Huawei P40 Pro +, tested: this is life after Google

Technology News

The ‘smartphone’ stands out in the photographic section, with five sensors on its back and a zoom of up to 100 increases
Is it possible to live without Google? The Huawei P40 Pro +, which costs 1,399 euros, proves that it does. But the experience still leaves a lot to be desired. As was already the case with the latest models of the Chinese company (Huawei Mate 30 and Mate Xs), the P40 range arrives without Google Mobile Services due to the US Government’s blockade . That is, without the Google application store (the Play Store) or some of the most popular applications of the Mountain View company such as Gmail, Google Maps or Youtube.

Instead, you have the AppGallery, Huawei’s application store, in which applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram are also missing. This does not mean that they cannot be downloaded or that it is impossible, for example, to watch videos on YouTube. But even so, the experience with this terminal will depend on how dependent one is on certain apps .

EL PAÍS has tested the smartphone for several days . As soon as you start to configure it, it is suggested to install several popular applications among which are Wallapop, Renfe, Booking, Amazon or Milanuncios. When searching for applications in the AppGallery, different scenarios can occur. They may be available and can therefore be downloaded directly from the Huawei store. Among these apps , there are some popular ones like Telegram or TikTok.
In some cases, apps cannot be downloaded directly from the store, but Huawei makes it easy to install them manually and intuitively using APK files. This is what happens for example with WhatsApp. When looking for the instant messaging service in the App Gallery, the application with its original logo does not appear. An option does appear to “download the application from ”.

That is, the app is not installed directly from the Huawei store. By clicking on “get”, the WhatsApp web opens in the browser and it is possible to download the application through an APK file. To do this, you need to give the browser permission to install applications. And Huawei warns: “Downloading applications from external sources can put your personal data and your device at risk. If you press allow, you indicate that you accept these risks ”.

In addition, Huawei has a slightly hidden option called App Search that appears when you open the browser. It is a repository that allows you to find and download more popular apps of this type. For example, Facebook, Spotify or Instagram. In some cases, applications are downloaded from official websites. For example, in WhatsApp. But in others, such as when installing Amazon Prime Video, Spotify or Netflix, they do so from external application managers such as APKPure.

Although Huawei includes an option to detect possible risks when downloading APK files, sometimes it is a bit respectful to do so for security reasons . For example, when installing the bank app – which will later include the credentials to access the account – or a password manager – where the keys for multiple services are stored. In the case of banks, in the App Gallery you can download the Evo Banco, Banco Sabadell or Abanca applications, but not others such as the Santander bank or the ING bank.

When you search in App Search which Google applications can be downloaded using an APK file , Google Chrome, Google Maps or Google Translate appear. But it is not possible to download Google Calendar or Google Drive. While it is true that they can be accessed through the browser, the functions may be limited. For example, in Google Drive it is not possible to edit documents from the P40 Pro +. Even so, there are some tutorials to install Google services in the terminal, but they take a while and are not officially endorsed by Huawei or Google.

An APK file for YouTube does not appear in App Search either , although it can also be accessed through the browser. Huawei also bets on Quick Apps or instant applications, which run instantly and require no installation. In this way, for example, it is possible to add YouTube, the Google search engine, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram to the main screen without having to download the corresponding application.

Although the terminal does not come with Gmail, it is possible to check emails from a Google account with the native Huawei mail application. But adding a Gmail account to your phone does not sync your calendar events or contacts – which can be inconvenient if you don’t have your contacts saved on your SIM card. There is an application called Phone Clone that is designed to be able to move different data from one phone to another. For example, your contacts, photos, music or applications. But in the multiple tests carried out by this newspaper it has been impossible to copy WhatsApp’s contacts or conversation history. The P40 Pro + also allows you to copy the contacts of a terminal by Wifi Direct and Bluetooth. In the proofs of this newspaper,

Design and photographic section

The Huawei P40 Pro + has a 6.58-inch curved screen with rounded corners and a sleek ceramic finish. On its back, which is white, it has a black camera module that protrudes slightly and the tracks are a bit marked. It is a phone that can be a bit heavy in hand – it weighs 226 grams – and its dimensions make it more comfortable to use with both hands.

Huawei’s flagship has two sensors at the top left of the screen: a 32-megapixel sensor and a deep infrared sensor for gesture control and facial recognition unlocking, which also allows for bokeh effect photography. At the rear, it has five sensors. Its main camera has 50 megapixels. The terminal also has a 40 megapixel wide angle, two 8 megapixel telephoto lenses but with different optics and a ToF 3D depth sensor.

In general, photos come out sharp and with realistic colors, both day and night. But if the P40 Pro + stands out for something, it is because it probably has one of the best zooms on the market. It offers optical zoom up to 10x, hybrid zoom up to 20x, and maximum digital zoom up to 100x. The results are pretty good. However, as the zoom values ​​increase, the quality of the photo is lost. When opting for the 100x zoom, the picture is blurred and it would be preferable to use a tripod – this also happens to other high-end mobiles on the market such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra -.

The P40 Pro +, which has 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, uses the Kirin 990 5G processor. Its performance is good in all cases. The applications run as expected from a high-end mobile and there is no delay of any kind. The terminal has a 4,200 mAh battery that with normal use offers a range of at least a full day. In addition, it has a fast charge that is capable of providing the terminal with 50% battery in less than half an hour and 100% in approximately one hour.

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