Huawei has been making consistently great phones for a number of years now, yet has struggled to establish itself as a household name in western markets – and its latest flagship, the Huawei P10, offers a glimpse as to why that’s the case.
Huawei P10 Full Specification, Features, Price, Release Date And Review
But they are minor tweaks, and the P10 is a limited upgrade – and if you’re already running a recent phone from the company you may not be inspired to upgrade, although you might want to check out the slightly larger and better-specced Huawei P10 Plus instead.
Huawei P10 price and release date
- Not coming to the US, but may launch in Australia
- Now out in the UK for £569.99
- More expensive than the Huawei P9 was at launch
The Huawei P10 is now out in the UK, but it’s not a cheap device. It costs £569.99 from UK retailer Carphone Warehouse, which also has network deals with 2GB of data for £35.99 a month with an upfront cost of £29.99.
You may be able to get the phone for a little bit less too – we spotted it on GiffGaff at £499, but deals like that have proven hard to come by.
You won’t be able to buy this phone in the US, however, and it’s not currently clear why the company isn’t launching the P10 there. If you’re in the US you may want to seek out an imported model, as we expect it to work with AT&T and T-Mobile, but it probably won’t work with Verizon and Sprint.
The Huawei P9 launched at £449.99 (about $470, AU$799), a touch below most other major phone brands. The Huawei Mate 9 phablet, which launched at the tail end of 2016, jumped up in price compared to the Mate 8 though, so it may be that Huawei decides to drastically up the price for the P10 too.
- New fingerprint scanner offers a new way to navigate your phone
- Improved camera system includes a portrait mode
The fingerprint scanner on the Huawei P10 is a big highlight of this phone. This is the first time Huawei has put its security scanner on the front of the phone for a few iterations. It sits just below the screen, although despite it looking like the home key on a Samsung device you can’t press this down, as it’s not a button. There are no capacitive keys on the front of the phone either; instead navigation between screens and apps is all controlled through the fingerprint sensor.
Huawei says this is to try and create a more streamlined design – something it calls ‘organic minimalism’.
When you first pick up the P10 and try to use this, it feels convoluted. After a week of use, we found it became much easier to understand, and actually a little faster than moving between three different keys at the bottom of your phone, as on other devices.
Just be warned, you’ll likely spend your first few days getting frustrated, as you’ve tapped the button to go to your home screen but instead find yourself returning to a web page.
As with its other phones Huawei is putting a big focus on the camera for the P10. There’s a dual camera setup on the rear of the P10 – that’s a 20MP monochrome sensor working in tandem with a 12MP color shooter.
Images are taken on both cameras and the phone combines both – the black and white sensor is claimed to improve detail in the image, while the 12MP sensor captures the color. We’ve found that in good lighting the P10’s camera is better than the P9’s, but it’s not doing anything remarkably different.
- More rounded design makes the Huawei P10 look like an iPhone 6S
- Easier to handle than some other Huawei devices
- Fingerprint scanner on the front changes the way you hold the phone
The Huawei P10 looks like an iPhone 6S – there’s no escaping that. It’s striking how similar the design of the P10 is to the iPhone 6S, enough so that we’ve had many people mistake the device for an iPhone.
If you’re a fan of the iPhone design but not Apple’s iOS, the Huawei P10 could well be a great buy for you.
Despite looking like Apple’s device, much of the design language on the P10 is also similar to the Huawei P9. It’s a slightly more comfortable phone to use than that phone, thanks to rounded corners that make it a touch more comfortable in the hand.
The power button is slightly indented, on the right-hand side of the phone, and feels different enough to the volume rocker that you won’t confuse the two when the phone’s in your pocket.
Along the bottom edge of the phone sit the single speaker driver, the USB-C port and the 3.5mm headphone jack. Huawei is keeping the manual headphone jack for now, unlike some of the competition, so you’ll be able to continue using wired headphones with this phone.
Huawei has added two ‘dazzling’ color options to the range for the Huawei P10, which give a reflective metal effect and look great.
The technology behind this is called ‘Hyper Diamond Cut’; it means you won’t leave any fingerprints on the back of the phone, and it will also look beautiful from afar.
The phone pictured throughout this review doesn’t sport the ‘Hyper Diamond Cut’ finish, unfortunately. The regular metal Huawei P10 looks a little boring compared to the new dazzling version, but it does come in five color options.
These are black, green, silver, gold and rose gold. Huawei is also included a White Ceramic version, which is still made of metal but comes with a ceramic-effect finish on top.
