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Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ Camera test: King of camera

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ is the top-end model in the Chinese manufacturer’s premium Mate 40 line. It shares many key components with its cousin Mate 40 Pro, such as the 6.76-inch OLED display and the Kirin 9000 chipset, but there are some important differences in the camera hardware.

Like the standard Mate 40 Pro, the Plus model’s primary camera uses a 50 MP 1/1.28″ sensor coupled to a 23 mm f/1.9-aperture lens. However, the Plus adds optical image stabilization to the mix. The ultra-wide camera has been boosted as well, at least on paper. Again, both models share the same sensor (20 MP 1/1.54″), but at 14 mm, the Mate 40 Pro+ offers a noticeably wider field of view versus the 40 Pro’s 18 mm. On the flip side, users of the top-end model have to make do with a slower aperture (f/2.4 vs. f/1.8).

The most important differences arguably lie in the tele-camera setup, though. While the Mate 40 Pro uses a single tele-camera with a 5x magnification, the 40 Pro+ divides tele duties between a pair of cameras. Shorter zoom ranges are covered by a 12 MP module with an f/2.4-aperture lens and 3x magnification. For long shots, the camera switches to an 8 MP module with an f/4.4-aperture lens that reaches a 10x magnification.

The camera can capture 4K video footage at up to 60 frames per second, and 1080p video can be recorded at up to 480 frames per second for slow-motion effects.

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ comes with one of the most impressive camera spec sheets we have seen on a smartphone. Read on to find out how it performed in our DXOMARK Camera tests.

Key camera specifications:

  • Primary: 50 MP 1/1.28″ sensor (12 MP output), 23 mm-equivalent (1x defined as 27 mm) f/1.9-aperture lens, full-pixel Octa-PD, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 20 MP 1/1.54″ sensor, 14 mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture lens, PDAF
  • Tele 1: 12 MP sensor, 70mm-equivalent f/2.4-aperture lens, PDAF, OIS
  • Tele 2: 8 MP sensor, 240 mm-equivalent f/4.4-aperture lens, PDAF, OIS
  • LED flash
  • 4K video, 2160p/60 fps (2160p/30 fps tested)
  • Multispectral color temperature sensor
  • ToF 3D sensor

About DXOMARK Camera tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 3000 test images and more than 2.5 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Camera test protocol, click here. More details on how we score smartphone cameras are available here.

