Hands on with the Huawei P10 Plus

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Huawei’s new P10 Plus smartphone is a replacement for the old P9 Plus, which was notable for being the first partnership between Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei and legendary camera company Leica. The camera proved popular and its successor has been quick to follow. We really liked the original P9's Leica-branded lens, which performed particularly well for a smartphone camera. As before, there are two variations available, a 145 x 69mm P10 and the 153 x 74mm P10+, which we look at here.

Physically the P10 Plus looks similar to it's predecessor, with the most notable change being the fingerprint sensor has moved to the front of the phone and replaces the home button.

But let's take a look at the camera. Already the P10 has a DXO Mark rating of 87 points which means it’s one of the highest rated phone cameras currently available. The P10 Plus boasts even better specs like a 20mp Monochrome lens and a 12mp RGB lens with a fast f1.8 aperture. The phone also includes optical image stabilisation, handy for getting steadier shots, and also includes 4k video recording.

1. Image Quality

Like the P9, the Huawei P10 Plus features two lenses, one being the 20mp Monochrome lens and the other being a 12mp RGB lens. The benefit of this is a dedicated camera for either black and white or colour photography - it's like carrying two cameras in one.

Over the standard P10, the Plus gains an extra two stops of light, boasting an f1.8 aperture. We found the autofocus is accurate and fast for both photo and video. The P10 Plus also performed very well in low light situations. Finally  photographers will also appreciate the P10 Plus also supports RAW image format when in ‘Pro Mode’.

The 20mp Monochrome lens
The 20mp Monochrome lens delivers great results straight out of camera, with no need for conversion in editing software.

2. Photo Modes

Although featured on the P9 Plus, I like that the phone has several dedicated photography modes such as ‘HDR’, ‘Panorama’, ‘Monochrome’ and ‘Light painting.’ The main photo mode and the Monochrome mode both have a depth of field mode as well. Interestingly, this simulates opening the aperture further to f0.95, effectively recreating the out of focus areas as if you were shooting at this aperture.

The DOF mode will let you get photos of the main subject in focus but the background nicely blurred, handy for closeups of flowers and other high detailed subjects. If you are shooting in DOF mode you can change the aperture setting as well as the focus area after it has been taken, although you can only this once so choose wisely. As well as the the DOF mode the main camera mode also supports a portrait mode.

The Huawei P10 Plus camera modes
The Huawei P10 Plus camera modes have plenty of potential for stills photographers.

3. Video Function

As well as being great for photos the Huawei P10 Plus also has excellent video functions including the ability to adjust the depth of field. The phone supports UHD 4K at 16:9 and 1080p at 60fps. The video settings also support a Depth of Field mode to get some nice close up video footage. The focussing is quite snappy.

4. Display 

Size-wise the P10 Plus display is similar to last year's P9 Plus, but the P10 Plus does offer an increase in resolution, sporting a 5.5 inch 2560x1440 screen versus the P9 Plus's full HD (1080) display. To the eye you can notice a difference in sharpness compared to the P9 and it is also brighter. Colours are vivid and saturated.

5. Battery 

The phone has a 3,750mAh power pack which is a pretty big step up from the P9 which offers a 3,000mAh power pack. The phone can last up to a day with low to medium usage and it also has 'super charging' when it’s used with the charger that comes with the phone, which speeds up charging times.

Overall the P10 Plus continues to offer a lot for it's $800RRP (32GB). It has one of the best cameras on the market, and although it's not a huge upgrade over the P9, if you're looking for a smartphone with great photographic abilities, it's well worth a look.

Sample images

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