Huawei’s new P10: An evolution on 2016’s best smartphone

How do you improve on something so good? Tweaks and upgrades

When Huawei announced the P10 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week it was sure to get some attention – Samsung was missing from the show and while Blackberry and Nokia got the nostalgic attention, in terms of 2017 smartphones the P10 could be the best of the bunch.

Mid-way through 2016 Huawei announced the P9, their first dual-lens Leica camera smartphone, and boy was it good. Not just good, but great. We reckon it was the best phone of 2016 when you consider the quality, performance and value from the $799 price tag.

In reality, the P10 has a lot to live up to as a result. Most importantly on price, for the P10 to be as well regarded, Huawei need to price it as aggressively and not let the critical acclaim get to their heads. We will await local availability and pricing before making that judgement.

So, what’s new with the P10? The camera for starters.

First seen in the Mate 9, the second generation Leica camera gives a while new level of features to the camera – most notably the wide aperture lens feature which allows a post shot refocus as shown in the video above.

It’s a pretty stunning feature, and while highly “digital” – it’s as accurate as Apple’s digital blur in portrait mode but gives so many more options for a real depth of field effect at almost any point in the photo.

Amazing picture for a smartphone, when viewed large – digital blurring is visible, but still amazing

Taking the Leica partnership to the next level, Huawei have also introduced a new Leica front camera – which, while not offering the dual-lens quality of the rear camera, certainly adds quality and Huawei say better low-light performance too.

P10 on the left, P9 on the right

For Huawei it’s all about camera, camera, camera, with 3D Facial Detection for the best “selfies”, Hybrid Zoom for better sharpness in zoomed photos, studio like portrait enhancements and all the features I’ve mentioned above.

Expect performance to be a step up from last year, and as always the Battery is excellent, for full day use no question.

P10 on the left, P9 on the right

My only real gripe, in a few days of use, is the Fingerprint sensor. For some reason Huawei have moved it from the back to the front under the screen. It’s an excellent place for reading a fingerprint, but the thing does nothing else. Yet it’s placed exactly where many phones “home” button is. So you’ll find yourself pressing it and wondering why it doesn’t work.

Seems a strange move for my mind, but perhaps I’ll get used to it.

P10 underneath, P9 on top

Overall, this is an exceptional camera, with a great phone wrapped around it.

Hungry?

We’ll see how the chips fall when pricing and availability are announced for Australia – could this be 2017’s best smartphone? Tough challenge with Samsung and Apple set to really step up their game.

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Tech

Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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