Huawei P10 Plus, analysis: the bar is very high, but not enough to jump a lot to win
Huawei has been positioning itself as the third on board in the long list of smartphone manufacturers, growing more and more in an increasingly saturated market. It does this by exporting its own technology in a more difficult still: to sell beyond the low ranges.
With the Huawei P10 Plus brings us a phone with one foot on the P10 and another on the total phone they want to be: enter the (timid) water resistance, more pixels and amount of memory, a more luminous camera duo, Infrared sensor and want more. Let’s see how they have solved the phone with more resolution of the brand, and what they lack to win.
With the P10 Huawei repeats in 2017 the move that went well in 2016: to accompany its line P with, in addition to a Lite version – which has been sold for generations as hot bread in Spain – a version Plus something larger and more vitaminized. More than ten million P9 and P9 Plus realize this. With this they manage to finish to expand the line to all the profiles of user his star phone in design.
If you liked the P10, but you are not convinced enough to get rid of 649 euros for it, you will have the P10 Lite without any more secondary features like the double camera. If you want it bigger and more vitaminized, the P10 Plus may be your choice. If you are willing to open the wallet even more, up to 799 euros.
The main difference remains that diagonal screen stretched from the 5.1-inch P10 to the 5.5 P10 Plus, where for the first time Huawei rises to QHD resolution, even on long diagonals. This is something that we had not seen in the previous Plus version or the Mate 9 and its 5.9 inches diagonal.
This time, yes, we return to a panel similar to the reference model. Step behind the OLED this season we have only seen in the Porsche edition of Mate 9. The panel therefore is a Neo IPS embedded in a body of aluminum that is rounded.
Under the hood we have as integrated system the Kirin 960 that launched with a few months ago with identical features. Eight cores distributed four and four in big.LITTLE, A53 and A73, to excel in efficiency and performance. Together with them, the new and more powerful Mali G71 as a graphics processor now with twice as many cores as we have seen of what it is capable of.
Different, though, are the available memory configurations. This P10 Plus comes with a capacity of 128 GB (very fast, as we will see), and a RAM of 6 GB. It touches on whether it is really useful or whether it is simply a marketinian philosophy of “giving as much as one who gives more.”
Camera and flash are again dual, maintaining the association with Leica that has given so much to speak. Repeat dual sensor: in 12 and 20 megapixels, color and monochrome respectively, which provide the system the ability to generate images with depth-of-field effect in the style of camera interchangeable lenses.
The journey from the sensor to the front takes away the design essence of P9
Although it may seem that with the P10 brothers Huawei has followed the maxim of “if something works, do not change it”, there are more design developments than it may seem at first glance. In view of the decisions made by the manufacturer in previous versions, let us review what has changed for the better and what has not been achieved so much. Of course, there will be an important subjective component several points.
Most striking certainly is the journey of the fingerprint sensor to the front, justified by the brand in terms of usability. It must be that people are accustomed to putting the thumb in the front, and it costs more to do the unlocking by index in the back. In fact, I prefer the latter and release the button front. For two reasons: it marked more the design of Huawei that was so good and the philosophy of the new ‘Home button’.
And is that the new fingerprint sensor is not a button physically, simply detects when our finger is placed on top, and also gestures on it. There are no more capacitive buttons on the sides either – nor do you know why, one has the urge to go to press them the first few days. So we can use the central button as a substitute for the taskbar making gestures as a quick touch to go back, long press to go to start or side scroll to show multitasking.
Unlike my partner Javi’s experience with the P10, my P10 Plus has not been able to hit the key and get used to that central button. After trying to get to him for a week, when I really needed to use the phone in an agile way – read, when we used the multitasking for something – I ended up in a not inconsiderable proportion of the time crashing into a function other than the one I was looking for.
Not only do we have to know the gesture, but also its times: if we want to go back but slip too slow, it will interpret it as a call to the desk; If we are too fast and the gesture does not slide well enough, it will come back breaking whatever we were doing with the screen we wanted to leave open.
This is why – very much to my regret, I always prefer to take advantage of the screen space to the maximum – I have returned to the conventional bar, the one used by Google Android and that is the default with the phone, perhaps not to confuse To the users of foot that could be misled too with this system. When doing this, the central button as such happens to be a fingerprint sensor without more functionality.