Test summary


Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
139
camera
144
Photo
109

111

105

107

105

109

105

111

91

102

66

77

82

Best

75

80

43

80

98
Zoom
129

140

52

58

115
Video
102

118

98

107

103

109

86

99

104

105

80

94

102

103

CAMERA
Position in Global Ranking
4th
1. Honor Magic4 Ultimate
146
2. Huawei P50 Pro
144
3. Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
143
4. Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
139
5. Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
137
5. Apple iPhone 13 Pro
137
7. Huawei Mate 40 Pro
136
8. Google Pixel 6 Pro
135
8. Vivo X70 Pro+
135
10. Asus Smartphone for Snapdragon Insiders
133
10. Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra
133
12. Google Pixel 6
132
12. Huawei P40 Pro
132
14. Honor Magic4 Pro
131
14. Oppo Find X3 Pro
131
14. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Snapdragon)
131
14. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)
131
14. Vivo X70 Pro (MediaTek)
131
14. Vivo X50 Pro+
131
14. Xiaomi 12 Pro
131
21. Apple iPhone 13 mini
130
21. Apple iPhone 13
130
21. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
130
24. Apple iPhone 12 Pro
128
24. Vivo X60 Pro+
128
24. Xiaomi Mi 11 Pro
128
24. Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
128
28. OnePlus 10 Pro
127
29. Oppo Find X2 Pro
126
29. Samsung Galaxy S22+ (Exynos)
126
29. Samsung Galaxy S22 (Exynos)
126
29. Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (Exynos)
126
33. Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
124
33. OnePlus 9 Pro
124
33. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
124
36. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
123
36. Xiaomi 12
123
38. Apple iPhone 12
122
38. Apple iPhone 12 mini
122
38. Oppo Find X5
122
41. Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)
121
41. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos)
121
43. Asus Zenfone 8
120
43. Google Pixel 5
120
43. Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G (Snapdragon)
120
43. Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Exynos)
120
43. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 (Exynos)
120
43. Samsung Galaxy Note20 (Exynos)
120
43. Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Snapdragon)
120
43. Xiaomi Mi 11
120
51. Apple iPhone 11
119
51. Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Snapdragon)
119
51. Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Snapdragon)
119
54. Asus Zenfone 8 Flip
118
54. OnePlus 8 Pro
118
54. Vivo X60 Pro 5G (Exynos)
118
54. Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro 5G
118
58. Motorola Edge+
117
58. Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (Snapdragon)
117
58. TCL 20 Pro 5G
117
58. Xiaomi 11T Pro
117
62. OnePlus Nord 2 5G
116
62. Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G (Exynos)
116
62. Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Exynos)
116
62. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G (Exynos)
116
66. OnePlus 9
115
66. Oppo Reno 10x Zoom
115
66. Oppo Find X3 Neo
115
66. Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Exynos)
115
66. Sony Xperia 1 III
115
71. Vivo X51 5G
114
72. Google Pixel 4
113
73. Black Shark 4S Pro
112
73. Huawei P40
112
73. Oppo Reno5 Pro+ 5G
112
73. Samsung Galaxy Note20 (Snapdragon)
112
73. Sony Xperia 1 II
112
78. Google Pixel 4a
111
78. OnePlus 8T
111
78. Sony Xperia 5 II
111
78. Xiaomi Mi 11i
111
78. Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
111
83. LG Wing
110
84. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
109
84. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
109
86. OnePlus Nord
108
86. Oppo Reno4 Pro 5G
108
86. Oppo A94 5G
108
86. Xiaomi Redmi K40 Pro+
108
86. Xiaomi 11T
108
91. Oppo Reno6 5G
107
91. ZTE Axon 30 Ultra
107
93. Oppo Find X5 Lite
106
93. Realme GT Neo 2 5G
106
93. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
106
96. Motorola Edge 20 Pro
105
96. Oppo Reno4 5G
105
96. Oppo Find X3 Lite
105
96. Oppo Find X2 Neo
105
96. Samsung Galaxy A72
105
96. Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
105
96. Samsung Galaxy A52s 5G
105
96. Samsung Galaxy A33 5G
105
96. Vivo V21 5G
105
105. Apple iPhone SE (2020)
103
105. POCO X3 NFC
103
105. Realme 8 Pro
103
108. OnePlus Nord CE 5G
102
108. Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
102
110. Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
100
111. Xiaomi Mi 10T 5G
98
112. Vivo Y72 5G
94
113. Xiaomi Redmi Note 10S
92
114. Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
88
114. Xiaomi Redmi Note 11
88
116. Samsung Galaxy A51 5G
87
116. Sony Xperia 1
87
116. ZTE Axon 20 5G
87
119. Nokia 8.3 5G
86
120. Oppo A16s 5G
80
121. Samsung Galaxy A50
76

Pros

  •  Wide dynamic range in all conditions
    • Nice colors and good white balance in bright light and indoors
    • Excellent detail in most conditions
    • Fast and consistent autofocus in most situations
    • Good detail and low noise levels in ultra-wide camera shots
    • Excellent detail and low noise in tele shots
    • Wide dynamic range and good texture/noise in night shots
    • Very good texture/noise tradeoff in bright light and indoor videos
    • Effective video stabilization

Cons

  • Color quantization, aliasing, and ghosting artifacts
    • Shallow depth of field, occasional focus failures at close range
    • Preview images often significantly different from capture
    • Sharpness differences between video frames, especially in low light

With a DXOMARK Camera score of 139, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ is the new king of cameras in our DXOMARK Camera smartphone ranking, offering excellent performance in most sub-categories. It delivers the highest Photo score (144) we have seen to date and comes a close second in both the Zoom and Video categories, making it an excellent choice for any kind of mobile imaging application.

The addition of optical image stabilization (OIS) is a wise move that ensures improved detail and lower noise compared to the standard model in most conditions, but especially in low light. Longer exposure times with lower ISOs are now possible with the aid of OIS, and the Mate 40 Pro+ sets a new benchmark for night photography in our analysis.

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ sets a new top score for night photos, with particularly impressive detail and noise in low-light cityscapes. 

