Huawei P40 Pro vs. Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

As Huawei phones slowly make their way into the American public consciousness, many techies have taken notice that their flagship devices are an absolute ode to power, performance, and imaging capability. Whether you’re an Apple fan or not, Huawei’s newest P40 Pro is worth a look, and we’re going to break down the two phones to help you make your ultimate decision if you’re in the market for an upgrade. We’ll be putting the Huawei P40 Pro up against Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max, two of the best large smartphones on the market. Let’s take a look.

Specs

Huawei P40 Pro iPhone 11 Pro Max
Size 158.2 x 72.6 x 9 mm (6.23 x 2.86 x 0.35 in) 158 x 77.8 x 8.1 mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.32 in)
Weight 209 g (7.37 oz) 226 g (7.97 oz)
Screen size 6.58 inches OLED 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
Screen resolution 2,640 x 1,200 pixels (441 pixels-per-inch) 2,688 x 1,242 pixels (458 pixels-per-inch)
Operating system Android 10 iOS 13
Storage 128, 256, 512 GB 64, 256, 512GB
MicroSD card slot No, Huawei NM card-only No
Tap-to-pay services Huawei Pay Apple Pay
Processor Kirin 990 Apple A13 Bionic
RAM 8GB 4GB
Camera Quad-lens ultra-wide-angle 40MP, standard 50MP with OIS, 12MP telephoto, and 3D depth-sensing camera rear. 32MP lens and depth sensor front

Triple lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP telephoto rear; 12MP TrueDepth front

Video Up to 4K at 60 frames-per-second, 1080p at 960 fps super slo-mo, 720p at 7680 fps super slo-mo 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version 5.1 5.0
Ports USB-C Apple Lightning connector
Biometric sensor Fingerprint sensor in-display No, Face ID instead
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 4,200mAh

Huawei SuperCharge (40W)

Fast wireless charging (27W)

Reverse wireless charging (27W)

3,969mAh

Fast charging (18W)

Qi wireless charging

App marketplace Huawei App Store Apple App Store
Colors Silver Frost, Blush Gold, Deep Sea Blue, Ice White, Black Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Midnight Green
Prices $1,100 $1,099
Buy from Amazon Apple and all major carriers
Review score Hands-on 4.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

iphone 11

The iPhone 11 Pro Max and Huawei P40 Pro have an almost identical body design, so we think it’s fair to say they are just about even in the durability department. Both smartphones feature a metal chassis with a front and rear made entirely of glass. Obviously the presence of so much glass surface area makes these devices quite delicate, which is a shame as they both sport beautiful designs. We did find that the Huawei P40 Pro was a bit chunky, but still ergonomically impressive just like the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

If you are looking to express yourself through color or outfit match to your smartphone, then Huawei’s slew of colors to choose from will appeal to you. Huawei offers a smattering of matte colors, each more striking than the last. The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in its usual familiar choices, save for the recent addition of “Midnight Green.”

Both OLED displays feature almost identical pixel density and screen size, and a delicate glass body, so in this category we feel that these phones are truly at a tie at the moment. However, we haven’t had much time with the Huawei P40 Pro yet, so this conclusion may change after we’ve spent a bit more time with it.

Winner: Tie

Performance, battery life, and charging

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

When looking to analyze the performance and smooth operation of a smartphone, you can find a hint in the RAM featured in the device. This is a category where these two devices do differ quite a bit. The Huawei P40 Pro boasts a whopping 8GB of RAM on board, providing plenty of memory for multitasking and background processing. The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in at half of that with 4GB of RAM under the hood, but since Android and iOS handle RAM differently, don’t look too deeply into this difference. Since the two devices run totally different mobile operating systems, it’s not possible to make a direct comparison, but suffice to say both offer speedy performance.

While the iPhone 11 Pro Max sports the now standard Face ID as its primary security feature, the Huawei P40 Pro features both face unlock capability and a fingerprint sensor embedded under the display. This is something that Apple has long been rumored to be working on but hasn’t yet made its way to iPhone.

