It has been more than 60 days with the Huawei P40 Pro Smartphone and I have to say switching over entirely to the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) is well worth it and I will explain later on why you should do the same! I received the phone in July while we were still in quarantine so I wasn’t able to test it out as much as I like; however as the summer progressed and social distance measures expanded for us to eat at restaurants, see people in smaller groups and most importantly travel locally – I was able to really understand why it received the 2020 TIPA award for “Best Photo Smartphone” (1). Today, I want to go more in-depth and talk about why it deserves such a title as the “best smartphone camera out there” (2) and other cool but underrated features like AI Gestures, Screen Unlocking and Remove Passerby. More importantly, I like to touch base again on the Huawei AppGallery and Petal Search just in case you still have more questions or concerns about how to download your favourite apps.
Over the summer, I was also lucky enough to have also received the Huawei Matebook 13 laptop and was able to take both devices on a trip! A flawless combination indeed, I have to say I really got to explore HMS which means that I probably won’t head back to iOS anytime soon. To be honest, I was an iOS snob and really stuck to the iPhone and Apple devices; but since testing out the Huawei P30 Pro last year for a few months, I was ready to convert over to android. Now that I have these two expertly designed (3) gadgets, I am fully into having all of my info and data in one special space. Now I just need to check out the audio and wearables and I’ll truly be part of the Huawei connected ecosystem
So what is Huawei Mobile Services or HMS?
Essentially, Huawei Mobile Services or HMS is an ecosystem that was created by Huawei to link all of their devices together much like the iOS operating system. Connected through a common Huawei ID, this allows users to have a consistent interface, better data synchronization and much smoother user experience across all Huawei devices (4). In short, this means that I can easily transfer a photo I took on my P40 Pro onto my Matebook 13 for me to edit in lightroom. In just a few short steps, I can easily sync data and word documents for me to write and journal on trips if I don’t feel like typing on the phone. So I really enjoy this seamless interaction between their products making me confident that I would want to stay as a Huawei user.
With my previous blog post on the P40 Pro, I didn’t go too in detail about the camera and some of the wonderful photo features this stunning flagship phone has to offer from Huawei. I was mainly focused on letting you know how to download apps because that is the glaring question on everyone’s mind in which I will elaborate further in just a bit.
Camera & Photo Quality & Features
Last year’s Huawei P30 Pro was a scene-stealer (5) and honestly, I didn’t think it could get any better in terms of picture quality but it did and Huawei has outdone themselves again with the P40 Pro (6). With its superb quad-camera system, great screen and impressive battery life, this smartphone ranks straight to the top of the handset tree. A year on and Huawei continues to innovate with its camera-focused ‘P’ series (7). With the company’s long history of producing one of the best phone cameras along with their collaboration with Leica lenses, the P40 Pro comes loaded with not only fun and useful editing options but cameras as well. It comes with a 50 MP Ultra Vision Camera, a 12 MP Telephoto Camera, a 40 MP Ultra-wide Cine Camera, a 3D Depth Sensing Camera on the back and a 32 MP Front Camera plus Depth Sensor perfect for selfies and bokeh which this phone has also done so well in. So what does this all mean? Well simply put it’s a phone loaded with the best cameras and it is no surprise that the photos turn out superb and the reason why is heralded as one of the best smartphone cameras in the market right now and you can check out my photos below and see for yourself.
Equipped with an impressive collection of megapixels, the camera has an insane zoom of 5X meaning (8) even when you zoom in a lot, the details are still clear and not lost and this is usually only done with DSLR cameras. On the other hand, you can also zoom out with their ultra-wide lens option to capture your surroundings or various sceneries which is super helpful especially during travels. Like I’ve mentioned, the camera also comes with some amazing AI capabilities and editing features like reflection removal which works quite well, best picture possible or golden snap where it gives you your best photo from a series and remove passerby where you can even edit out an unwanted person in the background now that is innovative!
I mean there is so much to discover about the P40 Pro camera but I want to highlight briefly some useful features that are especially helpful during Covid.
The User Experience
Aesthetically Pleasing Design
Not only does the Huawei P40 Pro boast a Quad Vision Leica Camera allowing you to take extraordinary photos at any time of day and at any distance. Inspired by nature, the Quad-Curve Overflow 90 Hz Display provides an extremely immersive view over the entire OLED screen, while its integrated Kirin 990 5G chipset allows you to experience unprecedented power and speed. This device is both water and dust resistant with an IP68 rating and not to mention it has an incredibly long battery life that can charge from 0 to 70% charge in 30 minutes.
