In the smartphone market, Huawei has been very active since the spring of 2016. With the P9 model, the Chinese company was able to establish itself in the high-end segment. In the autumn came Mate 9, which was fixed in the segment with a larger diagonal. Now it’s Huawei P10. It’s interesting to see what Huawei prepared this time.
Traditions of the family have survived. As in the case of P9, the second variant of Huawei P10 with the addition of Plus is declared. But, unlike last year’s model, it received not only a larger display, an IR transmitter and stereo speakers, which simplified the choice. Now the difference between the Plus and non-Plus models is more significant, the positions of the “younger” model are not so strong. Moreover, Huawei P10 Plus offers, in addition to a more detailed display, even better camera.
Huawei P10 has a familiar design, except that the fingerprint sensor was moved.
Therefore, the difference in price between the two options is slightly larger than last year between P9 and P9 Plus. In Russia, prices are still unknown. In Europe, for Huawei P10, Huawei asks for 599 euros, 30 euros more than P9. For P10 Plus will have to lay out 749 euros, 50 euros more than last year’s model. In Europe, more than a week has passed since the beginning of sales, but prices have changed insignificantly. There is good news: Mate 9 can be bought cheaper than 600 euros in Europe.
We knowingly cited the above link to the smartphone Mate 9. It should be considered as one of the alternatives to Huawei P10. In the end, the P10 inherited two components from a large related model.
The first is the SoC Kirin 960. The “system on the chip” is based on four cores Cortex-A53 and four Cortex-A73, as well as the GPU Mali-G71 MP8. The computing cores reach a frequency of 1.8 or 2.4 GHz, but according to the graph the maximum frequency is only 1.037 MHz. Compared with the predecessors Kirin 950 and 955, the performance of not only the CPU, but also the GPU, has increased. Recall that P9 was inferior to many competitors on both parameters.
Thanks to the Kirin 960 and 4 GB of memory, the Huawei P10 provides more than enough performance, but the GPU often turns out to be a bottleneck.
Compared to Mate 9, SoC has not changed. Assumptions about small innovations have not been justified. The chip is still manufactured at TSMC plants using a 16-nm FCC process technology, it supports LPDDR4 memory and other technologies typical of the high-end segment. However, this year’s opponent will be Snapdragon 835, not Snapdragon 821, as it was last fall. So with the Huawei semiconductor division called HiSilicon, the demand is now greater. But the performance is not worth worrying, because Kirin 960 provides more than sufficient level in the medium term.
Like Mate 9, the Huawei P10 wins from the 8-nuclear structure and, in particular, from the powerful Cortex A73 cores. In tests of single-threaded performance, the smartphone showed fairly good results: in the Geekbench 3 Single Score, it took the fifth place, although the gap from the first place was only 3%. In the test Geekbench 4 smartphone came in second place, but the difference with the Mate 9 is small. In the multithreaded test Huawei P10 took the top position in both benchmarks. So if an application can use more than four cores, then the Huawei P10 is one of the fastest smartphones on the market.
Everything looks different if the application loads the GPU. The Kirin 960 chip has the bottleneck of the Mali-G71 MP8 graphics core. Its performance is enough to make the smartphone go into the top third of the rating, but in some tests the Huawei P10 lags far behind. However, in the case of combined performance, the smartphone returns some of the lost items. For example, we got a decent 2,200 points in 3DMark Slingshot, as well as 134,000 points in AnTuTu 6 – of course, when the CPU part of SoC is most affected.
But do not forget about the role of high-speed memory LPDDR4 in the amount of 4 GB, as well as internal memory. The latter works according to the UFS 2.0 standard and provides high throughput. However, the results depend very much on the test. In Androbench, we got throughput up to 735 and 186 MB / s on reading and writing, in PCMark – only 528 and 142 MB / s. In any case, the results can be called very good.
In practice, the performance of Huawei P10 will be enough for all applications, even demanding games went very smoothly. We did not face any interface problems, SoC and memory, with jerks in games or long time of loading.
The remaining equipment is quite consistent with what can be expected from the high-end segment. To the local wireless network, the smartphone can connect to the standard 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 is supported. If you prefer a cable connection, a USB Type C connector is available, although it only applies to the USB 2.0 standard. It’s a shame, given the rapid internal memory. If the internal memory of 32/64/128 GB is not enough for you, you can expand it with a microSD card – officially supported cards up to 256 GB.
The set of sensors is almost full, there is a gyroscope, an accelerometer and an ambient light sensor. The satellite navigation system supports GPS, Beidou and GLONASS, to which Galileo was added.
