Huawei P10 review: Hands on with Huawei’s colourful 2017 flagship phone

Huawei took to the stage at MWC 2017 to show off its’ 2017 flagship, the Huawei P10. It has a huge focus on portrait photography and design, but does it perform as well as Huawei claims? We’ve spent some time with the Huawei P10, and here’s what we thought. Read next: Best smartphones of 2017

Huawei P10 review: UK pricing and release date

We’re not quite sure about a specific UK price or release date on the upcoming Huawei P10 just yet, although we’ll update this section once we get confirmation from Huawei.

Huawei P10 review: Design and build

Huawei has a reputation for offering high-end design and materials in its smartphones, and the Huawei P10 is no different. Featuring a refined design reminiscent of the Huawei P9, there are subtle changes to the design of the smartphone that make it stand out from the crowd, following an “organic minimalism” design philosophy. Everything’s a little bit ‘neater’ on the P10, and the curved but slightly elongated edges of the smartphone give it a distinctive look, while also being comfortable to hold in the hand (vital for a 5.1in/5.5in smartphone) and less slippery to hold.

The most obvious change, compared to the Huawei P9? The staggering number of colour options available. Huawei wanted to offer consumers more than just the standard black, silver or gold colour options, and offers the Huawei P10 in colours including dazzling blue and greenery.

In fact, the P10 comes in eight different colours: graphite black, dazzling blue, dazzling gold, rose gold, greenery, white ceramic, mystic silver and prestige gold, although not all colours will be headed to the UK. Huawei worked alongside Pantone to produce the vibrant and eye-catching dazzling blue and greenery colour options, which are noticeable even in low-light conditions – you just can’t miss that colourful shimmer.

It’s not just the colours that are new, as Huawei has also introduced a new finish: the hyper-diamond cut, available on the dazzling blue and dazzling gold colour options. It’s different to the standard sandblasted finish, creating tiny ridges along the length of the rear of the P10. It’s a unique look when compared to other 2017 flagships so far, and provides an interesting (in a good way) texture to run your fingers across when holding the phone. Huawei also claims that the finish should reduce the smudges and fingerprints that appear on the rear of the device, but we’re unable to confirm this until we use it for extended periods.

Huawei has also moved the fingerprint scanner from the rear of the device to the front, and in doing so removed the ability to easily take selfies without needing to awkwardly tap the screen – but we’ll come to that in more detail below, as there’s reasoning behind the move. Huawei claims that the fingerprint scanner is beneath the glass, and while it’s technically true as there’s no split lines between the scanner and the glass, there’s still a dent on the front of the device for users to place their fingers and isn’t like what upcoming smartphones like the iPhone 8 are rumoured to feature.

Hyper-diamond finish feels lovely in the hand, and looks really impressive. Huge focus on design on P10, while technology seems to be in line with the Mate 9 – same GPU, CPU, etc. Camera requires decent lighting conditions to work properly, we couldn’t get the new portrait mode to work properly at all during our time – would focus on the person behind, leaving me blurred, or wouldn’t recognise my face at all. Rear-facing camera performs well, but again, results are a bit hit and miss during our time with the phone. Display is responsive, apps open instantly so no complaints on the power side.

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Huawei P10 review: Features and spec

Huawei put a huge focus on the design and software capabilities of the Huawei P10 during its MWC 2017 announcement, but there’s a good reason behind that: the internals of the smartphone are almost identical to that of the Huawei Mate 9, which was released back in November 2016.

Just like the Huawei Mate 9, the Huawei P10 features the latest Kirin 960 2.4GHz octa-core processor coupled with a Mali G71 GPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage. Those looking for a little more oomph can opt for the P10 Plus, which features 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Of course, as with all Huawei devices, the P10 also features a microSD card slot that’ll allow you to expand the storage by up to 256GB.

That’s not a bad thing though, as in our Huawei Mate 9 review we described the processing power of the smartphone as stunning, and it’s a similar story with the P10: it’s blisteringly fast, with not even the slightest sign of lag at any point during our time with the smartphone. That’s due in part to the hardware, but also the software, as Huawei offers additional machine learning algorithms when compared to the Mate 9 to make it perform even better. Despite the high-end internals, Huawei has confirmed that the P10 isn’t DayDream compatible, although it wouldn’t go into detail about the reason.

In terms of the display, the Huawei P10 packs a Full HD 5.1in IPS display with a resolution of 1920×1080, compared to the 5.5in WQHD IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440. However, due to slim bezels and smart design from Huawei, the phone isn’t overly bulky and is relatively easy to use one-handed. As with most Huawei displays, it’s bright, colourful and crisp, although a little heavy on the contrast for our personal taste.  

Read on for more on the Huawei P10, including cameras and software. 

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