Huawei P10 review: The Mini-Mate

GSMArena team, 10 March 2017.

Introduction

The newly announced Huawei P10 starts from where the P9 left off last year and improves it in pretty much every aspect. The design is even more striking, the already top-notch screen is even better, what used be a balanced performance is now flagship grade, and finally, the Dual Camera system, produced in collaboration with Leica, is now seriously better and allows for lossless zoom just like on the Mate9.

If you are coming from the Mate series, the P10 is probably not quite the breakthrough we described, but there are a few improvements even compared to the Mate 9. The P10 has an upgraded selfie camera with a new smart mode and Leica effects, including a Portrait mode with simulated bokeh. There is also the new front-mounted fingerprint sensor, which is now part of the multi-functional Home key. Add to that the new design and the variety of paint jobs and finishes, and you get a device that is surely worth checking out.

Huawei may have dropped the Ascend moniker for its P series, but it didn't stop their ascension in the flagship ranks. The P9 laid an incredibly strong foundation with its Leica Dual Camera, which not only shaped the future of Huawei's premium phones but also shook the mobile market and many other manufacturers picked up the pace with their camera R&D.

Huawei P10 employs the same Leica Dual Camera 2.0 we saw on the Mate 9 - it has a 12MP color sensor and a 20MP monochrome one, optical stabilization, features 4-in-1 autofocus, hybrid 2x zoom, among other novelties. The Kirin 960 with the almighty octa-core processor and snappy Mali-G71 is here to stay, as well. We are really curious about the new selfie camera powered by Leica and its Portrait mode, and we'll get to testing it quite soon.

Huawei P10 at a glance:

  • Body: Aluminum unibody, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 front
  • Screen: 5.1" IPS-NEO LCD with 1,080 x 1,920 px resolution (432ppi)
  • Camera: Leica co-engineered dual camera: 20MP monochrome/12MP color sensors, f2.2, 27mm equiv. focal length, 4-in-1 hybrid autofocus (phase/laser/contrast/depth sensing); dual-LED, dual-tone flash; 2x hybrid zoom; 2160p and 1080p @ 30/60fps video capture;
  • Selfie cam: 8MP f/1.9; 26mm lens; simulated bokeh effect; 1080p @ 30fps video capture;
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei EMUI 5.1 overlay;
  • Chipset: Kirin 960 chipset: Octa-core CPU (4xCortex-A73@2.4GHz + 4xCortex-A53@1.8GHz), i6 co-processor, octa-core Mali-G71 GPU
  • Memory: 4GB of RAM; 64GB storage; microSD slot
  • Battery: 3,200mAh Li-Po (sealed); Fast charging
  • Connectivity: Dual-SIM; LTE-A (Cat. 12 600/150Mbps); USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo; Bluetooth 4.2; NFC
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader

Main shortcomings:

  • No Leica Dual Camera 2.0 Pro with f/1.8 lens (exclusive to the P10 Plus)
  • No dust or water resistance
  • No stereo speakers
  • Non-removable battery
  • No FM radio

The Huawei-Leica partnership was probably the best thing to happen to the brand and the smartest move Huawei has done lately. The risk has paid off with a great dual-camera setup with many creative modes, and all of those shooting capabilities don't require any advanced knowledge in photography. We don't know if P in the P series stands for Photography, but Huawei has surely done a lot of work in this direction.

Huawei P10 review

Unfortunately, Huawei P10 has the same camera as the Mate 9, there are no upgrades whatsoever, and this may disappoint some of Huawei's fans. Then there is the P10 Plus model, which brings along the new Leica Dual Camera 2.0 Pro. It keeps everything from the 2.0 version but upgrades the sensors with the brighter f/1.8 lens. And that's the one thing we would have liked to be part of the P10 as well.

Other than the v2.0 Pro camera omission, the P10 looks like a thoughtfully designed and perfectly executed flagship. Is it really, though? Let's find out.