In Huawei P models, the fingerprint reader is taken for granted. But at Huawei P10 it is realized differently, the sensor passed from the backside to the front side of the smartphone, which causes mixed feelings. The transfer of the sensor led to a change in the smartphone management scenarios. For example, if the sensor could previously be used to navigate in the gallery or to display / hide the curtain of notifications, now it supports only authentication and is an alternative to on-screen buttons. In our tests, the sensor determined the print accurately and reliably. Huawei does not disclose whether there have been any hardware changes compared to P9 and Mate 9. The company recently advertised a high level of sensor security, but without details.
Huawei P10 speakers, like P9, will have to give up stereo support. Two stereo speakers are only available for Huawei P10 Plus.
But with the usual tasks of telephony Huawei P10 is doing well. During conversations, the interlocutor’s speech was audible clearly, the volume of the front speaker is quite sufficient. The second speaker, responsible for the function of the speakerphone and audio playback, is traditionally located at the bottom of the case. It provides quite a decent level of volume, although the quality is inferior to the same HTC U Ultra – the absence of low and middle clocks is clearly visible. With the connection of headphones, there will be no problems, a traditional 3.5-mm jack is available.
Huawei decided to limit the standard set of microphones in the number of two pieces. They are enough to extinguish background noise during telephone conversations, but, again, HTC has gone a step further. In any case, the telephony features leave a good impression, the LTE modem keeps the connection pretty well. It supports all major frequency bands, the download speed is up to 450 Mb / s, downloads – up to 50 Mb / s, which corresponds to Cat 9. Although technically the modem is capable of supporting speeds up to Cat 12. In our tests, we did not notice the unusual behavior of the modem or too Rapid transition to slow standards. But Huawei installed in Huawei P10 Plus a more powerful antenna configuration for operation in LTE networks. Namely 4×4 MIMO, at Huawei P10 it is necessary to be content 2×2 MIMO.
Our test sample supported only one SIM-card, although in Russia models with two SIM-cards will be sold.
The Plus option is more interesting not only for a more powerful antenna configuration, but also for a higher resolution display. The standard version of Huawei P10 will have to be satisfied with the resolution of 1.920 x 1.080 pixels, like its predecessor. The advantages and disadvantages of this solution for a high-end smartphone can be discussed for a long time, both camps have strong arguments. In favor of Full-HD, there is enough detailed display for 5.1 “diagonal, lower power consumption and lower price, but users who are willing to pay will be able to get a higher resolution.
Interestingly, the display, which again relies on the IPS NEO panel, is slightly smaller than P9. If the diagonal earlier was 5.2 inches, now it is reduced to 5.1. “Accordingly, the pixel density increased from 424 to 432 ppi, the panel change resulted in the test results being substantially different .With a maximum brightness of 539 cd / m², the smartphone screen Huawei P10 is a bit darker, but brightness is still enough to work outdoors on a sunny day, but the contrast has increased to 1.558: 1, which has a positive effect on picture quality.
On the other hand, the color rendition became worse. The shades are saturated, but still remain natural, although the color temperature is shifted to the cold side. At P9, the color temperature was optimal at 6.500 K after manual adjustment. In the case of P10, we were unable to set the temperature below 6.900 K in the display options. The display is configured for a very cold temperature of 7.900 K.
Despite the slightly smaller case, Huawei was able to increase battery capacity compared to P9, namely from 3.000 to 3.200 mAh. As usual, the battery is not removable, wireless charging in 2017 remains foreign to the Chinese company. But Super-Charge technology was successfully transferred from Mate 9, it provides a shorter charging time. The complete charger provides power up to 22.5 watts, in our tests, charging from 0 to 100% was performed in 80 minutes, a 50% mark we reached after 15 minutes. Various protective measures prevent overheating of components and other negative events. The smartphone constantly monitors the voltage and temperature to reduce the charging current if necessary. As in the case of the Mate 9, the case of the Huawei P10 remained relatively cool during charging.
The battery at 3,200 mAh ensures the battery life of the Huawei P10 is above average, and it also charges faster with Super-Charge technology.
The new model not only loads faster than the P9, but also provides significantly longer battery life. Full-HD video from local storage with a display brightness of 200 cd / m² was enough for 11 hours in our cyclic playback test, the gain was about 60%. In the PCMark test, the smartphone lasted almost seven and a half hours, almost 30% longer. In everyday tests, when we made several phone calls a day, browsed web pages and mail through WLAN and LTE, the batteries lasted about two and a half days. In case of intensive use, the smartphone will last a little longer than one day.
As usual, battery life can be increased if you switch to power saving modes. But it is necessary in some way to make sacrifices in terms of performance and functionality.
