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Huawei P10: Tenacious contender


The P10 is powered by Android Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 user interface. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The P10 is powered by Android Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 user interface. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The Huawei P10 is a noteworthy upgrade from its predecessor. 

THE Huawei P10 is the best of everything that the Chinese tech firm has been doing right for its smartphones so far. Excellent front and rear cameras? Check. Sleek design? Check. Fast and impressive performance? Check and check.

The P10 features dual Leica 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel RGB rear cameras. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The P10 features dual Leica 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel RGB rear cameras. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The P10 is surely another step in the right direction for Huawei that is hell bent on proving itself as a leading name in the smartphone industry. Last year’s P9 did bring lots of excitement with its fuss-free design, Leica camera partnership and commendable performance with one of the highlights being its speedy fingerprint scanner. The P10 has all that and slightly more.

Now, I didn’t get the chance to try out the P9, but transitioning from Huawei’s Mate 9 Pro to the P10 was a breeze. In fact, the P10 is very similar to the Mate 9 Pro, as both have front-facing fingerprint scanners, as well as dual Leica 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel RGB rear cameras.

Worth a shot

Huawei’s tagline for this year is “Make Every Shot A Cover Shot”, so it is only natural that I try to achieve just that. With Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl in mind, I approached strangers asking if I could test out the P10’s portrait mode on them ... and no, it wasn’t as creepy as it sounds.

The two cameras work together to create a single superior image, and the dual-lens setup also allows the smartphone to sense depth for applying Bokeh effect. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The two cameras work together to create a single superior image, and the dual-lens setup also allows the smartphone to sense depth for applying Bokeh effect. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The camera has a “Pro” mode and I spent a grand total of two minutes experimenting with the feature. I figured that I shouldn’t unnecessarily complicate my life when all I needed to do was enable the wide aperture mode – the P10 is paired with Leica’s Summarit f/2.2 lens – and get going.

The two cameras work together to create a 20-megapixel colour or monochrome image, and the dual-lens setup also allows the smartphone to sense depth for applying artificial Bokeh effect. However, only 12-megapixel images are ­created in Bokeh mode.

The result? Amazing photos, although the Bokeh effect is slightly exaggerated in some pictures. Also, the camera snaps pictures when a smile is detected, or when you say “cheese”.

You can go monochrome or choose vivid colours for your photos. — SHARMILA NAIR/The Star
You can go monochrome or choose vivid colours for your photos. — SHARMILA NAIR/The Star

The photos are not life changing in low-light settings but nevertheless are decent enough to be shown and shared in public. Now, this is a first in the world – the P10 has an 8-­megapixel Leica branded front-facing camera. Selfie-lovers would appreciate the “artistic effect” that comes with the portrait mode which blurs out objects in the ­background. But if the selfie turns into a wefie, the lens will self adjust to include the new faces in the frame without you having to extend your arm.

Look and feel

The P10 has a 5.1in (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display, and shares a similar design to its predecessor with chamfered edges and a solid feel. This year, Huawei teamed up with Pantone Colour Institute to add two new colours to the collection – Greenery and Dazzling Blue.

Many P9 users complained that the smartphone was a fingerprint magnet and to avoid that Huawei introduced the Hyper-Diamond Cut finish which minimises smudges on the back of the phone but it’s exclusive to the Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Prestige Gold and Greenery.

The P10 runs on Kirin 960 processor with a 4GB RAM and a 64GB storage. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The P10 runs on a Kirin 960 processor with a 4GB RAM and a 64GB storage. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

So the Graphite Black that I reviewed? Yup, it’s full of fingerprints and smudges everywhere.

The phone is a nice fit for the usual routine of watching videos, ­listening to music or taking photographs. It is even comfortable for one-handed use.

The audio quality is quite decent and there are dedicated Videos and Music apps for playing your multimedia files on the phone.

If you’re like Madonna and like to change your looks every now and then, fret not cause you can do the same with your P10. The Theme app jazzes up the look of your phone – there are plenty of themes to choose from or you can even customise your own – but you need a Huawei ID for this feature.

Inside job

The P10 runs on Kirin 960 ­processor – a slight improvement compared to P9’s Kirin 955 – with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage. It also comes with a microSD slot for adding up to 256GB of memory. The smartphone is powered by Android Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 user interface which comes with two new features – Ultra Memory and Ultra Response.

Ultra Memory supposedly ­­rearranges memory to prevent fragmentation and recycles memory from unused apps to keep the phone from slowing down over time. In fact, during the phone’s launch in Spain, Huawei chief executive officer Richard Yu said that it uses machine learning and would ensure that the P10 stays fast for up to 18 months.

Okay, bottom line ... the phone is fast and there is no lag when I switch from one app to the other. This is coming from someone who has many running in the background because I always forget to clear them out.

Yup, the P10 is a fingerprint magnet unless you get it in Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Prestige Gold or Greenery which has a Hyper-Diamond Cut finish that minimises smudges on the back of the phone. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
Yup, the P10 is a fingerprint magnet unless you get it in Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Prestige Gold or Greenery which has a Hyper-Diamond Cut finish that minimises smudges on the back of the phone. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The Ultra Response is tied to the P10 Home button, where a short press acts as the standard Back button and a long press takes you back to the Homescreen. A left or right swipe will show the apps Overview screen. Huawei claims that the Ultra Response feature will track your usage and intelligently predict your next move, hence reducing latency.

I don’t know ... it didn’t make much difference to my usage of the phone, though it is funny to see my friends’ confusion as they try to ­figure out how to go back or get to the Homepage when using the smartphone.

There is the on-screen navigation key options if you’d rather see the commands though.

The P10 battery has a capacity of 3,200mAh. The battery lasts long and a full charge can get you through an entire day without the need for charging – provided that you don’t spend the entire day watching videos or playing games.

Generous use of social media and streaming Spotify on my way to work and home, as well as the usual phone calls and texting, didn’t use up much battery life.

Conclusion

All in all, the Huawei P10 is a smartphone that gives you what you want – excellent photos, fast performance and all that with a long-lasting battery.

The P10 is a good introduction to Android phones for newbies and a good addition to existing fans who are looking for an upgrade.

P10

(Huawei)
Android smartphone
NETWORK: 4G
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 7.0 Nougat
DISPLAY: 5.1in (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)
PROCESSOR: HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core (4 x 2.4GHz Cortex-A73 + 4 x 1.8GHz Cortex-A53)
CAMERA: 20 megapixels monochrome + 12 megapixels RGB (rear); 8 megapixels (front)
MEMORY: 64GB internal storage; 4GB RAM
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, WiFi Direct, USB Type-C
BATTERY: 3,200mAh
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 69.3 x 7 x 145.3mm
WEIGHT: 145g
PRICE: RM2,499
Rating: Four stars

Review unit courtesy of Huawei Technologies Malaysia, 1800-22-3366

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