Both the Huawei P40 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max feature similarly sized batteries at 4,200 and 3,969 mAh respectively. They both come in at around 18-20 hours of video playing, and 80-90 hours of audio playback or call time. Even though we noticed the speaker audio quality wasn’t top-notch, we feel that the P40 Pro’s slightly larger battery, and industry-leading 40W wireless charging, gives it a strong edge when combined with its strong performance and 90Hz display.

Winner: Huawei P40 Pro

Cameras

Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

While Apple has recently poured its heart and soul into its imaging software and hardware, portrait mode, and it’s “filmed on an iPhone” advertising, this category is still a no-contest.

The Huawei P40 Pro features a gobsmacking 50MP wide-angle main lens, supported by a 12MP telephoto lens, and a not to be out-staged 40MP ultra-wide lens. The telephoto lens features a periscoping mechanism that offers 5X optical zoom (read as: an actual real zoom) along with 10X hybrid zoom and an insane 50X digital zoom. This has to be far and away the phones best feature and a huge selling point for the world traveler, the new parent, the photojournalist, or the budding photographer.

Winner: Huawei P40 Pro

Software and updates

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While we thoroughly enjoyed the P40 Pro’s smooth running of its EMUI skin, which is based on Android. But we can’t help but remind you that at the present moment (and subject to change) the Android experience is a bit neutered with the lack of Google Play store and other Google-related support systems since Huawei and the United States government are currently in a bit of a tiff.

For this we have to go with the tried and true reliability of iOS 13 on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Apple App Store offers too much diversity in ancillary features and services to ignore the difference in experience. Do keep in mind though if you decide to go with the P40 Pro, that Huawei does offer its own app store with a decent selection of third-party applications, part of their insurance plan against ever coming to favorable terms with the likes of Google.

Winner: iPhone 11 Pro Max

Special features

iPhone 11 Pro Max camera ui
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

In the race to join a 5G connected world, Huawei has pulled ahead with the P40 Pro. So, if being on the cutting edge of cellular connectivity is important to you, then you’ll find this a huge plus. Along with 5G, Huawei’s EMUI platform features a desktop mode that allows your phone to function more like a PC when connected to an external monitor. This serves as a cherry on top of this feature-packed smartphone.

Who needs fancy 5G and a desktop in your pocket when you can send a message as a talking bunny, though? The iPhone 11 Pro Max and iOS 13 continue to expand its Face ID features, like Animoji and Memoji, which are now customizable and have the added feature of manipulating the character with your face. Owning an iOS device also comes with the advantage of HomeKit, which ties into your smart home ecosystem.

While Apple’s interconnectivity and integration with the rest of our lives continue to be rich and widespread, we have to hand it to the Huawei P40 Pro. This serves as a better way to future-proof your purchase while we wait for Apple to join the club.

Winner: Huawei P40 Pro

Price and availability

The P40 Pro and iPhone Pro Max both enter the space above the four-figure mark. That’s enough to make anyone think twice, though there isn’t significant price disparity between the two. What is starkly different, particularly for the retail experience included buyer, is the availability of the devices. Like the rest of Huawei’s flagship lineup, you can find an unlocked version of the phone in the U.S on Amazon. From there you can set it up on your carrier of choice. The iPhone 11 Pro Max on the other hand is readily available through any major carrier for online order or in-store pickup.

Overall winner: Huawei P40 Pro

Unless you are devoted to an Apple ecosystem complete with Apple Watch and Macbooks, we don’t see a compelling reason to chose the iPhone 11 Pro Max over Huawei’s latest powerhouse flagship phone. The Huawei P40 Pro offers one of the best smartphone cameras on the market, which has become an increasingly relevant consumer pain point as we capture more of our lives in the interest of posterity for our grandchildren, as well as you know, important stuff like TikTok.

The pretty-much-equal battery life, display, durability, and price point offer no real helping hands to the iPhone, while the color choices, and wicked fast smart charging of Huawei’s latest offering continue to tip the needle in the direction of the P40 Pro.

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