At the beginning of the article, we already noted the similarity with Mate 9. In addition to SoC, Huawei also transferred the camera. Accordingly, in Huawei P10 we get two cameras at the rear, which provide a resolution of 12 and 20 MP. The first one is responsible for RGB photos, the latter for black and white images, as well as for collecting additional information. The Chinese manufacturer still equipped both cameras with an aperture of f / 2.2, but optical stabilization is only supported for an RGB sensor. For shooting in the dark, there is a dual-LED dual-LED flash, focusing by laser, phase comparison, depth or contrast measurement – or a combination of the above methods, depending on the scenario, and transparent to the user. At the front, we also see a camera at 8 MP with a f / 1.9 diaphragm and a fixed focus.
Today, a year after the beginning of cooperation with Leica, the role of the German specialist in the field of cameras is not completely clear. However, we can already say with confidence that Leica is not involved in the production of the hardware component of the camera, although it participates in the quality control phase. The same applies to processing algorithms. But in the case of Huawei P10, the cooperation with Leica is stated not only with reference to the rear camera, but also to the front camera. Although here mention refers only to software.
The software has also been largely transferred to Mate 9, we get all the functions there. It is possible to shoot black and white photographs or simulate the bokeh effect in wide aperture mode, as well as change the focus point after shooting. From the innovations you can note the portrait mode, which is activated directly from the main window of the camera application. In this mode, the camera detects a face at 190 points, and then creates a 3D model. Then, a special processing algorithm is activated, which selects shutter speed for each point and adjusts the color rendering. The effect of bokeh also comes at an opportune time. Compared to portrait shooting in the standard mode, the new mode gives the best visual quality, but the face is slightly blurred – Huawei calls it “Leica style”. The intensity of the blur can be changed in several steps, you can completely turn off the effect, and the mode is also available when shooting with the front camera. Our test sample mode could be selected, but the camera refused to shoot.
With color reproduction and colors, the Huawei P10 camera does well, although there is a lack of sharpness in the border areas
The basic operation of the main camera did not change – however, given the high quality of the Mate 9 camera, this was not required. Monochrome sensor for 20 captures data on image details and depth information, a 12-megapixel sensor is responsible for obtaining color. Then the software combines the results of both sensors, the user does not notice anything. If you close the monochrome sensor, the RGB sensor will be responsible for all tasks. The camera software takes into account this possibility, although the quality drop will be noticeable.
In most cases, the monochrome and RBG sensors work together (on the left). Is that in black and white mode, the RGB sensor does not work (right).
The quality of the images compared to Mate 9 has not changed. Regardless of the lighting conditions, the images are much better than average, the colors and brightness levels are captured correctly. You can criticize the lack of sharpness around the edges of the picture, but it will be noticeable only if you enlarge the photo. Huawei did not resort to artificial lightening of the image, as a result, in the dark, the photographs are more realistic than those of the Galaxy S7. Experienced users are advised to switch to Pro mode, which will help to improve the quality of images. Huawei P10 surprised us in another, because the combination of powerful hardware, ISP and bokeh filter software allowed to provide an analog of optical zoom. In comparison with P9, the progress is noticeable, although, of course, the quality of the zoom smartphone is inferior to the same “SLRs”.
The Huawei P10 supports a wide aperture mode, allowing you to achieve a bokeh effect (left). In this mode, the aperture and focus point can be changed later (right).
The front camera gives qualitative selfies, although sometimes you have to fight with the white balance. In addition, the noise appears quite early, albeit in a limited number.
In standard mode, the Huawei P10 does not use the bokeh effect or other filters (on the left). In portrait mode, the object is measured at 190 points, as a result, we get a picture with more dynamics and bokeh (right).
The camera application was moved from Mate 9, except that new features were added. As a result, the main application menu seems to be overloaded. But Huawei divided the modes and options. The first can be reached by the wipe to the right, to the last – by the wipe to the left. Among the available modes there is a panorama and night shooting, but there is also a mode of drawing by light, allowing to get very effective photos. There is a mode of HDR, but Huawei again refused to automatically
The example of the Huawei P10 smartphone clearly shows how one element can affect the design. We are referring to the fingerprint sensor. Now it is located in front and perfectly in harmony with the appearance, while the P9 sensor violated the holistic design of the back. But Huawei made other changes. The radii of the four corners were slightly changed, like the shape of the frame, but it is noticeable only from the side. The P9 had a rather strong rounding of the body both in front and behind, now it is only present from the rear. As for the bevels, the opposite is true here, the skewed frame remained only in front, and now it is less pronounced.
As a result, the smartphone Huawei P10 with dimensions of 145.3 x 69.3 x 7.0 mm looks more original than its predecessor, it has become more symmetrical. The lower antenna insulator has been redesigned, now it bends around the lower part of the case. However, this is not so important as adding a Huawei logo to the back panel. Previously, there was only the inscription Huawei. Without a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel, the camera now dominates. Here, fundamental changes have not occurred, but the glass insert has a slightly different shape.
