Reviewed: The Huawei P10

At the Mobile World Congress (27 February to 2 March), the big and not so big manufacturers are delivering a head-to-head race around the world’s biggest trade fair novelty. In times when the mobile companions are always more like each other and real innovations become more difficult, it are subtleties that make the difference. So Huawei has taken an attack on the front camera with his new top model, the Huawei P10, – and on Apple …

The Huawei P10 is the latest flagship of the Chinese manufacturer and is mainly based on design and a strong Leica camera. In the detailed test, however, it also shows unnecessary weaknesses.

Design

Design has always been a mainstay of the P series and this has remained that way with the Huawei P10. Like its predecessor, the P10 consists of a unibody case, which has been milled from a piece of aluminum. Two other similarities: the case is still only 7 mm thin (6.98, to be quite accurate) and there is no annoying camera shake on the back. This makes it the thinnest flagship smartphone on the market.

Overall, the P10 has become more curvy. The radii of the edges are clearly firmer and rounder, which makes them slightly better in the hand. No question, the Huawei P10 is a handy phone that is great in the hand.

Although compared to the P9, the display has shrunk from 5.2 to 5.1 inches, the dimensions have remained almost identical in height. This is due to the increased horizontal display edges. The fingerprint sensor, which is now on the front, takes up a lot of space; The edge on the top is held symmetrically. In terms of display-to-size ratio, the P10 is a definite step backwards. While the competition goes with large steps on the “edgeless smartphone” , see the freshly presented LG G6 or the condensing rumors to the Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei seems to take a step back instead.

The P10 is a coloful Fashion-Statement

Apart from that, the Huawei P10 is a visually appealing device that appeals to fashion and design conscious buyers. For this reason, the P10 and P10 Plus will be available in eight (!) Different colors. Two surface treatments are available in Europe: Sandblasted aluminum or a so-called Hyper Diamond Cut.

Let’s start with the simple one. The sandblasted, matte aluminum is available in black, silver and exclusively for the P10 in gold. The P10 Plus receives another exclusive color – greenery. This was recently recognized by the recognized color institute Pantone as the color of the year 2017 and is indeed exceptional for the P10 Plus.

The second surface treatment is somewhat more complex. The so-called Hyper Diamond Cut creates a fine, glittering structure on the aluminum, which can really be seen. Do you know these shaky pictures that can be tilted back and forth to see a 3D image? This is how this surface feels. In any case, the P10 is thus a clear fashion statement, which in the colors Dazzling Blue and Dazzling Gold (only P10 Plus) surely requests for attention.

The black Huawei P10 tested by us is slightly less noticeable. The rounded sides with the curved and barely visible antenna strips remind strongly to another phone – the Apple iPhone 7. The feeling in the hand as well as the design are really similar here. Especially the matte housing has one disadvantage. Fingerprints do not remain on it , but sweat and skin fat, so that the back always looks smeared.

Build Quality on the highest level– well, almost

But this does not have to be bad – overall, the Huawei P10 is a very attractive phone. Stylish and distinctive is the camera window on the upper edge, which frames the two Leica lenses. The optics are protected by Gorilla Glass 5. Even better would be sapphire glass. Nice detail: The standby button is red-bordered on all P10 and is therefore not only due to the corrugated structure, but also by the optics.

The processing quality is, as meanwhile used by Huawei, at the highest level. The buttons have a pleasant, audible pressure point, the housing has no sharp edges. What is missing in 2017 is a water and dust protection. The competition has recognized and implemented the trend, offering maximum immersion depths of 1.5 meters to IP68. The Huawei P10 does not have this protection, the P10 Plus, after all, a splash-proof protection to IPX3.

Huawei, however, made one big mistake. While the pre-installed screen protector sits Gorilla Glass 5, this seems to have received an inferior surface coating. Fingerprints are not only magical, they can not get away with a simple wipe. The display smears so strongly, that one must rub properly with a cloth on it to get it clean. What’s wrong, Huawei? The P9 and Mate 9 did not have this problem.

Display

As mentioned earlier, the display of the Huawei P10 has become smaller compared to the P9. Instead of 5.2 inches we have it with a diagonal of 5.1 inches to do – a big difference therefore most will not notice. The resolution remains the same and offers with 1920 * 1080 pixels a very good sharpness. The colors and brightness are very good, as are the viewing angles of the IPS panel.

With the current firmware version  our test shows with the device a somewhat annoying bug. Thus, from the nothing the Knuckle-sense function is activated, with which one can usually frame with the ankle an area, which is then stored as an image. This will be fixed in the next software update.

Fingerprintsensor on the Front

Directly below the screen is the new fingerprint sensor, which has been placed completely under glass and thus does not move. It operates again faster than its predecessor and is thus undoubtedly the fastest and most reliable on the market.

