Huawei P10 Plus Review: In Depth
- Feature-dense camera
- Smooth performance
- Fast charge
- No HDR
- Not waterproof
We review the Huawei P10 Plus, a super-sized version of Huawei’s P10 flagship phone boasting more premium specs. Here’s what we think of the P10 Plus after using it as our full-time mobile for over a week.
Huawei has for a long time now impressed us with its own-brand smartphones, especially its more premium offerings. Not only do you get some gorgeous-looking, pleasingly slimline hardware to clutch, but these handsets are packed full of great features courtesy of Huawei’s own fantastic Emotion UI.
As we discovered in our full Huawei P10 review, Huawei’s all-new 2017 handset doesn’t break or even crack the mould of previous flagships. Once again you get a winning combination of sleek design and helpful software, finished off with a solid dual-lens Leica camera.
Of course last year’s P9 came with a super-sized model in the P9 Plus, as does this year’s Huawei P10. The mighty P10 Plus is significantly larger at 5.5-inches and offers a jump up in specs too, but is it worth the extra £100? I’ve been using the P10 Plus as my mobile for over a week now to answer that very question.
Huawei P10 Plus review: Design
Imagine the teleporter pods from classic horror movie The Fly (either the original or the uber-gory Jeff Goldblum remake is fine). Now picture throwing a Huawei P9 and an iPhone 7 Plus into one teleporter, before jogging over to the second. The beast which emerges from that machine will most likely resemble the P10 Plus.
This super-sized handset is a handful for sure, proving bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6 despite rocking a smaller screen. That’s mostly courtesy of the thick bezels above and below the display, although down the sides there’s very little wasted space. Thankfully the phone is still comfortable to clutch, thanks to the curved corners and edging. Huawei has also helped out with one-handed use, as we’ll touch on in the features section.
You get a screen protector pre-installed on the P10 Plus. Unfortunately this scratches to bits in no time at all and one week with the phone was enough to coat the surface in ugly scuffs and marks. Thankfully you can easily peel this off and replace with another one. Or simply let it go nude, if you’re careful enough.
Huawei also bundles a hard transparent case with the P10 Plus, which covers the back and edges to protect it from superficial damage. We doubt it would do much in a drop, but it helps to keep your shiny handset scuff-free. That metal surfacing is quite tough anyway, so using the cover is entirely up to you. However, don’t get this mobile wet; unlike the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, Huawei’s flagship isn’t water resistant. Splashes and rain are no problem, but submerging in liquid is the kiss of death.
While this standard silver brushed metal model isn’t anything particularly exciting, Huawei does offer the P10 handsets with a funky diamond-cut textured finish. You can also pick up these phones in a variety of bright colours, including a rather stunning green effort. These designs are the ones to go for if you want something vibrant and stand-out.
Huawei P10 Plus review: Screen and media
The standard P10 sports a Full HD 5.1-inch screen, which the P10 Plus boosts to a 5.5-inch Quad HD panel. In other words, it’s more spacious (good news if you spend a lot of time streaming video), plus you can enjoy sharper, more detailed images. The difference in visuals isn’t massive, however. The original P10 still produces crisp eye candy and makes the most of your movies, even with that lower resolution.
Despite using an IPS screen rather than an AMOLED, Huawei’s P10 Plus offers up some surprisingly punchy colours. Vibrancy comes close to the likes of the Google Pixel, so your images really stand out. You also get a handy Eye Comfort mode, for a more relaxing night time viewing experience.
Of course, Huawei is starting to fall behind the times a little when it comes to media playback. Samsung’s Galaxy S8, the LG G6 and Sony’s Xperia XZ Premium all support HDR video playback, which offers incredibly realistic visuals and excellent contrast levels. Without this on board, the P10 Plus won’t deliver the same viewing experience from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Huawei has generously crammed 128GB of storage space into the P10 Plus, giving plenty of room for media, apps and the rest. That’s particularly great news if you shoot a lot of high-def video. You can expand this space using a microSD memory card too, giving you a theoretically unlimited amount of storage.
Huawei P10 Plus review: Features
One of our favourite parts of any new Huawei phone is the rather spiffing software. The P10 Plus comes with Android Nougat of course, but sat on top of that is a delicious layer of Emotion UI 5.1.
