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Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: is the new generation worth it?

The Huawei P10 was officially revealed at MWC 2017, just a little over 10 months after the P9 was released. The new generation brings new features, but without disrupting the work that has already been done by the brand. The question is: what really sets these two generations apart? Is it worth buying the new P10?

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Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: design and build quality

The P9 and the P10 are two good, elegant devices that stand out for their detailed, carefully thought out finishes. A few differences in appearance are instantly noticeable when you put both devices side by side. First, the position of the fingerprint reader. On the P9 it is located on the back, but for the P10 it is on the front and has been integrated into the Home button - but this doesn’t work as a physical button. This means you can’t press the button but you can optimize it as a navigation button instead of shortcut buttons, which can save a little space on screen.

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The fingerprint reader is one of the main differences. / © ANDROIDPIT

In both cases the reader is very responsive, but if you usually use your P9 to take selfies you're not going to like the P10.

From an ergonomic point of view, the new generation is more comfortable and pleasant to handle.

Another difference is in the corners of the devices: more square on the P9, more rounded on the P10. Beyond stylistic choice, I must say that, from an ergonomic point of view, the new generation is more comfortable and pleasant to handle.

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The rounded corners make the P10 more comfortable to handle. / © ANDROIDPIT

On the P10, the white Power button is now red and the antenna blends more effectively into the device’s casing, like the iPhone 7. Overall, the P10’s casing is much more attractive when you compare it to the P9. That said, on both devices, there is a space dedicated to the camera in keeping with the device’s casing. The P9 measures 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm and weighs 144 g while the P10 measures 145.3 x 69.3 x 7 mm and weighs 145 g. The size difference between these two smartphones is minimal at best.

The P9 and P10 are well designed smartphones that are both robust and easy on the eye.
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The Power button on the P10 has a distinctive red border. / © ANDROIDPIT

Neither device has an IP67 / 8 certification (the P10’s Nano-coating protects the device but just from splashes) and both have the unfortunate tendency to show fingerprint marks. If the device’s color is an important factor for you, the P9 is available in Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver, red and blue while the P10 will be available in Graphite Black, Mystic Silver, Prestige Gold and Dazzling Blue.

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The P10 will also come in a version with a Hyper diamond-cut finish. This is a more robust version that, thanks to a special treatment process, should be better at hiding fingerprint marks.

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Both phones allow you to extend the internal memory via a microSD card. / © ANDROIDPIT

The P9 and P10 are well designed smartphones that are both robust and easy on the eye. The choice between both phones is more a question of taste. If I had to make a choice between the two devices, I prefer the P10 for the simple reason that it is much more pleasant to handle.

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: display

With regard to the screen, there’s not much to say. The IPS technology and Full HD resolution remain unchanged on both generations. The P9 measures 5.2-inches diagonally while the P10 measures 5.1-inches (practically the same size). The 432 ppi of the newcomer is slightly superior to the 423 ppi of its predecessor however, in terms of daily use, nothing has really changed.

The IPS technology and Full HD resolution are still present on both generations.

Both devices offer bright screens, good visual angles and the ability to adjust the color temperature in the Settings menu. On the P10, the top and bottom edges of the screen are more broad and with both devices it is recommended to increase the lighting level in strong sunlight.

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IPS technology and Full HD resolution on both devices / © ANDROIDPIT

In addition, on the P9 that has the Nougat update; the eye protection mode can be activated to read more comfortably at night. Another difference between the two regards the Gorilla Glass 5 coating of the P10 that should better protect the screen from scratches and cracks. If the Full HD resolution doesn’t meet your needs, you should opt for the P10 Plus (that’s if you want to stick with Huawei).

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: software

The real challenge is between EMUI 5.0 and EMUI 5.1, given that even the P9 has been updated with Nougat. Both smartphones offer sophisticated software, a sleek interface and an intuitive user experience. The Nougat update on the P9 brought the multi-window mode, the ability to activate the application drawer, suggestions in the Settings menu (also redesigned), a new notifications system, additional languages support and camera plug-ins that can be downloaded according to your needs so that they don’t take up unnecessary memory.

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Both smartphones have Nougat, but the P10 runs the latest version of EMUI (5.1). / © ANDROIDPIT

It must be noted that EMUI 5.0 has introduced a new twin applications feature, which will be useful for anyone wanting to use two WhatsApp or Facebook accounts on a single device.

The P10 has two new features compared to the P9.

The P10 has two new features that makes it distinct from the P9: Quik, an application that allows you to create videos in seconds by using your photos and the portrait mode. Additionally, it has a machine learning algorithm which studies the user’s habits over time in order to anticipate their needs by offering a sort of ad hoc software. The differences in software could be quite remarkable if the P9 was still running on EMUI 4.1. Fortunately though, the brand is committed to releasing Nougat to these devices in the first quarter of 2017.

