This is the third Huawei phone that I’m reviewing in the last three months. And all of them have been high-end devices. Is Huawei making a lot of high-end phones? That’s a discussion that I’ve weighed on in this article, but for now, let’s have a look at the P10 launched at Mobile World Congress last week. Huawei also introduced the P10 Plus which is a larger version of the P10 with a bigger and higher resolution screen and battery, as well as a better camera. But we'll test that at a later stage. For now, let’s put the P10 under the microscope
The Huawei P10 is a very nice looking phone with a diamond cut finish on some of the models. Instead of the curved back Huawei had used for the Mate 9 series, the P10 has a flat back which makes the phone similar in appearance to the iPhone- especially the Graphite Black model that I've been playing with. Huawei does well to hide the antenna lines on the top and bottom edges and the glass top on top of the phone which houses the dual camera setup adds a classy touch.
Huawei has worked with PANTONE and released the P10 in a variety of colors: Mystic Silver, Rose Gold, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Dazzling Blue and Greener. Measuring 145.3 x 69.3, the P10 sits really well in your hands and is operable with one hand. It’s also impressively thin at 7mm and weighs a paltry 145g. On the right, Huawei has the volume rocker while below it is the power button with a red outline that, although subtle, adds to the look and style of the phone. At the bottom, you can spot the 3.5mm jack and a USB Type C connector along with the speaker.
On the front, you can see the 5.1-inch full HD IPS panel that is as impressive as the one on Mate 9. Brightness levels are high enough to be used in direct sunlight. On top of the screen sits the new Selfie camera (more on that later) while below the screen is the fingerprint sensor. Strangely Huawei does not equip the bottom bezel with capacitive buttons for back or app switching. You can either chose to use the fingerprint sensor as a hybrid button like we saw on the Mate 9 Pro or you can use onscreen screen for a more traditional Android experience. Considering the smaller 5.1-inch size of the screen, it’s a shame that Huawei didn’t build capacitive buttons on the bottom bezel as onscreen buttons to take up screen estate.
Features & Performance
In terms of specs and features, the Huawei P10 is almost identical to the Huawei Mate 9. It has the same fast quad core Kirin 960 processor and is equipped with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage space. The P10 is available in single and dual SIM models with a hybrid tray that can either be used for a second SIM card or a MicroSD card if you prefer more storage.
Where Huawei has tweaked the P10 is through software. The new handsets introduce the latest version of EMUI 5.1 with some changes under the hood to make your phone faster. First new feature is Ultra Memory, an algorithm that learns which apps you use most and speeds them up by keeping them in the RAM. Next is Ultra Response, a new driver that lowers touch latency and adds predictive finger tracking for a faster response, that, according to Huawei, makes their screens as fast and accurate as the iPhone. While these tweaks probably make sense in lab tests, the Kirin 960 processor is pretty fast and I couldn’t really tell much of a difference between the P10 and the Mate 9 Pro which has identical hardware but EMUI 5.0.
More noticeable are updates to the Gallery app with a Highlights feature that indexes your photos and sorts them by contacts and locations, and can generate videos from them. You also get quite a few new themes that match your phone's color. One more thing I discovered is swiping down on the home screen brings up a search box that you can use for searching across your contacts and calendar. These new features in EMUI 5.1 are launching with the P10 and P10 Plus, they should be available on older Huawei phones after some time.
The Huawei P10 comes with the same fantastic camera found on the Huawei Mate 9 series which is a dual LEICA setup with a 12MP color sensor and a 20MP monochrome sensor. Both the cameras have OIS and shoot at f/2.2 aperture. On the software side, there is a new portrait mode that blurs backgrounds and applies beautification effects. The portrait mode is available for the front camera as well as the back camera. Speaking of the front camera, the P10 comes with a new 8MP f/1.9 camera that is now part of the Leica 2.0. Here are some sample shots from the Huawei P10.
As you can see, the P10 is capable of taking some incredibly good shots. The trick is to keep shooting many photos because you're not always going to get the best picture. But click a few of them and you'll end up with some gems.
Wrapping things up, the Huawei P10 comes with a 3,200mAh battery which is reasonably big for a phone of this size. This makes the P10 easily last a full day- although with heavy usage, you might end up with battery levels close to low single digits by the end of the day. Huawei continues to support it’s super charging technology on the P10 which will allow you to quickly charge the phone in a few minutes so, under normal conditions, you’ll be hard pressed to find yourself running out of charge.
The Huawei P10 could easily be described as a Mate 9 mini with a refreshed design. The Mate 9 was a fantastic phone and bringing it down to a size that’s usable with one-handed will surely attract the crowd that shies away from phablets. I do wish that the P10 was equipped with the new camera that Huawei has put on the P10 Plus.
The P10 and the P10 Plus are expected to be released in the Middle East towards the end of March. We’ll keep you updated as Huawei announces the official pricing and availability on both these handsets.