£TBC (€649) • huawei.com/uk
Huawei took to the stage at MWC 2017 to show off its’ 2017 flagship, the P10. It has a focus on portrait photography and design, but does it perform as well as Huawei claims?
Despite announcing a €649 price tag during the event, we’re not sure about a specific UK price or release date on the upcoming P10 just yet.
Huawei has a reputation for offering high-end design and materials in its smartphones, and the Huawei P10 is no different. Featuring a refined
design reminiscent of the Huawei P9, there are subtle changes to the design of the smartphone that make it stand out from the crowd, following an ‘organic minimalism’ design philosophy. Everything’s a little bit ‘neater’ on the P10, and the curved but slightly elongated edges of the smartphone give it a distinctive look, while also being comfortable to hold in the hand (vital for a 5.1in/5.5in smartphone) and less slippery to hold.
The most obvious change, compared to the Huawei P9? The staggering number of colour options available. Huawei wanted to offer consumers more than just the standard black, silver or gold colour options, and offers the Huawei P10 in colours including dazzling blue and greenery.
In fact, the P10 comes in eight different colours: graphite black, dazzling blue, dazzling gold, rose gold, greenery, white ceramic, mystic silver and prestige gold, although not all colours will be headed to the UK. Huawei worked alongside Pantone to produce the vibrant and eye-catching dazzling blue and greenery colour options, which are noticeable even in low-light conditions – you just can’t miss that colourful shimmer.
It’s not just the colours that are new, as Huawei has also introduced a new finish: the hyperdiamond cut, available on the dazzling blue and dazzling gold colour options. It’s different to the standard sandblasted finish, creating tiny ridges along the length of the rear of the P10. It’s a unique look when compared to other 2017 flagships so far, and provides an interesting (in a good way) texture to run your fingers across when holding the phone. Huawei also claims that the finish should reduce
the smudges and fingerprints that appear on the rear of the device, but we’re unable to confirm this until we use it for extended periods.
Huawei has also moved the fingerprint scanner from the rear of the device to the front, and in doing so removed the ability to easily take selfies without needing to awkwardly tap the screen – but we’ll come to that in more detail below, as there’s reasoning behind the move. Huawei claims that the fingerprint scanner is beneath the glass, and while it’s technically true as there’s no split lines between the scanner and the glass, there’s still a dent on the front of the device for users to place their fingers and isn’t like what upcoming smartphones like the iPhone 8 are rumoured to feature.
Huawei put a huge focus on the design and software capabilities of the Huawei P10 during its MWC 2017 announcement, but there’s a good reason behind that: the internals of the smartphone are almost identical to that of the Huawei Mate 9, which was released back in November 2016.
Just like the Huawei Mate 9, the Huawei P10 features the latest Kirin 960 2.4GHz octa-core processor coupled with a Mali G71 GPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. Those looking for a little more oomph can opt for the P10 Plus, which features 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Of course, as with all Huawei devices, the P10 also features a microSD card slot that’ll allow you to expand the storage by up to 256GB.
That’s not a bad thing though, as in our Huawei Mate 9 review we described the processing power
of the smartphone as stunning, and it’s a similar story with the P10: it’s blisteringly fast, with not even the slightest sign of lag at any point during our time with the smartphone. That’s due in part to the hardware, but also the software, as Huawei offers additional machine learning algorithms when compared to the Mate 9 to make it perform even better. Despite the high-end internals, Huawei has confirmed that the P10 isn’t DayDream compatible, although it wouldn’t go into detail about the reason.
In terms of the display, the Huawei P10 packs a Full HD 5.1in IPS display with a resolution of 1920x1080, compared to the 5.5in WQHD IPS display with a resolution of 2560x1440. However, due to slim bezels and smart design from Huawei, the phone isn’t overly bulky and is relatively easy to use one-handed. As with most Huawei displays, it’s bright, colourful and crisp, although a little heavy on the contrast for our personal taste.
Of course, apart from design, the biggest draw of the Huawei P10 is the cameras. Huawei has made a few changes that it claims will make the rear-facing dual-lens setup perform better than ever, and there’s a few notable changes to the selfie camera, too.
