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Huawei P10 hands-on review: a perfect balance between robustness and design

Update: Pictures now available

2017 sees the arrival of the Huawei P10, the fifth generation of the Huawei Ascend P6. With a 5.1-inch display, a dual camera, strong performance and a unique feeling in-hand, the competition need to stand their ground or get blown away. Thanks to improvements to the camera software, the photo quality has the potential of making you the next big social media star. Read on to hear about our first impressions of the Huawei P10 in our hands on review.

Huawei P10 release date and price

The Huawei P10 was officially presented during Huawei's press conference at the MWC 2017. The company confirmed the Android phone will receive its market start in March, for the price of 599 Euros, in Europe, in Graphite Black, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Blue and Prestige Gold. US and UK price and available are yet to be confirmed.

Huawei P10 design and build quality

Huawei's new P10, as mentioned above in the price and release date section, will be made available in a full gamut of colors. The 5.1-inch device (69.3 x 145.3 x 6.98 mm) weighs in at 145 g. 

The Huawei P10 differs from its predecessor in that the fingerprint scanner is located on the front of the device. The switch is most likely the result of its placement on other devices like the iPhone and some Samsung phones since the Galaxy S5. However, this is the only real change that has been brought to the newer model, except of course if you consider the Hyper Diamond Cut variants, which is the case for the Dazzling Blue and Prestige Gold models. The new build technology polishes the surface of the device ten times, resulting in a surface that reflects a lot more intensely with a pattern made up of many small triangles. There is no camera bump either.

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The Huawei P10 front side with front camera, speaker and fingerprint scanner. / © AndroidPIT

With Gorilla Glass 5 protection, Huawei protects both the screen and the camera lens from bumps and scratches. A drop of 1.8 m should not damage the glass. We noticed a slight coloration from the anodized aluminum, however this should disappear over time.

Despite the Nano-Coating protection that protects the device from water, Huawei ignores IP certification for the P10. The manufacturer therefore consciously falls behind the competition. The iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Sony Xperia XZ all offer IP67 certification or higher. Even the LG G6, which was presented the same day at the MWC 2017, has IP68 certification. 

The P10 features a USB Type-C port, a speaker, a microphone and a headphone on the bottom of the device. On the right, you will find the volume rocker and power button.

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The bottom of the Huawei P10. / © AndroidPIT

Huawei P10 display

The Full-HD (1,920 x 1,080 px) 5.1-inch screen of the Huawei P10 is an IPS panel (432 ppi) and is almost borderless. Huawei won't be taking us on a journey into the world of VR, so if you want to embark on the Daydream adventure you should opt for a Lenovo Moto Z or a Google Pixel instead.  

Huawei boasts a higher contrast, color saturation and gamut, this we will take a look after the press release when we get our hands on the device. In our final review, we will also conduct more intense tests. 

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The Huawei P10 display / © AndroidPIT

Huawei P10 software

EMUI 5.1 is an optimized version of the interface that has been found up to now on all Huawei devices, and is built on Android 7.0 Nougat. On this P10, the difference between this device and the Mate 9 is simply that the camera app is improved and a new GoPro gallery application has been added.

"Optimized" means the EMUI analyzes your use of the device and aims to offer you the applications you want at the exact moment you want them. In the long term, all this ensures there is a good performance.

You'll find in our tips and tricks article for the Mate 9 that several of its software elements are identical to those on the P10 Plus.

In our final review, we will be interested in testing all the features of the software interface. We will also take a more detailed look at the GoPro gallery which is supposed to create videos for social networks from content, as does the iOS photo app.

An interesting aesthetic aspect is that the user interface has options to match the outside color of the device, so for Dazzling Blue, the same type of wallpaper and icons would be available, the same for Prestige Gold, Mystic Silver etc.

Huawei P10 performance

Are the moment we're not really in a position to comment on the device's performance. In theory, it should be quite similar to that of the Mate 9, which currently leads our ranking of the best performing smartphones and, compared to the other devices of 2016, it seems to be the fastest. Will the Mate 9 be able to maintain its lead when its up against the P10?

