The Huawei P40 will be released in March 2020, according to Huawei CEO Richard Yu — which is in line with what we’ve seen from the firm before. After all, the Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro were launched in April 2018 and the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro in March 2019.
Huawei has never been loud with its Lite series and the P40 Lite is not getting a special treatment either. The harbinger of the flagship P40 lineup was announced quietly and the first pre-orders have already shipped, complete with free Freebuds 3 at that.
But this is not the first time the world meets the P40 Lite. The phone hit the shelves in China late last December as Huawei nova 6 SE, while a month later it launched in Malaysia as Huawei nova 7i. And now coronavirus-struck Europe is getting it as Huawei P40 Lite. Not the best timing, that’s for sure.
And it’s a pity really because even though it wasn’t announced with much fanfare, the Huawei P40 Lite has a lot of tricks in its bag. It’s yet another beautifully crafted smartphone (just look at that gorgeous Sakura Pink color!), with a premium screen, a super-fast Kirin 810 chipset, and a trendy quad-camera with Night Mode, lossless zoom, macro, and whatnot.
The P40 Lite has a battery with impressively large capacity and supports the blazing-fast Huawei SuperCharge 40W. Oh, and spoiler alert, the proprietary 40W charger comes in the box!
The good news about the Huawei P40 Lite software package – it is EMUI 10 based on Android 10 OS. The bad news – there are no Google Play Services or Play Store, not that this is a shocker nowadays. There is a silver lining though – unlike previous non-Google smartphones by Huawei, this one has Widevine CDM support, imagine our surprise!
Huawei P40 Lite specs
- Body: Front glass, plastic frame and back, 183g.
- Display: 6.4″ LTPS IPS LCD, 1,080 x 2,310px, 19:9 aspect ratio, 398ppi.
- Rear camera: Primary – 48MP, 26mm, f/1.8; PDAF; Ultrawide – 8MP, 13mm, fixed focus, f/2.4; Macro – 2MP, f/2.4, fixed focus; Depth sensor – 2MP. Video recording up to 1080p@30fps.
- Front camera: 16MP, f/2.0; fixed focus lens.
- OS/Software: Android 10, EMUI 10. No Google Services. Widevine CDM L3 support.
- Chipset: Kirin 810: octa-core CPU (2×2.27 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×1.88 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G52 MP6 GPU.
- Memory: 6GB of RAM; 128GB storage; NV card slot (hybrid).
- Battery: 4,200mAh, Huawei 40W SuperCharge.
- Connectivity: Dual SIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0; NFC; USB-C, 3.5mm jack.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted)
The Huawei P40 Lite is a beauty both on the outside and inside. And some splash protection to keep the insides safe would have been thoughtful, but Huawei has never had that as a priority in the midrange. We do appreciate the fast charging capabilities and the colorful panels, and we can’t wait to unbox the P40 Lite. Let’s begin!
Unboxing the Huawei P40 Lite
Open the Huawei P40 Lite retail box, and you will see the phone first. Underneath, you’ll find the 40W charger and a modified USB-C cable needed to make the 40W charging work.
Huawei also bundles a pair of headphones with a mic – cheap-looking, yes, but still better than none.
Finally, the box may also contain a transparent case in some markets, but the EU version we got had no such thing.
The Huawei P40 Lite not only looks beautiful, but it is a pleasure to handle and use for texts, movies, and photography. The phone is light, nicely shaped, and its frame has thoughtful chamfers doing wonders for the grip.
We have to admit we like a lot the Sakura Pink version of the P40 Lite, which we received. The gentle gradient between this milky blue and Japanese pink hues is mesmerizing and unique, yet easy on the eyes and not screamingly flashy as, say, the Honor 9X/Pro. And Huawei has painted even that eyesore of a camera hump in the same color, which makes for one of the best multi-camera setups we’ve seen to this very date!
The 6.4″ display is one of the P40 Lite key features and it looks gorgeous. The panel has rounded corners and thin enough bezels. The chin is not that big either.
There is one noticeable punch hole at the top left corner and the 16MP selfie camera is inside. Unfortunately, because of the LCD screen you can see clearly the uneven backlighting around the pixel void.
The earpiece grille is really thin and it’s almost invisible between the front glass and the screen enclosure.
Speaking of the glass, Huawei shares no details about its maker, but it still should be some sort of a durable glass, be it Corning-made or not.
While the front of the P40 Lite was completely flat, the back is curved like most of the modern smartphones – towards the edges. The beautiful panel is made of layered plastic with multiple paint coats and a ton of polish. And because of these layers and high-end manufacturing process the back panel looks and feels like glass, yet when it comes to endurance – the plastic should be tougher and more durable when a drop happens. And we all know that sooner or later – it happens, it’s inevitable. Like Thanos.
The camera square humps just a little bit, and if you favor a case – it will not only be flush, but also there will be no wobbling on desks and tables.
The snappers’ arrangement is symmetrical (yay!) and in there are the 2MP depth sensor, the 48MP primary shooter, third is the 2MP macro camera, and finally – the last one is the 8MP ultrawide cam. The LED flash is outside this setup, flush with the back.
The plastic frame may look like metal, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. And that’s fine. The gray color suits it, the matte finish boost the grip, while the chamfers do improve the overall handling experience a lot. The P40 Lite feels quite secure in hand, case-free, and that’s great.
