"The design of the devices is superb - they are very sleek."
The Huawei P40 was launched at an event which was streamed online and it is the first Huawei phone without any Google apps.
This is because Google is banned from doing business with the Chinese manufacturer, meaning that they are unable to obtain an Android licence.
This means that until further notice, any new Huawei phone will be released without Google apps and services.
For most consumers, the lack of Google services is a dealbreaker.
The Huawei App Gallery includes TikTok, Telegram, Viber and Microsoft Office, however, beyond Google’s apps, it is also missing Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
As a replacement for YouTube, the firm has created its own video app which provides access to 300 hours of content from the BBC.
MeeTime replaces the Duo video chat app and it is claimed that it offers superior performance in low-light conditions.
Marta Pinto, of market research firm IDC, said:
“The design of the devices is superb – they are very sleek.
“And it’s clever that they’ve been able to bring more stability to the ultra-zoom lens than Samsung did with its S20 Ultra, assuming the P40 Pro+ lives up to its promise.
“But it remains a hard sell because would you actually want to use something like MeeTime rather than WhatsApp?”
In terms of hardware, the P40 comes in three versions: the standard P40, with a 6.1in screen, and a larger mid-range P40 Pro and high-end Pro+, which both have 6.58in displays.
That makes them slightly bigger than Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The standard version has three rear cameras, including one that is capable of 3x optical zoom, meaning users can tighten in on the subject without compromising quality.
The mid-range and high-end versions both have several rear cameras as well as a depth sensor.
Other features include:
- Artificial intelligence techniques that can remove undesired objects from a scene and eliminate reflections in glass.
- A super-slow-motion video mode that captures footage at 7,680 frames per second.
- A 32-megapixel selfie camera that can record in 4K. In the two higher models, this is enhanced with its own
- depth-sensing tech to create background blur in portrait snaps.
- A smart assistant summoned by saying “Hey Celia”, which can identify flowers and other objects the phone is shown.
These may be impressive features but the lack of Google apps make the Huawei P40 a difficult sell outside of China, where Android devices come pre-installed with alternatives.
The company is the world’s second bestselling phone manufacturer after Samsung but had targeted to overtake their rivals before the end of 2019.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei stated that the company now plans to increase its wider research and development budget by £4.8 billion in 2020, taking it to over £17 billion.
Part of that is being spent on building up its own library of apps.
He said: “In markets outside of China, we don’t see significant [smartphone] growth.
“We are taking measures to address that.”