The pricing will come as a shock to those who feel compelled to stick to the more dominant brands. It is likely to retail at around R12,500, half the price of the top-of-the-range iPhones that have substantially less advanced functionality. The V30+ retailed at around R14,500. The new phone is expected to cost around R599 on contract, compared to R679 for the V30+. Vodacom will be bundling it with a second handset, the LG K9, valued at R2700, on its Flexi 60 package.
In short, it’s a ridiculously good phone for its price. In this sense, it is reminiscent of the Huawei Ascend P6, the 2013 handset that broke Huawei into the high-end market with a device that cost half that of equivalent flagships from big brands.
The big question is how this phone differs from the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro, both of which introduced triple rear cameras at competitive price points last year.
The fundamental difference, it turns out, is not in the hardware, but in the software that manages the lenses. Triple view and triple shot, which takes the three pictures at the same time, are the obvious stand-out. But then there is the Penta shot, which stands for five shots. It applies all three rear lenses, and simultaneously captures the user or group in front of the handset, through the two selfie cameras. It then stitches together the five images and creates a GIF file.
The ability to combine front and rear images was first introduced by Nokia barely two years ago, yet that seems a generation ago in smartphone years. Expect the Penta effect to spread to other brands, and possibly become a new Instagram trend in the coming years.
Artificial intelligence (AI) comes into its own on this device at a level that has not been experienced on smartphones before. An AI Shutter automatically selects the best shutter speed to capture pictures at optimal quality, while an Auto AI Balance captures the temperature of colours and automatically adjusts settings to have clear photos without over- or under-exposure.
Read on to find out about new camera modes on the V40.