Huawei P10 & P10 Plus: hands-on impressions of this sleek, dual-camera flagship


Last spring, Huawei hit a lot of the right notes with the release of its P9 flagship, an Android handset that paired a Leica-lensed dual camera setup with a modern, streamlined design. We expected a little more performance out of that camera than we actually got, but the phone was chock full of promise, and for the last few months we've been eagerly waiting to see what Huawei might be able to assemble for its follow-up. Today in Barcelona we finally get to meet the P9's successor, as Huawei unveils both the P10 and P10 Plus – and we've got an early hands-on look at what you can expect from this hardware.

Just like the P9, the P10 is one compact, beautifully engineered handset. It would be easy to look at the phone's lines and draw comparisons to an iPhone, but Huawei maybe even outdoes Apple with certain components of its design, like a perfectly flush camera (or, rather, cameras). We'll get back to that in just a second.

Design




Huawei's really going all out when it comes to color options for these phones. Sure, by now we expect a smattering of neutral tones and a golden option or two, but Huawei is really embracing bright, statement-making colors. One of the most striking is a pale green hue the company's calling “greenery,” and while the manufacturer readily acknowledges that it won't be for everyone, it's a choice we appreciate having in the first place.

Another stand-out color is the P10's “dazzling” blue, which unlike some of the other flat matte-finish color options carves an array of tiny diamond-shaped ridges into the phone's metal body. The effect catches the light in fantastic ways, not unlike the blue Honor 8, and the texture really feels great in your hand. These interesting color options are thanks to a collaboration with color-expert Pantone.

Hardware



The P10 sports a 5.1-inch 1080 x 1920 LCD display – a hair smaller than the 5.2-incher on the P9. The P10 Plus, meanwhile, bumps that up to a 2K-resolution 5.5-inch screen. As we'd only expect from Huawei, the phones run the manufacturer's own Kirin processors, like the Kirin 960 we find in the P10 Plus. That chip's modem is equipped for especially high-speed LTE connectivity, with a 4x4 MIMO antenna setup that can pull down a maximum of 600mbps for “4.5G” speeds.

While the P9 sported a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, the P10 instead finds inspiration from models like the Mate 9 and moves its scanner around front. In what's likely to be one of the more controversial decisions surrounding the P10's layout, Huawei's ditching the pair of capacities Android buttons we sometimes see flanking the front sensor, or even on-screen virtual buttons (though you have the option to turn those back on), in favor of a “smart touch” single-button setup. You tap the scanner button for back, press slightly longer for home, and swipe across it to access recent apps. That's going to take some getting used to.

Huawei gives the P10 a really nice-sized (for a phone this petite) 3,200mAh battery, while the P10 Plus gets an even more massive 3,750mAh component. Both support high-speed “super charge” charging.

Cameras



Once again, photography is positioned as a huge selling point of these phones, and Huawei equips them both with a pair of cameras: one 20 MP monochrome sensor for optimal light sensitivity, and a 12 MP full-color sensor with optical stabilization. While both the P10 and P10 Plus feature very similar camera hardware, the P10 Plus is built to pull in slightly more light than the P10 can with its f/2.2 aperture, moving up to f/1.8.

While Leica lenses on a Huawei flagship is nothing new, these P10 models take that relationship one step further by also going with Leica optics for the front-facer – here, and 8 MP camera on both models.

But the camera story here is more than just about hardware, and with the P10 Huawei also announces a new collaboration with GoPro for its camera software. This isn't for the actual shooting of pics, mind you, but with what happens after: a feature called Highlights taps into Huawei's image gallery app to intelligently organize your photos and videos into albums. The service runs at night while your phone is charging, going through your pics and trying to match people and places to assemble stories of connected media.

It's not at all dissimilar to offerings we've seen from other companies, but having it all happen on the phone is a neat touch, and Highlights also promises to give users a nice amount of control over things like transitions and how their media is ordered. It can be all automatic if you'd prefer it to be, but the software's also willing to take all the direction you see fit to give it. You can view your completed stories right on the P10, or export them to a ready-to-share video.