The quality of the aluminum case, which, by the way, does not have IP certification, can be called excellent. At our test smartphone, we did not notice uneven gaps or sharp edges. Unless the SIM card tray has a different hue, but only if you look closely. The buttons for controlling the volume and switching to the standby mode are neatly integrated into the case.
For ergonomics, Huawei added some minor improvements. Thanks to the rounded frame and the rough backdrop, the Huawei P10 fits comfortably in your hand, you can also work with one hand, but you should have very long fingers. We got a slightly smaller ratio of the display area to the front panel (about 71%) compared to P9. Weight 145 g for the size of a smartphone is quite adequate.
The new fingerprint sensor Huawei P10 received a new management concept, but we would not call it completely convincing
The fingerprint sensor also influenced ergonomics. The location of the scanner behind had its advantages and disadvantages, but Huawei moved to another camp. As in the case of U Ultra or Samsung Galaxy S7, the sensor can replace the right and left buttons of Android, but the user will have to choose what he prefers: screen buttons or less intuitive and not always accurate control of the fingerprint scanner. The combination of the two options is not supported.
Huawei did not upgrade to Android 7.1 or 7.1.1, as in the case of Mate 9, we get version 7.0 with an updated proprietary interface. However, the new EMUI 5.1 features are not so easy to notice, not counting fingerprint sensor support.
If you shoot a lot of photos and videos, then the function of Quik certainly like it. This program, developed by GoPro, creates various clips based on the materials stored on the smartphone, which then can be easily shared. Users can choose types of transitions, as well as background music. Performance depends on the type and number of selected sources. In general, the built-in and uninstalled application is no different from the version available through the Play Store and the App Store.
Probably the biggest changes will go unnoticed. For example, a new resource management system called Ultra Memory, which works in conjunction with the smartphone smartphone system and allows frequently used applications to boot faster – for example, by reserving memory. It is for this reason that Huawei does not consider 4 GB of memory on the smartphone an excessive amount. The Ultra Response function ensures smoother interface operation. The system tries to predict what action on the touch screen will be next. In the ideal case, if the system guessed, the action is performed without delay. Honestly, in our tests, we did not notice the effect of this function, because the system performance was already quite high. But it is quite possible that, as in the case of the F2FS function, presented together with Mate 9, the result will only be visible with time. Or, for example, the function will be visible on older smartphones that will receive the EMUI 5.1 update.
Visually, we did not notice any anomalies. The interface can be flexibly changed to the needs of the user. You can activate a separate application menu or disable it in Apple style. Beginners in the world of Android will be easier to learn with a smartphone, except that it can confuse the abundance of options on the second or third level of the menu. Fortunately, Huawei, for the most part, refused to install hidden or advertising applications, trusting the choice of Google.
“Younger” model for users who want to get the most out of their money. “Senior” model for those who are willing to pay extra for additional functionality. This is the strategy pursued by Huawei with smartphones from the P and Mate families until now. But with the new line Huawei P10, the ambitious producer did differently. The “younger” model still uses a smaller display, and the price is lower. Everything else is blurred. Given the advantages of Mate 9, this approach can hardly be considered a disadvantage. Yet this model provides more than enough performance, is equipped with a very good camera, and other advantages are present.
From Huawei it was quite logical to expect the packaging of the Mate 9 stuffing in a more compact package. In the end, not everyone wants to go with a 5.9 “smartphone.Technically savvy readers are probably wondering what innovations Huawei added to the Huawei P10 line.
Although the Huawei P10 provides a higher level of performance and longer battery life compared to the P9, there are no improvements on the camera, the case and the display, or they are quite insignificant. If you expected the same significant transition, as with P8 on P9, then you will be disappointed.
All this does not detract from the quality of the Huawei P10. The smartphone belongs to the fastest models on the market, the equipment can be called almost complete, you will get one of the best cameras among smartphones, we will add a high-quality package. But do not forget about one drawback. As it seems to us, the high-end smartphone should be attended by IP certification, even if all manufacturers guarantee the smartphone on the street on a rainy day. Also note the color temperature of the display is too cold and there is no support for the USB 3.1 standard. The transfer of the fingerprint sensor can also be called a dubious solution. Here, Huawei followed in the footsteps of HTC or Samsung.
Actually, the two mentioned manufacturers are the most dangerous competitors of Huawei. Smartphones HTC 10 and Galaxy S7 have similar size, similar performance and equipment class, but are much cheaper, from 480 euros or 450 euros. However, the higher price of Huawei P10 can be justified by a better camera.
In general, Huawei P10 today can be called the most technologically advanced model among 5-inch smartphones.