Let’s start with the rear-facing camera. It’s a similar setup to that of the Huawei Mate 9, featuring one 12Mp colour sensor and one 20Mp black and white sensor, which should help it to capture more light and perform better in dark environments. The lenses have also been improved when compared to the Huawei P9, which should help to capture clearer images, although the real improvements are to the P10 Plus. The larger variant features “dual camera 2.0,” according to Huawei, with Leica Sumulux H lenses and f1.8 aperture for better low-light photography, compared to f2.2 on the standard P10.
Alongside the improved camera, Huawei introduces Portrait mode with the Huawei P10. As the name suggests, the mode is designed for use when taking photos of people. Huawei claims that it features advanced facial recognition, thanks to the dual-lens setup, and that the phone can identify and track 190 different facial points in a 3D space for snaps that are always in shot. It doesn’t stop there either, as it tracks your face, offers automatic portrait enhancements (varying levels from 0-10, much like the Beauty mode on some Androids), and even tweaks the lighting for the best possible outcome. It should highlight the contours and facial features, while fading the background with the bokeh effect.
That sounds amazing, right? While in theory it could spell the end of bad selfies, we weren’t blown
away with the new photo mode during our time with the phone. In fact, at one point the phone focused on the wall behind us, rather than our faces, blurring out everything else in the shot apart from a pattern on the wallpaper. In Huawei’s defence, the room wasn’t lit very well so it might have struggled to recognise our faces, so we’ll be testing this out in more depth once we get a sample back to Android
Advisor. General photography was decent, though, but again, the lighting conditions were not ideal so we’d rather withhold our judgement for now.
As mentioned, the front-facing camera has also had an upgrade: it’s not Leica-branded, just like the rear-facing cameras, although not a dual-lens setup like rumours suggested. Nor is there any kind of iris scanning technology, sorry guys. What it does have is a new sensor that Huawei claims lets in double the amount of brightness compared to older Huawei phones, and features a wider dynamic range. That’s
not all though, as it’s smart enough to identify whether you’re taking a selfie or a group photo, and will adjust the angle accordingly (wide-angle for group, standard for selfie).
Let’s talk a little bit about the software on the upcoming Huawei P10. Like many other 2017 flagships, the P10 is due to ship with Android: 7.0 Nougat. However, it’s not a vanilla implementation as Huawei is also throwing in EMUI 5.1, the latest version of the firm’s Emotion UI. It brings with it many of the improvements offered with EMUI 5.1, like machine learning for better performance and an overhauled design, along with a few new features too.
Let’s talk about One Button Control, as it was briefly mentioned when talking about the fingerprint scanner of the smartphone. While Huawei used to use the rear-facing fingerprint scanner of the likes of the Huawei P9 and Mate S to activate the camera shutter, and provide access to the notification shade with a single swipe, these options are now gone (much to our disappointment). Now the scanner lives on the front of the device, it offers standard Home button capabilities, and then some.
Rather than just using it to return to the home screen, the scanner has all three function buttons that Android users need within a single button. To go back a step, tap it. If you want to go home, tap and hold it. If you want to access the multitasking menu, simply swipe from left to right. It’s that simple, and works really well, but does take a little bit of getting used to – we still found ourselves
reaching for the non-existent buttons during our limited time with the phone.
Huawei also offers integration with Quik, the GoPro owned app that takes photos and videos and automatically edits them, on the P10. Just head into the Gallery app and you’ll find options to select media from an event or day, then Quik analyses everything and edits it together in a short, punchy video ready for sharing on social media.
It’s too early to give a verdict on the Huawei P10 – we’ll get it back to Android Advisor labs, put it through its paces and provide a full review in a future issue. Lewis Painter
• 5.1in (1920x1080, 432ppi) display • Android 7.0 Nougat • HiSilicon Kirin 960 CPU • Mali-G71 MP8 GPU • 4GB RAM • 32/64GB storage (region dependent) • 20- and 12Mp dual-rear cameras • 8Mp front camera • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.2 • 4G LTE • Nano-SIM (Dual-SIM in some regions) • GPS • NFC • 3200mAh non-removable battery • 145.3x69.3x7mm • 145g