Huawei P40 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash
Luis Silva (May 2020, updated: October 2020)
Once upon a time, there was a great battle.
That could be the beginning of a legendary tale, in which two kings fight against each other over each one's kingdoms.
That could also be the beginning of this story between Huawei's P40 Pro and Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra.
You're probably here because you definitely value picture quality in a smartphone's camera, but there's much more than that.
But I digress here. Let's start over from the beginning.
Samsung launched its Galaxy S20 Ultra last March, while Huawei's P40 Pro arrived at stores one month later.
We've run down the specs, design, price, and much more in this guide to help you choose between the P40 Pro and the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Even though both phones have similar prices, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is cheaper. Although sometimes a promotion might appear and change that. That is something worth considering when comparing them.
While scrolling down, you'll see a "Tek-Score" for each phone in every section. We evaluated every quantifiable specification, so you can better understand the difference between the two. You'll find a global score at the end, which can help you compare to other phones if you're curious about other models aside from these two.
We've based our rate in a study from Globalwebindex.com about the most desired smartphone features by consumers.
For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.
Some features have a colored bar next to them, so you can see how they compare with other smartphones with similar prices.
By clicking here: you'll see which ones we've analyzed, but we've only included smartphones within a 40% price range.
Feel free to click any feature title to check out our corresponding eight top 10 listings for every spending plan.
*Reference: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Inside the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the Exynos 990 SoC, while with the P40 Pro, you can experience the performance of the Hisilicon Kirin 990 chipset.
Now about the graphics chipset, while the former has a Mali-G77 MP11, the latter features a Mali-G76 MP16.
In terms of performance, Geekbench 5 scores the P40 Pro 18% ahead of its rival on the multi-core rankings. You should notice that it is a bit faster if you test them side by side.
One can entitle the P40 Pro as high-end and the Galaxy S20 Ultra as lower high-end.
The P40 Pro was released with the Android 10 and EMUI 10 OS, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra has the Android 10 and OneUI.
PS: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (with the Adreno 650 GPU) and the Exynos 990 (with the Mali-G77) are market dependent. Click here for more info.
Although some users were able to install the Google Play Store on recent Huawei phones, please be aware that officially there aren't any Google apps, and some essential apps may be missing too on the P40 Pro.
There's a performance increase of about 15% on the 865 for the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
*Reference: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The P40 Pro has a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen that's considerably smaller than the Galaxy S20 Ultra's 6.9-inch AMOLED display. To each, it's own. Most people seem to prefer AMOLED for its saturated colors and higher contrast.
Are you looking for big screens? Then, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is your holy grail. At least it's enormous when compared to the average phone for its price range.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra benefits from a higher resolution, at 1440x3200 pixels, compared to the 1200x2640 pixels on the P40 Pro.
Screens seem to get more fragile every year, so I have to put this out: The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a Corning Gorilla Glass 6, but the P40 Pro doesn't seem to have any known display protection technology.
Good news for those who value an Always-On display: both phones have it. If you're looking for the brightest display, the P40 Pro can do 605 nits, while the Galaxy S20 Ultra can do 289 nits above that.
Are you considering watching HDR content? The P40 Pro does HDR10, while its rival can display HDR10+ content.
If high refresh rates are the future, then the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the winner at 120hz, while the P40 Pro does 90hz.
Bearing in mind the P40 Pro, all of its rivals have an AMOLED screen and can play HDR content, and 77% of them have an Always-On display.
Regarding the Galaxy S20 Ultra, 95% of its rivals have an AMOLED screen, 86% have an Always-On display, and 90% of them can play HDR content.
*Reference: Sony Xperia 1.
Let's delve into their cameras. Together, a whopping 50 MP sensor, an aperture of f/1.9, a 23 mm wide-angle lens, one flash LED, HDR capabilities, and Optical Image Stabilization make up the P40 Pro camera set. Adding to that, you'll still get the ability to record videos at up to 2160p. There's also one 12 MP camera with an aperture of f/3.4 and an astounding 125 mm telephoto lens, and another one with 40 MP and an 18 mm ultra-wide-angle lens, plus a depth sensor.
Pro tip: You can take a 50 MP photo, zoom in and crop, and get the same shot you'd get on a 12 MP shooter with 2x optical zoom.
The P40 Pro has a camera with technology similar to the P30 Pro and the same ability to do 50x hybrid zoom. Likewise, it is not an optical zoom, but thanks to AI, it is much better than digital zoom.
The selfie camera is a generous 32 MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture complemented with a 26 mm wide-angle lens.
DxOMark has rated this camera with a score of 140. You can check their review if you click here.
Last but not least, 77% of its rivals feature a telephoto lens, and all of them have an ultra-wide-angle lens and have added Optical Image Stabilization to their camera setup and can record videos in 4K or higher. However, none of them feature a macro lens.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra features a whopping 108 MP (f/1.8) shooter, a 26 mm wide-angle lens, one flash LED, HDR abilities, and Optical Image Stabilization, and it records videos at up to 4320 pixels. And guess what? The Galaxy S20 Ultra has three more cameras: a 48 MP (with f/3.5, and an astounding 103 mm telephoto lens), a second 12 MP and a 13 mm ultra-wide-angle lens, and a third 0.3 MP that works as a depth sensor. That'll be fun to see on a traditional DSLR!