With regards to gaming performance, the combination of the octacore Kirin 960 processor with the Vulkan API allows smooth gameplay. Unlike the Huawei P9 Plus, we can recommend this P10 to all the gamers. Also on board you will find 4G of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 256 GB with the micro SD card slot, a good move for those who prefer to save their data this way as opposed to on the Cloud.

The antennas have also been improved. The 4G capability now doubles the maximum speed. In the case of the P10, a 4 x 4 MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) connection is used. The WiFi, on the other hand, uses MIMO 2 x 2 and is compatible with standards up to 802.11ac, the 11ad is unfortunately not supported. Bluetooth is supported up to version 4.2 and NFC is on board as well.

Huawei P10 audio

The P10 Plus comes with plastic headphones as standard. On the device we tested we found a mono speaker. There is no special Mate 9-style microphone to reduce noise, so we're expecting there to be average quality there.

Huawei P10 camera

At the rear of the device, the Huawei P10 uses the same dual camera configuration as the Huawei Mate 9: a 20 MP black-and-white lens with a 12 MP Leica color lens. The main camera uses a Summarit lens, has an aperture of f / 2.2 and features hybrid zoom. Images can be zoomed (2X) without loss. The system uses the difference in resolution of the sensors. The optical stabilizer is present to prevent shaking, but only on the 12 MP lens.

The camera of the Huawei P10 is focused on a fixed distance. If you want to focus close-up, we recommend the P10 Plus, which offers this possibility. 

The front camera has 8 MP, and for the first time it comes from Leica. At the front, the aperture is f / 1.9. Group selfie enthusiasts will be pleased to find a mode that improves angles. Huawei also boasts about more precise 3D facial recognition software with its portrait mode. The P10 also allow you to take Bokeh or monochromatic pictures, with a new depth of focus algorithm. The camera and its various features will have to be further tested in our final review.

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The dual camera on the Huawei P10. / © AndroidPIT

Huawei P10 battery

The battery has increased from 3,000 mAh on the P9 to 3,200 on the Huawei P10. It will be necessary for us to carry out a complete review before we can say whether or not the battery life has been improved. With SuperCharge, the recharge time should be reduced. The battery should be fully charged after about 90 minutes.

Huawei P10 technical specifications

    • Type:
    • Phone
    • Model:
    • Huawei P10
    • Manufacturer:
    • Huawei
    • Dimensions:
    • 145.3 x 69.3 x 6.98 mm
    • Weight:
    • 145 g
    • Battery size:
    • 3200 mAh
    • Screen size:
    • 5.1 in
    • Display technology:
    • LCD
    • Screen:
    • 1920 x 1080 pixels (432 ppi)
    • Front camera:
    • 8 megapixels
    • Rear camera:
    • 20 megapixels
    • Flashlight:
    • Dual-LED
    • Android version:
    • 7.0 - Nougat
    • User interface:
    • Huawei EMUI
    • RAM:
    • 4 GB
    • Internal storage:
    • 64 GB
    • Removable storage:
    • microSD
    • Chipset:
    • HiSilicon Kirin 960
    • Number of cores:
    • 8
    • Max. clock speed:
    • 2.4 GHz
    • Connectivity:
    • HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

Early Verdict

Huawei has done a good job, even if you can't see it at first glance. Gamers stand to profit from a much improved Kirin 960 processor, while everyday performance will remain top-of-the-line thanks to the software optimization, if it works as well as in the Mate 9. 

With the camera on the Huawei P10 being one of its most emphasized features, we'll have to test the optimized dual camera in a more thorough review before we can give a verdict or compare it with the competition. The battery has a lot to offer, also with its fast charging function, which will perhaps help users look past the fact that it is not removable.

What do you think about the Huawei P10? Do you think Huawei has a shot in the market this year? What could the company have done better?

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  • Will the offer of Dual Cameras have the edge over the Samsung Galaxy S8 models?thought Huawei would join the Edge screen craze and put more pressure on Samsung,but it early days of the year so we might get one released,

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