In addition, it can also be used as a home button, but this is not set as standard. With the so-called Smart Touch feature, you can tap it to go back a step, press and hold to return to the Homescreen, or swipe to enter the multitasking view. If you activate SmartTouch, the on-screen buttons of Android are deactivated in the same train to save space on the screen.
This possibility for navigation is not necessarily new, so Huawei had introduced the same concept with the MediaPad M3. Some will also be known by Meizu smartphones. In everyday life you get used to this kind of service within a few days. The gestures are quickly applied and lead them out without looking. Much more disturbing is what is lost by the activation of SmartTouch.

With Android 7 Nougat it is possible to switch to the previously used app with a double tap on the multitasking button. This function is not necessary with SmartTouch. Likewise, my favorite feature of all previous Huawei smartphones is missing: With a wipe from top to bottom you could effortlessly display the notifications. This is no longer possible. If you have small hands, you will miss another function. With a horizontal wipe over the Android keys, the screen is usually scaled down in the EMUI interface, this feature is no longer supported with SmartTouch.

Above all, the first two disadvantages will certainly not please productive users. They were also the reason why I disabled this feature after a week.

Leica Dualcamera 2.0

Change the way you see the world – that was the slogan for the Huawei P9, which was presented last year with the first generation of the Leica dual camera. With the current second generation the focus is elsewhere – change the way the world sees you.

So how do you best show your best side? By Selfies? Yes. Portrait pictures? Also. On both, the focus was on the development of the new Leica dual camera.

First of all, the facts: The Huawei P10’s camera hardware is identical to that of the Huawei Mate 9. So we have an optically stabilized 12 megapixel color sensor with an f / 2.2 aperture as well as a 20 megapixel monochrome sensor. In contrast to the P9, the P10 shoots a black-and-white image with a higher contrast and more details. Subsequently, the color information from the color sensor is inserted into the image. The user does not notice this complicated procedure, which is based on the human eye. In the end, however, he gets a more contrasting picture with many details and beautiful colors.

In daily usage these can be really seen. Especially when using the built-in Leica filter (strong colors or smooth color), the colors are saturated even more, the contrasts increase and the photos get this warm, contrast-rich Leica look, which many photographers also appreciate. Without filters, the images become more natural, yet still look alive. The dynamics capture is very good. Perhaps a reason why there is still no automatic HDR mode. When the sky is cloudy, the camera is quite darker than you would have expected.

In the dark, the Leica dual camera is not quite as good and can not compete with last year’s flagship like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or a Google pixel. This is among other things due to the weaker f / 2.2 aperture, which does not let quite as much light as the competition. Photos are dark in the dark, but they look darker and muddy than in the other two flagships. The noise is clearly visible. The P10 Plus is better with an f / 1.8 aperture.

Huawei P10 Sampe Fotos:

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However, if you have a steady hand, the pro mode can lengthen the exposure time slightly, thus reducing sensor sensitivity and noise. This makes long-term exposure very good. The monochrome sensor is also very good for shooting in the dark because it captures more light. This makes photos even sharper and more impressive, especially in the dark.
Even if the camera can not keep up with the tough specifications of the competition, the software is all the more fun. The already mentioned Pro mode is only a finger wipe away, the monochrome mode conjures expressive, contrast rich images and the bokeh function allows games with the sharpening depth too. What’s new is that the bokeh mode now works in monochrome mode. All in all, this was significantly improved, so that the sharpness of the course looks more natural and the transitions finer dissolve. If one looks very closely, however, it often occurs that, especially at edges of complex objects, the bokeh is not calculated optically, but via an algorithm.

For video recording Huawei is still lagging behind. The image stabilization has a slight wackelpudding effect, which becomes visible with fine structures, the compression is somewhat too strong. Good is the sound, which can also be picked up in one direction. What is not possible: In FullHD mode with activated image stabilizer, the sound is asynchronous and runs through the image by approximately 7 frames.

Better portrait recording & Leica Selfie camera

How is it now with the more beautiful pictures of yourself? There is a portrait mode for this. This is similar to the bokeh mode, but is especially adapted to the needs of portrait photography. Through a 3D face detection, the camera knows exactly where the face is in the room, not only focuses on the subject, but also adjusts the photo through aperture, exposure and other factors. In addition, you can adjust the degree of embellishment on a slider, which ultimately is just a beauty filter that smoothes the skin and “beautifies” the face. Optionally you can make the background blur on and off. As the results with and without portrait mode, you can best judge yourself. I personally like the brightened eyes and the softer exposure of the face.