A quick tip: If you zoom in and crop a 108 MP photo, you can get 2x of optical zoom: by trimming it into a 27 MP photo.
Despite having only 4x of optical zoom, thanks to its AI, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is also known for its impressive 100x hybrid Space Zoom. While better than a digital zoom, that's still far from a pure optical zoom.
The front-facing camera features a generous 40 MP shooter with an aperture of f/2.2 and a 26 mm wide-angle lens.
DxOMark's gurus gave this shooter a score of 132. If you want to know more about every tidbit, click here.
Lastly, I should state that all of its rivals have an ultra-wide-angle lens and can record videos in 4K or higher, and 95% of them have added Optical Image Stabilization to their camera setup. Moreover, only 10% of them feature a macro lens.
You should note that the P40 Pro is in the neighborhood of 16% above other smartphones from its price range. That's why between these two, it should be your choice too.
One can place these two as high-end.
If you love its zooming feature, the Galaxy S20 Ultra zoom lens is 42mm above the usual on similarly priced devices, and the P40 Pro is 62mm higher.
*Reference: Huawei P40 Pro.
The P40 Pro has a height of 158 mm (6.23 inches) and a width of 72 mm (2.84 inches). The Galaxy S20 Ultra is 8 mm taller and 4 mm wider (about 0.32 by 0.16 inches).
The former has about 9 mm (0.35 inches) of thickness, while the latter has 8 mm (0.32 inches). You should also know that the Galaxy S20 Ultra is indeed big. About 15% bigger when compared to most similarly priced devices.
All of that goodness is presented in a sleek glass body. The P40 Pro weighs 209 g. (7.37 oz), while its rival is 13 g. (0.51 oz) heavier. If you're looking for a lightweight device, the "weight to display size" rate of the P40 Pro is 3.1, which implies that it's kind of weighty for a 6.5 inches display. In the meanwhile, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has 3.1, which suggests it's considerably hefty too.
You'll also get some color options here. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra comes in Cosmic Grey and Cosmic Black, while the Huawei P40 Pro in Silver Frost, Deep Sea Blue, Blush Gold, Ice White, and Black.
If you like having a big phone, you should consider the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Otherwise, the other one is the way to go.
What about a fingerprint scanner? They all have one.
The P40 Pro truly is water-resistant. It can be submerged in 1 to 3 meters of water, much like the Galaxy S20 Ultra. As long as it's for less than 30 minutes, in standby mode, so no underwater photos.
*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.
You can probably guess who's the winner here just by taking a look at these numbers: 5000 mAh vs. 4200 mAh. But is that so? By charging them up and testing them out, that's what you can expect from the P40 Pro:
And these are the results for the Galaxy S20 Ultra:
You shouldn't expect any real contrast here.
The P40 Pro features quick-charging at up to 40w, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra supports it too, at 45w. It's good to know that both phones support wireless charging at up to 27w vs. 15w. Both phones can also use reverse wireless charging to charge any Qi-enabled devices.
Quick charging is reasonably speedy with the Galaxy S20 Ultra's charger. Devices with similar prices rarely exceed 22 watts.
Fast wireless charging on the P40 Pro is likewise a nice plus. You won't find many phones as fast at about its price.
The Snapdragon 865 also has better battery efficiency (about 10% more of screen-on-time), when compared to the Exynos 990.
*Reference: Samsung Galaxy M30s.
The P40 Pro features 128GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM. There's nothing to worry about because there's always the Nano Memory card expandable storage solution.
The Galaxy S20 Ultra, on its turn, has 128GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. You can add a MicroSD card if you want. If you're wondering, you can accidentally get less RAM and less storage if you pick any rival at that price range. 7Gb for RAM and 123Gb for storage, on average.
*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).
Surprisingly, there's a difference here: The P40 Pro features Bluetooth 5.1, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra has Bluetooth 5.0. You can find NFC on both of them.
Do you still favor wired headphones? None of them will help you with that. You can buy an adapter, but the wireless buds are your only option here.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra may not be the cheapest phone, but at least it's cheaper. But with a great deal or a price drop, it can be an impressive finding. The Huawei P40 Pro, on its turn, isn't that cheap, but I believe that it shouldn't come as a surprise at all. At least it may be easier to sell if you take into account selling it afterward. Let's see if it really worths it or not.
Here are the best prices that we've found:
Are you also considering other options? The global score can help. For reference purposes, I'll tell you where most of its rivals average at. They're at 6.8 (for the P40 Pro) and 6.6 (for the Galaxy S20 Ultra).
Verdict: What Makes the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Stand Out?
Just like the P30 Pro at its time, the P40 Pro could've been one of the best overall smartphones around (despite lacking the 3.5mm audio jack), if Huawei opted for a Gorilla Glass 6 glass protection. Not only that, but they also don't publicly disclosure what (if any) kind of protection they went for, so it's fair to assume it has none, which is terrible for a full glass body at this price range.
That said, performance-wise, let's say that the S20 Ultra is too slow for its price and it's camera while being one of the best around, isn't as good as Huawei's.
When it comes to battery life, the P40 Pro is one of the best smartphones around, despite having only 4200mAh of capacity.
If you're going to spend over one thousand dollars on a new smartphone, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the safest bet, despite not standing out anywhere else.
*Reference: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
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