Thinking back all the way to April 2016, Huawei’s P9 and P9 Plus smartphones entered the highly-competitive Android market with a sleek design, top-of-the-line specifications (for the time), and a dual camera setup that was co-developed by German optics company Leica. Thanks to a bigger focus on marketing (and some brand recognition due to the Leica partnership), the P9 and P9 Plus made an overall good impression on users around the world – even in the United States.
It’s been almost a year since the P9 and P9 Plus came to market though, which means all eyes are on their successors. After dozens of leaks and rumors over the past few weeks, Huawei has finally unveiled its new P10 and P10 Plus here at MWC 2017. With improved software, a bump up in processing power and some impressive-sounding cameras, these two new flagship devices seem to be a big step up from their predecessors.
Without any further delay, here’s what you need to know about the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus!
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus design
Keeping in line with the design philosophy behind the P9 lineup, the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus certainly bring a lot to the table when it comes to aesthetics. Both feature a full metal unibody design with a side curvature that’s a bit flatter than you’d find on other phones. Huawei put this in place so the phones are easier to hold in one hand.
Around back, the P10 and P10 Plus look a lot sleeker than their predecessors. This is partially due to the fact that the home button has now moved to the front (more on that later), and also the new finish Huawei has implemented here. The P10 devices now sport a glossier finish, rather than the matte finish you’d find on other metal-clad smartphones out there. Higher gloss finishes tend to attract more fingerprints, which is why the company brought in a new hyper diamond cut process to give the phones a similar, yet improved texture.
Looking towards the top of the devices, you’ll notice there’s no camera bump to be found. Instead, there’s a glass “visor” that houses the dual camera sensors and flash.
In total, there are 8 different color options of the P10 and P10 Plus: Dazzling Blue, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Rose Gold, Greenery, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver and Prestige Gold. The new Greenery color option was actually awarded Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2017.
Huawei notes that not all colors will be available in all regions, so you may have to import that Greenery variant if you have your eye on it. If you want the hyper cut diamond finish, you’ll also need to opt for one of the new Dazzling colors, as well as Greenery; the other colors sport a more standard finish.
Alright, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Huawei has been a huge fan of placing the fingerprint sensors on the back of its smartphones for years. Why the change this time around? There are actually a couple good reasons.
The front-mounted fingerprint sensor sits directly below the display and is embedded under the glass, which gives the front a flatter, more minimalist aesthetic. This allows the back of the device to have a cleaner look as well. Plus, the fingerprint sensor on the front not only doubles as a home button, but you can also use it as back and recent apps keys, similar to how the Porsche Design Mate 9’s button functions.
Huawei says the P10 and P10 Plus’ fingerprint sensors are still “the fastest and most reliable in the industry”, and we’re not going to refute that claim. We’ve been extremely impressed with the Mate 9’s fingerprint sensor, so we’re assuming the sensor on the P10 line will be just as fast.
The fingerprint sensor on the P10 Plus even supports gestures. You’ll be able to tap once to go back one screen, long press to go back to your home screen, and swipe to open the recent apps menu. Huawei has opted not to include some gestures from previous sensors – the swipe down to open the notifications drawer was a favorite of all – but did confirm they may add further features in a future update.
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus specifications and features
|Huawei P10||Huawei P10 Plus|
1920 x 1080 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
2560 x 1440 resolution
Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|Processor||64-bit octa-core (4 x 2.4 GHz A73+ 4 x 1.8 GHz A53) Hisilicon Kirin 960||64-bit octa-core (4 x 2.4 GHz A73+ 4 x 1.8 GHz A53) Hisilicon Kirin 960|
|GPU||Mali-G71 MP8||Mali-G71 MP8|
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 256GB||Yes, up to 256GB|
|Cameras||Rear: Leica Dual-Camera 2.0|
12 and 20MP sensors, f/2.2 aperture, OIS
Front: 8MP sensor, f/1.9 aperture
|Rear: Leica Dual-Camera 2.0 Pro Edition
12 and 20MP sensors, f/1.8 aperture, OIS
Front: 8MP sensor, f/1.9 aperture
|Connectivity||USB Type-C||USB Type-C|
|Software||Android 7.0 Nougat|
|Android 7.0 Nougat
|Colors||Dazzling Blue, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Rose Gold, Greenery, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver, Prestige Gold||Dazzling Blue, Graphite Black, Dazzling Gold, Rose Gold, Greenery, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver, Prestige Gold|
|Dimensions and weight||145.3 x 69.3 x 6.98mm|
|153.5 x 74.2 x 6.98mm
The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are pretty similar in terms of aesthetics, but they really start to differ on the spec sheet. The standard P10 sports a 5.1-inch IPS LCD display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, while the P10 Plus comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display and a resolution of 2560 x 1440.