Mate 40 Pro+ still images generally leave very little to complain about. Exposure is excellent and the device achieves a joint top score in this category (109) alongside the Mate 40 Pro. Target exposures are generally very accurate in all conditions and the camera offers a wide dynamic range, capturing good highlight and shadow detail in high-contrast scenes. Dynamic range is particularly impressive under indoor and low-light conditions, too. Our testers observed slight exposure instabilities under indoor conditions, but that’s a minor blip in an otherwise solid performance for exposure.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, accurate target exposure with very wide dynamic range
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, slightly low exposure with some highlight and shadow clipping
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, slightly low target exposure with significant highlight clipping

The Mate 40 Pro+ achieves some excellent measurements for color in our benchmark lab tests, which helped it attain a high score in this category. In our perceptual analysis, color was generally nice and white balance is usually very accurate, except in very low light where some color casts can occur. Slight white balance instabilities are also evident over consecutive shots, but nothing too problematic. You can see in the best indoor examples that the Mate 40 Pro+ is as good if not slightly better than the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and shows noticeable improvement over the cold white balance captured on the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, very neutral white balance
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, good but a slightly yellow color cast
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra: the blue white balance cast makes the color feel a little flat.

Autofocus is fast and accurate and the Mate 40 Pro+ achieves close to a top score in this category, just a couple of points behind the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Many of its performance results in our benchmark tests were noticeably better than the Mate 40 Pro’s, and autofocus is very reliable even while handholding the device in very low light. Some points were dropped in the perceptual analysis, however, due to autofocus failures when shooting at very close proximity to the subject, and depth of field is fairly shallow for a smartphone. The limited depth of field does ensure a slight natural bokeh effect even in standard pictures, which is nice, but also means backgrounds or people at the back of a group are usually out of focus.

Autofocus performance handheld in low light (5 lux) conditions with 0 EV brightness range

The Mate 40 Pro+ boasts close to the top score for texture, with a high level of detail captured in most conditions. Performance is very close to that of the standard Mate 40 Pro, but the + model is slightly better both indoors and in low light. Its texture rendering isn’t as good as the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra in low light, but better detail on moving subjects helped the Mate 40 Pro+ achieve a fractionally better texture score compared to the Xiaomi overall. That said, some motion blur is still visible in some Mate 40 Pro+ shots and slightly unnatural rendering of skin textures is evident, too. The Mate 40 Pro+ isn’t among the very best for noise either, but still delivers very good results and maintains an excellent texture/noise tradeoff overall.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, low-light test scene
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, crop: high detail but unnatural texture
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, low-light test scene
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, crop: slightly lower detail to the + model
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, low-light test scene
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, crop: acceptable but fine details are lost

Switch to Portrait mode and the Mate 40 Pro+ is also one of the best devices we’ve tested for bokeh simulation. Depth estimation is fairly accurate, with a natural-looking blur gradient effect in both the foreground and background, and first-class color rendering. The texture-versus-noise tradeoff is also better than many high-end competitors, with similar results to the Mate 40 Pro in this regard. Overall, the Mate 40 Pro+’s performance isn’t quite as consistent as some other top devices for bokeh, however, with a difference in rendering sometimes evident across consecutive shots; but in the best examples, the overall quality is very high.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, portrait mode
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, crop: accurate depth estimation
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, portrait mode
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, crop: good depth estimation but visible noise
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, portrait mode
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, crop: good depth estimation with visible noise

The Mate 40 Pro+ is outstanding for night shots, achieving the highest score in this category by some distance. Again, OIS brings a lot to the party in this area as the device can increase the exposure time and reduce the ISO to enhance the photon flow and improve the signal-to-noise ratio and exposure. So with the flash turned off, texture and noise are well balanced and dynamic range remains wide down to very low light, which is something that most rivals struggle with. Occasional unnatural texture rendering makes images look a little like an oil painting, but generally you won’t have too many complaints about shooting nightscapes on the Mate 40 Pro+. Capturing night portraits in flash-auto mode, the flash fires accurately when a subject is detected and overall the image quality remains very high. Target exposure on the subject is accurate and wide dynamic range ensures shadows and highlights in the background are also nicely exposed. In the comparison below, the Mate 40 Pro+ offers a nicer flash exposure and much better detail compared to the Mi 10 Ultra. Arguably exposure isn’t quite as good on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, with the Apple device capturing a lower target exposure on the subject with some highlight clipping in the background. That said, the high saturation and bright background on the Apple shot does ensure a striking result.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, flash-auto: good flash exposure, wide dynamic range and high detail on face
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, flash-auto: lower flash exposure and some highlight clipping, but the high color saturation produces a pleasant overall effect
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, flash-auto: good flash exposure and wide dynamic range, but lower detail in the face

