HUAWEI HAS MADE significant progress in presenting a strong challenge to the dominance of Samsung within the Android market, and in providing potential customers an alternative to the usual suspects, with the key being a slightly lower price point.
The latest flagship Android device from the company is the Huawei P10, a more refined version of its predecessor that sees the return of the Leica-branded dual-camera setup on the rear of the handset and the shift of the fingerprint sensor from the rear to the front.
Does the Huawei P10 offer enough to stand up against strong competition from the likes of LG, Samsung, Sony and other household names?
As a flagship device, it's no surprise to see the P10 sporting an all metal and glass chassis and a focus on super-slim design, both traits the Huawei P9 shared too. Indeed, simply glance at the two phones side-by-side and there's a chance you wouldn't really tell them apart, unless you were specifically looking for the more rounded corners of the P10.
Along the right side of the handset, there's a single volume rocker and power switch, while the two-in-one dual-SIM and microSD slot sits on the left side. Flip the phone over and you'll find the Leica 2 dual-sensor camera setup, and that Huawei has relocated the fingerprint sensor from the rear of the phone into the home screen button. Whether or not this is your preference is a different question, but it does happen to be mine. Some people do find it more useful, and easier to reach, on the rear of the device though, even though it runs the risk of smudging the camera lens with a greasy fingerprint.
Above that fingerprint sensor is a 5.1in full HD (1080p) display, single speaker, and forward-facing 8MPsnapper for selfies and video calling.
While the P10 doesn't offer the curved edges of Samsung's premium Galaxy range, nor quite bezel-less design, the overall size of the phone, particularly being just 6.98mm thick, is no mean feat.
Officially, it measures up at 145.3mm x 69.3mm x 6.98mm and weighs 145 grams, which makes it thinner and lighter than all of its main competitors from the crop of new 2017 smartphones, including the S8, LG G6, and Sony Xperia XZ. It does have a smaller screen than some of those, however, which is worth keeping in mind if size is critical to you.
For most people, an extra millimeter here or gram there isn't going to be the make-or-break factor, however, so the pursuit of the ‘thinnest' phone title isn't necessarily one worth winning for Huawei.
Coming from a slightly larger everyday phone, the 5.1in panel, combined with the slimness, gave the impression that it's closer to using what would have been a 4.7in (iPhone-size) device of the past.
It is, however, hard to ignore that it feels a little like a direct aim at producing an iPhone competitor - an iPhone for people that want to use Android, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Display, hardware and storage
The exact specification of the Huawei P10 varies a little depending on your location, but for the UK, it ships with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, though this can be expanded using the microSD in the multi-function SIM slot. Other regions get between 32GB and 128GB of storage on board.
Drawing the most attention is the 5.1in Full HD display (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 432 PPI), which, despite not matching up to the Quad HD resolutions of some competitors, has a bright, vibrant image that can more than live up to the UK's dazzlingly bright (!) sunshine.
If you opt for the larger P10 Plus, you do get a step up in resolution to 1440p, but it's one that you'd appreciate more on the larger 5.5in display. Practically, where the Huawei falls short on paper, you're unlikely to notice in your everyday usage, even if that frequently includes using your phone for TV and movies.
The upside of this decision for the P10 is a lower power draw from the display compared to a larger or higher-resolution panel, and given most people's battery life frustrations, the difference in visual quality is probably worthwhile. Give the screen size, the 3,200mAh battery is a solid choice, but more on that later.
Powering everything along is a Kirin 960 Octa-Core chipset, which is a pairing of quad Cortex A73 (2.4GHz) and quad Cortex A53 (1.8GHz) processors. The review model (VTR-L09) reviewed here had 4GB of RAM.
Support for 4G bands is similarly dependent on where you buy your phone, but assuming it comes from a regular UK retailer or network, there's support for 4G on one of the SIM slots, while the other is limited to 3G, and is primarily for calling.
As a sidenote, Huawei, is one of the few smartphone vendors shipping phones with support for the multi-constellation satellite setup on offer today, meaning it connects to GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou (BDS).
Naturally, for a top-of-the-range smartphone, there's the usual accoutrements you'd expect to find nowadays too, such as Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC.
Next: Performance, software and battery