Reviews

Huawei P40 Pro+ review

Pushing the boundaries of optical zoom technology

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Huawei’s new premium flagship offers more of everything, including super fast wireless charging and 10x optical zoom. Should you spend EUR 1,400 on it even if it does not have Google Mobile Services?

Huawei announced its 2020 flagship lineup earlier this year. Just like Apple and Samsung, the Chinese giant is offering three models instead of two. Apart from the P40 and P40 Pro, there’s an even more premium Huawei P40 Pro+.

Huawei tells GadgetMatch the thinking behind this is so that it could offer their flagship at an affordable price tag, while still pushing the boundaries of tech without forcing the cost on folks who don’t need these extra features.

The question now is, are these extra features worth its 400-euro premium? How does the P40 Pro+ compare with the phone it’s designed to go head-to-head with, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra?

P40 Pro vs P40 Pro+

Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy S20+ and its big brother the S20 Ultra, the P40 Pro+ is roughly the same size as the P40 Pro. I like that they decided against making a bigger phone.

In terms of actual footprint, they’re the same size. The P40 Pro’s clear case even  fits the P40 Pro+. The P40 Pro+ is just slightly thicker and heavier, and its camera module is larger given its much more complex camera system.

On the outside the biggest difference between the two is the choice of build material. The P40 Pro+ is made of ceramic instead of glass. Ceramic does not scratch as easily. It’s available in this gorgeous white color, as well as black.

On the inside it has support for 40W wireless charging and double the storage capacity — 512GB in total.

Otherwise it’s the same phone with Huawei’s most recent Kirin 990 5G processor, 8GB of RAM, a 6.58-inch OLED display, with a 2640 x 1200 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate.

READ MORE: Huawei P40 Pro review

40W Wireless SuperCharge

While I did say I like this size better, a similar footprint as the P40 Pro means you’re not getting a bigger battery capacity on the P40 Pro+ — 4200 mAh. In my time using the phone it lasted just as long, about a day and a half of heavy use on a single charge.

The feature you’re not getting on the P40 Pro however, support for 40W Wireless SuperCharge, will deliver charging speeds that are as fast as wired charging. In my tests that’s over 50% in 30 minutes, 90% after an hour, and 100% in 1 hour and 25 minutes.

Huawei sells an optional 40W SuperCharge Wireless Charging Stand for EUR 50 so you can maximize this feature. It has two coils, which means you can charge your phone vertically or horizontally.

A light on the bottom of the charger indicates charging status — white while charging and green once completed.

Fast charging creates a substantial amount of heat so there’s a built in fan and vents on the bottom for better heat dissipation. If I didn’t look, I wouldn’t have known. The fan is that quiet.

Revolutionary camera

The Huawei P40 Pro+ has five rear cameras — 50MP wide angle camera, 40MP ultra-wide angle camera, 3D depth sensing camera, 8MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and another 8MP SuperZoom camera with 10x optical zoom.

This is the most I’ve seen on a smartphone to date. The engineering required to pull off this feat is pretty impressive. When you look through this periscope to see what’s inside, you’ll see how the light is bounced through 5 different mirrors.

It’s amazing how they’ve been able to squeeze all of this into such a small phone. But does anyone really need that much zoom on a smartphone? Need? Maybe not.

I can definitely think of a few examples where it might come in handy, like when you’re on a holiday touring a landmark.

Where I live in Brooklyn, oftentimes I’ll take a walk to the water where it’s always beautiful. The extra 10x zoom is great for being able to snap a photo of the Empire State Building from across the river.

I would also love this much zoom at a zoo so I can get closer to the animals, but it’s useful, too even if you’re just walking down the street and you see a cool kitty cat and want to take a photo.

P40 Pro+ vs Galaxy S20 Ultra

Now if we’re comparing versus the Galaxy S20 Ultra, 10x will always deliver more detail vs 5x. What does that look like?

A perfect example would be this photo of my bookshelf that I shot from my couch.

Notice how the book titles are sharper, the details on my agate bookends are more evident.

The fibers on my Mega Yarn Yoshi Amiibo also are sharper. All of these combined make for a much better photo.

Here’s another one of a gothic church shot from a block away. From the modlings, to the textures of the chipped paint, to the green wire, the P40 Pro+ is able to capture more detail than the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

When shooting conditions are ideal, it’s not gonna matter as much especially if you’re just going to post on social media.

