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Huawei P10 & P10 Plus review: Can dual cameras make a winning smartphone?

By Liu Hongzuo - 15 Jul 2017

Benchmarks, Imaging, Battery, Conclusion

Benchmark performance

The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus use HiSilicon’s Kirin 960 processors. They are fabricated with the 16nm manufacturing process. The CPU features ARM’s dynamic big.LITTLE computing architecture with four 2.4GHz Cortex-A73 cores and four 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 cores. The GPU is a Mali-G71 MP8 component. Kirin 960 also supports Dual SIM LTE networks (Category 12), LTE with 4x carrier aggregation, and 4x4 MIMO antennas. Both phones we had come with 64GB internal storage and 4GB RAM.

To the average phone user, the Kirin 960 SoC has “18% better CPU efficiency and 40% better graphics performance” when compared to the preceding Kirin processor of the same tier. It should also report benchmark performance results that are closer to the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 than anything else.

  Huawei P10 Huawei P10 Plus LG G6 OnePlus 3T Samsung Galaxy S8 Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  Huawei P10 Huawei P10 Plus LG G6 OnePlus 3T Samsung Galaxy S8 Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Launch SRP
  • From S$798
  • From S$998
  • From S$988
  • From S$799
  • From S$1148
  • From S$1248
Operating system
  • Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.1
  • Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.1
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with LG UX 6.0
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Oxygen OS 3.2.4
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with Dream UX
  • iOS 10
Processor
  • Kirin 960 octa-core, 2.4GHz
  • Kirin 960 octa-core, 2.4GHz
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core (2 x 2.35GHz Kryo & 2 x 1.6GHz Kryo)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (dual-core 2.35GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6GHz Kryo)
  • Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core (4x2.3 GHz & 4x1.7 GHz), 10nm process
  • Apple A10 Fusion quad-core 2.33GHz processor
Built-in Memory
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 6GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
Display
  • 5.1-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels / LCD
  • 5.5-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels / LCD
  • 5.7-inch / 2,880 x 1,440 pixels (564ppi) / IPS LCD / FullVision Display
  • Always-on Display
  • 5.5-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) / Optic AMOLED
  • 5.8-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (570 ppi) / Super AMOLED Infinity Display
  • Always-On Display
  • 5.5-inch Retina HD / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401ppi) / IPS
Camera
  • Rear (main): 12-megapixel, f/2.2, RGB
  • Rear (secondary): 20-megapixel, f/2.2, Monochrome
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/1.9
  • Rear (main): 12-megapixel, f/1.8, RGB
  • Rear (secondary): 20-megapixel, f/1.8, Monochrome
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/1.9
  • Rear: Dual 13-megapixel, f/1.8, OIS, 3-axis, phase detection AF + 13-megapixel, f/2.4, 125-degree wide-angle, dual-LED flash
  • Front: 5-megapixel, f/2.2, 100-degree FOV
  • Rear: 16-megapixel, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, 1/2.8" sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size
  • Front: 16-megapixel, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size
  • Rear: 12-megapixel, f/1.7, 1/2.5" sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size, phase detection autofocus, OIS
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/1.7
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.8, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0 Type-C, NFC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0 Type-C, NFC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, DLNA, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 + 5GHz), 4G+ LTE Cat 9 (up to 450Mbps), Bluetooth 5.0, VHT80, MIMO (2x2), GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Screen Mirroring
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
Storage Type
  • 64GB storage (expandable via microSD, up to 256GB)
  • 64GB storage (expandable via microSD, up to 256GB)
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Expandable up to 256GB via microSD
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 64GB internal storage (UFS 2.0)
  • 256GB (MicroSD)
  • 32 / 128 / 256GB internal storage
Battery
  • 3,200 mAh
  • 3,750 mAh
  • 3,300mAh
  • 3,400mAh
  • Dash Charge
  • 3,000mAh
  • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • Wireless charging
  • 2,900mAh
Dimensions
  • 145.3 x 69 x 6.98 mm
  • 153.5 x 74.2 x 6.98 mm
  • 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4 mm
  • 148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm
  • 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
Weight
  • 145g
  • 165g
  • 163g
  • 158g
  • 155g
  • 188g

Sunspider Javascript

SunSpider JavaScript measures the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience.

