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Huawei P10 Review: In Depth

4

The Good

  • Vibrant new colours
  • Feature-packed camera
  • EMUI 5.1

The Bad

  • No killer upgrade features
  • Fast battery drain

Huawei P10 Review: After a week of using the Huawei P10 flagship phone as my full-time smartphone, I'm more than impressed with Huawei's enticing blend of attractive design, solid specs and fully-functional software. Here's our full Huawei P10 review.

Huawei launched its new P10 flagship phone out at MWC 2017, along with a super-size P10 Plus model boasting even stronger specs and increased dimensions. The standard Huawei P10 phone still shines however, with plenty of premium components and features packed into a pleasingly compact 5.1-inch form.

The P10 not only boasts Huawei's smartly designed dual-lens Leica 2 camera, which is absolutely stuffed with funky camera and video modes. You also get Huawei's latest Kirin 960 processor, some eye-catching new design choices and the brilliant Emotion UI user experience. So, is the P10 already one of the best smartphones to buy in 2017?

Here's everything you need to know about the Huawei P10 in our full review.

Read next: Huawei P10 vs P9, should I upgrade to the 2017 model?

Huawei P10 Review: Design

Huawei hasn't exactly thrown out its smartphone template when it comes to the Huawei P10's design, at least in the standard sandblasted model.

This 5.1-inch handset looks pretty similar to the P9 flagship from last year, but with more rounded corners and edges for a more comfortable fit in the palm. You still get that glossy bar up top where the dual-lens camera resides, while button and port positioning is the same. The Type-C USB port and headphone jack are down below, with a drawer for your microSD memory card and SIM card housed on the left edge.

One-handed use is a doddle, in part thanks to the compact and curved finish and in part thanks to Huawei's one-handed mode which shrinks the screen with a quick swipe. We love the slender finish too, with those almost non-existent bezels left and right of the P10's display.

You can grab the Huawei P10 in one of two alternative finishes, if the brushed metal model doesn't float your boat. The new 'dazzling' model features a precision-cut textured back that certainly stands out, while a glossy ceramic version is both hardy and a serious break from the standard metal design. You also get a strong selection of colours in the sandblasted and dazzling models, including the very attractive and rather vibrant new green hue.

The P10 isn't water resistant, but it can survive a serious splashing in a rainstorm. You can always rely on British weather to help out with that little bit of testing. So far, after over a week of full-time use, it seems pretty hardy too. That metal surfacing shows no sign of scratching or other wear.

Huawei P10 Review: Screen and media

Huawei knows how to throw together a great smartphone screen and the P10's 5.1-inch IPS LCD panel is once again a winner.

The P10's vibrant built-in themes help to show off the strong colour range, with striking visuals on par with the likes of Sony's Xperia XZ and the OnePlus 3T. Brightness levels are competent enough to cut through pesky glare when outdoors, while viewing angles are perfectly wide.

That Full HD resolution might not be as supremely crisp as the Quad HD and even 4K output of some of the P10's rivals launched out at MWC 2017. But it doesn't matter, because the relatively compact 5.1-inch screen still pumps out sharp, clear images. High-def movies certainly look wonderful, although true film buffs who travel a lot might look to the LG G6 with its Dolby Vision support, or the Ultra HD screen of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium which also supports HDR playback.

You get a generous 64GB of storage space, which can be expanded via microSD if you have an enormous media collection.

Huawei P10 Review: Features and OS

The Huawei P10 runs Android Nougat, the latest version of Google's mobile OS, which gives you loads of great features including the ability to split-screen multitask with two apps at once. You also get plenty of personalisation options, as well as resource management tools to help out when the battery's low or the phone shows signs of ageing.

Huawei has added its own software on top of Android, known as Emotion UI (or EMUI for short). Recent Huawei phones such as the Mate 9 and Honor 8 came packing the fresh new EMUI 5.0, but the P10 updates this to EMUI 5.1. 