There are other times, like in my kitty cat example, that you will benefit from that extra detail the zoom provides.

Huawei phones are best known for their excellent low light performance. But it’s worth pointing out that both telephoto lenses on the P40 Pro+ don’t have large sensors and wide apertures like you’ll find on both the ultra-wide and wide angle lenses. This means low-light performance using the zoom lenses is not going to be as good .

See this shot of the empire state building after dark side by side with one taken with the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Extra zoom

This is the first time I’ve seen two different zoom lenses on a smartphone. I think it’s a good idea if Huawei wants to keep pushing the boundaries of optical zoom. I will argue though that 2x is still the sweet spot.

When we couldn’t go to restaurants yet, we pretended my living room was a cafe. If you’re like me you might find yourself wanting to snap a photo of your iced coffee for the gram.

In this scenario, 2x makes sense both in terms of the perfect distance and what you’re able to fit into the shot. 3x isn’t so bad; it’s a little bit tighter, but it still works. Meanwhile, 5x on the Galaxy S20 Ultra is too close for it to work.

Both the P40 Pro+ and the Galaxy S20 Ultra allow you to digitally zoom up to 100x in photo mode. Huawei is wise to not talk up this feature like Samsung does by branding it Space Zoom and plastering on the back of the phone.

Let’s face it: Images shot at 100x are never gonna be good enough to post online, unless you somehow manage to capture a viral moment or if you use your phones to spy on your neighbors, something none of us should be doing in the first place.

All of that said, those who like to take a lot of photos on their phone will enjoy the flexibility the P40 Pro+ offers especially when it comes to zoom.

My one wish is that they improve the camera interface by making it easier to select among different zoom options the same way Samsung does.

Is this the best camera system on a smartphone?

We’re not going to spend as much time talking about the P40 Pro+’s other cameras since they are the same as those found on the P40 Pro. You can read our review on that here.

Here are more sample photos we took.

What I will say is that I would prefer a wider field of view on the ultra-wide angle lens.

Take a look at these photos when I took the subway for the first time in a long time.  The wider field of view on the Galaxy S20 Ultra delivers a more dramatic image.

This photo of this KAWS sculpture is great, but the photos taken on the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Galaxy S20 Ultra look more impressive.

Of course, it goes without saying that low light photo performance on the P40 Pro+ is top-notch. Even without night mode, the P40 Pro+ delivers excellent photos at night.

I just wish AI would kick in sometimes when a scene doesn’t need to be so bright.

Finally, like the P40 Pro, the P40 Pro+ has dual selfie cameras. The second one is used to measure depth for better background blur. It’s currently my favorite selfie phone because I like the way it makes me look. I think that’s because of the focal range, and the way it doesn’t aggressively highlight all my imperfections.

Is the P40 Pro+ your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for the best camera on a smartphone today the P40 Pro+ is an outstanding option.

From awesome selfies, to solid day time images, to unmatched low light performance, to being able to zoom in the furthest — the P40 Pro+ is an all-around champ.

Ask yourself, too, if you are willing to live with the inconvenience of not having Google Mobile Services.

Is paying an extra EUR 400 worth it? I personally think the P40 Pro is a better value, even if in Apple land a 512GB iPhone 11 Pro Max will cost you about the same.

The 10X optical zoom is something you can’t find anywhere else, and super fast wireless charging is an offering only a handful of phones can manage. Those are what this phone is about.

Like Huawei’s foldable Mate XS, it’s a showcase of all the amazing tech the company is capable of; a foretaste of what will eventually trickle down to other models in six months to a year, and a slice of what Americans are missing out on because of a silly trade war.

Gaming

ROG Zephyrus G15: Lean, mean, gaming machine

And it’s a looker too

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Zephyrus G15

One of my favorite things about getting to try many new gadgets is that I learn more about myself and my preferences. The ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022) GA503 – which henceforth will just be referred to as just Zephyrus G15 – did just that for me and what I want in gaming laptops. 

For context, I have been sparingly using my ROG Flow X13 for most of my general Windows and PC gaming needs. It’s a great device, don’t get me wrong. But having to prop up the laptop itself along with the XG Mobile to reach its full potential can be quite cumbersome.

It’s a huge contrast to the Zephyrus G15 where I simply fire it up and it just works in a jiffy. And all the ports I normally use are right there, ready to use. I’m a big fan of convenience so I absolutely love it when gadgets just work without much friction. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Based on this introduction, I’m sure you already have some idea on what I generally think about the Zephyrus G15. But allow me to discuss it further. 

