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Huawei P40 vs P30: 4 key upgrades and 1 huge problem

Camera phone fanatic looking to get a new blower? Then you’re probably considering at least one of Huawei’s flagships as, since it started its partnership with Leica many moons ago, the firm has earned a place as one of the best camera phone makers in the business.

But with it’s new Huawei P40 now out and the older Huawei P30 still offering some pretty solid specs, you may justifiably be wondering whether its worth shelling out for the new blower, or saving your pennies and opting for the still awesome, and heavily discounted, P30.

Here to help you make up your mind we’ve created a definitive guide detailing 5 things to consider when picking between the Huawei P40 and P30.

Make sure to jump over to one of our other P4o versus features if you’re keen to seen how it compares to another 2020 flagship.

1. “Visionary photography”

Last year the P30 and P30 Pro were among THE best camera phones you could buy. So much so that we gave the Huawei P30 Pro camera phone of the year at the hallowed Trusted Reviews Awards 2020.

But, that hasn’t stopped Huawei pushing the limits once again this year. The P40 comes with a radically reworked camera setup that Huawei claims “is a significant upgrade” on the P30’s triple camera setup, which combined 16-megapixel wide-angle, 16-megapixel ultra-wide and 8-megapixel telephoto sensors.

Specifically it’s loaded the phone with a reworked camera setup that combines new 50-megapixel main, 40-megapixel ultrawide and 12-megapixel hybrid periscope/telephoto parts.

The main sensor alone is being touted as a massive improvement on the P30’s. It has a f1.9 aperture, OIS and the same custom RYYB colour capture arrangement as the P30. The latter aims to improve low light by getting the sensor to capture two yellow pixels instead of a single green.

This paired with the improved AI powers of the P40’s Kirin 990 chipset means the new phone has a few nifty features missing on the P30. The coolest is a new AI cropping feature that lets you do things like auto remove photobombers from photos in the camera app.

Related: Best Huawei phones 2020

Huawei P30

Huawei P30

2. Upgraded hardware

The Kirin 990 chip and new camera setup are two of many hardware upgrades Huawei’s made to the P40. Huawei’s also increased the battery size to 3800mAh, a marked step up on the 3550mAh cell seen on the regular P30 and made a few under the hood tweaks.

These include a new underscreen fingerprint sensor it claims is 30% larger and faster than the P30’s and the addition of a second 32-megapixel camera sensor up front. Though small the changes add up to make the phone feel like a serious upgrade on the P30, on paper.

Related: Best camera phones

3. Better connectivity

The Kirin chip also adds 5G and Wi-Fi 6 Plus connectivity to the P40. A year ago 5G wasn’t a big deal, but with the network maturing and more and more 5G locations going live by the day it’s now a key feature we’d expect to see on any flagship smartphone.

The feature means users will be able to access the new tech and enjoy gigabit-per-second connection speeds in live 5G areas on the P40. If you’re on Three or planning to get 5G in the near future this makes the P40 a better option than the P30, which is limited to 4G connectivity.

4. A faster screen – if you go Pro

The Huawei P40’s has also had a discrete upgrade. Huawei’s loaded the newer handset with a spiffy 6.1-inch, FHD+ resolution 60Hz refresh rate panel. The P30 meanwhile packs a 6.1-inch, FHD+ resolution 60Hz screen.

The P40 Pro has a faster 90Hz display. The move to 90Hz may not sound like much, but based off our experience with the OnePlus 7T, which also has a 90Hz panel, the change makes for a much better user experience. Refresh rate refers to how many images per second a screen displays. A higher figure makes basic things like scrolling feel way smoother by reducing the delay between each new image.

Related: Best Android phones

huawei p40 colours

Huawei P40

5. But no Google

Tempted to go for the P40? On paper it does look like a great handset, at least from a hardware perspective. But before you go rushing off to part with your cash, be warned, the P40 has one big marmite factor that could put you off: it doesn’t have access to Google services.

Thanks to an ongoing US executive order, Huawei doesn’t have an Android license. This means that, even though it runs on Android, the phone doesn’t have access to Google’s Play Store and services. You can’t download apps off the Play Store and will instead have to use Huawei’s AppGallery, which has a much smaller library, as a result. You also won’t be able to use Google Pay or Assistant. The P30 was released before the ban and still has access to these services as a result.

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