Huawei P40 Pro expected to have 7 cameras, 10x optical zoom, and 5G support

Huawei's hype is real: The P40 Pro just might be the first phone on the planet with 10x optical zoom.

Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
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This is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro released last year, the company is scheduled to launch the P40 Pro in March.

Ian Knighton/CNET

Update, March 26: The Huawei P40, P40 Pro and the P40 Pro Plus have now officially been launched. Read our first take here.

Huawei isn't letting the last-minute cancellation of Mobile World Congress stand in the way of its 2020 launch plans. Amid the extraordinary circumstances stemming from the novel coronavirus, Chinese telecom giant Huawei is pushing forward with plans to unveil its latest generation of flagship Huawei P40 phones. The launch is scheduled to be unveiled in an online event on March 26 with an expected release date sometime after. 

Just like its predecessor, the P30 series, the upcoming premium phones won't feature Google's suite of services (which includes Google Play Store, Gmail, Google Maps and so on) nor will it have the full might of Google's Android operating system behind it due to the ongoing trade ban with the US. Instead, the phones are expected to operate yet again on Android's generic open-source operating system and consumers will have to download apps via Huawei's App Gallery as a substitute for the Google Play Store, which isn't the case for fellow Chinese phone makers such as Realme.

Huawei appears to have a plan to wean people off their reliance on Google. According to Reuters, Huawei has banded up with Xiaomi , Oppo and Vivo to build a challenger to the Google Play Store known as the Global Developer Service Alliance  -- and it too will reportedly launch in March.

Huawei recently posted a video teaser online of its upcoming P40 series flagship, which all but confirmed that the phones will have a curved screen and what looks like a massive camera bump. The launch of the P40 handsets will mark Huawei's third and latest flagship launch since the US slapped the Chinese telecom giant with an export ban last May. But until official announcements are made in late March, we leave you the with the most credible rumors of the much-awaited trio of devices, the Huawei P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro Premium.

The P40 Pro may come with a 10x optical zoom camera

Although Huawei's software (or more specifically its glaring lack of Google apps) may prove to be a dealbreaker for many outside China, it looks likely the Chinese phone maker will continue to push the envelope as far as cameras are concerned. Images shared on Twitter by widely followed leaker Evan Blass purport to show the P40 Pro equipped with a rectangular camera module containing what appears to be five sensors on the back. 


Leaked images of the Huawei P40 Pro in a black and white color scheme.

Evan Blass/via Twitter

According to known Apple leaker Ming Chi Kuo, a 10x optical zoom camera could be included as one of the sensors in the P40 Pros camera system, making it the world's first phone to achieve such a feat. The Mate 30 Pro featured a quad-camera set-up, and included a 50x digital zoom and a 5x optical zoom, which catapulted it into the mobile hall of fame. 

Optical zoom is achieved by switching from a wide-angle camera to a telephoto camera. The magnification number is a reflection of the difference of those two lens lengths. Using the telephoto camera without "pinching in" results in a higher-quality image instead of using digital zoom which is what happens when you pinch the screen of your phone while using the main camera --- or when you try to zoom in beyond the telephoto camera's capabilities.

P40 Pro may be equipped with 52mp Sony camera sensor 

According to GizChina, the P40 Pro's rear camera will come with a 52-megapixel Sony IMX700 sensor, which is 10 megapixels higher than  P30 Pro's rear camera. The 52-megapixel sensor is significantly lower in terms of resolution than Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra 108-megapixel sensor, but reports suggest this new sensor can bring bigger pixels and better low-light image quality.  The P40 Pro has also been speculated to feature an RYYB (red yellow yellow blue) sensor design as opposed to the traditional RGB (red green blue), which is an upgrade Huawei has made in the past via its P30 Pro model.

P40 Pro may come with a grand total of seven cameras

As for the front of the P40 Pro, it's expected to feature two selfie cameras housed in a horizontal pill-shaped cutout on the left side of the screen, according to leaked renders from 91mobiles. The dual front-facing cameras combined with the previously mentioned penta-lens camera set-up on the rear would bring the total number of camera sensors on the Huawei P40 Pro to seven if the rumors are correct.

P40 series is expected to support 5G networks

Huawei has all but confirmed that both of its next flagship phones will support 5G, although in 2019 the vanilla P30 model couldn't support the next-generation network. Two recent listings of what is understood be the P40 and the P40 Pro on TENAA's certification website (China's regulatory body for mobile tech) show the devices possessing 5G compatibility, according to MySmartPrice. Although 5G ran into hiccups last year, including patchy coverage, it's expected to improve this year as coverage expands into new locations among other reasons.

P40 series could come in 5 colors, including blush gold 

The P40 series is understood to be available in five different colors: Black, Ice White, Deep Sea Blue, Silver Frost and Blush Gold, according to 91Mobiles. In a sign the colors rumour may be accurate, the ever-reliable leaker Evan Blass also recently tweeted a photo with the P40 handsets pictured in five different shades that seem to match the names of the colors mentioned earlier. The blush gold in particular reminds me of the champagne-like color palette used in the iPhone's newer models. It also comes after the Motorola Razr announced blush gold as its second color for the new Razr, which will be available from this spring. 

Watch this: Huawei unveils P40, P40 Pro and Pro Plus

Originally published Feb. 21. Regularly updated with new rumors.