Huawei P10 is almost same as the P9
Huawei has presented two new Android smartphones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona. The P10 is the successor of the P9 presented in spring 2016 and has the same dual camera system, developed together with Leica, from P9. The P10 Plus is a larger and more technically better equipped version.
It is clear that the manufacturer has taken over some components from the Mate 9. Huawei attaches great importance to the camera with its new devices, which has a new portrait function.
Two different display sizes
The P10 comes with a 5.1-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The P10 Plus, on the other hand, uses a 5.5-inch display with 2.560 x 1.440 pixels. They have decent screens, but they are not the best ones. The housings of both models are made of metal but Huawei offers different surface treatments. In addition to the customary matt finish, two devices in certain colors are also available with the new Hyper-Cut surface where the metal is roughened with minute laser cuts, resulting in a changing surface. The surface is not slippy and looks very good especially in blue. However, none of the models are IP-certified, so they are not explicitly protected against water and/or dust.
Cameras again developed with Leica
On the back of the both versions, you will find two cameras. We are actually familiar with the same setup from the P9 and the Mate 9. Huawei has designed the lenses together with the Wetzlar traditional manufacturer, but they are manufactured by contract manufacturers. In the P10, the same camera is used as the Mate 9. The Summarit H lenses have an initial aperture of f / 2.2. The first lens has a monochrome sensor with 20 megapixels while the second one comes with a RGB sensor and it has 12 megapixels. With the P10 Plus, the sensor equipment is identical, but the Summilux uses new lenses: the initial aperture is f / 1.8, so the lenses are more powerful. Both P10 and P10 Plus have an optical image stabilizer.
As with the Mate 9, the high-resolution black-and-white image of the 20-megapixel sensor serves as the basis for the finished image, which is then colored with the colors from the 12-megapixel image. Thanks to the dual cameras, we can also move the focus and use a high-quality two-shot zoom. As with the Mate 9, this allows for a slight zoom without degrading the quality of digital zooms.
New portrait function with better illumination
A new feature of the cameras is the Artistic Portrait: If we enable this function in the camera app, the smartphones automatically calculate not only an artificial background blur, but also adjust the illumination using software algorithms. This is intended to simulate effects that are actually achieved only with artificial light sources. In order to simulate the lighting, the two new smartphones recognize faces three-dimensionally, and also determine in which direction the person photographed is looking at. Only in this way can the algorithm calculate sensible locations for artificial lighting. We can not set anything in this mode, the optimization runs automatically and can only be activated or deactivated. The results we could look at during our short test actually looked very well. We could not see much about the artistic aspect of the automation, but our test situation was not particularly exciting: we simply snapped each other in a room. However, the results obtained were already promising.
Automatic illumination can also lead to darker areas
According to Huawei, the automatic lighting system should not only lighten dark areas, but also dramatize portraits – for example by making a dark facial hemisphere even darker. Apparently, Huawei relies on the ability of the algorithm to assess such a situation. The Artistic Portrait function can also be used in the monochrome mode of the cameras. This allows black-and-white portraits with a blurred background to be produced. In addition to the light effects, there is also an improved beauty mode, which includes make-up effects.
Front camera with autofocus
The front camera of both smartphones has 8 megapixels and now comes with a Leica lens. The aperture is f / 1.9. The P10 has a fixed focus, while the P10 Plus has an autofocus.
The Kirin 960 processor, which is also used in the Mate 9, is embedded in both models. The maximum clock rate of the eight core processor is 2.4 GHz. Thanks to smart memory management, the two new models, like the Mate 9, are not likely to slow down as a result of unfavorable memory management. Thanks to the machine learning algorithm, the devices are also to recognize when the user frequently uses which apps and preloads them accordingly.
Plus has more memory
The memory configuration differs between P10 and P10 Plus: The P10 comes with 4 GB of memory and 64 GB of flash memory to the Europe, the 32 GB version is not offered here. The P10 Plus comes with 6 GB of memory and 128 GB of flash memory; In other parts of the world the model will also appear with 4 GB of RAM and 64 or 256 GB of flash memory. Both devices have a micro SD card slot, but only a single SIM option.
The further differences between the two models relate to different hardware components. For example, both devices support Cat12-LTE, but the P10 Plus has four LTE antennas instead of only two at the normal P10. The P10 Plus also has two speakers on the front. The WLAN equipment is, however, the same for both models: the devices master WLAN according to 802.11ac, the Bluetooth version is at 4.2. Both devices have an IR blaster, which can be used to control electronic devices.
Fingerprint sensor now on the front
The P10 and the P10 Plus each have an NFC chip and a GPS receiver. The fingerprint sensor is not like the previous Huawei smartphones where it was on the back, but now, it is moved to the front. It is now below the display and is provided with a recess in the cover glass. The new Huawei smartphones do not have a pushable home button like Samsung’s Smartphones. We found the backside sensor very handy as it is easy to reach when the smartphone is pulled out of the pocket.
The user can decide whether to use the fingerprint sensor as the sensor button for the home function. Then the back-function and the overview of the most used apps can be done by swiping left and right. If this is too cumbersome, you can still use the software buttons on the Android navigation bar.
The P10 has a nominal charge of 3,200 mAh, the P10 Plus has a battery of 3.750 mAh. The batteries should have run times of 1.87 days for normal use and 1.3 days for heavy use. We could not check this in our test yet. The rechargeable batteries are charged with Huawei’s own rapid charging system, which requires an extra charger. Within 90 minutes, the two devices should be fully charged.
Comes with Android 7.0
The P10 and the P10 Plus are delivered with Android 7.0 and the current version of the Huawei UI 5.1 interface. EMUI 5.1 includes, among other things, the new camera functions as well as a new gallery app. This was developed in cooperation with Gopro and offers the user like Google’s photo app a summary of photos of certain events. From the pictures and videos are automatically created small videos, which the user can easily share.
Availability and conclusion
The P10 will cost €649 ($685), but for the P10 Plus, buyers will have to pay€699 ($738). The devices should appear in March and April 2017. The matte P10 Plus comes in blue, gold, green, black as well as silver, the matte P10 comes only in black or silver. With the new Hypercut interface, both models are available in blue, while the P10 Plus is also available in gold.
The two new smartphones from Huawei leave a good first impression with us. Huawei has attempted improvements in some areas that may be important to users. This is particularly true for the camera, which takes very good pictures according to our first tests.
The new portrait options lead to images with good background-clarity generated by software and attractive lighting. The improved digital zoom, already known from the Mate 9, also achieves good results. With the Kirin 960, Huawei does not have to hide from the processor performance from the top smartphones of other manufacturers.
Something a pity we find that the fingerprint sensor is installed at the front, and no longer back. We already saw the alternative gesture control for the navigation buttons on previous smartphone models from other manufacturers and were never enthusiastic about it.
With some hardware details, the two new models do not differ from the Mate 9, for example in the sensor configuration of the cameras as well as the processor. Overall, we do not find the technical differences between the Mate 9 and the two new P10 models, despite the partial better LTE antennas, so great that we would definitely prefer the new models over the 2016 model. The new portrait features are not necessarily crucial for many users, especially since they could definitely come with an update to previous models.
If you do not have a problem with a big smartphone, you can basically get to the Mate 9. If, on the other hand, the size was a bit shy, the P10 would be interesting. The device is undoubtedly a smartphone comparable to the competition.