Tale of the tape

Zephyrus G15

Specs and benchmarks never tell the whole story. But specs are a good place to start. Here’s what our review unit is packing: 

  • AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
  • 15″ WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9 240hz Pantone Validated 100% DCI-P
  • RTX 3070 TI 8GB GDDR6
  • 16GB DDR5 on board  + 16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM
  • 1TB M.2 NVM PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • Moonlight White

Some standout stuff from the information provided above are the new processor, the Pantone Validated display as well as the RAM available. This isn’t even its highest configuration. There’s a variant that runs RTX 3080. You can upgrade your RAM up to 48GB and there’s another SSD slot so you can expand your storage. 

Zephyrus G15

That means there’s plenty of room to up the ante down the line should you choose to do so. That’s not something that you can say for every gaming laptop. 

Immaculate look and design

I love that ROG sent over the Moonlight White version for us to try. Black is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s refreshing to see gaming laptops brimming with power come in other colorways that could appeal to people that are kind of just over with black. 

The magnesium-aluminum lid and chassis also maintain the Zephyrus look giving it a sleek and tough exterior, while keeping the ROG Zephyrus identity. And you don’t have to worry too much about it picking up dust and dirt. In the few weeks I spent with it, it stayed pristine looking despite little to no wiping maintenance. That’s thanks largely to the wear-resistant coating which works exactly as advertised. 

Zephyrus G15

Adding to the overall functional design is the ErgoLift Hinge. This is one of my favorite things about ASUS laptops. The ergolift hinge not only allows a 180° for more flexibility, it’s also just ultra satisfying to move and look at. 

It looks fresh, feels tough, and is relatively compact making it easy to carry around. It’s a looker with some bells and whistles in the right places.

Ports, keyboard, and trackpad

Zephyrus G15

Speaking of those bells and whistles, the Zephyrus G15 is packed with possibly all the ports you’ll need. Whether that’s for a remote setup or one that’s neatly tucked into a home office desk. 

Zephyrus G15

Here’s everything it has to offer: 

  • USB3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (2x)
  • USB3.2 Gen 2 Type-C(supports DP 1.4 & 100W PD Charger), (2x)
  • LAN RJ-45 jack (1x)
  • HDMI 2.0b (1x)
  • Micro SD Card Reader (UHS-II), (1x)
  • 3.5mm Audio combo jack (1x)
  • Kensington Lock (1x)

 

Zephyrus G15

The Stealth Type keyboard was a curious choice but one that I welcome. I was of the impression that the gaming demographic skews more towards the clickity clack of mechanical keyboards. But the one equipped on the Zephyrus G15 is about as quiet as they come. No complaints here though, as it didn’t distract my at-the-moment entanglement in slumber as I toiled away over late night labor. 

Zephyrus G15

One of the best trackpad experiences on a Windows Gaming laptop.

The trackpad, too, was such a pleasant surprise. Perhaps it’s also in conjunction with Windows 11 but using a trackpad on Windows now doesn’t feel as laggy as it used to. On days that I only worked using the Zephyrus G15, I never felt the need to connect a mouse. That feels like a breakthrough as I have never been able to say that for any of the Windows laptops I’ve reviewed in the past. 

Plays like a console

Yes, I paired a DualSense controller with the Zephyrus G15

Alright, before any PC gaming enthusiasts come at my throat, what I mean here is mostly the quality of life things. When I got the Zephyrus G15, I didn’t tweak it very much. Heck, I even opened Armoury Crate less than five times during my time with it. Despite this, it had no trouble running the games I attempted to play. Some of which are even very demanding AAA titles. 

Zephyrus G15

I’m a big fan of tech that just works. Especially with my current workload, the less time I have to figure something out, the better. And that’s the case with this gaming laptop. I simply fired up Steam, downloaded the games, and played to my heart’s content. 

Zephyrus G15

Teen Gohan vs Cell is a classic.

Naturally, I checked the settings on some of the first few games I tried like Control, Genshin Impact, and Dragon Ball FighterZ. Everything was consistently on the highest settings right off the bat. Lags and stutters? I don’t know them. Not with the Zephyrus G15 in tow. 

