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Throughout a number of articles and tests, the P10 (test in issue 4/17) has proven to be a great smartphone, if albeit a bit boring. Above all, the design of the phone is referred to time and again, comparing it to that of the iPhone (keywords: iPhone clone). What goes for the P10 goes for the Plus even more seeing as it looks exactly the same. However, we cannot help but ask what the writers of these articles are expecting exactly from a smartphone? In our opinion, it comes down to a tool that has to sit in the hand well, feel valuable, and have an excellent finish.  If these attributes are met then an appealing design will follow naturally. We are happy to pass up extravagance or "something new", because it's more important to us that the smartphone slides into our pocket neatly, which is only possible if the camera lens is not sticking out on the back.

 
 

The P10 (Plus) meets our requirements brilliantly: the stable aluminium body is a pleasure to touch and has an excellent finish, while the rounded edges are a perfect choice for allowing the smartphone to nestle properly in the hand. The P10 Plus' 5.5-inch display makes it a little less convenient to handle than the P10, but still means it is one of the most compact and lightest models in its size class. Huawei has done almost everything right here. The only aspect you can criticise the Chinese company for is passing up on an IP certification. If you want to compete with Apple and Samsung in the top league you have to offer the same, which, in 2017, includes a waterproof case.

It's hard to find more memory

The display leaves the factory with a cover for protection. If you decide to take this off you will soon realise that Huawei has opted against a grease-resistant coating. The reason given for this unusual step is the fingerprint sensor, which is embedded directly in the glass front and is not as reliable with a coating. You have to wipe the front of the P10 Plus more often than other smartphones actually. The difference is not that dramatic and quite manageable in our opinion, especially considering that a grease-resistant coating comes off with time anyway and that the fingerprint sensor is one of the best the brand has to offer in terms of speed and recognition rate. The display shows 2560 x 1440 pixels across 5.5 inches with outstanding image quality, although this falls behind somewhat compared to the P10 sister model. This is the other way round with the chipset. The high-performance, in-house, octa-core Kirin 960 is used, but with 6 GB of RAM this time instead of 4 GB. However, the huge memory has no effect on the system performance. Both smartphones react just as quickly to input, even with intensive use, and master graphically demanding games effortlessly. From the user's point of view, an upgrade to the memory is more relevant in another aspect: the internal storage has been doubled from 64 to 128 GB and, like the P10, can be expanded upon with micro-SD cards. Another improvement is the sound quality: while the P10 has to make do with a mono speaker on the bottom, the speaker on the bottom of the P10 Plus acts as a subwoofer and the telephone speaker above the display is responsible for higher tones. The result is a minimally louder, but audibly more voluminous sound. For audiophiles, brands like Sony are still the better choice, because Huawei skips out on not just an FM radio, but also special audio functions, even an equaliser.


PRO

  • Elegant design

  • QHD display with very good image quality

  • Excellent camera features

  • High-performing chipset

  • Abundant memory

  • Appealing system interface with lots of extras

  • Very good battery life

  • Quick-charge mains adapter in box

  • Very good wireless capabilities

CONTRA

  • No IP certification
  • Voice control has room for improvement
  • Wireless charging (Qi) not supported

Almost everything under control
Android 7.0 is installed as the operating system, reinforced with Huawei's own EMUI 5.1 user interface. Compared to earlier versions, this one really hits the mark: the graphic display harmonises with the elegant smartphone design, with lots of adjustment options and extras to enhance the Android system. Some of these are bundled together in the settings menu under the entry "Intelligent support" - we recommend taking a look around here. Huawei has also got on top of updates with commendable software support. We think it's a safe bet that the P10 family will get an update for the upcoming Android 8 version. The voice control and software assistance have some catching-up to do: the native voice control is rudimentary and there is no service comparable to Apple's Siri. The P11 has to offer more here.


Excellent lab results

As our measurements show, the P10 Plus does not achieve any longer endurance times than its sister model, although the battery has grown from 3200 to 3750 mAh. But there's no need to worry, because with 8:33 hours (P10) and 8:16 hours (P10 Plus), both Huawei models show good stamina and master the day without any battery crises. A quick-charge power supply is included in the box again, pumping energy into the battery with 23 watts, meaning the P10 Plus is fully charged after about 100 minutes (P10 = 90 minutes). The wireless capabilities and acoustics are on an almost identical level as well, which means that all the results ranged from good to very good. 

Huawei tops the leader board From a qualitative perspective, the P10 and P10 Plus are on the same high level. Overall, the technical differences are not exactly insignificant and fully justify the premium of €150 for the P10 Plus. However, at the end of the day we do not think they are crucial. The decision between the P10 and P10 Plus is one between comfort and handiness. The P10 fits better in the trouser pocket and is easy and convenient to operate with one hand, while the larger display of the Plus model allows you to surf the Internet with more comfort. It completes Huawei's impressive high-end portfolio: with the P10, P10 Plus, and Mate 9, the Chinese company covers all size classes and occupies the first three places of the connect leader board - hats off to this performance. ANDREAS SEEGER

 

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