Preview is one of the areas where the camera still has room for improvement, and the Mate 40 Pro+ is close to the bottom of the ranking for this category. The lack of live HDR processing means the preview image often fails to give you an accurate impression of the final exposure, which is especially true in all situations where there are extremes of brightness. Bokeh rendering in preview is actually quite good—which isn’t often the case on many devices— but for standard shots it’s hard to judge what the final image will look like from what you see on-screen. The smoothness and stability of the preview image while pinch-zooming also leaves significant room for improvement, with very obvious jumps in exposure, focus, and framing visible as the device transitions between the different camera modules.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, preview: very limited live HDR capabilities
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, final image: a very different exposure than preview indicated

Global control of artifacts is another weakness for the Mate 40 Pro+. Color quantization is often visible on both dark areas and faces, as well as some ghosting on moving objects. Some fusion artifacts are occasionally visible, too, but the overall impact from this is less significant compared to the color quantization, which is quite strong compared to other top-ranked devices in our database.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, artifacts
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, crop: color quantization

Our Zoom score comprises a device’s ultra-wide and tele-lens scores, and with excellent results for both, the Mate 40 Pro+ chalks up our second-highest Zoom score to date at 98.

Its ultra-wide score of 53 is only bettered by the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, and overall, the 14 mm ultra-wide camera on the Mate 40 Pro+ offers excellent image quality with nice exposures, wide dynamic range, pleasant color rendering, and a good texture-vs-noise compromise. Huawei is the first to use free-form lenses in its ultra-wide cameras, which allow for some optical control of distortion. Currently its competitors have to rely on software to correct this distortion, which can impact the effective focal length we measure, but the Mate 40 Pro+ free-form lens manages to keep vertical lines nice and straight without altering the focal length too much.

Ultra-wide shots aren’t perfect, with slight yellow color casts occasionally visible, some unnatural texture rendering in intricate areas, as well as some white balance and exposure instabilities in low light, but these are small quibbles about an otherwise excellent performance. Noise is also better on the Mate 40 Pro+’s wide shots compared to the Mi 10 Ultra, but with the Xiaomi device opting for stronger denoising and more natural-looking texture, improved white balance consistency, and (crucially) a wider 12 mm field of view, the Mi 10 Ultra just gets the nod for top spot in our ultra-wide camera analysis.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, ultra-wide: well-controlled geometric distortion
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, ultra-wide: lower detail at the default FOV compared to the + model
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, ultra-wide: wider FOV but slight barrel distortion evident

Thanks to a double telephoto configuration, the Mate 40 Pro+’s performance improves noticeably over the standard model in the tele category. Again ranking second with a tele score of 129, overall performance is close to that of the category leader, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, with very good exposure, dynamic range, detail, and noise control. In fact, the Huawei is actually slightly better than the Xiaomi at close and medium range, thanks to some very efficient computational photography algorithms. Combining images from the main and shorter tele-lens cameras at medium range, and using OIS from the main camera for super-resolution images at close range, the Mate 40 Pro+ achieves very high-quality images and top scores at these shorter zoom distances.

It’s not quite as good in our long-range zoom analysis, however, and while overall image quality remains good, there are a few niggles to be aware of. The 240 mm-equivalent second tele-lens provides a high level of detail at 10x zoom, which is great when you need to zoom in that much, but it’s a bit of a rarity on a smartphone. Drop the magnification to a more usable 170 to 200 mm-equivalent range where the second tele-lens isn’t fully activated, and some problems start to arise. Detail remains good in the center, but fusion artifacts with unnatural texture rendering are obvious in the outer field in landscape or architectural images. Fusion processing isn’t applied in long-range portraits, though, so texture rendering is more consistent across the frame, but overall detail is slightly lower than the top performers on these type of images. Autofocus on the long tele module is a point of criticism, too, with slow reaction times often resulting in instabilities. This said, if you give it the time it needs, the long tele does deliver accurate focus.