For your reference, the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus scored 58.223 and 58.143 respectively, for the JetStream benchmark – again, this is a new test where we're gathering test data, so we'll be a while more before we can transition. But as usual, the higher the score the better.

 

Quadrant

Quadrant evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O, and 3D graphics performance.

 

3DMark Sling Shot

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes impressive volumetric lighting and post-processing effects. We're running this benchmark in Unlimited mode, which ignores screen resolutions.

As a whole, the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus have acceptable performance for its Kirin 960 processor and its relevant hardware allows it to be considered as flagship standard. However, it only measures up to previous-generation flagship processors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820.

 

Imaging

The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus rear cameras consist of the following pair – a 12-megapixel camera with RGB shooting, and a 20-megapixel camera with a monochrome sensor. The Huawei P10 uses Leica’s Summarit-H lenses, giving it an aperture of f/2.2. The larger Huawei P10 Plus has aperture at f/1.8, because it uses the higher-graded Summilux-H lenses instead. The difference in aperture results in only one noticeable difference – the P10 Plus can handle low-light situations a little better than the P10, which probably is hard to tell unless you have both shooters side by side.

Huawei P10 Plus. Click for full-resolution image.

100% crop of above image.

Huawei P10 Plus. Click for full-resolution image.

100% crop of above image.

We’ve actually touched on the P10 Plus’s imaging capabilities over at this article, with a deeper explanation of their software features that led to the birth of Portrait mode. In a nutshell, it’s great at capturing detail, average in low-light situations, and only struggles with contrast handling.

 

Battery life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones includes the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The P10 packs a 3,200mAh non-removable battery – P10 Plus’s is at 3,750mAh. Battery life is a little disappointing as the two phones have the lowest test duration out of the lot. While the battery depletes rather quickly, it recharges just as fast - 30 minutes of charging brought the Huawei P10 Plus from 0% to 42%. That’s likely the Huawei SuperCharge at work here since it comes very close to Huawei’s own fast-charging findings.

 

Conclusion

While it’s a great device with a clean look, comfortable handling, and practical features, it’s not leading in benchmarks performance and it’s further hampered with middling battery life. The Kirin 960 processor is just a hair below the Snapdragon 820’s results. The Snapdragon 820 itself is already superseded by the better Snapdragon 821 and the current-generation Snapdragon 835. Fortunately for Huawei, the average phone buyer isn’t typically concerned with processor differences.

The P10 retails at just S$798, which significantly more affordable than the typical thousand-dollar flagship retail price. It’s also almost the same price as the OnePlus 3T, but the OnePlus boasts a better processor and more than double of P10’s battery lifespan. Don’t forget - our battery test is for a brand new P10, the battery life will only gradually degrade further as the phone ages with the user.

Huawei makes it up with an awesome use of its image processing prowess, which contributed to the new features in their dual rear camera setup. Yes, the P10 can compete with the likes of the OnePlus 3T and even better it, provided that you find the cool camera features and a beautiful finish just as important as having better battery life and performance in general. The phone is also more appropriately priced since it’s using a processor that can only compete with a Qualcomm's predecessor flagship.

Sadly, the P10 Plus is the tougher sell between the two despite its favorable aesthetics. A 5.5-inch QHD display seems nice and it feels like it’s just the right size for a modern flagship to get meaningful work done, but S$998 is too steep a price tag for performance that’s struggling to be on par with last year’s flagship processor by Qualcomm. Like the LG G6, it simply doesn’t sit right when brands want to charge a premium for older parts, but at least the G6 makes up for it: a new display form factor, a Dolby HDR certified screen, an IP68-certified waterproofed body, and high-quality audio DAC. Huawei’s P10 Plus can’t trump any of this and is in fact constantly performing a little behind the P10. Of course, you’re free to pay a higher premium, but you don’t get much besides a bigger screen with higher resolution and a minor camera improvement when you compare the P10 Plus against the P10.

Final Ratings

Huawei P10.


Click for detailed results break-down

Huawei P10 Plus.

Click for detailed results break-down