Software


We've already seen EMUI 5.0 start to hit Huawei devices, and with the P10 and P10 Plus we get the debut of EMUI 5.1. In addition to that Highlights collaboration with GoPro for generating image and video galleries, EMUI 5.1 also introduces some new system-enhancement features.

One of those Huawei dubs Ultra Response, an improved display technology a new driver for the screen's touch controller. That now employs predictive finger tracking to work out where your finger is heading before you even get there. The ultimate aim is lowering touchscreen input latency, helping to keep the P10's interface feeling fast and smooth.

There's also Ultra Memory, where Huawei takes its knowledge of algorithms designed to enhance CPU performance and starts applying them to the phone's RAM. Through a combination of more aggressive memory clean-up and compressing certain areas of memory where the software would benefit, Huawei says that apps can launch up to 30% faster.


Expectations


We've only gotten a really high-level peek at the P10 and P10 Plus so far, but our early impressions are quite favorable. The new color options look great, and the ability to pick up the phone with an alternate texture is one we really appreciate. Some of the decisions Huawei's making with these handsets may be a little controversial, but you don't get to be a smartphone leader by doing the same-old, same-old every year – innovation can be risky. We'll be spending a lot more time with the P10 in the days to come as we get to know this hardware in-depth and get ready to bring you our full review of the new flagship.

Story timeline

This story is part of:

Huawei at MWC 2017 (11 updates)

Related phones

P10
  • Display 5.1" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2400 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3200 mAh
P10 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3750 mAh

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18 Comments

1. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1817; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Huawei wants to be a major player in the smartphone market this year... With their aggressive approach I can see them taking LG's spot because LG has become to conservative..P10 plus looks good...

11. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

I totally agree with you. LG is kind of no longer relevant . There is only one little thing which is price. Let's see how market reacts. I bought mine P9 back in the days for 349 GBP and it was best bang for the money including 3 year warranty in UK. Nothing could have beaten that.

15. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1817; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

Agree!

16. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

"Huawei wants to be a major player" but they already 3rd place in top global smartphone manufacturer :-/ "I can see them taking LG's spot" and LG isn't even in top 5 :-/

2. Rafishant

Posts: 395; Member since: Oct 13, 2015

iPhone ripoff. They even copied the giant bezels

10. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

True, the bezels are big but looking at my phone now I don't think they are quit as large lol.

3. keithtae

Posts: 564; Member since: Mar 25, 2015

Lol. Its just another copy of the iphone. Lmao

4. Lenny86

Posts: 301; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

So they priced as the Nova,so higher than expected.I thought it would start at $549

5. danidin

Posts: 40; Member since: May 15, 2014

20mp for the monochrome sensor - not 10.

9. surethom

Posts: 1662; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Yes I don't get this why not 2 colour? I bet 95% of users will. Never take B&W photos.

6. mimicryXD

Posts: 175; Member since: Apr 03, 2015

this is why i really like SONY DESIGN! Look at this oem's, copying iphone design again and again and again!

8. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Totally. This P10 is a 90% iPhone copy, the LG G6 despite the minimal bezels looks like an old TV from the front and the rear looks like a double button shirt cuff with its camera setup. The leaked Sony Xperia XZ Premium, despite its massive bezels, has a very refined and unique design.

12. haikallp

Posts: 319; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Sony design is the worst. Have not really changed since Z1.

14. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

The loop design of the XZ and the leaked 2017 range is totally different from the previous design. Almost the opposite. Have a closer look, or have your eyes checked.

7. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Dare I say that the P10 is the perfect sub 5.5in phone. Damn loving the specs so much right now. I just hate the iPhone-ish design though.

13. Tech-Alex

Posts: 6; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

This p10 is a copy of the iPhone, I prefer the G6

17. salami1980

Posts: 80; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Well as I see P10 is for me The Perfect Smartphone. Even the colors are perfect. I believe that my next smartphone will be the P10.

18. Bondurant

Posts: 780; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

So the whole "leaks" of a curved edge screen p10 plus turned out to be total fakes.

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