Huawei P10 Review: Flagship Quality, Budget Price

by Reads (2,690)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Service, Warranty & Support
      • 7
      • Ease of Use
      • 8
      • Design
      • 9
      • Performance
      • 9
      • Value
      • 9
      • Total Score:
      • 8.40
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Very impressive finish, design and performance
    • Display's visibility under direct sunlight
    • Above average quality of the selfie camera
  • Cons

     

    • Not enough details on night shots taken with the rear camera
    • Handset is not water-resistant
    • Colors on the display are too "cold" at default settings

     


After selling more than 10 million P9 handhelds over the past year and thus establishing a firm reputation, Huawei has a tough mission ahead with its P10 device – to deliver an even better user experience than its predecessor. Just like the year-old model, the Huawei P10 falls just short of delivering specifications which match those of contemporary flagship handsets. That said, this smartphone offers a near perfect blend of hardware and software mixed with trendy innovations (particularly those concerning the dual rear-facing camera) and a modern finish to provide almost the same feeling as a full-blooded flagship, which is all the more impressive given the affordable price.

The Huawei P10 comes with Android OS 7.0 and the recognizable Emotion UI 5.1, along with a 5.1-inch Full HD display, octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 960 chipset (which the Huawei Mate 9 has as well), 4 GB of RAM and either 32 GB or 64 GB of built-in memory storage, Leica Dual Camera 2.0, and a 3200 mAh battery. All those specs make this device seem like a compact version of the now aging flagship Mate 9 on paper, but this is also not far from the truth in practice.

Huawei P10

Huawei P10 Build & Design

Huawei has maintained the basic design of several previous iterations of the device, but Huawei also managed to improve the finish, making the P10 seem exceptionally robust, modern, and even impressive when it’s in your hands. The phone comes in an unexpected variety of colors, including the more traditional blue and gold. The sanded/brushed metal body almost looks like a vinyl record and guarantees a fingerprint-proof finish. One of this series’ most recognizable design elements is the glass strip at the top of the back side of the phone, which includes the camera lenses and the Leica logo. The significantly rounded edges are a novelty that help provide pleasant ergonomics. It’s a shame that the device is not dust and water resistant, especially since the battery cannot be replaced.

When it comes to dimensions, the device is rather compact, the handset is just 7 mm thick (0.28 in), 145 mm tall and 69 mm wide (5.72 x 2.73 in). It weighs 145 grams (5.11 oz) and feels somewhat dense when held in hand. We might go as far as to say the Huawei P10 is a bit too heavy, but this is perfectly expected, given the amount of metal and glass.

The front side of the Huawei P10 looks entirely different compared to the Huawei P9 as the physical Home key is now situated below the display with a surprisingly responsive fingerprint reader and the gesture sensor. This means that holding down the Home key activates the Home function, holding it for a short time activates the Back function, while swiping the finger sideways activates the Tasks function. This way user interface space is saved on a relatively small screen, but you can turn on all three of the usual on-screen control keys along the bottom of the display if you prefer. The front side of the handset also includes speakers for making phone calls, the front-facing camera and several sensors located above the screen.

The sides are equipped in the usual way; the right side holds the Power key and the volume rocker, while the left holds a slot for two nano-SIM cards – a microSD card can be inserted instead of one nano-SIM card. While the upper side includes only the secondary microphone, the bottom holds the primary microphone, USB Type-C connector, a 3.5-mm audio jack and the speaker perforations. The phone comes with a transparent silicone phone cover, which is very thin and whose benefit is rather questionable.

Huawei P10 Display

The 5.1-inch IPS-NEO LCD display on the Huawei P10 is 0.1 inches smaller than on the P9, but it includes the same Full HD resolution (1080p), which results in a somewhat greater pixel density of 432 ppi. This is enough for the phone to produce images with sharp detail and you won’t be able to spot individual pixels with the naked eye in any situation. Although black tones are not as deep as they could be, the device provides excellent viewing angles and is usable under direct sunlight. Overall, the Huawei P10 delivers a viewing experience on par with the iPhone 7 and arguably better than the HTC 10.

When it comes to color, the screen on the Huawei P10 favors colder tones, which, with the previously mentioned lack of deep blacks, makes some images appear less “warm” than they should. A solution for this is to change the theme and wallpaper to those which mostly contain bright and warm colors, but the Warm Colors option needs to be turned on via the Settings. This results in more effective, although not overly saturated images.