To better understand where I’m coming from, I own an ROG Flow X13. The one that comes with the ROG XG Mobile. It’s a great machine, no doubt. But to get the most out of it, I still have to hook up the XG Mobile to the Flow X13. Whereas with the Zephyrus G15, I simply have to turn the laptop on. That’s an underrated level of convenience that may or may not mean much for some of you. 

You still have Armoury Crate but I didn’t feel the need to touch it as much.

It’s seriously making me consider trading up for the Zephyrus G15. And that’s just with the raw performance of games. I haven’t even talked about how good the display and speakers are. 

Eyes and ears candy 

Zephyrus G15

Its high-level performance is of course complemented by a stellar audio-visual experience. As indicated in the specs section earlier, this laptop sports a 15” WQHD 16:9 display with a 240Hz refresh rate. It’s also Pantone Validated which is great for color accuracy if you’re working on anything that involves visual media.

But all you really need to know is that it’s an absolute treat to the eyes. The 240Hz refresh rate on the panel is great for first-person shooters. Unfortunately, I am not great at first person shooters. I’d like to take this opportunity to whoever I played Valorant with because I totally dragged the team down. 

Zephyrus G15

This is a “Tomboy” fancam but listen to her album “MY” too!

 

It is a visual treat, no doubt. But like (G)-IDLE’s Miyeon, the Zephyrus G15 isn’t just a treat for the eyes. It also sounds hella good. I spent a good chunk of time watching Miyeon’s fancams on this thing and it’s just a fantastic overall experience. 

I also watched a few episodes of Netflix’s Business Proposal at the time of writing. Really, whatever type of content you consume, it’s bound to look and sound great on this thing. 

Zephyrus G15

Kim SeJeong is just adorable

One thing we did learn is that the display struggles a bit under really bright environments. When taking photos of the device, we opted to step out for natural light. But if you’re using this to work or play remotely, I recommend you find some place that isn’t too bright. 

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Zephyrus G15

The ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022) GA503 is easily one of my personal favorite devices that I’ve reviewed so far in 2022. It’s about as close as it can get to a plug and play PC gaming experience. And that’s not something you can say for many laptops and/or PCs. 

The Zephyrus G15 (2022) brings with it a distinct look, top-notch gaming performance, and a really solid audio-visual experience. As a gaming laptop, this is about as perfect as it gets and is something I can easily recommend especially if you’re willing to splurge for it.

Official pricing will be announced soon. We’ll update this space when it’s out.

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vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review

vivo’s best smartphone just got even better!

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The vivo X70 Pro+ was launched just several months ago. However, we’re already having a follow-up!

Unlike the X50, X60, and X70 series, the X80 series only consists of two models this time around.

Namely the X80 and X80 Pro — with the latter being vivo’s latest flagship smartphone.

But what makes it different from its predecessor? And what makes the successor a lot more exciting?

Watch our vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review now to find out more!

 

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Samsung Galaxy S22+ review: Love at first touch

Can’t help but fall deeper

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Galaxy S22+

A cosmic pull. A supernatural attraction. These aren’t phrases one normally says on a smartphone review. And yet, here I am. Falling madly for the Samsung Galaxy S22+. 

However, this wasn’t the case from the get go. First, I saw it in photos and it was alright. Then, I saw the specs on paper. Yeah, that’s pretty good. It was just another flagship, I thought. 

But everything changed when it came to my doorstep and held it in my hands. 

(P.S. All of my subheadings below are taken from the song “One Touch” by Gabe Bondoc. You can play it while you read 🙂). 

One touch and I’m hooked and I am drowning

Galaxy S22+

I am completely aware how overly infatuated I’m coming off and will come off for the rest of this article. But, having been in this smartphone reviewing gig for close to seven (7) years now, I’ve become almost numb to the usual releases. 

Yes, every now and then I take a liking to a smartphone or two. But it has been a while since I really, really wanted to keep and/or buy a phone I’m reviewing. 

The Samsung Galaxy S22+ just felt perfect on my hands. The right width, the right length, and the right thickness. The heft of the device, its shiny metallic edges, and the clean premium finish of the back all scream premium. The material on its back has a smooth, matte feel and finish. It’s both smudge and scratch resistant.


I’m a fan of its button placements too. With both the power button and volume rockers flushed on the right-hand side. It’s easy to slide up and down to press what you need to press.

And the metal lining on the edges feels smooth but grippable and perfectly complements the flat display. 

