With the P10, Huawei has managed to integrate the top three trio of the best high-end devices, while offering a smartphone under the bar of 600 euros.
The Chinese capitalizes on its double sensor, with a new design. The P10 Plus expands the range and uses the same processor as the P10, a Kirin 960 clocked at 2.4 Ghz. The RAM goes up to 6 GB (128 GB of storage) and the 5.5 inch screen is displayed in Quad HD. All for 749 euros.
Design that surpasses that of the iPhone 7 Plus
Even the largest Chinese manufacturers struggle to provide designs as beautiful and original as those of Apple and Samsung. Huawei is no exception to the rule, but finds a beautiful parade. Just like the P10 is very similar to the iPhone 7, the P10 Plus is directly inspired by the iPhone 7 Plus. This impression is due to two changes compared to the P9: the repatriation of the fingerprint sensor on the front panel and much more rounded finishes.
At the back, the smartphone displays a very refined style. We find the Leica stamped bar, which houses the two photo sensors and the flash. The rest of the metal shell is dressed only with the brand logo. The front panel is not much more provided, with the main button (without physical or haptic feedback) installed under the screen, which occupies almost the entire width. USB Type-C port and jack plug are installed on the lower edge. Power and volume control buttons are located on the right edge.
Clearly, this Huawei P10 Plus does not breathe eccentricity. But for a screen the same size as that of the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5 inches), it weighs only 165 g (against 188 g), is only 15.35 cm high (against 15.8 cm) 7.42 cm wide (compared to 7.8 cm). Above all, the thickness remains below 7 mm, against 7.3 mm at Apple. With a footprint of 12% less, the Chinese wins – at least temporarily – the battle for optimization. He also managed to replicate a superb manufacturing quality. The exemplary finishes complete the P10 Plus one of the most beautiful devices on the market.
IPS is resisting
Design isn’t the only thing that brings Huawei closer to Apple. In 2017, the two manufacturers shared their taste for LCD, in the absence of a widely acclaimed Amoled. And like Apple, Huawei wants to show that the IPS is not to be thrown away. The 5.5-inch panel switches to Quad-HD (2560×1440) to provide a resolution of 534 ppi.
But details are only useful if they are well-lit. Again, Huawei is a hit. During our reviews, we measured a brightness of 558 cd / m2 and a contrast ratio of 1743: 1. Associated with balanced colors – and configurable for the most picky, these performances make the P10 Plus a delight for the eyes. Within months, Apple and Huawei have shown that you can achieve perfection without Amoled.
A new idea for the main button
With the Mate 9, Huawei was one of the first to release an Android Nougat smartphone. We find with the P10 plus the EMUI overlay, based on this lareview version of the Google OS. The interface resumes its licked design – again, which is inspired by Apple playing on the transition blurs – and still convincing. Unlike last year’s versions, the overlay gives the user the choice of enjoying an application drawer or operating without it, as on iOS. On the other hand, the icons of the many preinstalled applications deserve a little aesthetic refresh.
Despite the arrival of the main button on the front panel, the three usual navigation buttons are displayed virtually. It is therefore necessary to give up a (thin) display strip. But it is also possible to operate without, using only the touch button. The principle is simple: a short press replaces a press on the back button. A longer press returns to the home screen. A swipe horizontal launches multitasking.
It took us a few hours to get used to this mode of operation, already seen at Meizu. But as we discussed at the Mobile World Congress, Huawei is teaching Apple a lesson, which Android users often regret the lack of a back button. After using the P10 Plus for several days, we took over an iPhone. On several occasions, we – mechanically – tapped the main button, waiting to go back. Manipulation obviously without effect. But taking this reflex alone shows that Huawei has succeeded. Also adopted by Moto, the idea could germinate among the competition.
Kirin 960 vs Snapdragon 821
The Kirin 960 is a processor that we are getting to know well. Already reviewed during our reviews of the Mate 9 and P10, it has proven itself. Admittedly, this is not the king of benchmarks with receding scores compared to those of the OnePlus 3T and Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe equipped with the Snapdragon 821. But in practice, it is not likely to frustrate the players. Titles like Asphalt 8, Asphalt Xtreme or Riptide GP: Renegade were able to run in the best graphic conditions. Only the last title reserved some brief slowdowns when the number of visual elements intensified. In certain circumstances (game, open photo application), we also suffered from a slight heating of the device.
The 6 GB of RAM ensures excellent fluidity, by opening almost any type of application. By pushing the requirement to the maximum, we will notice some tiny jerks – like when we delete a message on the application Inbox from Google, for example – not found on an iPhone 7. Huawei compensates for this delay with a fingerprint sensor whose reliability and responsiveness are (of the finger, of course) perfection.
Thanks to its large format, the P10 Plus has a 3,750 mAh battery, compared to 3,200 mAh for the P10. Unfortunately, the differential seems to be swallowed up by the high definition screen of the first, which consumes more energy. According to our versatile autonomy review, it does slightly worse than the 5.1-inch version with 9:31 am versus 10:04 am. Logically, however, it does better on call (10 p.m.) with the screen off. Without being a beast of autonomy, the Huawei device passes the course of the day without blinking. But it will not go much further as long as one assiduously exploits its many skills.
Photo: same promises, same assessment
For the past year, Huawei has been highlighting its partnership with Leica, a German manufacturer of legendary cameras. The P10 Plus is equipped with a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor and a 12-megapixel color sensor. In black and white, it always offers superb shots, which dominate the competitors of the head and shoulders. The shades of gray are wonderful, with a remarkable sharpness and an excellent level of detail.
We have sometimes observed a slight blurring of camera shake, systematically in more difficult light conditions. A defect that is all the more surprising than optical stabilization (photo and video) is excellent. In automatic mode, the device chooses not to increase its sensitivity too much to avoid digital noise. At equal aperture, it therefore compensates with a limited shutter speed.
For color shots, the picture is different. The gray areas turn green and the saturation is a bit strong for our taste. Huawei allows you to choose softer colors, which improves things. However, they remain less realistic than those delivered by an iPhone 7. Difficult to say if it is a choice of Huawei or software weaknesses, which can be corrected later.
Huawei now offers portrait mode, aiming to compete with that of the iPhone 7 Plus. In reality, the offer is very different. If the goal is still to offer a bokeh effect (soft focus in the background), the two optics of the P10 Plus remain wide angle, unlike the second sensor on Apple’s smartphone. Fatefully, the shape of the faces is less faithful than on the iPhone 7 Plus. Finally, the photo balance of the P10 Plus is very close to that of the P10: superb black and white photos, an interesting portrait mode and colors that can still be improved.
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