Perhaps this detachment by the central button is caused by size. I am a big phone user since Samsung’s Note 2 and I feel comfortable with them. The P10 Plus makes me too big to hold it and use it in one hand, as I do my day to day with the S7 Edge. The corners of this generation have been rounded off against the P9, and although in the P10 it looks more balanced (it’s almost a centimeter shorter), in the Plus version it adds to the large frames make it very difficult to reach parts like the bar Notifications.
It is striking the rounding that has been done to the edges of the phone. Flattened, they had given personality to the P line for generations and now they are gone altogether. In the P9 they rounded something more than in the P8, but they maintained the beveling in front and behind. Now the bevelled back is lost and completely rounded its edge, leaving a profile virtually identical to the one we see the current iPhone. Another point where suspiciously there are also changes and is identical, is in the antennas in the rear, now identical to the ones we see on the iPhone 7.
What was the aesthetics of the P line?
The 3.5mm audio output on the bottom is not eliminated. It is not something that I use too much, and personally would celebrate its elimination by a telephone more harnessed internally, but I understand that would suppose a very strong argument against for many and even discard for others.
Without a doubt, the Huawei P10 is beautiful … from behind. The aluminum rear with the glass window have a finish with nothing to envy, aesthetically and in sensations at hand. Except for the hollow of the double flash, surrounded by a small metal frame that in our unit excels slightly scratching and dragging dirt. Even details like the side panel is well finished: they feel firm and quality. Surprising that yes the red accent of the lock button on this model, which personally I think subtract elegance, although depending on who you ask you may like more. The phone is sturdy, and the feel of this graphite black color (there are six more) to the grip has little room for improvement anymore.
Ahead, however, the phone is quite impersonal. In fact, it could be anyone, at least in the black color we have tested. To this it is united that the front glass (covered by a very robust plastic protector that cost even to retire), it seems that it happens to him like the Xiaomi Mi 5s. As it is a fingerprint sensor with relief on the front, the glass is not (or does not seem) Gorilla Glass but a more plastic that make the phone more ‘weak’ in its frontal. Nothing to do with the solid feeling of the S7, for example, and even its own Honor 8 that halves the price.
Another pair of details of the front is that it has just 2.5D rounding, leaving to the touch a slightly rough sensation of the small plastic frame that separates it from the metallic back; And that the headset / front speaker has a design very little care, reminiscent of phones from other eras and ranges.
In the new P10 we find a SIM tray in which we can not put two SIM or one and an SD, since the phone will not be Dual SIM – in our region at least, it seems in others yes, but the only possibility Is to opt for the memory card. Finally, and unlike the P10, the Plus version has some resistance to water, IPX3 certification. This means that the phone is not submersible in any way, but resists splashing water. This is a first step in the direction everyone has gone, but a considerable lag in terms of competition.
Walking on safe: raise the resolution
The screen is the central element of a phone. They are basically chosen based on the size of this one. And the budget, of course. The P10 Plus has an IPS Neo from Japan Display, a technology that has been using a few generations of its Mate and P line and has gradually evolved towards better contrasts and maximum brightness.
It has a QHD resolution (2.560 x 1.440 pixels) over 5.5 inches, which leaves the density of points at 530 ppi, the anchor point of the most demanding high ranges. Well by uses sites where still this improvement in resolution are still appreciated, although they are not too much nor will everyone notice it. I noticed it when viewing PDF, vector type games or web pages in desktop format, where everything becomes very tiny and that extra resolution can help you find things without having to zoom all the time in different areas.
The quality of the panel is good, within the limitations of the LCD. The maximum brightness is above the average and over 500 nits, so we can use outdoors without problems. Accustomed to the Amoled, the truth that I find it hard to conform even to these IPS for their ‘poor’ representation of blacks, and the worsening of these with the angles of vision. In this case, the screen also does not reach the level of the Apple phone, where face-to-face is less vibrant. In fact, I would like to see Huawei risking a high-quality Amoled panel.
Serious doubts about the frontal protector: high reflections and fingerprints that tarnish a screen that deserves more.
It is likely that part of the fault has this coverage that we were talking about and that I am not at all clear about the Gorilla Glass from Corning, which is in version 5 in the rear window of the terminal. This makes us have a panel with a softer feel or plastic feel, in addition to increasing the reflections and retain dirt like fingerprints that, in addition, it costs to clean in this phone. Curiously it is also a magnet of traces the back.
Removed the screen protector, very hard and rigid, the latency of the glass is good. We do not find any delay when typing at full speed for example and, if there is, it is perceived that it is by the keyboard application itself. Another detail that do meet other high ranges is that the LCD is glued to the glass, so close it seems to come out. In the P10 Plus the feeling is far from being that, without being far away.
