Huawei is coming to MWC with its highly rumored P10 and its sibling the P10 Plus powered by the Kirin 960 octa-core processor, the latest and fastest from Huawei, that can be found in the flagship Mate 9. The new P-series, like the one before, looks a little like an iPhone, and the new version features more rounded edges and the fingerprint sensor moved from the back to the front at the bottom of the screen.

Industrial Design (Excellent)

Impressive color and finish options (Excellent)

Huawei pushed the envelope on the industrial design to deliver multiple color options with high-quality finishes. The Chinese manufacturer even collaborated with PANTONE on two color versions and is proud to show off the “Greenery” and the “Dazzling Blue” models that came out of the design partnership. The P10 will be available in seven color/finish versions: Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Greenery, Rose Gold, Mystic Silver, Graphite Black and Prestige Gold.

Hyper Diamond Cut – prevents fingerprints (Excellent)

The design team paid a lot of attention to the colors and the various finishes and introduced its unique Hyper Diamond-Cut finish that will only be available in two versions, the Dazzling Blue, and Dazzling Gold. Under the fingers, the new subtly reflective texture feels like it is made of tiny patterns invisible to the naked eye.

According to Joonsuh Kim, Chief Design Officer of Huawei CBG Design Team, the Hyper Diamond-Cut finish was created to prevent fingerprints on the reflective surface of the phone. After a few hours touching our Dazzling blue unit, no prints were visible on the shiny back cover. Overall, the built quality of the various models is excellent, and all the color versions we could see are gorgeous.

"DAZZLING BLUE AND GREENERY ARE TRULY UNIQUE AND CONVEY AN UBER-STYLISH LOOK"

The built-quality of the various models is excellent, and the all the color versions we could see are gorgeous. The Dazzling Blue and the Greenery are truly unique and convey an uber-stylish look to the slim chassis.

New design language “Organic Minimalism”

The back cover is made of metal with a small band of glass covering the dual camera module at the top. The plastic antenna slit at the bottom is subtly integrated and well-hidden at the curvature of the edge. Huawei brilliantly made the two plastic antennas slit almost invisible, a good design improvement from the P9. The front is entirely covered with a 2.5 D curved Gorilla Glass 5 panel, which brings the final touch to the premium look.  Except for the fingerprint sensor, the connectors USB C, audio jack, camera modules, volume rocker and SIM slot are placed the same way as in the P9.

During the briefing, Joonsuh Kim, the head of design at Huawei, explained that the design language aims to be simple and pure, he branded the concept “Organic Minimalism”. Joonsuh Kim insisted on the total absence of the camera bump on the backside, a key factor to be in line with the minimalist design language. Eliminating the camera bump seems to be a trend in smartphone design, as we can also see in the new LG G6 announced at MWC.

The P10 uses a similar design language, as the Huawei P9, however, the edges are slightly more curved than those of its predecessor, and the finishes feel more premium. The design is reminiscent of the iPhone but, in many ways, the student has now become the master. The Huawei P10 even feels better in the hand than an iPhone 7

"THE DESIGN IS REMINISCENT OF THE IPHONE BUT, IN MANY WAYS, THE STUDENT HAS NOW BECOME THE MASTER"Besides the new colors and finishes, the major difference from the P9 is that the fingerprint sensor is now placed on the front of the device, and acts as a home button when you hold-press, return back with a tap and go to recent apps with a swipe.

Level 4 Finger Print Sensor (Excellent)

Besides the new colors and finishes, the major difference from the P9 is the placement of the fingerprint sensor, now on the front of the device. The design team made this decision probably to remove as many components as possible from the backside to achieve the “no bumps” design. Another reason could be to deliver a better user experience: when the phone lies on a table, it is highly more convenient to activate the home screen from the front with the touch of a finger, rather than picking it up to reach the button on the back.

It is highly probable that the Huawei P10 carries the same super-efficient Level 4 fingerprint sensor as the one in the previous P9 model.  In the world of fingerprint sensors, each level represents the ability to detect an additional layer of unique features, to make the reading more accurate. Level 1 and 2 fingerprint sensors can detect basic fingerprint features, such as the general orientation of the fingerprint ridges and singular points. Level 2 is about detecting Ridge ends and Ridge bifurcation. Level 3 adds enough resolution to see skin pores and other details on the ridge themselves. Level 4 can detect the depth of edges, making the fingerprint somewhat 3D and harder to fake.

Learn moreHow do Fingerprint Scanners Work?

Finger Print Sensor used as a navigation pad (Good)

The new oval sensor acts as a home button when you hold press, returns back with a tap and opens recent apps with a swipe. I really like this feature it is super convenient and very responsive. Another gesture you can use is the long swipe on the right side of the button, on the screen, to open Google search with voice command option.

