Every phonemaker is trying to “innovate” in the same way in 2017, with sleek devices that are basically all screen and glass.
But Huawei, the third largest smartphone maker in the world, isn’t playing that game. The company just launched its new flagships, the P10 and the P10 Plus, at a Mobile World congress event in Barcelona, and these phones aren’t a radical departure from their predecessors.
The biggest change on the 5.2-inch P10 and the 5.5-inch P10 Plus is the new fingerprint sensor on the front. It’s a smooth, glass surface that responds to touches with a subtle vibration, and it also replaces Android’s standard on-screen controls (which can be turned on in the settings, if you so desire). Note that like the sensor on the iPhone 7, this isn’t technically a button.
The new sensor is elegant (and very Samsung-like), but it also takes Huawei in the opposite direction of other smartphone makers, which are removing buttons from their devices and giving as much real estate to screens as possible.
We’ll see where this approach takes Huawei, but it’s definitely not making their phones sexier.
Design-wise, apart from the new “button” on the front, the phones are a minor upgrade compared to last year’s model. They come in a wide assortment of colors, including a shiny green and a blue variant. The surface on the back has microtextures that reduce fingerprints while still making the phone appear very shiny; it’s slightly rough to the touch, making the phone a lot harder to slip out of your hands.
In terms of specs, both the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus have a 960 Kirin chipset (the latest and greatest from Huawei’s HiSilicon chip-making company), 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It can also be had in a 6GB variant. One of the phones we tried only had 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage; perhaps it was the unannounced Huawei P10 Lite.
The screen is also different; the P10 has a full HD, 5.2-inch screen, while the P10 Plus has a 5.5, 2K screen.
The Leica-branded dual cameras on the back are a combination of a 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel color sensors, similar to what the Huawei Mate 9 has. The P10 Plus will have the same resolution, but with better, Summilux-H lenses. The selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor on both phones.
Finally, the P10 sports a 3,200mAh battery, while the P10 Plus has a 3,750mAh battery; the batteries on both phones support fast charging.
On the software side, both phones come with Android 7.0 and Huawei’s EMUI 5.1, which brings several improvements to the table. One is better utilization of available RAM memory — Huawei calls this “ultra memory” — and faster screen response, thanks to a new driver for the touch controller and predictive finger tracking. The phone also helps you organize your photos and create galleries and animations, like Google Photos.
The phones will launch in Europe and other markets (but not the United States) in March. The pricing starts at 649 euros for the P10 and 699 euros for the P10 Plus.
Expect a full review from Mashable when the device launches. For now, it appears Huawei has taken the traditional route of making a number of smaller changes to its flagships instead of trying to completely change the game. We’ll see how that approach stacks up against the competition.