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Huawei P10 Plus hands-on review

Huawei P10 Plus hands-on review: Huawei just lifted the lid on the much-leaked new Huawei P10 flagship, but its bigger brother, the P10 Plus hasn’t experienced the same exposure. Here’s a hands-on review of the company’s new 5.5-incher at MWC 2017.

Huawei P10 Plus: Specs at a glance

Screen size 5.5-inches
Screen resolution WQHD (2560×1440)
OS Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.1
Rear cameras 12/20-megapixels dual sensor
Front camera 8-megapixels
Processor 2.4GHz/1.8GHz octa-core Kirin 960
Memory 6GB RAM
Storage 128GB. Expandable via microSD up to 256GB
Battery 3750mAh w/ Huawei Supercharge fast charging

Huawei P10 Plus: Hands-on review

Just as with last year’s P9 and P9 Plus, the P10 Plus shares in its launch siblings’ premium fit and finish. The phone will hit the stores in a total of eight colourways at launch (market dependant): Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Graphite Black, Greenery, White Ceramic, Rose Gold, Mystic Silver and Prestige Gold.

Whilst long-time Huawei fans might recognise a couple of those options, the ‘dazzling’ colours actually debut a new ‘hyper diamond cut’ treatment, which offers a shinier finish than traditional sandblasted metal, whilst still being able to repel fingerprints better than glass. It leaves you with a fine brushed metal look that’s deserving of any high-end handset. It’s also worth noting that ‘Greenery’ is, as you might be able to guess, a green hue seldom seen in the smartphone space, in this instance, developed in partnership with the colour experts at Pantone.

It should come as no surprise that the P10 Plus sports a large, crisp 5.5-inch WQHD IPS LCD, making it one of the company’s sharpest smartphones to date. There’s no Press Touch technology at play, as on last year’s Plus, but we’re not all that surprised by its absence, as even as far back as its debut on the Huawei Mate S did it seem like more of a means of belittling Apple’s Force Touch technology than anything else.

The P10 Plus’ front now also features a fingerprint sensor-laden home button, set directly into the glass in place of its more traditional location on the back of most Huawei phones and what’s more, the new Emotion UI 5.1 overlay, atop Android 7.0 Nougat, debuts new interface navigation, all made using that single button.

In place of the three standard on-screen Android navigation keys, a tap on the home button serves as a press of the back key, whilst a long press returns you to the main home screen, whilst a swipe down now summons the multitasking app view, a gesture previously reserved for pulling down the notifications tab on Emotion UI.

Huawei’s made other noteworthy tweaks to EMUI 5.1 like colour-matched themes when you first pull the phone out of the box and new background improvements in ‘Ultra Response’ and ‘ Ultra Memory’. The first relates to the phone’s new faster touch driver for responding to your taps and swipes that little bit quicker, alongside new predictive finger tracking tech that tries to anticipate where your digits will end up next.

The second of these new technologies focuses on memory compression for seldom used apps and automated resource management, powered by machine learning to ensure the actions you do frequently remain snappy throughout the lifecycle of the phone. Whilst that all sounds like the marketing department was left alone a little too long unsupervised, should it actually deliver, Huawei says apps should launch up to 30 per cent than were it not in effect.

Another new addition is the ‘Discover’ tab in the phone’s native gallery app, which will automatically group your snaps by place, people and event when it’s idle and the screen is off. It’ll also auto-generate editable movies of each grouped set thanks to technology borrowed from GoPro’s Quik app by way of yet another partnership.

Huawei was also quick to stress that all of the automated organisation of your snaps and memories is done locally on the P10 Plus and never offloaded to remote servers, which is nice to know.

Under the hood, the P10 Plus comes packing familiar hardware via the company’s own Kirin 960 octa-core chipset at its heart, although unlike on the Mate 9, accompanied by a whopping 6GB of RAM. There’s also 128GB of internal storage, double that of the smaller P10, with expandability via microSD up to 256GB on top.

Being the larger of the two new P10s also means you get a capacious 3750mAh cell with Huawei Supercharge tech built in (4.5V, 5A). Full charge is supposedly possible in 90 minutes with a day’s use apparently possible after just 20 minutes of juicing up time. Bold claims indeed that we’ll no doubt test out, come the phone’s review.

The P9 kicked off Huawei’s Leica partnership with its signature dual lens camera design and that relationship endures and evolves with both P10 phones. In the case of the Plus it packs a similarly specced dual 12 (colour)/20 (monochrome) megapixel sensor arrangement, but unlike the smaller P10, utilises Leica’s larger Summilux H lenses. The Leica 2.0 system also promises better portrait shots than those produced by the Mate 9, Huawei Hybrid Zoom (up to 2x near lossless magnification) and there’s now a Leica-affected 8-megapixel front-facing snapper too.

The Huawei P10 Plus pulls out all the stops and aside from lacking Daydream VR support, looks as though it offers a mighty strong proposition right now. Whether it has staying power akin to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 phones remains to be seen, but we have high hopes for Huawei’s new big-screen smartphone.

We’ll be back with pricing, availability information and a full review very soon.

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