Unlocking the Huawei P10 using the fingerprint is impressively fast, as it was in the P9. When it comes to the navigation with the button, our opinions are divergent at Ubergizmo, I personally like it very much while Hubert Nguyen finds it annoying. So we will let you decide what you like the most, since you switch to the traditional soft keys navigation in the settings. One recommendation we can make to Huawei is to keep the return to Home screen by pressing on the physical button when in the Soft key mode, for now, it is totally deactivated when you use the soft keys.

Camera (Very Good)


Main Dual-Sensor Camera, LEICA design (Very Good)

Like its predecessor, the Huawei P9, the P10 features a LEICA dual camera modules design, except that the two modules are not identical this time: the monochrome sensor is 20 Megapixel while the RGB sensor is 12 Megapixel.

The 12 Megapixel RGB sensor is setup to capture color, while the 20 Megapixel monochrome is used to capture light intensity (brightness) — the data from the two sensors are then “fused” into making a final image.

The P10 Plus gets a brighter F1.8 lens, while the P10 camera features a F2.2 aperture.

The new dual-sensors setup is probably the same as the one found in the Huawei Mate 9. Both have a color 12 Megapixel camera F2.2 and a 20 Megapixel monochrome sensor. The placement of the 2 modules is different, in the Mate 9 they are positioned vertically in the middle while they are placed horizontally at the top left in the new handset, the same placement as found in the P9, however, that device has two identical 12 Megapixels sensors.

The P10, like the P9 and the Mate 9 get a LEICA SUMMARIT H 1:2.2/27 ASPH lens, you can read it on all phones. Huawei provided the meaning in a Facebook post: SUMMARIT is a series name for Leica lens, H marks the exclusive lens series for Huawei, Each lens has a f/2.2 aperture and 27mm focal length*, ASPH refers to the aspherical lens surface.
*equivalent on 35 mm film

No words were shared on the sensor type, we can expect at least similar high-quality Sony sensors as in the P9.

Dual-Sensor: better quality and Bokeh Effect (Interesting)

Theoretically, dual-camera modules in smartphones enable higher image quality, because they capture more data points than single sensor setups. However, the major benefits of the dual-sensor is the ability to deliver the Bokeh effect. Huawei highlighted that feature a lot during our meeting, it is used in the new Portrait mode.

Bokeh refers to the blurring of out-of-focus part of the photo.
On a large camera, the blur happens naturally as light converges and diverges from the surface of a lens that is several inches in diameter. Phone lenses are simply too small for that to happen, so camera software can approximate bokeh by computing a depth map of the scene to figure out what’s in and out of focus.

Learn moreWhat’s a Great Mobile Camera Experience?

Learn more:  understanding better the fundaments of the dual-sensor / dual-lens design with the Qualcomm ClearSight solution 

Portrait Mode (Very Good)

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I tried the portrait mode (see photo) and the result was really good: it focuses the lighting on the face and applies the Bokeh effect on the background of the scene, giving an artsy feel to the shot. In a time where 80% of the photos* shared on Facebook and Instagram are portraits, selfies or others, enhancing those pictures is the priority.
* statistic provided by Huawei

Stay tuned we are still testing the Huawei P10 camera in Barcelona at MWC, we will update this review soon.

Front Camera (Good)

The 8 Megapixel front camera has been optimized for selfie and portrait, since 80% of the photos found on Facebook are portraits, with the portrait mode also available in the rear shooter.

Software

The Huawei P10 runs Android Nougat 7.0 with its own custom skin layer, the Emotion UI (EMUI).

Huawei introduced its new Emotion UI 5.0 with the Mate 9, the brand’s flagship smartphone launched in November 2016 (to verify). With the P10, Huawei released the 5.1 version that comes with new interesting features including theme matching color, Ultra Response with predictive finger tracking, Ultra Memory, and Highlights.

Opinion: Why do Phone Makers Create Custom Android Skins?

Theme matching color
By default, the color of the home screen’s theme background image matches the color of the smartphone, so if you buy the Greenery the theme color will automatically green. You can change the theme form the theme gallery in the phone or online in the custom skin section of the Huawei website.

Ultra Response with predictive finger tracking
The Huawei software team developed a new driver for the touch controller to improve the responsiveness of the touch technology embedded in the display.
Additionally, the software improves the user experience with the new finger tracking capability.

Huawei claims that the device tracks your finger behavior, learns, and predicts where it will most likely click or swipe. Huawei claims that the new feature reduces the latency. It is difficult to measure the quality of the predictions using the review unit we are testing.

Ultra Memory
To improve the performance of the phone, Huawei developed a useful memory optimization feature. Users have multiple applications open simultaneously and the majority are idle.

Ultra Memory detects and using machine leaning then predicts which apps are most likely to be asleep, thus not using memory. Compressing blocks of memory frees memory space for the running applications, and makes them more responsive (less likely to write to the slower internal flash memory). Huawei claims that Ultra Memory improves the app launch speed by 30%.

Memory compression is an old trick that programmers used back in the days when PC computers had only 80MB RAM (or less)!