Huawei has followed the trail to Samsung and its modes of resolution of screen and “dpi” although in a somewhat different approach. When we find phones with large diagonals and high resolution like this, there are those who prefer to have a more compact interface that allows them to see more menus and content at the same time. Others do not. To do this, they allow adjustment of the interface size.
With these ‘display modes’ we can choose between small, medium and large; The latter being selected by default. We can also select the size of the text in five sizes. In fact I was completely disappointed with this parameter, as it ends up being inconsistent between different parts of the interface or text types between menus and applications; The sizes are mixed.
If these scales are not up to par, they have to climb more
I prefer a more compact interface to see more things at once and ‘save’ time and clicks by scrolling or navigating between menus. The conflict comes when you reduce the large to the medium mode – let’s not say the small one, and according to the browser or which part of the menus (the navigation bar, for example, is reduced too much) the texts appear normal or diminutive, apparently random. That is, not all elements are scaled with harmony, but their scaling depends on the application that we are using, and this is terribly confusing. Finally, I left it in medium with the big text until today.
An age-proof hardware
Huawei has made a qualitative leap in the last couple of years with its devices and at various levels. They have not been content to pack the components of other manufacturers and join the pieces in their phones, but they have continued to advance with much of their own technology and a more evident effort in their R & D divisions. This is noted in sections such as the phone’s processor, or more System-on-Chip (SoC), since the small silicon chips in which our mobile processor goes there is much more than just that: they integrate the graphics, The processor dedicated to the camera, the phone connectivity or even the fingerprint sensor.
The Kirin 960 is not new, it has been between us a few months since it landed with Mate 9. It is a good chip, at the forefront in many aspects, but it is not called to be the chip of the year, as Javi In the analysis of P10. Let’s see why.
The hardware is almost identical to the P10 in the base model, being able to double memories for 100 euros more.
The P10 Plus carries exactly the same SoC that we have in the standard P10 or Mate 9. The same eight ARM cores for the CPU, four Cortex A73 at 2.4 GHz and others as many A53 at 1.8 GHz, and the same graphical cores Mali G71 in Which this time seems to be: Huawei is determined to have a good presence in that aspect.
We remember that these configurations make the A53, which consume less energy, are running longer and for simple tasks in order to save battery. The A57 works when with those is not enough, in tasks of greater demand, allowing the system always have available the power it needs, without wasting battery.
The A53 cores have been around for some years and are well known, we find them in many of the entry and a half range phones. These designs are used for their versatility, since for most tasks they are sufficient. The A73s are newer. So much that it is the first processor available with these cores, still waiting for the Helio X30 and X35 from Mediatek (both Samsung and Qualcomm have designs of their own). And more powerful, of course.
The ‘but’ they have is that they are based on the 16 nanometers when the other level makers will jump to 10 nm for their highest ranges this year. Therefore, you can expect that the Kirin 960 can not withstand the type all season and stay in a second row in terms of efficiency.
Like last year the 4 Mali T880 cores paled in front of the 12 of the Galaxy S7, this year we found twice as many cores, and more powerful: up to eight Mali G71 graphics cores. When it seems that Huawei takes level in the graphic section, Samsung warns: its Exynos 8895 will arrive with up to 20 of these same cores, promising to increase this performance up to 60% with respect to the S7 (or up to 150% against the Huawei phone) and Again taking distance. Of course, they can afford it because of the improved efficiency they inherit from the 10nm jump, which Huawei has not done.
But leaving the paper, it is true that the performance of the Huawei P10 Plus, like the rest of family phones that have already been tested, is at a very high level. The phone moves very well, with a lot of agility between menus and different applications. It is not perceived that that extra screen resolution is too much effort for the terminal, except in applications such as Google Maps where it does not end up going as expected, or simple vector games (Crossy Road, Stack) where the phone is catching something Temperature, but nothing flashy. With its large screen, other more dynamic games like Real Racing 3 are a delight in this phone.
It draws attention to the use of RAM in the device and its 6 GB. When it is the managers themselves who tell you they are, in plain words, a waste. During the week of use I have not come across less than 2.5 GB free, not even when I tried to force it with the opening of up to twenty applications. It is a delight to see how you keep them available, whether games, social networks or players. When they have not been kept open perhaps it is by the application itself, because memory was available.
The phone also moves between 2.5 and 3.5 GB free, practically regardless of whether it has just turned on or we have everything open. I understand that this is because memory services such as the camera, the keyboard or the settings are preloaded in memory so that they open quickly.
