Huawei P10 performance: This thing really flies

The P10 is one of the fastest phones I’ve ever used. Seriously, this thing zips around like Roadrunner after a crate of Red Bull.

It all starts with the fingerprint sensor: give it a tap and the screen springs instantly into life. There’s no fuss, not even a hint of it needing to ‘wake up’ - one second it’s off, the next it’s on.

General use is every bit as slick. I never once experienced any lag in moving from app to app, playing games or split-screening, nor did I get a single crash in my week or so with it. It doesn’t even get hot.

Most of the credit here should go to the Kirin 960 processor inside it, which wowed us in the Mate 9 and which will surely give the Samsung Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835 chip a run for its money in the speed stakes. But Huawei’s software techs have done their bit too.

The P10 uses machine learning to improve its performance, and while this might sound a little like sci-fi nonsense, I can’t help but think there’s something in it. By learning how you use the phone, it can predict where you’re about to tap, which app you’re about to open next and so on, then move its resources around as needed.

It’s almost impossible to actually test this but as I said, it’s easily one of the fastest phones I’ve ever used. And I’ve used a lot of phones.

4GB of RAM is more standard than impressive these days - there’s a 6GB option in the P10 Plus - but it’s good to see the P10 get 64GB of storage. Coupled with the ability to add extra via microSD card, it’ll take some effort to fill up this handset.

Huawei P10 software: One-touch wonder

Android's three default navigation keys have survived the move from mostly being hardware buttons in the old days to mostly being software buttons now. But they may not survive my favourite of the Huawei P10's software innovations.

It's simple: you use the fingerprint sensor to do all three tasks that the nav keys would usually do. A short tap goes back, a long press goes home and a swipe brings up recent apps. No need for software keys taking up space on the screen, and once you've mastered it a far more efficient approach in general.

Some people who've tried it hated it straight away, but I love it and can’t imagine going back to the standard three-button format. All those wasted extra finger movements! The horror!

That aside, you get a reasonably subtle take on Android 7. Huawei's EMUI 5.1 has been criticised in the past for getting in the way of Android, but it mostly lurks in the background here. You can choose the standard Android app locker format or Huawei’s default choice of cramming all of your apps on to multiple homescreens, but unless you’re an absolute masochist you really shouldn’t go down this route. There are a few other peculiarities, such as the option to have a floating dock, but these are all easily ignored.

The only particular issue I did have with the P10’s software was its inability to display an entire notification on the lockscreen. You get one line of text but can’t swipe down to see the whole thing without unlocking the device, which is just stupid.

The only other notable software feature on the P10 is the Highlights app. This lives in a tab on the Gallery app and has been developed together with GoPro. The idea is that it groups various pictures by location or event, then mashes them together to create a video which can then easily be shared. You can even add music from your own library.

It’s all very Google Photos and might be a nice extra if a) Google Photos didn’t exist already and b) it worked properly. In my time with the P10, every Highlights video the phone made refused to play. Ho hum.

One other thing that may upset some people is the lack of support for either Google Daydream or Assistant. The latter may come in a future update but the former will apparently never arrive. Alexa support, meanwhile, is also a future possibility but not yet a reality.

Huawei P10 screen: full HD will have to do

Most Android flagships these days have QHD screens, but the P10 has to make do with a 5.1in, 1080p effort. A higher resolution would be nice, but otherwise the P10’s display is excellent.

Colours are superb, and while you’re given full control over the tone and colour temperature I never needed to tweak it from the default. Viewing angles are also good and it goes really bright; you’ll have no problems using it in sunshine, should we ever get any.

It’s sharp too - so, while not quite built for Netflix binges in the way that the 5.5in, QHD-packing P10 Plus will be, there’s no reason to be upset with this screen.

Tech Specs 
5.1in, 1080x1920
20MP monochrome, 12MP RGB (both f2.2), 8MP front (f1.9), all Leica
Kirin 960
64GB plus up to 256GB via microSD
Android 7.0, EMUI 5.1
4K @ 30fps, full HD @ 60fps
145.3 x 69.3 x 7mm; 145g
Stuff says... 

Huawei P10 review

The P10’s superb camera and blistering speed make it a lovely phone to live with, and only its battery life holds it back
Good Stuff 
Takes brilliant photos
Really fast
Stylish design
Clever one-button control
Bad Stuff 
Average battery life
Only 1080p screen
Quite pricey