The P10 may just be my favourite phone that Huawei has ever made.
It’s the design that really struck a chord for me, an all-metal body that mixes highly polished edges with an attractive micro-etched finish on the back. My review model came in a cool blue hue, which sets it apart from the black and grey phones that usually land on my desk.
But the best part for me is the size. With a screen measuring 5.1 inches, the P10 is much smaller than most flagship phones. That makes it fit comfortably in my hand. It doesn’t bulge out my jeans when it’s in my pocket and you won’t need experimental surgery to extend your thumb to text one-handed.
I love the camera, too. It has the same dual-lens setup that’s on last year’s P9, albeit with increased resolutions. One lens takes shots in colour and the other only shoots in black and white, with both delivering great performances. Colour shots are rich, vibrant and well exposed. I’m impressed with how quickly the phone focuses and at how well it balances very bright and very dark areas in a scene.
Huawei P10 camera test photos
It’s the black and white mode that I like the most, though. While you can simply apply black and white effects to any photo after you shoot it, the P10’s dedicated monochrome sensor delivers beautiful results with gorgeous contrast without any extra tweaking. It’s great fun to head into town with the monochrome mode enabled and see how the world looks in black and white.
And the 8-megapixel front-facing camera is more than sufficient to capture your most embarrassing grinning selfies.
Beyond the camera, the P10 has a decent 64GB of storage and an octa-core processor that easily handled the demanding tasks I threw at it. For example, photo editing in Snapseed was a breeze and it tackled graphically demanding games like Asphalt Xtreme without breaking a sweat.
The battery is extremely capable too, lasting an impressive 15 hours on our rundown tests. By comparison, the Google Pixel XL managed just under 14 hours on the same test, while the OnePlus 3T ($439.00 at OnePlus) almost got to 17. With reasonably careful use you’ll get a day out of the P10 (keep your gaming and video streaming until you’re near a plug), but you’ll almost certainly want to give it a full charge overnight.
It is not a perfect phone (no phone is). To start, the fingerprint sensor on the front doubles as a navigation key, requiring you to tap it to go back in a menu, press and hold to go home, and swipe up to access Google Now. It was clunky to use and often I found myself unceremoniously booted to the home screen when I meant to take a step back in an app. You can turn the button’s navigation functions off and use on-screen navigation instead, but then you’re left with a large bezel and button on the bottom of the phone that’s only there to scan your prints. (My colleague Patrick Holland had a much more positive experience with the Motorola Moto G5 Plus.)
You also won’t find any kind of waterproofing on the P10, a feature I’d like to see become standard on all high-end phones. As such, be careful using it by the pool or in the bathroom.
Should I buy it?
Despite these concerns, the P10 is still a good bit of kit. It squashes a brilliant camera and plenty of power into a compact and attractive body. At £570 SIM-free in the UK, it’s far from cheap, but if you’re after a comfortable, great-looking phone with skills to rival any of the other flagships, then it’s worth checking out.
The P10 isn’t available in the US, and at the time of writing, Huawei hasn’t given any indication of whether it ever will be, but we’ll update this review with more information as it becomes available. The UK price, less tax, converts to roughly $600, for reference. The P10 will sell in Australia, although Huawei has yet to confirm a price. The £570 UK price converts to AU$970, however.
If it’s the slim metal design that’s caught your eye but you don’t like the high price, look instead toward the OnePlus 3T. You’ll sacrifice the awesome black and white camera, but the 3T has a great metal body and a much lower price.
The P10 is joined by the P10 Plus. Beyond its larger 5.5-inch, 2,560×1,440-pixel display, the P10 Plus has a beefier 3,750mAh battery and 128GB of storage. Its lenses also have a wider f/1.8 aperture that should let in more light in dimly lit scenes. We haven’t fully tested the £680 P10 Plus yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if these slight upgrades are worth the additional £110.