Huawei champions the first 4.5G LTE smartphone
Huawei has taken the covers off its latest flagship smartphones the P10 and P10 Plus, sporting a swathe of tweaks and improvements over its predecessor.
Sporting a 5.5inch display on the larger P10 Plus at an increasingly standard QHD display, while the smaller P10 measures in a 5.1inches and has a full HD resolution. Both displays are swaddled in a metal and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 slim chassis.
Aside from that, the two devices sport the same specifications including a fingerprint scanner, now positioned under the glass rather than on the rear like the P9, which doubles as a smart touch controller as well, and the dual camera rear array is also present and correct but with some tweaks over its predecessor.
Huawei P10 and P10 Plus; it’s a colours and camera game
But Huawei have gone overboard with the colour options, offering the P10 in green, blue, gold, silver, pink, white and black. Different finished are available to from high gloss to a sandblasted textured look. On the blue and gold models Huawei offers a finish it calls “hyper diamond cut”, designed to give the rear of the phone a slightly textured feel that is lovely to the touch, while it also protects against fingerprints leaving their unsightly mark.
The P10 models also sport improved innards, including Huawei’s Kirin 960 octa-core chipset found in the company’s Mate 9 phablet-sized smartphone, backed up by 4GB of RAM, with the P10 Plus offering 6GB of RAM. Huawei claims the chipset keep up its speedy performance 18 months down the line, where data fragments tend to slow a processor down.
Storage for the P10 weighs in at 64GB while the P10 Plus offers 128GB; both can be expanded to 256GB thanks to a microSD card slot.
Battery life for the P10 is claimed by Huawei to last over a day and a half at least thanks to a 3200mAh battery in the P10 and a 3750mAh pack in the P10 Plus. Fast charging dubbed SuperCharge by Huawei is also on offer and can provide a claimed day’s work of power in 30 minutes.
The P10s also usher in Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 user interface based on a heavily customised Android 7 Nougat core. Tweaks to performance and graphics have been made, such as the ability to create video stories automatically out of a user’s photo reels.
But EMUI 5.1 also brings in “Ultra Response” and “Ultra Memory”; the first being an improvement to the responsiveness of the handset’s touch tracking, including predictive finger tracking to figure out where a user will swipe or tap next. The latter is a means to use machine learning to optimise memory compression and clear up memory fragments of seldom accessed apps to ensure the performance of those used more often remains slick and speedy.
How well this works in practise will have to be seen, but ENUI 5.1 offers the ability to display multiple windows on a single screen, so at least multitasking should be improved.
But really the highlight feature of the P10 models is the dual lens camera array. Now offering a 20MP mono lens paired with a 12MP RGB dual sensor camera with optical image stabilisation developed with camera lens specialists Leica, Huawei boasted that the P10 is capable of professional quality photography thanks to the use of Lecia’s Summilux H lenses and Huawei’s Hybrid Zoom, which provides a virtually lossless 2x magnification. A laser sensor is also present for capturing macro photographs. An f1.8 aperture also aims to boost the camera’s low-light performance.
A suite of camera options is offered on the software side, from standard HDR to the ability to adjust white balance, ISO, and output in RAW format amongst other features. A Portrait mode allows the P10 to track and analyse the face of a subject in front of the camera array an adjust the light and other parameters to capture a better picture.
4K video capture with use of the H.265 codex is available with the ability to compress these high-resolution files by 50 percent.
Around the front is an 8MP camera with a wide-angle lens designed to capture ‘selfies’ comprising of groups of mildly narcissistic people.
4.5G LTE connectivity
Huawei touted the P10s as the first 4.5G LTE smartphones thanks to a quad antenna 4×4 MIMO setup, which is claims adds up to a two times speed boost to downloads, reduced dropped calls by 60 percent, and delivers better connections in areas with poor coverage.
Wi-Fi dual antennas are also included to improve data throughput on network connections while Huawei’s GEO technology allows for navigation in areas with poor or no connectivity through the use of offline data and inertia tracking.
Dual SIM support and use with seven WCDMA bands and four GSM bands completes the connectivity feature set.
Hands-on first impressions
We had a quick look at the Huawei P10 and can confidently say it is a solid flagship smartphone for the Chinese company, providing you are happy using the EMUI software on top of Android. The camera setup is impressive, but we would need to test it further to see if it is truly up-to-scratch.
Performance is slick as well, and the responsiveness of the fingerprint scanner impressed. The full HD display of the P10 feels a little soft compared to the 2K screens on many an Android flagship, but still very capable; those wanting a sharper screen may need to opt for the P10 Plus.
The design is also pleasing if not a major departure from the P9 or many other smartphones on the market, but in the darker shades it looks like a professional device you would not feel embarrassed at using in a meeting.
There is a lack of many feature that are immediately compelling to the business user, but the P10 models have the scope to meet the needs of both work and play.
The main stumbling block is the price; €649 (around £550) for the P10 and €699 (£591) puts Huawei’s smartphones in the ballpark of Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7 smartphones, both of which are arguably the top mobiles in the market. So Huawei has plenty of competition to overcome, especially in the West, if it wishes to make its mark.