Everyone thought this was the year that Huawei would ditch Full HD displays on its flagship devices, but unfortunately that’s not the case. The lower resolution of the standard P10’s display should do wonders for battery life though, which is a major plus when comparing Quad HD vs Full HD panels.
There is a case for Quad HD panels that’s becoming more and more relevant though, and that’s support for mobile VR. Neither the Huawei P10 nor the P10 Plus are compatible with Google’s Daydream platform, likely because the lower resolution display on the P10 wouldn’t provide a very smooth VR viewing experience. This is also the reason why the standard Mate 9 isn’t Daydream ready, but the Mate 9 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 9 are.
One quick note about the displays. Huawei has implemented something called “predictive fingerprint tracking”, which allows the device to predict where your finger might go next, resulting in better responsiveness.
Under the hood, both devices come with the same 2.4GHz octa-core Kirin 960 processor that’s found on the Mate 9. We’ve found this chipset to have absolutely no problems with high-intensive tasks like gaming and multitasking, so we’re happy to see the 960 return in the P10 and P10 Plus.
The standard model is backed by 4GB of RAM and comes with 64GB of storage, while the P10 Plus comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Both devices also support microSD expansion up to 256GB.
These wouldn’t be Huawei phones without Leica-branded camera sensors, so it’s no surprise the partnership with the German optics company has returned this year. The Huawei P10 sports a dual camera setup on the back, with one 12MP color sensor coupled with a 20MP monochrome sensor and an f/2.2 aperture.
The P10 Plus’ camera setup is slightly upgraded. It features the same 12 and 20MP camera setup as the standard P10, but instead it has an f/1.8 aperture. Both the P10 and P10 Plus’ rear cameras are optically stabilized, too.
As far as front-facing cameras are concerned, both devices have Leica-branded 8MP sensors, a first for Huawei devices. Huawei says this new front sensor offers double the brightness and wider dynamic range, so your selfies should come out looking pretty good. There’s also a new adaptive selfie mode, which will automatically sense how many people are in the photo and adjust the angle for a wider shot.
Things differ a little bit on the battery front, too. The Huawei P10 sports a non-removable 3,200mAh cell, while the P10 Plus has a larger 3,750mAh unit. In case you’re thinking the P10’s battery is on the low side, remember that the device has a Full HD screen, which will definitely help it last much longer on a single charge.
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus software
As you might expect, the P10 and P10 Plus both run Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. More interestingly, these are the first phones to run EMUI 5.1, Huawei’s updated software overlay. Huawei made some huge improvements to its software with EMUI 5, and we’re happy to see this 5.1 update builds on that progress even more.
The theme in EMUI 5.1 will adapt to whichever color phone you have, making the software and hardware blend in with one another. If you have a Graphite Black phone, for instance, you’re probably not going to see bright, flashy icons scattered around your home screen.
With the P10 and P10 Plus, Huawei is also introducing a video creation feature called Highlights, which was developed in partnership with GoPro. On the surface, Highlights seems like a simple photo and video editing suite, but it’s much more than that.
Okay, well, Highlights does offer up a good amount of editing tools, but they’re put in place to help save you time and effort. Highlights has GoPro’s Quik editing tools built in, which will allow you to create short highlight reels of your favorite photos and videos. You can add your own music, video transitions and more.
Highlights will also automatically order, catalog and classify photos based on people, places or events. This will certainly help your massive photo library stay organized overtime.
This sorting algorithm is actually a tad CPU intensive, which is why most of the time, it’ll only run when the phone is idle and charging. This means you’ll be able to take all the photos you want during the day, and you’ll wake up to see everything’s been organized while you were sleeping. Plus, this process takes place on the phone locally, so there’s no need to worry about Huawei collecting any of your data.
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus pricing and availability
The P10 and P10 Plus will go on sale in March in a number of different countries, which you can find here. While we don’t have too many details on pricing, Huawei has stated that the P10 will cost €649 in Europe, while the P10 Plus will start at €699. Be sure to check out our full pricing and availability post to learn more.
We’ll be sure to let you know once we learn more details, but for now, tell us – what do you think about these two new smartphones? If the price is right, are you planning on picking one up for yourself? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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