The Chinese Huawei is the first smartphone brand in homeland. But it is very popular abroad as well. There are too many reasons why this company has managed to become a top brand in the smartphone industry, but we are not going to discuss them today. We have more important things to do. Say, we can take a closer look at the latest incredible addition to the P family. Meet the Huawei P10.
It’s become a tradition to see Huawei at MWC every year. 2017 wasn’t an exception. The company came in with two great devices dubbed as the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus. Though many haters call it a cheap clone of the iPhone 7, those who are good at this sort of things know Huawei always comes with innovative ideas / products, and it’s not the case they talk about. Moreover, even many influencers accepted Huawei P10’s ‘Leica-style’ portraits beat the iPhone 7 Plus. Undoubtedly, it’s all about photography, but the Huawei P10 also looks very attractive. So it has all chances to beat the iPhone 7 in terms of design as well.
This high-end smartphone is the company’s current flagship, meaning it is good in all terms. But not all features are as attractive as its appearance and camera. So to stop all kinds of tittle-tattles towards this outstanding smartphone, we decided to come in with a Huawei P10 review.
Everyone knows appearance is the highlight of P series handsets. The previous-gen Huawei P9 came featured a great look, but the P10 is thought to be gone further. Especially, this statement refers to the corners – now they are more rounded that make the phone great for single-hand operations.
The phone is completely made of metal and glass. That’s why many think the Huawei P10 designers have inspired of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 5. But this is a just assumption, because the Huawei 10 actually looks eye-catching, and it’s undisputable its designers have worked much. Anyway, when holding the phone in hand you have almost the same feeling of the Huawei P9. I mean this device is well-constructed showcasing the Chinese manufacturer fights again the LG G6, Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 fairly.
The next key feature of the Huawei P10 is the 5.1-inch display at a Full HD resolution and 432ppi pixel density. Its’ also protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. This is a gold-size smartphone, but if you prefer larger displays there is also the Huawei P10 Plus with identical specs and a 5.5-inch display.
Right below the screen we can find the ellipse-shaped Home key, which is not pressable but touchable. As you remember, there were three-four Android navigation keys under the screen in the recent past. Some manufacturers replaced those hardware buttons with software buttons. But as they are not compatible with Huawei P10’s software innovations, you won’t find of them on this handset. Moreover, the manufacturer has moved the rear-mounted fingerprint, and now it’s placed under the front glass. Well, if you wonder how the Home key works, a single touch is equivalent to going back; touch and hold is same as home key; and a swipe will bring up recent tasks.
Many smartphone users don’t like this technology, but it is becoming more and more popular. Say, the same HTC 10 acts in the same way. I am not talking about Meizu, which has granted the mBack patent recently. So what about Huawei? At last, there’s even an option to navigate with a floating dock onscreen. It gives you a total of three different methods for getting around your phone’s interface. So, if you don’t like Home key like this, that’s not a problem.
The back is the most attractive part of this handset, because here are located two Leica-enabled sensors paired with dual-LED flash lights. Other than that, last year’s P9 flagship came with a housing passed two kinds of processing methods – metal drawing and sandblasting. As a result, we got a phone with better body texture. This year Huawei uses diamond carving as well as two aforementioned processes.
The Huawei P10 design can’t be called defined as minimalist. Look at the ports and holes, and you’ll agree with me.
The speaker, microUSB port, microphone hole and 3.5mm audio jack are located on the bottom.
The Power button accompanied with the volume rocker is placed on the right hand side.
The SIM card slot is on the left, and the top side is blank.
Now let’s talk about one of the selling points of the Huawei P10. The latter comes in 8 color options including Dazzling Blue, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Rose Gold, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver, Prestige Gold, and a special shout out to the new green color, entitled Greenery. As you expect, some color options will be available only in certain regions and markets. However, the Dazzling and Greenery colors offer what Huawei is referring to as a hyper-diamond cut finish. Thus they will look more tactile, more fingerprint resistant and anti-scratch. The rest colors will feature more traditional metal finish.
Hardware and System
Being a flagship the Huawei P10 just should come with good features. Thanks to its own made chips the company doesn’t wait for suppliers to launch its phones. And though there is a long way the Kirin should pass it is able to make a competition to Qualcomm and MediaTek. The phone is packed with a HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core processor clocked at up to 2.4GHz. There is an i6 built-in processor and CPU energy efficiency increased by 18%. It’s paired with a Mali-G71 MP8 graphics card as well as 4GB of RAM and 64GB / 128GB of storage options.
The Kirin 960 chip comes with a Super Charge 3.0 technology, which makes the Huawei P10 charge 50% faster than the P9 and 400% faster than the iPhone 7 Plus. It takes only 30 minutes to charge the 3200mAh capacity battery up to 57%. But when charged fully the Huawei P10 can provide up to 15 hours of high-res video playing, 15 hours of web surfing at LTE, 24 hours of talk time in 3G, and 84 hours of music playing.