The comparison below illustrates some of the pros and cons at long range. Details are very well preserved at the center but not towards the edges, where a strong difference in texture rendering looks unnatural. In comparison, the standard Mate 40 Pro and the Mi 10 Ultra offer less detail in the center but more consistent results across the entire image.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, 170 mm-equivalent zoom
Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, crop: well-preserved fine detail
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, 170 mm-equivalent zoom
Huawei Mate 40 Pro crop: some loss of fine detail
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, 170 mm-equivalent zoom
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, crop: significant loss of fine detail

The Mate 40 Pro+’s Video score of 115 is only one point shy of the current video top score held by the Mate 40 Pro, thanks to excellent results in all test areas. Target exposure is mostly accurate in indoor and outdoor videos, and dynamic range is reasonably good in most static videos, although shadow and highlight clipping is evident in very challenging high-contrast lighting conditions. The video exposure strategy is generally similar to the standard Mate 40 Pro’s. There are some minor differences, with the Mate 40 Pro+ rendering slightly better dynamic range in some scenes—but with more obvious steps in exposure adaptation visible, too. Dynamic range tends to be more extended in the Mate 40 Pro+’s static videos, too, so there is some need to improve HDR rendering consistency across all videos.

Video exposure comparison

White balance is fairly neutral in most videos and relatively stable in outdoor and indoor scenes. It’s a little less consistent in low light, where changes in the color matrix and white balance instabilities do creep in, but unless you’re recording a lot in very low light, it isn’t a problem. Color rendering is pleasant generally, although it could be a bit better in portraits, where reddish skin tones are often visible (which explains why the Mate 40 Pro+’s video color score is fractionally lower than the Mate 40 Pro’s).

Like with stills, the texture-to-noise tradeoff is good in outdoor and indoor videos. Texture rendering isn’t quite as good as the standard Mate 40 Pro’s, particularly in portraits, where texture and skin tones aren’t rendered quite as nicely. As for video exposure, the Mate 40 Pro+ also tends to behave slightly differently in static and moving videos, with more obvious loss of detail in videos captured while moving. It lost the most points for video texture in our perceptual analysis of low-light videos, however, so again, seeking out better light will help improve overall quality.

Video texture comparison

In our objective measurements, noise control on the Mate 40 Pro+ is on par with its key competitors in all lighting conditions. Again, it’s better in brighter light, with coarse noise occasionally visible in flat areas in low-light videos. Noise control is better in static low-light videos, where the device can perform frame stacking to improve image quality, but noise tends to increase in moving videos and this leads to noticeable differences in image quality throughout the video.

Video noise comparison

Video autofocus is generally fast and accurate, and stabilization is efficient, with particularly good motion control on static videos. Stabilization remains effective on handheld videos captured while walking or running, too, and overall stabilization performance is very close to that of the standard Mate 40 Pro.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+, accurate exposure and white balance with slightly reddish skintones
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, very similar overall quality to the + model
Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra, autofocus inaccuracies, with focus locked on to the background

Conclusion

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ is a premium device in every sense and deservedly takes the stop spot in our DXOMARK Camera ranking. In many areas its results are similarly excellent to those of the Mate 40 Pro, but the Plus model’s improved tele and ultra-wide cameras will make a difference to those photographers who like to vary focal lengths from very wide to very long. The addition of optical image stabilization on the primary camera also helps improve the texture/noise tradeoff as well as close-range tele results. Video quality is equally good, making the Huawei flagship an easy buy if you’ve got the cash.

Pros

• Wide dynamic range in all conditions
• Nice colors and good white balance in bright light and indoors
• Excellent detail in most conditions
• Fast and consistent autofocus in most situations
• Good detail and low noise levels in ultra-wide camera shots
• Excellent detail and low noise in tele shots
• Wide dynamic range and good texture/noise in night shots
• Very good texture/noise tradeoff in bright light and indoor videos
• Effective video stabilization

Cons

• Color quantization, aliasing, and ghosting artifacts
• Shallow depth of field, occasional focus failures at close range
• Preview images often significantly different from capture
• Sharpness differences between video frames, especially in low light

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