The Huawei P40 Lite has a hybrid SIM slot on its left side, while on the right you will find the volume and power keys. The fingerprint scanner is integrated on the power/lock key surface, is always-on, and the fastest of its kind we’ve tried. The moment you touch the thing, even for a split second and with just a partial fingerprint, and boom, you are on your homescreen. It can’t get faster than that, can it?
Finally, the rest of the essentials are at the bottom – the USB-C port, the loudspeaker, the audio jack, and the mouthpiece.
Yes, we like the Huawei P40 Lite – it is just the right shape, size, and weight, plus it has the looks to impress. It is a well-built and sturdy smartphone and the only blemish (and it’s a small one) is the uneven backlighting around the selfie camera’s punch hole.
The Huawei P40 Lite has a lovely display on paper – it’s a 6.4″ LTPS IPS LCD unit with 2,310 x 1,080 pixels or 398ppi. The screen has a not so small punch-hole at the top left corner making way for the must-have selfie camera.
There is no info on the screen glass manufacturer, but it’s some sort of durable glass for sure judging by Huawei’s history on the subject.
The first thing you will notice is the uneven backlight around the punch hole. It’s annoying only on a full white screen or something similarly bright or vivid, but that’s to be expected as the LED backlighting is not perfect (and it can’t be).
Other than that, the P40 Lite’s screen looks bright and punchy. In fact, it’s so vivid that you can mistake it for an OLED. Which it is not.
Unfortunately, the performance of the screen was not stellar. Our measurements showed the screen has a maximum brightness of 460 nits, which is an average number for an LCD screen. Combined with the unimpressive black levels we got a good contrast ratio of 1085:1, but far from the best.
If you leave the screen on Auto-Brightness, it is possible to get a bit more from the LED backlighting, and the number rose to 515 nits – but it’s still an average output for an LCD.
The minimum brightness at the far left of the scrubber is mere 1.2 nits, which is excellent!
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Huawei P40 Lite||0.425||461||1085:1|
|Huawei P40 Lite (Max Auto)||0.501||515||1028:1|
|Huawei P30 Lite||0.39||480||1231:1|
|Huawei P30 Lite (Max Auto)||0.413||501||1213:1|
|Huawei P Smart||0.356||531||1492:1|
|Huawei P Smart 2019||0.325||437||1345:1|
|Honor 9X Pro||0.392||517||1319:1|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro||0.347||460||1326:1|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro (Max Auto)||0.486||640||1317:1|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T||0.331||450||1360:1|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T (Max Auto)||0.453||600||1325:1|
|Realme 5 Pro||0.273||512||1875:1|
|Xiaomi Redmi K30||0.399||550||1378:1|
|Xiaomi Redmi K30 (Max Auto)||0.527||714||1355:1|
Now let’s talk color accuracy. Just like many Huawei (and Honor) smartphones, the P40 Lite is very accurate in representing the sRGB color space. In the Normal (screen mode) + Default (color temperature) display setting, it achieves an excellent average DeltaE of 2.2 with a maximum deviation of 4.7. If you want, you can tweak it even further with the manual options.
That’s not the default mode, though, because people tend to prefer livelier colors and as we said the screen appeared quite vivid. Indeed, Huawei leaves the screen on Vivid screen mode and on its Default temperature setting (the actual out-of-the-box state) delivers those but at the price of a noticeable blue tinge. So, the Vivid mode, which corresponds to DCI-P3 colors space, is not that accurate – we measured an average DeltaE of 5.4 with a maximum deviation of 9.1.
And before we close this chapter, we have some good news. Unlike Huawei Mate 30 Pro and Honor 9X Pro, this particular Huawei supports Widevine L3, which is essential for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to run (among others). L3 means no HD content, unfortunately, but it’s something, and we tried and watched SD videos on both services successfully. HBO Go requires GMS, meaning it’s a no-go, pun intended.
The Huawei P40 Lite is powered by a large 4,200 mAh battery. It supports Huawei Super Charge 40W, and the provided 40W adapter refills about 70% of the phone’s depleted battery in half an hour, while a full charge requires 64 minutes. Nice!
The Huawei P40 Lite posted an impressive endurance rating of 121 hours in our battery life test. It did fabulously on all tests – you can talk for more than a day, watch videos for 16 hours or browse the web for 18 hours, and the frugal standby consumption helps a lot, too.
Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Huawei P40 Lite for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We’ve established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you’re interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we’ve tested will compare under your own typical use.
The Huawei P40 Lite has a single loudspeaker firing down from the bottom, and it posted a ‘Good’ result for loudness in our seven-track music test. It lacks a low-frequency thump, but it handles vocals pretty well.
The mids and highs are well represented and the P40 Lite sounds a lot better than the Honor 9X Pro, as you can hear in the comparison below. Our tool allows for comparing the sound output to any other phone we’ve tested so far.
- Song 1
- Song 2
- Song 3
- Song 4
- Song 5
- Song 6
- Song 7
P40 lite-27.0 LUFSGOODLOUDNESS SCORE
9X Pro-31.1 LUFSBELOW AVERAGELOUDNESS SCORE❌︎
|X||Huawei P40 lite||Honor 9X Pro|
Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal “0db” flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.