Check out our in-depth review of EMUI 5 to read more about Huawei's excellent mobile software, and our EMUI 5.1 what's new review to see what additional features and tweaks have been made for the P10. However, in a nutshell, Huawei's additions help to strengthen an already solid user experience. You get a useful one-handed mode, some vibrant themes that match the colourful hardware, plenty of gesture shortcuts to save time and more besides.

That fingerprint sensor improves the phone's security and is impressively responsive, with almost one hundred percent accuracy to boot. However, it's a shame the scanner has been moved to below the screen as it isn't quite as accessible as the old rear-mounted sensors. That said, we like how it now functions as a home, back and recent apps button all rolled into one. Just tap for back, press for home and swipe for recent apps. It's a method that takes a little getting used to, but works beautifully once you've adapted.

Read next: Huawei P10 tips, tricks and best hidden features

Huawei P10 Review: Performance and battery life

Packed inside the P10 is a Kirin 960 chipset, the same internals found in the rather beefy Huawei Mate 9. Backed by 4GB of RAM, you know you'll get silky smooth performance no matter what you're up to. Blasting the latest Google Play games, the P10 doesn't even begin to sweat. While multi-tasking with two apps at once is just as ably handled.

For any benchmark enthusiasts out there, the P10 scored 144847 in our AnTuTu benchmarking tests. That beats the majority of other Android phones out there, with the exception of powerhouses like the OnePlus 3T.

The P10 also packs a meaty 3200mAh battery, and I found that I could make it through a full day of pretty heavy use on a single charge. However, the phone does lose charge faster than expected when not in use.

Diving into the power settings, I found that simply being on standby sapped a large amount of the P10's battery power. That's with very little time spent searching for networks, too. At least you get some handy battery optimisation tools, which can close power-draining apps when the phone is idle. That's alongside the usual battery saver modes and so on. So at least if you're in a bind, you shouldn't struggle to save the power dregs for when they'll really count.

Huawei's fast charging feature is also pretty impressive stuff, allowing you to get a 50 percent charge in roughly half an hour. Good news if you wake up and realise your P10's not plugged in and ready to die.

Huawei P10 Review: Cameras

Like the Huawei P9 before it, the Huawei P10 boasts a dual-lens rear camera designed in collaboration with partners Leica. This updated mobile snapper offers a 20-megapixel monochrome lens and a 12-megapixel colour lens, complete with Optical Image Stabilisation (on the colour lens at least), PDAF and a two-tone LED flash.

If you want to know what all of that gubbins means, take a close look at the P10's camera and video modes and browse some photo and video samples shot on the P10, we have you covered. Just check out our in-depth Huawei P10 camera review for our full testing and analysis of the Leica 2 shooter.

Huawei P10 Review: Verdict

The Huawei P10 is a solid all-round smartphone, offering smart hardware that's elevated by some well-designed software. If you're after a particular feature or looking to tweak some part of the user experience, chances are the P10 will allow you to do it.

Of course, there's no massive leap here compared with earlier handsets such as the Huawei P9 or Mate 9. No killer feature which absolutely demands an upgrade from one of Huawei's 2016 mobiles. So while I'd happily rock the Huawei P10 as my full-time phone for the rest of 2017 and beyond, it's difficult to recommend an upgrade if your chosen blower still does the job.

We're yet to test the P10 Plus, but that handset certainly seems to offer a more fulfilling flagship experience compared with the P10. You get an improved screen, better camera tech, a bigger battery and even faster performance, so we reckon that might be the one to look for if you're considering an upgrade. Check back soon for our full P10 Plus review.

To see how the Huawei P10 compares with every other big Android phone out there, check out our Huawei P10 vs the world feature.

Key Specs

  • 5.1-inches
  • 1920x1080
  • 150g
  • Android 7.0 + EMUI 5.1
  • 20 + 12MP
  • 8MP
  • Kirin 960
  • 4GB
  • 64GB + microSD
  • Yes
  • Fingerprint sensor

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