The Huawei P10 and the Huawei P10 Plus are the first smartphones to have a Leica Selfie camera. It now captures more light through the larger f / 1.8 aperture and the Leica lens, as does the portrait mode, dynamic adjustments of the photo. On the basis of the face recognition, the camera also decides how the picture is selected. If you are alone in the picture, a different section is selected than with a group, the camera “zooms” out. It is a pity that the P10 needs a fixed focus, while the P10 Plus has an autofocus on the frontcam. This is not so advanced.

Hardware at top level

The rest of the hardware is not completely unknown and is also found in the Huawei Mate 9. The Kirin 960 System on Chip is currently one of the fastest. It has eight cores, four Cortex A73 cores with a maximum of 2.4GHz and four Cortex A53 cores with a maximum of 1.8GHz. Graphically, there is support from the very capable Mali G71 GPU, which among other things also supports the Vulkan API and thus ensures absolutely liquid gaming. The Huawei P10 comes standard with 4GB memory and 64GB internal memory (of which just under 48GB are available).

In the Antutu benchmark, the P10 reaches a remarkable 150,000 points in the first pass, then quickly drops to 125,000 in the next runs and remains between 120,000 and 125,000 points. With the strong but not unpleasant heat development in the upper range of the smartphone, we assume a throttling of the GPU due to the heat, which is also reflected in the scores. Nothing unusual with this size, the larger Huawei Mate 9 handles the heat better and remains constant between 135,000 and 140,000 points. In the Geekbench the P10 reaches about 1900 in the single- and almost 6000 points in the multi-core score.

The reception at both LTE and WLAN is very good. The conversation quality is very clear and loud, one is also very well understood. Voice over LTE must be activated in the settings.

Software – EMUI 5.1 and Android 7

The software does not have any surprises, the P10 and P10 Plus are on the current EMUI 5.1, which is also – as with the Mate – based on Android 7.0 nougat.

The interesting thing is probably the philosophy that Huawei has been pursuing since the Mate 9 and which also finds use in the P10. Born fast, stay fast – is meant that the phone itself remains fast after a year in use. The manufacturer uses an artificial intelligence, which analyzes your behavior and optimizes the system in the background. In the Mate 9 it works well so far, delays are not detectable. Whether it will be so with the P10 only time will tell.

Battery – more is always better

In terms of battery, there is good news – this has grown! By placing the fingerprint sensor on the front, Huawei could install a larger battery. With 3200mAh with the P10 and 3750mAh with the P10 Plus, the two smartphones are thus very richly equipped. The manufacturer promises run times with the P10 of 1.87 days with “normal use” and 1.31 days with “heavy use”.

In the test, the P10 reached its limit after about four and a half to five and a half hours of active use throughout the day. A very good value. Both Facebook, Twitter and various messenger services were actively used, and the camera was actively used. With average use, one and a half to two days are very well possible.

The SuperCharge fast-charging technology will also find its way into the P-series this year. With the included 5V / 4,5A charger, both devices are fully charged in about 100 minutes.

Huawei P10: Test Conclusion

Huawei continues to pursue a premium strategy. The Huawei P10 is available at a price of 599 Euro in the colors Graphite Black, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Blue and Prestige Gold in Germany. The Huawei P10 Plus will be available from the beginning of April in the colors Graphite Black, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Gold, Dazzling Blue and Greenery at a price of 749. The two smartphones are not coming in cheap , but probably cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S8 (in advance from 799 €) or the LG G6 (in advance 699 €).

The Huawei P10 continues the tradition of the P series and sets the cornerstones of design and camera. Whether it is externally similar to other smartphones or not – the color selection is unique and the processing is at the highest level. Although the camera is not the best in the dark, the software offers a wide variety of creative scope, which makes it fun to take pictures. Both Selfies as well as portraits are very good, the focus on portrait photography is really Huawei succeeded.

In the background, the technology that makes all this possible: the display, the processor, the battery. All three do their jobs so well that they do not worry about them anymore. This is exactly what makes a smartphone.

Too bad are the blunders both with the missing fat-repellent layer on the display as well as the asynchronous sound in the picture-stabilized video recording. After all, the latter, like some other bugs, should be fixed by a software update in the near future.

If you are now interested in getting your hands on a P10, you might want to check out our competition where we are giving away one!

Huawei P10

599
Huawei P10
9.16

Design

10/10

    Camera

    9/10

      Performance

      9/10

        Display

        9/10

          Hardware

          9/10

            Pros

            • Handy and chic
            • good build quality
            • Very fast processor
            • Camera with many settings
            • Very good battery life

            Cons

            • No anti-fat coating on the glass
            • No anti-fat coating on the glass
            • did i say No anti-fat coating on the glass

             

            Founder and Editor in Chief of the Acme Blog. Loves Photograhy, Gadgets, Movies and Restaurants aside from Cars.

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