The internal memory is another of the great strengths of this phone, 128 GB in the version we tested. This is about 109 GB fully available to the user, and also very fast. It is due to the device’s file system, which allows speeds of access to the vertigo system: 750 MB / s in sequential reading, which reach 182 MB / s in writing. Practically desktop performance, on the mobile. Also good figures in random access, where there are no changes from the figures we saw in P10, so the memory is identical in terms of performance.
Sounds supported and stereo
The P10 Plus has speakers in the style of the new iPhone 7 Plus: a large and bass at the bottom, which is complemented by the headphone itself (the call, yes), which provides some treble and extra sound direct to Your face. Already with Honor 8 we saw a very blunt and rich sound thanks to its large exterior speaker.
In this case the sensation is bittersweet, since both loudspeakers are too far away and do not finish fulfilling. I explain. The main speaker has a very marked bass, leaving the treble for the small front speaker. It is quickly checked by covering the bottom that the quality of the top leaves enough to be desired, with a canned sound. This is a consequence perhaps of the little space that they have given to this speaker of support. In the end, the music sounds louder and with better bass than on my S7 Edge, although on the Samsung phone I find a rather more balanced sound, with much finer and richer means.
Of course, the phone is rarely used to appreciate the nuances of music, but it sounds in noisy environments, reproducing internet content or music while we do household chores. In this sense, I’ll stay with the P10 Plus audio.
The P10 Plus also has a stereo sound mode, which uses each output as a different audio channel and which they call ‘Stereo +’. The small problem with this is that the sound freezes for a moment when we tilt the phone and throws us, as I said before, a different sound to each ear: on the right the bass, on the left the treble. Reason more than enough to turn it off as soon as I hit the adjustment.
Long live fast charge
If we want a phone with an inexhaustible battery and a large screen, our phone is … the Mate 9. The experience with the P10 Plus is more normal in that sense, in what is already common in this type of phones: to leave you End the day without the anxiety of seeing that the battery enters the danger zone, the percentage of a single figure.
This is so thanks and despite many factors. On the one hand the battery of the P10 Plus is 17% higher than the P10 and its screen is 16%. Of course, the resolution is also higher, by almost 80%, which means that in certain situations – not all, fortunately – consumption as it increases.
In my daily use I include all the applications I use on a regular basis, with notifications, connected Bluetooth accessories, photo and video taking, instant messaging, social networks and the browser. Always with WiFi when it is available (half the day or more). With this use we can expect between 3 and 4 hours of screen at the end of the day, perhaps something more if we ‘racaneamos’ in some sections such as the brightness or the application manager.
In this sense, Huawei brings by default activated a mode of activity control that I personally encounter quite annoying. Several times a day it notifies us that some application is consuming a lot of energy, but they are casually the applications that you just opened.
Tell me how much time you have and I’ll tell you how much battery you get back.
But the protagonist here is the rapid loading implemented. Having a Kirin processor, this is not the Quick Charge that most phones with Qualcomm. It is Huawei’s own mode that certainly meets expectations with its charger up to 22.5 watts.
Compared to your frontloaded S7 fast charge and its 15 watts in Fast Charge mode, both phones complete the charge in about an hour and a half. The difference is that Huawei is able to accelerate more at the beginning, making the first half half hour around 50% available battery: each minute rises almost 2%.
This is especially useful if we go stiff in the middle of the afternoon and go home to go out again. Certainly a very supportive point for these Huawei P10 Plus. The charger, of course, is much larger in the case of Huawei. The typical size of an iPad.
Dual Leica 2.0 Pro: it’s time to play
The P10 Plus has practically the same characteristics as the P10. It is saved in few points, one of them being the double camera, which comes slightly better endowed in the larger model. The new P10 features Dual Leica 2.0 lenses; Improved over what is seen on line P9.
The processed, that great pending subject
In the rear window of the terminal we see LEICA screen printing, taking more prominence even than the Asian manufacturer. Below this, we find a ‘Summarit-H 1: 2.2 / 27 ASPH.’ In the case of P10, which passes to ‘Summilux-H 1: 1.8 / 27 ASPH.’ For the P10 Plus. The latter is called Dual Leica 2.0 Pro. Summarizing a lot, H refers to Huawei, Summarit changes to Summilux by referring to the greater aperture (from f / 2.2 passes f / 1.8), 27 refers to the focal 27 mm (equivalent to 35 mm in Full Frame, reference cameras in professional photography) and ASPH has to do with the design of the lens and its shape (not spherical, not constant curvature), which is usually the seal of quality Of the best performing lenses.