Excuse me, I don’t mean to be staring

It’s no secret that Samsung consistently offers one of the best displays, especially in their flagship line. This remains true for the 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel equipped on this beaut. The colors are rich and crisp under favorable lighting conditions. But even in broad daylight, the display is bright enough (1750 nits peak) to be comfortably operated without having to squint. 

Galaxy S22+

I had a grand time watching my favorite shows on the Samsung Galaxy S22+. I’ve had it for a while so I saw a few episodes of the Netflix K-Drama Business Proposal on it. I have also been catching up weekly on the HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. For content that supports it, HDR10+ kicks in to elevate the visual experience. 

Galaxy S22+

The display looks so majestic that it prompted me to put the love of my life Momo Hirai of TWICE as my wallpaper. And then of course, there’s the dynamic refresh rate that goes up as high as 120Hz. This means the screen changes its refresh rate depending on what you’re doing. If you’re scrolling through socials and what not, it kicks into high gear to give you a smooth experience. When idle, the refresh rate lowers down to save battery. 

My heart won’t slow ’cause of you

The Galaxy S22+’s overall performance will really keep your heart racing. Normal, day-to-day interactions with your phone just feel extra sharp. The many features mentioned above coupled with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powering this phone keeps it humming no matter what you do. 

Keeping up with the news in the morning, checking socials to see what you missed, using messaging apps to keep in touch whether for work or personal matters – all of these just feel like a breeze. And the ONE UI 4.1 skin on top of this Android 12 flavor definitely contributes to just how things flow when you use this smartphone. 

Galaxy S22+

I didn’t do a lot of gaming, though. To test it, I defaulted to my go-to which is a few hours of Call of Duty Mobile. As expected it runs without hiccups on high graphics settings. There’s a game manager of sorts here that I didn’t tinker with much. It’s not too different from the ones implemented in previous Samsung phones. Some key features include focusing the phone’s resources to gaming and limiting or completely blocking notifications. 

Battery life is also admirable. One afternoon, I used it to tune into a friend’s wedding via Zoom. The entire ceremony lasted roughly around two (2) hours. In that period, the Galaxy S22+’s battery went from 82% to 76%. 

Naturally, that isn’t the single indication of its battery performance. I generally start my days at around 9AM and end at around 8PM. On days that I’m glued to my laptop, with only occasional glimpses on the phone, I would end the day between 60% to 70%. On days that I’m out and about and rely on it a lot to get work done, my day ends with around 25% to 35% of battery left. 

You’re looking fine today, not that I only noticed now

Galaxy S22+

I have already done an entire separate article about the cameras on the Galaxy S22+. It’s one of the things that I enjoyed the most about the phone. It’s almost as if it’s impossible to take a bad photo with this on hand. 

Easily switching between lenses is great. But what’s even better is how the quality and color reproduction doesn’t vary much from lens to lens. Check these samples out.

Samsung Galaxy S22+

And you can even use 10X Zoom with barely any detail loss, especially if it’s a photo that you’re just uploading on social media. 

Samsung Galaxy S22+

That versatility is unmatched and is fantastic for quick, run and gun shoots like the one I did during the opening of the XM Studio in Singapore. 

I am thoroughly impressed and extremely satisfied with the quality of images it produces. And that’s saying a lot seeing as my regular daily phones include an iPhone 11 Pro and an OPPO Find X3 Pro. Both of which are excellent shooters in their own right.

Oh and yeah, “Nightography”. 

Samsung Galaxy S22+

You think there is a way that I can get you to stay?

You see, the thing about the Galaxy S22+ is that with just the first touch, you already know you’re in contact with something that you should hold onto for dear life. I can’t tell you how many oohs and aahs I got after letting other people hold it in their hands. It just has that effect.

Additionally, the phone is a smooth amalgamation of many other standout phones. It has the breathtaking display of Samsung phones, an overall footprint that feels like an iPhone 12/13 Pro Max, cameras that rival those that partner with notable camera brands, and much, much more. All of that comes in this package that looks and feels well-built on a phone that is easily an all-rounder performer. 

Truly, I never want to let it go. And that’s not something I always say about smartphones. So here’s to hoping that this high praise leads to the Galaxy S22+ staying with me more than a little while longer. 

The Samsung Galaxy S22+ 5G is still available today in Samsung stores near you, via online at Samsung.com, or at your preferred telecommunication service provider. Pricing information on our key markets are linked in the following: USA | Singapore | Philippines

I know it’s been a while since its release. Despite all the hype long gone, it’s still a phone you won’t regret buying.

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