How to Unlock the Screen
The Huawei P40 Pro gives you three ways to unlock the screen: Passcode, fingerprint and face unlock. The first two are pretty self-explanatory but the third unlocking option and the one I use the most during Covid is face detection. Like I said, during these uncertain and dangerous times, we like to avoid using our hands or touching the screen as much as possible and I love this face detection option. The phone almost immediately detects and unlocks instantaneously even if the phone isn’t directly in front of you so you have to try it (10)
Short Cuts and Screen Shots
Like how we can unlock the screen, the P40 Pro also offers three ways to take screenshots. The first feature is the classic way of taking a screenshot by holding down the power button and lower volume button. The second method involves a “tapping” method where you tap twice on the screen to take a screenshot. Here you can expand on the tapping by enabling this function in settings called partial screenshot, where you can target with shapes how your screen shot can look like. You can even do a scroll screenshot by tapping the screen again and drawing an S shape and this will combine a few screenshots together for you creating a scroll. The last method to take a screenshot and one that I prefer during Covid is the Grab Shot where simply you grab the shot in the air and it will capture the screenshot for your and this you also have to enable in settings. With this Air Gesture functionality, it allows you to also conveniently scroll up and down to read the news for example by simply flicking your hand up or down making it more safe (11)
How to Download Your Favourite Apps again
In addition to having three ways to unlock the screen and take screenshots, the Huawei P40 Pro also has three main ways to download apps: Phone Clone, Huawei AppGallery and Petal Search. Today, I mainly want to talk about Huawei’s AppGallery and Petal Search because Phone Clone is again pretty self-explanatory and I really recommend this as your initial step to downloading apps on your phone. Afterward, if some apps are missing you can then head over to the AppGallery and Petal Search for further assistance in finding your favourite apps.
One downside when using Phone Clone is that the app you download from there will not have any future updates. However, Huawei offers a multipath solution to your app downloading concerns and that brings me to the AppGallery. This section of the HMS ecosystem for Huawei users has been around since 2014 and is currently in 170 countries making it the third-largest app store in the world. While it doesn’t have the same number of apps or level of support as the Google Play store, Huawei is rapidly building it up at a rate of around 4000 new apps per week (12).
How to Use Petal Search
Now if the app you want is unavailable still for download in both Phone Clone and the AppGallery, Huawei also came up with Petal Search. Easily placed as a widget on your home screen, it will search for the apps that you enter, both in the AppGallery and beyond (13) and with over 1 million of the most popular apps worldwide the chances are you’ll find it using Petal Search.
- Pinch the screen and the Huawei Petal Search widget will appear as a search bar on your home page. Then you can type in the name of the app you want to search or install it! In my case, Petal Search was already pre-installed for me when I got the P40 Pro but if it is missing just simply download it through the AppGallery and place it on your home screen for easy access.
- The search bar works much like the one in the Google Play Store. You enter the name of an app (or a category) and the widget will open a menu with the best search results. These results are a mix between official websites, APK websites and the Huawei AppGallery. Between all these options, you should hopefully find the app you need.
- Depending on the search result, there is also an Install button next to it that downloads the app directly from the Petal Search menu (14).
You can simply search for the app desired and Petal Search will show what can be downloaded from the Huawei AppGallery. It can be installed through an official link, a web version, or installed from another third party source. Again unlike Phone Clone, installing an app via Petal Search allows for future updates.
A Continuous Progress
Undoubtedly a beautiful phone, the Huawei P40 Pro offers so much more than its limitation with Google Play. With a sleek and elegant exterior in a gorgeous Silver Frost that leaves no fingerprints, the P40 Pro also boasts one of the best smartphone cameras in the industry! I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me what phone I am using when they see my pictures and I find that it really elevated my Instagram game and content with this smartphone. It is probably due to the fact that the P40 Pro is packed with cameras and includes photo features like ultra-wide angles, night mode (that you can use to balance overexpose and shadows during extremely sunny days even), remove passerby and reflection removal, golden snaps, etc.
Due to current restrictions with Google Mobile Services, even though it is super easy to download your favourite apps on Petal Search or Huawei AppGallery, I found previously that the ability to have in-app purchases was limited. However, with recent updates from Huawei you can now perform in-app purchases via other payment options available like Paypal or directly using their CC. In one of the camera modes, when I take pictures with the sky (the cloud mode) it sometimes messes with the clouds and turns it into this weird effect. I am not a huge fan of this effect but some people might enjoy it and it can be easily turned off when snapping a photo. Another minor problem I am experiencing is with mirrored images especially for videos taken in selfie mode. With still images, if the wording is backward you can easily go to edit and press the icon that looks like two triangles facing each other but for videos, it is a little different because it uses the front cameras. However, this can be solved by downloading an app called InShot which is available on Petal Search and you can flip it easily there to read the wordings correctly.
No smartphone or gadget is perfect much like people there is always something more we can do better and everyone will have a little qualm here and there. What I love about the P40 Pro now available in Canada at most major retailers, is that it has such a great camera and you can still download most if not all of your favourite apps through their multipath solution features like Phone Clone, AppGallery and Petal Search. I also really enjoy the ability to sync all of my devices together and as Huawei continues to build up its ecosystem, I will continue to update you on my experiences with seamless interaction between all of my devices. Lastly, I want to let you know that Huawei is always working hard to find solutions, innovating new camera capabilities and creating the best user-friendly smartphones for you so patience is key and you won’t regret it. If you’re interested in learning more or checking out the Huawei P40 Pro for yourself, click HERE
Disclaimer: this is a paid sponsorship by Huawei Mobile Canada but opinions are of my own