As for connectivity, there is a USB Type-C as well as LTE-modem Cat.12 supporting MIMO 4×4, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac MIMO 2×2, NFC, and Bluetooth 4.2.
This configuration seems quite modest. Get me right, it’s a good specs list, but it can’t make us wow. So let’s pay more attention at its software. The phone comes with Android 7.0 (not 7.1) Nougat, running the latest EMUI 5.1 overlay. Thus all the good things you want this phone to come with are there. Yes, I am talking about the Knuckle Sense and everything like it.
As for EMUI, it still provides a business style icons set with rounded and flat design. One of the main improvements of v5.1 refers to the built-in HUAWEI Ultra Memory technology, which can effectively improve the speed and response time of the phone, fundamentally change the use of memory, and effectively improve the application startup speed by 30% and so on.
Another interesting addition is predictive fingerprint tracking. It suggests to the phone where your fingers will likely end up next, and automatically predicts your moves for faster and smoother experience.
Last year Huawei and Leica extended their cooperation setting up a new research and development laboratory. A few months later the Chinese smartphone maker came in with the first device sporting Leica optics. Thanks to dual camera modules and Leica calibration imaging technology the Huawei P9 was praised a lot. As for the Huawei P10, this model comes with two sensors – a 20MP monochrome one and a 12MP RGB version. It comes at aperture of f/2.2.
However, dual-camera modules on different phones work differently. Say for the iPhone, it uses the dual camera to zoom, while the LG G5 uses it to do both wide-angle and regular shots. As for the Huawei P10, you can use the monochrome camera to capture BW photos. But this is not the purpose the 20MP sensor has been put there – it supposedly helps the phone focus in low light and improves the clarity and detail of the shots. Plus, it also lets you zoom like the iPhone.
Let’s focus on this feature, because the P10 actually handles it better than the iPhone. The latter offers only a choice of 1x or 2x optical zoom, while on the P10 you can zoom at every point between 1x and 2x. You only have to pinch the screen or move a little slider up and down. Thanks to these easy operations you get a total control over focal length within that range.
Huawei has also improved the low-light photography. Now it snaps on to a target quickly even in the traditionally poor lighting helped no doubt also by the laser and PDA. OIS is also there to help its owners take great photos even when moving.
When capturing in Auto mode, its monochrome sensor prioritizes contrast and other photographic information rather than color. Huawei’s ‘enhanced fusion algorithms’ takes this into account and produces sharper and more vivid photos. Shortly, this is the main advantage of dual cameras.
On the other hand, the Huawei P10 performs better when using the Pro mod. It can be activated through a tab in Huawei’s camera app and gives you access to ISO, shutter speed and other useful settings. Say, you can keep the shutter speed low (1/60, for instance) and give more importance to other settings.
Other than that the Huawei P10 offers a new 3D face tracking system like the iPhone 7 Plus when it brings foreground subjects into focus and ‘ignores’ the background to create a bokeh effect. The smartphone recognizes a face via more than 100 identification points to determine the location of all facial elements. Then it removes skin defects and imperfection of makeup, gets rid of overexposed areas and comes in with the bokeh effect.
Important: The much-popular GoPro has never launched its intelligent video editor, Quik, for Android. But the Huawei P10 and its sibling are the first to come with this feature. It allows users to automatically whip up a video based on their photos and videos, complete with backing music. We can say that’s the professional variant of the well-known HTC’s Zoe.
Huawei P10 Camera Sample Photos
iPhone 7 Plus vs Huawei P10
2x zoom test
Bokeh effect (iPhone 7 Plus vs Huawei P10)
The front cameras are also now Leica branded with an 8MP sensor size and f/1.9 aperture. This is the first attempt of a manufacturer to pack a smartphone with a front Leica sensors. It is covered with Nano Anti-Reflection Optics (Nano-ARO) that allows the phone to reduce the amount of glare almost to zero via the spectrum of visible light waves. As a result, the photo becomes more clear and brighter.
- Great Design with a number of color options
- Dual Leica camera on back
- Leica optics on front
- Smooth working and optimized EMUI5.1 with a list of improvements and innovations
- Fast charging option
- Great Connectivity including LTE and more
- Full HD screen (we’d prefer to see a 2K display)
- Kirin 960 chip (good but not the best)
The first Lecia-enabled smartphone of Huawei in face of the P9 let the company sell million units in 2016. Its successor is predicted to come with better results, as the Huawei P10 is most successful product by far. The P10 is a high-end smartphone ready to beat all top brands and their flagships such as the iPhone 7 / 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S7 and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8, newly announced LG G6 and more. These are not just words. Though the selling points of this handset are considered to be the colorful design and front camera with Leica optics, there is a number of other great options you should take into account too.