Huawei P10 Performance

HiSilicon Kirin 960 is an octa-core chipset manufactured by Huawei itself. It was previously seen on Mate 9 and it comes with four Cortex-A73 cores running at 2.4 GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.8 GHz. It comes with 4 GB of RAM in both the 32 GB or 64 GB memory storage model. The Mali-G71 MP8 chip is responsible for the graphics, a hardware platform which provides flagship-quality performance – in reality as well as according to synthetic benchmarks. The graphics easily handles dynamic games on this phone and game play is always fast and smooth.

Still, when more demanding processes are run which last longer, the testing showed that the processor automatically reduces its performance by 30 percent in order to avoid overheating. Similar methods have previously been seen on other phones and often do not contribute to a noticeable difference in the way the handset acts, but there is a chance that in time – as newer applications become more demanding – the phone might become more ‘congested’ sooner than you expect. This phone’s SoC supports LTE-Advanced Cat.12 connection, which means that it theory it offers download with the maximum speed of 600 Mbps and upload with 150 Mbps.

Huawei P10 Battery Life

The 3200 mAh battery is one of the Huawei P10’s biggest assets, given that it provides above average longevity. Such a great battery in such a compact body is perhaps the reason why the manufacturer wanted to prevent overheating, which was probably not a bad call. Users can rest assured that the handset will keep running until the late hours, even with above average use, and it might also last until the next day. It is possible to watch more than 9 hours of Full HD videos without the need to recharge the device.

Huawei also includes a special USB cable with the phone, which combines with the included charger to support the Super Charge recharging technology … essentially a low-voltage fast charge. Using the cable and charger is not necessary, of course, but it includes charging power of 22.5 W, which has only been outdone by Oppo with 25 W. In practice, this means the battery can achieve up to 55 percent of its charge capacity in just 30 minutes.

Huawei P10 Camera

Apart from the finish, Huawei mostly perfected its cameras in order to advance its last year’s model, given that the co-branding venture with Leica was one of the significant success factors of the P9 model. The new P10 comes with a Leica Dual Camera 2.0 in the back of the phone, which is in fact the same dual camera in the Huawei Mate 9. It is a better camera than the one featured on P9, but despite using the prominent name of the photography gear market, this is not the absolute best quality camera when it comes to smartphones, nor is it the best quality camera Huawei has included in its devices. The Huawei P10 Plus, envisioned as a type of super flagship class phone, comes with Leica Dual Camera 2.0 Pro, which offers far better results in darker conditions, given that it has f/1.8, not f/2.2 like the Huawei P10.

Technically, the rear-facing camera on the Huawei P10 consists of a 20-mega pixel monochromatic sensor and a 12-mega pixel RGB sensor. Both have focal length of 27 mm, expressed in equivalent units for film and optical stabilization, and Huawei has found a way to take hybrid photos, despite differing resolutions. In other words, the monochromatic sensor supplements the RGB sensor with additional information on lighting. The bokeh effect is supported, but not with live-preview. Interestingly enough, the selfie-camera has now also been co-branded with Leica; it also offers the bokeh effect, but it supports live-preview, despite the fact that it comes with just one sensor. What is even more interesting is that this sensor is better at capturing light than the rear-facing dual camera due to f/1.9, meaning that selfies, especially taken at night, are usually better than images taken with the back-facing camera, particularly if the Beautifier option is turned on.

Images taken with the rear camera usually lack dynamic range – when taken in color. Photographs taken during the day turn out great, with plenty of details, have realistic exposure and saturation, but as the lighting conditions turn bad, the images become underexposed and under saturated. They lack brightness and details at nighttime. Still, even in poor lighting conditions, a significant step forward is evident even with the naked eye compared to the P9 model, but not the same quality level provided by Samsung, Apple or other flagship models, including the previously mentioned Huawei P10 Plus.

Huawei P10 Final Thoughts

More and more Huawei P series components are on par with top-of-the-line models and we feel comfortable saying the Huawei P10 offers a flagship experience, unlike last year’s P9, which provided a “near-flagship” experience. The biggest praise goes to the impressive finish of the metal-glass handset, as well as above average battery life. The included chipset likewise impresses with record results at times, but potential buyers should keep in mind that as the temperature of the device rises, its performance is automatically reduced. On screen image quality has also been improved; although there is still room for improvement in the area of color saturation. That being said, Huawei itself has technically superior solutions for the screen and the camera in the Huawei P10 Plus.

Overall, the Huawei P10 is a perfectly decent improvement over the P9 because it offers everything the bigger and mightier Huawei Mate 9 offers in a similar form factor.

Pros:

  • Very impressive finish, design and performance
  • Display’s visibility under direct sunlight
  • Above average quality of the selfie camera

Cons:

  • Not enough details on night shots taken with the rear camera
  • Handset is not water-resistant
  • Colors on the display are too “cold” at default settings



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