Okay, but what am I going to notice that extra opening? From f / 2.2 to f / 1.8 we have two-thirds of the way, that is, two thirds of the equivalent of doubling the amount of light. That is, from f / 2.2 to f / 1.8 we would see the lighting of the scene increased by 66%. At the practical level, it is difficult to verify that this is in fact, or if only partial benefits of this more luminous design are obtained. This is because, in general, when we change the design of the optical limitations (here we are of space, remember that P10 and Plus is only 7 millimeters thick) are moved to another element by physical constraints.
With the P10 Plus we have a CAF and PDAF approach (for contrast detection – digital – and phase – on the sensor); Aided by a laser sensor just under the double flash, which will support mainly in low light situations and finally the depth, which uses the double camera to position the elements in 3D space.
Theory aside, where the P10 Plus looks like it should have the best approach on the market. Reality: it is not so. The focus of the Galaxy S7 is clearly superior, at least in speed. The P10 Plus succeeds in focusing, but it takes some time (in the S7 it is practically unheard of) and has the typical ‘bounce’ of focus. That is, find the approach by making a sweep of distances that is not as annoying in the photos as in the videos, where it will be recorded.
But it is best to pass on the result in images of this phone in its different modes. First let’s see how it works with ‘conventional photography’, since the P10 has a whole battery of shooting and recording modes.
Understanding Double Camera
Huawei’s dual camera is not, in principle, similar to Apple’s approach (with ‘zoom’ in one of the targets) or to LG’s (with a wide angle that allows wider perspectives). As you know, we have a main color sensor, with optical stabilization and 12 megapixels, supported by another in black and white of 20. The latter, without stabilization. The idea is that with them you get depth information about the scene and it is processed in layers. This gives a blur effect by depth of field similar to the one we see in the interchangeable lens cameras, the so-called SLR.
For this, the main subject of our photo must be at a distance of less than two meters, and if possible, be a person. It is for these subjects for which the ‘co-engineered’ system with Leica is optimized. Huawei gives the possibility to adjust the aperture (simulated) also a posteriori in the photos. Perhaps this is somewhat confusing in general for the average user, although it gives freedom to those who want to experiment.
We move in simulated apertures between f / 0.95 (much blur) and f / 16 (practically all focused). The aperture f / 0.95 is a real barbarity in photographic terms: the Leica 50mm lens with this brightness jumps above $ 10,000. Beyond this, applying this aperture usually torturing images. As a reference, the images in this article are taken with a fixed lens reflex f / 1.8, the same aperture that simulates Apple in its iPhone 7 Plus.
From f / 0.95 to f / 16 sure that there is some opening and some focus point that fixes your photo: you will have to look for it.
Perhaps it would be easier for the end user to have a photo with simulated aperture fixed and more optimized around this reference aperture, and not distract with so many options in the camera application. I say this because after the shot, even for the one who knows how to handle it, it’s up to you to figure out which aperture (but, also, what filters!) Is the one that looks better on the photo and which we ended up applying. They are extra steps that, perhaps in a mobile are not necessary.
Anyway, Huawei has greatly improved performance in this way compared to previous editions, being more than competent in many portraits. And as I say, unless we force them in excess with openings greater than f / 1.4, the result is very striking and even realistic in most of the shots. Of course, if we shoot people, it is easy to do with a lot of ‘artifacts’ or defects in the calculation of areas out of focus.
In this shooting mode is where the power of the new generations of mobile processors is squeezed to the maximum, where the processing depends on many variables and touches to apply the effects practically in direct. It shows the extra power of the Kirin 960, and there is no doubt that these systems can only go better.
Huawei wanted to simulate this effect also where probably more portraits will do: the frontal camera. Along with the options of cleaning of impurities and vignetting effect, the control is total. Maybe too much, as we shall see shortly.
Finally, the monochrome mode is one of the small delights of this family P10. Also there we have available the blur effect, the vertical mode and the Pro control. In short, many adjustments so that we can squeeze the black and white to the maximum, directly from the camera.
Deactivating effects, the monochrome mode has the most faithful processing to what a real camera gives you.
Recall that this monochrome sensor has a kind of Zoom 2x, which we saw in the Mate 9. Having more megapixels we do a cut over the central area of the sensor in more detail, and color it with the color information of the other sensor. In short, we have a camera up to 57mm that allows you to approach the subject retaining more detail than with a zoom.