixby, ANT+, Samsung DeX, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass||Active Edge, Motion Sense, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, proximity sensor|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v5.1, dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS,|
NFC, USB Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v5.0, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC,|
USB Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
|4G LTE support, 5G, USB-C port, Bluetooth v5.0, wireless charging|
|microSD card||Nano memory (up to 256 GB)||No||Up to 1TB|
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Price
|Huawei P40 Pro||8GB RAM/256 GB||€999|
|Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra||12GB RAM/128 GB|
16 GB RAM/512GB
|Google Pixel 4 XL||6GB RAM/128 GB|
Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Google Pixel 4 XL: Conclusion
Similar to the previous models, Huawei has kept its focus intact on the camera. The Huawei P40 Pro’s stellar design, bezel-less display, Leica-branded camera with a bunch of modes and tweaks will no doubt have an edge over the other premium phones. However, with the missing Google apps, some users might be reluctant to switch to a Chinese custom skin-based Android OS given the experience has not been that satisfactory with other Chinese handsets that have their custom ROM (with the exception being OnePlus handsets).
Nevertheless, the new Huawei P40 Pro’s impressive camera and high-end specs with a tall screen will turn heads. The brand new Huawei P40 will hit the store shelves on April 7.