While we’re not reviewing either of the ‘Dazzling’ options, but we have had the chance to hold them and they look and feel very nice indeed.
The design of the Huawei P10 does feel a little slicker than previous Huawei phones, and a better overall package. It’s easy to hold this device – the Huawei Mate 9 can be unwieldy for some.
But we’ll say it again… it’s really hard to shake the impression that this phone looks very like an iPhone.
- Full HD 5.1-inch display that’s bright and colorful
- Looking for a higher resolution? Go for the P10 Plus
Huawei has opted for a Full HD display on the P10, unlike competition from LG and Samsung that have QHD panels. And just a day after the P10 was announced, Sony showed off its brand new 4K panel phone, which offers a far better resolution than the P10.
The screen is much the same as we saw on the Huawei P9, which we were mostly pretty happy with. It’s a touch smaller at 5.1 inches – the Huawei P9 was 5.2 inches.
You’ll be able to reach all corners of the display without stretching out your fingers. You may sometimes have to use both hands to use a particular feature, but it’s a comfortable experience.
- Not the best battery life available on the market
- When playing video it performed slightly worse than the Huawei P9
- Will last you a full day on limited to medium usage
Battery life on the Huawei P10 has been improved compared to various older Huawei devices, but it’s still not great.
We regularly found the phone had died in our pockets towards the end of the day. That said, we were pushing the P10 hard, and if you’re a lighter user you’ll probably be okay until you put the phone on charge overnight
The Huawei P10 has pretty impressive idle battery life, mind you – we just found that it struggled when we put it through hard processing tasks, or left the screen on for extended periods.
Huawei has upgraded the cell in the P10 to 3,200mAh compared to the 3,000mAh unit in the P9, but it seems that hasn’t helped much.
In the course of our video test,– where we play a 90-minute video clip from the phone’s memory at full brightness, with connectivity options on, the Huawei P10 lost 20% of its battery.
In the same test the Huawei P9 only lost 15%, so for playing video this phone is actually worse than the P9. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the phone to go for in terms of battery endurance for watching video, as it only lost 13% in the same test.
To charge the phone you’ll be using the USB-C port at the bottom of the phone, and there’s fast-charging here too.
We didn’t get the opportunity to try fast-charging with our review handset, as the required charger wasn’t included in the box. But if you buy the Huawei P10 the correct charger should be included.
There’s no wireless charging on the Huawei P10, however, which is a notable omission when many phone manufacturers are currently starting to adopt the technology.
- Dual camera setup – 12MP RGB sensor working alongside 20MP monochrome shooter
- New Lecia Portrait mode combines previously seen beauty mode and Bokeh effects into an easier to use package
The Huawei P9 saw the debut of the Leica-branded dual-lens camera, and it’s back for the P10.
The setup here, however, is almost the same as that on the Huawei Mate 9, with a 12MP color sensor working in tandem with a 20MP monochrome one.
The phone takes a photo using both sensors, then combines the two images, the idea being that the black and white sensor will enhance detail and contrast in the color image.
When you’re shooting in good lighting, the Huawei P10 is noticeably better than every Huawei phone that has gone before it. The same can’t be said for low-light shots though – most phone cameras struggle in dark environments, but we found the P10 especially lacking when shooting at night or indoors under poor lighting.
We took both the Huawei P10 and P9 out on various shoots, and each time we found the P9 would come out on top when shooting in darker conditions. That said, if you tend to take your photos outdoors, rather than in bars, restaurants and similar dingy surroundings, the P10 offers the better, higher-resolution experience.
If you’re planning to take photos of people on either the front or back camera, tap the little portrait logo and you’ll enter the new mode.
Portrait mode also comes with new facial tracking software, which uses more than 190 points on the human face to detect exactly where your facial features are and focus the camera properly to get the best shot.
This photo below has Portrait mode off, and then press on the right to see how it turned out with the beauty mode turned all the way up to 10.
In terms of everyday photos, you probably won’t find a big difference between the P10 and other recent Huawei phones The beauty mode and bokeh effect offer a different look, but they’re not something you’ll use all the time – we found it more useful on the selfie camera.
Talking of which, the camera on the front of the phone is an 8MP unit, as we saw on the Huawei P9.
It’s a good shooter, and will produce some lovely shots that you won’t be embarrassed to upload to social media – but it’s nothing impressive compared to some other Chinese phones which have up to 20MP sensors on the front.
Portrait mode is available here too, if you fancy doing a little work on yourself to smooth out your skin and so on.