Huawei goes for life in the Plus lane with it P10
By Chong Jinn Xiung June 5, 2017
- Offers improved camera and battery performance
- Impressive performance and superb at multitasking
REVIEWING the Huawei P10 Plus is like slipping on a familiar pair of gloves. Having reviewed the P10 not too long ago, the P10 Plus mainly feels like a bigger version of the same phone.
Physically the P10 Plus continues with the improvements Huawei made in its design of the flagship P series. It is clear that some influence has been taken from similar class smartphones but Huawei has taken it upon itself to shower consumers with a variety of different colours that set it apart from the competition.
There are some seriously interesting colour schemes such as the brilliant blue and green highlighted during the company’s 2017 Mobile World Congress presentation. However, for our review, we received the matte-black colour scheme which features the same ‘diamond cut’ pattern as the green and blue models.
Putting that aside, the P10 Plus’ thin and light body still feels great to hold. The completely flat metallic back is a little slippery and there were a few occasions when the P10 almost slipped out of my hands. A good casing should fix this problem and provide additional protection.
Just like the P10, the Plus version of the fingerprint reader has been moved to the front so the home button acts as a sort of all-in single navigation button that goes back with a light tap, brings up the multitasking menu with a swipe and home with a long press.
With a bigger phone comes a bigger display, the 5.5-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 resolution) display provides a lot of pixels and is the sort of quality we expect to see coming from a device of this class.
The screen proved to be sufficiently bright for reading out on a bright sunny day while colour reproduction was slightly on the cool side, though that can be adjusted to suit your preference.
It is worth noting that the P10 Plus’ screen comes with a plastic screen protector that is meant to keep fingerprints off the device and protect it from scratches. While it did its job for the first couple of days, the screen protector easily scratches and you may need to come to terms with a grimy screen after being forced to remove it.
Internally, the P10 Plus’ specifications are similar to those of the Mate 9 featuring Huawei’s own Kirin 960 processor which in our tests proved to be quite the performer putting it on good footing against other more established chipsets.
The P10 Plus scored well in most of the benchmarks that we put it through. It scored 5,283 on Geekbench 4’s multi-core benchmark and 120, 684 on Antutu, showing that it certainly had the processing muscle for multitasking between different apps.
Meanwhile, it’s 6,126 PCMark Work 2.0 scores are really impressive though this is balanced out by its modest 1,685 on 3D Mark Sling Shot Extreme that denotes average 3D graphics performance which could be due, in part, to the Mali G71 GPU.
In real life conditions, the P10 Plus’ performance is generally commendable as it generally felt speedy and responsive while apps launched promptly.
Huawei spared no expenses in making sure that the P10 Plus is a phone that can stand on its own, boasting a generous 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage out of the box.
For even more good news, there’s a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 256GB in size, potentially giving you a phone with a whopping 384GB of storage if you so choose.
Huawei’s Emotion UI (EMUI) 5.1 that sits on top of Android is fairly clean though it still comes with standard features like themes as well as some pre-installed apps (check if they can be uninstalled). It is by no means the cleanest Android skin but it offers all the bells and whistles that come with Android 7.0.
This includes split-screen multitasking if you are into watching YouTube while browsing the web. You also get Google Assistant with this latest build of EMUI so you are pretty much set for a modern Android experience.
As you would come to expect from the Plus sized model, the P10 Plus has a larger 3,750mAh battery compared to the P10’s 3,200mAh. In practice, the P10 Plus definitely has better stamina than the smaller model and should get you through a day of heavy usage.
One of the hallmarks of Huawei’s P10 Plus is its rear dual-camera setup and the front camera that are co-engineered with German camera maker Leica.
The dual cameras on the rear sport a 20-Megapixel monochrome sensor and a 12-Megapixel RGB sensor with optical image stabilisation.
Meanwhile, the front camera gets an 8-Megapixel f/1.9 shooter that carries over the bokeh shooting effects of the rear camera so you can apply the Portrait Mode enhancements on yourself.
The front camera also has the ability to detect if there is more than one person in the shot and will adjust automatically to wide-angle when necessary.
Though the twin cameras on the back appear identical to the P10, the key difference is that the P10 Plus uses higher grade Summilux lenses compared to the Summarit on the P10. The aperture is also wider at f/1.8 compared to f/2.2 on the smaller model, giving it a slight advantage in low light.
Regardless whether you shoot in RAW (that can only be captured in Pro Mode) or regular JPEG, the image quality is remarkably solid. Sharpness is present across the image while colour and dynamic range are handled well. Low light shots don’t exactly pop out but they are better than the P10.
The impressive 2x lossless zoom is actually useful for bringing faraway subjects closer. The bokeh (blurred background) effect from the wider aperture mode takes some educated guesses on how to separate subjects from the background. As on the P10, it isn’t always perfect.
Just as on the P10, the P10 Plus’ monochrome sensor takes black and white photography to another level and is a nice touch if one is keen to explore and be challenged rather than sticking to the usual Instagram-worthy shots.
Video quality is smooth and satisfactory with the ability to go all the way up to UHD 4K quality. Additional modes like Time-Lapse and slow motion are present to spice up your video recording capabilities.
A processed RAW image yielded a good balance of light at dawn.
Even the plain old JPEG files exhibit great detail and sharpness.
Even in dark environments, you can still get pictures that come to life.
Colour reproduction isn't the strongest or most saturated but it keeps the image feeling real.
Huawei’s P10 Plus is a definitely their best phone to date and certainly deserves its Plus moniker as it stands above the rest of the P10 lineup.
The Leica graded camera is great for snapping social media worthy shots and capturing memories. The breadth of features that it carries is dizzying by comparison with similar smartphones.
But it isn’t perfect as there are some missing features that we feel could make the P10 Plus a better flagship. As the competition heats up in the flagship space, the P10 Plus need to add features like water and dust resistance given the precedence set by the competition.
The larger battery should by right bring out better stamina but it is something that still can be improved upon. The camera, as great as it is, really needs a bump up in the low-light shooting department.
All in all, the P10 Plus is a solid smartphone from Huawei that deserves a look if you are into mobile photography and want a smartphone that does its best at taking photos.