Everything works as well on the P9 as on the P10. You will no longer miss your notifications (a problem that was previously encountered with the Chinese brand’s software) and you’ll have access to practically the same features.

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: performance

The P9 has a Kirin 955 processor (2.5 GHz with ARM Cortex-A72 and ARM Cortex-A53) and a GPU Mali-T880 MP4 with 3 or 4 GB of RAM depending on the model. The 32 GB internal memory can be extended with an SD card. For daily use, the P9 offers good performance, responds quickly to commands, manages multitasking well and doesn’t overheat when in use, even when you are charging the device.

The P10 has a more advanced house processor:  Kirin 960 (2.3 GHz with ARM Cortex-A73 and Cortex-A53 ARM), supported by 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory (twice as much as its predecessor), which can be extended by using a microSD card. The GPU Mali-G71 MP8 chip (more powerful than that of the P9) and the Vulkan API manage the graphics.

I have used the P9 for the past 10 months and only used the P10 for around 2 weeks, but even after a short period of use I can confirm that the system is very fluid, didn't experience any lagging or crashes during games, multitasking or any other kind of task. The P10 does its job well; there are no signal problems and the antenna is better than that on the P9. The device did  slightly overheat while loading a game but this didn’t affect the performance.

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: camera

Leica is the main feature in this area as it has contributed to the development of the cameras on both smartphones. Both generations offer a dual-camera on the back: the P9 has two 12 MP sensors, one monochrome and one color, which work together to capture even more light and to provide even more detail. However, the P10 has a 20 MP monochrome sensor. The f/2.2 aperture remains unchanged. The P10 also integrates an image optical stabilizer which was not present on the previous generation.

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The P10 upgraded the monochrome sensor from 12 to 20 megapixels. / © ANDROIDPIT

The P10 offers two new features: the portrait mode and the GoPro collaboration which also uses the Quik app. Both smartphones have a 8 MP front sensor with a f/2.4 aperture on the P9 and f/1.9 on the P10. If you like group selfies, you’ll love the automatic adjustment to the wide angle when the sensor detects several people in the picture.

You can have fun with filters and the Pro mode on both devices and, on the P10, the beauty mode has removed the ‘doll’ effect and has been adapted for western faces.

The P10 performs better than the P9, particularly in black and white shots that are natural and that don’t require additional filters. For both devices, when you are taking pictures in poor lighting conditions you will notice fewer details and blurred shots.

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: technical specs

Huawei P9 vs. Huawei P10 technical specifications

  Huawei P9 Huawei P10
Dimensions: 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm 145.3 x 69.3 x 6.98 mm
Weight: 144 g 145 g
Battery size: 3000 mAh 3200 mAh
Screen size: 5.2 in 5.1 in
Display technology: Sorry, not yet available! LCD
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi) 1920 x 1080 pixels (432 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels 20 megapixels
Flashlight: LED Dual-LED
Android version: 6.0 - Marshmallow 7.0 - Nougat
User interface: Huawei EMUI Huawei EMUI
RAM: 3 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 32 GB 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 955 HiSilicon Kirin 960
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.5 GHz 2.4 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

Huawei P9 vs Huawei P10: battery

The P10 has 200 mAh more than the P9. In normal daily use, however, it can’t be said that the P10 is amazing compared to the P9: you’ll get a day of use out of the smartphone to check your emails, WhatsApp, play a game, but if you use the device intensively, you’ll need to charge the device at night. However, SuperCharge technology will be a great help as, in just 10 minutes, it can be charged up to 50%.  

In short, there isn’t a huge difference between the two smartphones, but the fact that the P10 that we tested wasn’t running with the latest version of EMUI must be taken into account. Improvements could be made to the final version.

Huawei P9 vs P10: the verdict

The Huawei P9 was introduced last April and is currently available for around $409 on Amazon.com. The P10 will be available to buy from March 30 for about $735, but when it is released it will be available online for a slightly cheaper price. The price is an important factor, and the difference between the two generations doesn’t justify an upgrade for the moment.

The P10 is without doubt a good smartphone; it has a better design, and includes improved software and hardware. As for the P9, it also does a good job. As it has already received the update for Nougat and EMUI 5.0 (the 5.1 version could be available soon), you’ll be handling a device that has all the latest software features. However, if you decide to replace your P8 or if you want to buy a new top-range smartphone, you’ll be happier if you opt for the P10. You’ll receive updates for the next two years and you’ll have a smartphone which is a strong performer.

Which do you prefer?

Choose Huawei P9 or Huawei P10.

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