Highlights

Co-developed with GoPro, Hightlights is an application that intelligently organize your photos and video and helps users to stitch the best photos and video clips to create interesting and dynamics short movies.

Huawei developed the AI algorithm that runs at night when the P10 is asleep. Using image recognition, the application organizes your photos according to the faces, places and events that it recognizes.

Then, in the morning, you can select one of the new set of images and video clips created in the gallery, select the ones that you like, add a background color, filters, add a text and Highlight automatically creates a movie in minutes. At the time of publishing, I did not shoot enough photos to try the feature

Network

The P10 Plus supports 4G LTE 4×4 MIMO, which can deliver up to a 600mbps download speed. The P10 gets a regular 4G LTE modem. Having more antennas means that the phone can support more simultaneous connections, which is better in general for both speed and reliability of the connection.

System Performance (Very Good)

The HiSilicon (a Huawei subsidiary) Kirin 960 is a system on chip, or SoC, which has 8 core configured as four fast ARM A73 cores, and four low-power ARM A53 cores in a big.LITTLE configuration. In the same chip, HiSilicon has integrated a Mali-G71 MP8 graphics processor (GPU).

Learn morewhat is a SoC or System On a Chip?

There’s 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM memory which is connected to various processing units via a 2x 32bit bus. The Kirin 960 is HiSilicon’s top chip for mobiles at the moment, and was announced in late October 2014. The Huawei Mate 9 was the first handset to ship with the Kirin 960.

"THE KIRIN 960'S PERFORMANCE CAN SUPPORT AN EXCELLENT USER EXPERIENCE"Kirin 960 has very contrasted performance results. Synthetic multi-core benchmarks will show it as being a formidable performer because it can fire all 8 cores at the same time. On the other hand, the single-core performance is much more tamed, although still quite decent. By itself, the number of cores isn’t a reliable performance indicator because most apps don’t massively use CPU cores.

Learn more: Are more CPU cores always better?

In system-wide benchmarks (Basemark OS II), it scores very well, which is a fair proxy for user experience. In general, Kirin 960 isn’t really impressive in gaming benchmarks (GFXBench), so if it’s a big deal for you, you may want to prefer an iPhone or a Snapdragon 8xx Android handset. For everyone else, the Kirin 960’s performance can support an excellent user experience.

OpinionAre benchmarks important? What do they mean?

Battery

The battery is larger for the P10 Plus at 3750 mAh while the P10 offers 3200 mAh. Both devices support Super Charge that enables fast charging. The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus boast a very dense battery capacity. They pack a lot of energy in relation to their internal chassis volume. You get a lot of battery for a phone that size.

Huawei’s Super Charge‘s claim to fame came with the Mate 9, which is the fastest charging handset we’ve seen to date (~70+ mAh/mn).

Unfortunately, the Huawei P10 doesn’t that at that amazing speed, but with a measured charging speed of 54 mAh/mn, it is comparable to the best Android handsets out there. This is also a significant progress when compared to the Huawei P9, which charges at 35 mAh/mn.

Note that “battery capacity” remains the best indicator of real-world battery life. As everyone’s usage model is different, there are simply too many moving parts to have any kind of meaningful battery test that could be used as  a guide. Things like display brightness and network (4G/WiFi) conditions, or even temperature, can be factors in battery depletion and charge speed.

Huawei P10 Specs

Hardware

  • 3200 mAh battery
  • 5.1” FHD display
  • USB-C
  • Kirin 960 Processor,
    64GB / 4GB (?)
  • Cameras LEICA design
    Rear 20 MP monochrome sensor
  • 12 MP RGB Sensor
  • F2.2 wide lens
  • Front 8 MP with custom features
  • Multiple Color versions (see article)
  • Android 7
  • EMUI 5.1
  • Highlights – intelligent photo application

Huawei P10 Plus Specs

Hardware

  • 3750 mAh battery
  • 5.5” 2K display
  • Kirin 960 Processor,
  • 64GB / 4GB (?)
    Cameras LEICA design
  • Rear 20 MP monochrome sensor
  • 12 MP RGB Sensor
  • F1.8 wide lens
    Front 8 MP with custom features
  • USB-C
  • 4G LTE 4x4MIMO support (P10 Plus only) = up to 600MBps downlink
  • Android 7
  • EMUI 5.1
  • Highlights – intelligent photo application

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Huawei, Huawei P10, MWC and MWC 2017.

Key SpecsP10 PlusHuawei P10
Announced On2017/02/012017/02/26
Display Diagonal5.5" (13.97 cm)5.1" (12.95 cm)
Processor/Soc NameHiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 960
Street Price (Approx)
Search low P10 Plus price (Amazon)
~ $680
Search low Huawei P10 price (Amazon)
Max. Total Storage Capacity320 GB320 GB
Megapixels20 Megapixel20 Megapixel
Battery Capacity (mAh)3750 mAh3200 mAh
Complete product dataHuawei P10 Plus Full specs and detailsHuawei P10 Full specs and details
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