Published on May 15th, 2017 | by Bhavishya Kanjhan0
Huawei P10 Plus Review
Huawei launched the P10 and P10 Plus at MWC earlier this year. The two smartphones expand on Huawei’s partnership with renowned camera manufacturer Leica. The P10 and P10 Plus are the successors to last year’s P9 and P9 Plus respectively. The new P10 Plus is designed to be a larger, more powerful version of the P10.
The differences between the two phones are as follows:
P10 Plus v/s P10
Screen size: 5.5 inch 1440 x 2560 v/s 5.1 inch 1080 x 1920
RAM: 6GB v/s 4GB
Storage: 128GB v/s 64GB
Camera setup : f/1.8 Camera v/s f/2.2
IR Blaster : Only available on P10 Plus
Battery: 3,750 mAh v/s 3,200 mAh
We got our hands on the P10 Plus for a full review of the phone. The larger phone promises flagship performance in a form-factor that sits squarely between the P10 and the Mate 9. Let’s see if it delivers.
Build and Size
Huawei has been doing a great job with the construction of its phones. They’re solid and sturdy in build, and yet somehow, Huawei ensures they’re not uninspired. Our review unit was the matte black P10 Plus. The front has a glossy finish, thanks mostly to the screen. The back and the sides feature a rather understated matte black styling. There’s a small bar at the top of the phone, where there cameras and flash are housed, that is glossy black in color and stands in contrast with the rest of the phone. You wouldn’t be blamed if you mistook the P10 Plus for the new iPhone 7; that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Though there are similarities, the P10 Plus does have it’s own standout design cues as well.
The right side of the phone features the power button with a very subtle orange line running around it, as well as the volume rocker. The left side features the dual SIM / SD Card storage tray. At the top is the IR Sensor and mic for Noise reduction, while the bottom features the headphone jack, USB C charging, and a speaker grill.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of the phone’s design is that it is prone to smudges and fingerprints. Just a few minutes of with the phone and you’ve left more than a few marks on the front and the back of the phone. You may find yourself rubbing the phone down on your jeans, trousers, or a tissue rather frequently.
The phone is 7mm thick and certainly pocketable. Its weight of 165g won’t drag you down either. Despite its thin and light build, the phone solid to hold. Its weight seems to be evenly balanced across the phone.
Unlike its competitors, the P10 Plus is not water or dust-proof. This is a frustrating omission on Huawei’s part, especially since these capabilities are more or a less a standard among flagship phones. The P10 plus is splash resistant and IPX3 certified. This means you can take it to the beach and it’ll survive a few splashes but you can’t immerse it in water.
Screen and Display
The display on the P10 Plus is gorgeous. The screen is a 5.5 inches LCD display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. The 540 ppi results in a very sharp and crisp display. The text is smooth to read and images pop. Watching videos on the screen is a delight. Huawei includes screen brightness adjustment capabilities that can make the screen pretty dim; this is very useful when you’re checking your phone in the middle of the night. Huawei has put out impressive screens, even with 1080p at 5.9” with the Mate 9; a smaller size and higher resolution just take it a few notches above.
Huawei’s partnership with Leica continues to grow and the P10 Plus is the latest product coming from it. The dual-camera at the rear features a 20MP Monochrome and 12MP Color sensor. Huawei uses these two cameras in a variety of ways.
Firstly, it provides lossless 2x zoom. Secondly, you can create artificial bokeh / shallow depth of field shots, which look especially good in portraits.
The Monochrome 20MP sensor captures the details of the scene while the 12MP sensor fills the picture with color.
Huawei’s camera app comes loaded with features. You can change the color settings to enable more vivid colors, setup a low aperture mode which lets you to artificially change the depth of field, apply filters at the time of taking a shot, and adjust Saturday, Contrast, and Brightness when taking a picture. These are in addition to the other features which are commonplace such as Panorama, HDR, etc.
The 8MP Front Camera features a beauty mode. Users can apply a variety of effects including smoothening the skin, thinning the face, low depth of field etc. Like any software enhancement, these capabilities can be taken to extreme lengths resulting in very artificial looking shots. Most users may enjoy a little ‘touch-up’ though.
The video camera on the P10 Plus allows captures in 4K, 1080P (60fps and 30fps), and Slo-Mo (1080p @ 120fps). The camera also features Optical Image Stabilization which helps reduce the shakiness oft found in hand-held video footage.
The P10 Plus features a sizable 3,750 mAh battery. However, the high-resolution screen draws a lot of that power. The phone lasts just under a day with heavy use and a long screen usage time. In order to help conserve battery, the phone features two low-power modes. The first one stops background data syncing, lower processor use, and dims the screen. The second, more aggressive one, puts the phone into an extremely low power state where you can only access certain applications like calling, messaging, and contacts. The second state can increase the life of the battery by hours. For example, at about 35% battery level, the second state can over 19 hours.
For when you do run out of battery, Huawei has built in its proprietary fast charging capabilities into the phone that it calls ‘Super-charging’. This charges the phone at about 5A, getting you above 50% in under thirty minutes and a complete charge in just about an hour.
Operating System and Software
Huawei has included Android 7.0 on the P10 Plus. It also features the newest (5.1) version of Emotion UI (EMUI), a minor upgrade from EMUI 5.0 seen on the Mate 9.
EMUI includes a lot of additional features such as gesture control, split screen, twin apps, and a custom camera app. You can even customize the fingerprint gesture to be an action key – long-press to go to ‘Home’, short-press to go ‘back’, and swipe to show a list of open applications.
The biggest challenge with manufacturer overlays is the drop in performance. Huawei has worked to ensure that isn’t the case here. The phone chugs along perfectly fine and doesn’t seem to lag or slow down. Huawei has said this could also be due to the AI capabilities built into the OS that analyze usage patterns and optimize the OS accordingly.
Power and Internals
Of course, a lot of the performance depends on what powers the phone. In the case of the Huawei P10 Plus, it features the flagship outa-core Kirin 960 processor and 6GB of RAM. The process features 4x Cortex-A73 @2.36GHz and 4x Cortex-A53 @1.84GHz processors. The integrated modem supports Cat 12/13 LTE allowing for downloads up to 600Mbps. There’s no point enabling that speed if the phone doesn’t provide proportionate storage to match it; the P10 Plus thankfully does. It features 128GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a Dual-SIM/SD Storage slot.
The fingerprint sensor is another highlight of the P10 Plus. It is very fast and highly accurate, registering prints and unlocking the phone in milliseconds. As talked about earlier, the sensor can be used as a navigation key as well, freeing up screen real estate for the user. Unlike the Mate 9 which has the sensor at the back of the phone, the P10 Plus has it at the front, right where you would expect the home button to be. This is more in line with what other phones have right now.
Huawei has rapidly become a leading smartphone manufacturer and the P10 Plus is a perfect example of why. It delivers excellent performance, solid internals, and a very impressive camera built in partnership with imaging leaders at a price that doesn’t break the bank. However, it’s not a perfect phone. As a flagship, it still doesn’t offer any serious dust or water proofing. The phone does slightly heat up under a serious workload. Finally, it’s prone to fingerprints and smudges which really tarnish the look of an otherwise sleek phone.
None of the flaws highlighted are serious or a deal-breaker. They’re more along the lines of minor annoyances that may occasionally gnaw at you weeks after your purchase, perhaps only to be forgotten moments later. If you can make it past those moments, you’ll certainly enjoy the phone.