We’ve already covered our favourite Emotion UI features in our full EMUI 5 review, while this latest version (5.1) adds a couple of new bits – including Huawei’s funky new fingerprint sensor gestures. These gestures account for why the fingerprint sensor is now located beneath the screen, rather than on the back as normal.
Essentially, these gestures are designed to replace the virtual navigation bar at the bottom of your display. Instead of the back, home and recent apps buttons being there on your desktop, you use the scanner to perform all three actions. A quick poke means back, a long press takes you home and a swipe left or right opens the recent apps screen. You can also drag a finger up from the bottom of the screen to access Google Now.
I thought adjusting to this new scheme would take a while, but in fact it’s a surprisingly intuitive setup. Just an hour of non-stop P10 Plus use and you’ll be skipping through Android menus and apps as fast as you like. However, while this setup does occasionally make navigation a little quicker – namely when you’re in an app that hides away the navigation bar normally – the difference is minimal. It’s simply a different way of doing things.
I’m as impressed as ever when it comes to using that scanner to unlock your phone, however. As with the P10, the Plus’ sensor is incredibly fast and accurate at reading your digit.
Huawei has pre-installed plenty of its own apps on the P10 Plus, as well as some from partners such as Booking.com. These third party efforts can be uninstalled thankfully. From Huawei itself you get the likes of Phone Manager, which helps you to manage your resources and data use as well as block annoying spammers (or irritating exes). The Themes and Notepad apps are self-explanatory, while Huawei Health can track your daily activities.
Huawei P10 Plus review: Performance and battery life
Huawei’s own Kirin 960 processor is once again put to good use, after providing smooth running in the Mate 9 and Huawei P10. However, the P10 Plus boosts the RAM count to 6GB, compared with the 4GB in those handsets.
Right now there’s no obvious difference in performance, bar the lack of any kind of pause when opening an app. However, the P10 Plus should prove to be a smoother experience as time passes. For now, you can enjoy the latest games with perfect frame rates and stream high-def video over a mobile network without a stutter in sight.
For benchmark enthusiasts, the Huawei P10 Plus scored 132k in AnTuTu. That’s just shy of the LG G6’s 142k score and only well beaten by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S8 (which managed 172k).
The P10 Plus has a mighty 3750mAh battery packed inside, although of course that bigger screen means a faster power drain than more compact handsets too. Still, after charging the phone overnight, I regularly made it through to lunchtime the next day before the battery ran empty. That’s with plenty of app use, web browsing, messaging, camera use and a spot of gaming here and there.
That’s not quite as strong as some other big handsets, including Huawei’s own Mate 9 and the Honor 8 Pro. However, it’s still long enough to cut out any stress if you forget to plug in your phone before you pass out at night. You’ll happily make it to work, even if streaming media, before a charge is needed.
Huawei’s own fast charge tech is on board, to get the battery back up to full in little time. This is easily on par with the likes of Dash Charge (OnePlus’ version of quick charge), both in terms of speed and heat output. The P10 Plus thankfully remains cool when plugged in and can power up to full in under an hour and a half. Meanwhile, half an hour at the mains gives close to a day of use.
Huawei P10 Plus review: Cameras
Huawei’s long-term partnership with Leica is starting to prove a wise investment. As one of the first adopters of dual-lens mobile cameras, Huawei has innovated and experimented in this area for some time now. That experimentation hasn’t always paid off, but the P10 Plus’ Summilux camera is its best effort so far.
Boasting a new wider-aperture lens while retaining that dual-lens setup, the Summilux snapper can still shoot awesome bokeh-style photos and other funky snaps, while also handling low light situations. As with the standard P10 and other flagships, you can also shoot up to 4K video, plus slow-mo and timelapse.
Check out our in-depth Huawei P10 Plus camera review for full samples and analysis. Head over to our P10 Plus vs Pixel vs Galaxy S7 camera comparison also, to see if Huawei’s shooter is strong competition for the best mobile cameras out there.
Huawei P10 Plus review: Verdict
The P10 Plus is another solid combination of premium components and smartly designed software, from a mobile company who’s delivered solid smartphones for a good long while.
If you want a larger handset for enjoying media on the go, with plenty of user-friendly features packed inside, then this phone will satisfy. However, the likes of the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 are more future-proofed thanks to their HDR support, while Samsung’s flagship is still the king of mobile cameras.