Honor usually pulls from Huawei’s existing phone catalogue and then twists and tweaks those devices until they’re left with a handset that makes small compromises that result in an impressive cost reduction, while still delivering where it counts.
Huawei has confirmed that it’s selling Honor off, and with the V40 delayed from its usual November/December launch window it’s likely that this was to give Honor extra time to re-tool the phone away from Huawei’s Kirin chipsets.
When does the Honor V40 launch?
Arriving a little later than 2019’s V30 line (which landed on 26 November), rumours from Weibo initially cited a mid-December 2020 launch for the Honor V40 series, but it was later reported that the launch had been delayed to January 2021.
The latest Weibo leak hints at a 12 January launch event in China for the phone, but until it’s officially announced we won’t know for sure.
On the other hand, CEO George Zhao is planning a fan meetup event on 13 January, which some believe will double as the V40 launch event. In turn this event is rumoured to now be delayed until 18 January, sowing yet more confusion.
The long and short of it is: we don’t know exactly when the V40 will be announced, but it will almost certainly be within the next week or two.
How much will the Honor V40 cost?
The Honor V30 came in at CNY¥3299 at launch, with the V30 Pro costing ¥3899; equivalent to £380/€420/US$490 and £450/€500/$580, respectively.
Looking at the regional launch pricing for the recently-released Huawei Mate 40 Pro, compared to its predecessor (the Mate 30 Pro), the company increased the starting price for this high-end handset by 12%.
As a rough guide and assuming that the there’s an equivalent technical leap forward from Honor’s V30 series to the V40 series, pricing would work out to ¥3699 for the Honor V40 and ¥4399 (adjusting for Honor’s proclivity towards ending all its Chinese prices in “99”) for the V40 Pro.
With word of an additional V40 Pro+ model and using the 38% price increase from the base Huawei Mate 40 Pro to the Mate 40 Pro+ as a framework, equivalent pricing for the Honor V40 Pro+ would be expected to come in at ¥6099 (roughly £700/€780/$910).
What will the V40 design be?
Honor hasn’t revealed official imagery of any of the V40 phones yet, but one leaked render reveals a device that’s unsurprisingly similar to the Huawei Mate 40 in design – though we don’t know which of the V40 models this is supposed to be.
The circular rear camera module – supposedly inspired by mechanical watches – is similar to Huawei’s recent flagship designs. You can also spot a curved front display with a dual selfie camera cutout.
What about the Honor V40 features?
The V40 series is expected to include three devices (up from two models in last year’s V30 line): the Honor V40, Honor V40 Pro and Honor V40 Pro+.
Aside from providing a potential launch window for the V40 series, Dragon Two Pro – established Chinese tech blogger – serves up the most complete spec sheet for what these phones might bring to the table.
They cite a 120Hz high-refresh-rate Full HD+ display with a dual hole-punch front-facing camera setup, a 50Mp RYYB-pixel-arranged primary camera and impressive 66W wired charging, alongside fast 40W wireless charging. All models will supposedly employ a 32Mp front-facing camera, with only the Pro+ sporting a secondary ToF sensor.
That 40W wireless charging spec might actually be a modest prediction – a V40 device has gone through TUV Rheinland certification with 50W wireless charging capabilities, while a leaked charger schematic hints at max 45W speeds. Either way, that means there’ll be impressively fast wireless charging.
The source never mentions which device these specs pertain to, but makes the distinction that one device will come powered by Huawei’s latest 5nm Kirin 9000 chipset, while another will use MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000+ SoC.
That prediction has, however, since been thrown into doubt by another Chinese tipster, Digital Chat Station, who claims that the V40 series will not feature the Kirin 9000. It was initially unclear if this was a simple result of stock shortages within Huawei, or the first impact of the sale of Honor, however, DCS posted to Weibo separately, stating that the Kirin SKUs have been cut, leaving only the MediaTek-powered models.
This leak also provided a codename for the V40 series in “YORK” with the model number YOK-AN10 attached to one of the expected devices.
Previous leaks (via MyFixGuide) suggested that only the V40 Pro+ will benefit from that 120Hz refresh rate, while the other two models will drop to more modest 90Hz displays.
This is backed up by a benchmark leak for one model, NWE-AN10. The scores, from benchmarking app GameBench, cap consistently at 90fps, suggesting they’re from a device with a 90Hz display. The phone is equipped with a Mali-G77 MC9 GPU, which forms part of the MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ chipset, adding credence to rumours that this SoC will power every V40 phone.
The Kirin 9000 chip was originally expected to be reserved for the Plus model while MediaTek’s Dimensity silicon would power the V40 and V40 Pro. With this latest development taking the Kirin off the table, there’s a chance that the Pro+ will either arrive later, come toting a Dimensity 1000+ instead or not launch at all, although it’s still too early to know how badly the V40 line’s release has been affected by this change.
Will the Honor V40 have Google Play Services?
The main reason that Huawei sold the Honor brand off was so that it could thrive again, freed of the restrictions imposed on Huawei by the US government. Perhaps the most onerous for the company’s smartphone business was the fact that the trade ban blocks the company from officially partnering with Google for software, meaning that while Huawei phones still run the open source Android, they can’t use Google Mobile Services (GMS), which in turn means they can’t access the Google Play Store to install apps.
With Honor now its own company, in theory future Honor phones will be able to run GMS, and so will have a full Android experience once again. Will this kick off in time for the V40 series though?
Unfortunately right now we don’t know. Honor hasn’t yet officially commented, which hopefully just means it’s saving the good news for the phone’s official launch. Either way, we’ll know more then.