Samsung Galaxy S8 vs Huawei P10: Which is best?

Huawei's latest runs right into 2017's flashiest flagship

Amidst all of the excitement around the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6it's easy to forget that the first big flagship phone release of 2017 was the Huawei P10.

The P10 pairs iPhone-inspired looks with mostly top-of-the-line Android tech, delivering an appealing pseudo-hybrid of sorts. It's more intriguing than last year's P9, for sure, but still isn't the most exciting phone we've ever laid eyes upon.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S8 is downright spectacular, from its taller, curvier screen to the lack of bezel and the power-packed innards. Samsung's got more buzz, certainly, but how do the phones really compare when you go beyond the flash? Here's how it breaks down.

Design: Fresh vs flat

As mentioned above, the Huawei P10 clearly has an Apple fixation going on, and could easily be mistaken for an iPhone 7 at a glance. Little details set them apart, certainly, and it's not an exact match top to bottom – but it also feels like Huawei didn't try to do much new here.

Well, except for the bold Pantone-inspired colours, Greenery and Dazzling Blue. They're sure to be divisive, but you won't find anything quite like them on other handsets.

On the other hand, you won't find a single other smartphone that looks quite like the Galaxy S8. A strong evolution from the Galaxy S7/S6 design, Samsung's phone chips away at the bezel, cuts out the old physical home button, and puts just a smidge of space at the top and bottom of a gorgeous, curved screen.

It's utterly striking, and is surely the best-looking phone we've ever laid eyes on. The LG G6 is solid (but not equal) competition in this regard, however the Huawei P10 isn't quite at that level. It looks and feels premium enough, but it hardly screams innovation.

What's more, while the Galaxy S8 has IP68 water and dust resistance, the Huawei lacks waterproofing. That's a disappointing omission on Huawei's part.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

Screen: Dazzle us, Samsung

One of the biggest knocks against the Huawei P10's screen is that it doesn't match the expected Android flagship standard of Quad HD resolution. Instead, this 5.1in LCD is simply a 1080p panel. Sure, it still looks good: it's plenty bright, rather vivid, and still pretty crisp. But, as with the Google Pixel, you can't help but wonder why you're paying S$798 and not getting the best.

Well, the Galaxy S8 does have the best – the best of the best, in fact. This Quad HD screen measures a steep 5.8in, but you don't feel it in the width, as the tweaked dimensions (it has a 18.5:9 aspect ratio) make it a bit taller in portrait orientation. That gives you more screen space without making the phone uncomfortable in your grip.

It also has mobile HDR (high dynamic range) support, so Netflix originals - when Netflix's mobile offering supports it - and content from other compatible apps will shine with stronger contrast between light and dark elements on the screen.

Samsung's AMOLED panels were already the best around, with deep blacks, dazzling colours, and incredible detail, and the Galaxy S8's is now the strongest to date. It's brilliant.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

Camera: Sharp shooters

Two back cameras is better than one, right? Well, not necessarily: we'll obviously take quality over quantity when it comes to snapshots, although the double-sensor array brings benefits.

With the P10, you get a 12-megapixel main camera and 20MP monochrome sensor right alongside it, both with Leica branding and really sterling results. Pair them together and the P10 begins showing off its party tricks, such as the ability to zoom up to 2x with no noticeable loss of quality, plus slick depth of field with its Portrait and Wide-aperture modes.

Even the regular photos, sans tricks, are impressive: punchy colours, loads of detail, and great black-and-white results from the 20MP sensor. Low-light photos tend to show a fair amount of noise, meanwhile, given the f/2.2 aperture. The 4K/30fps or 1080p/60fps video footage looks routinely great, however, although not quite on par with the Google Pixel's.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S7 had the best Android shooter of 2016, and this year's phone brings enhancements.

It's still a 12MP single camera with f/1.7 aperture, for vivid daytime results and very solid low-light images. However, Samsung has brought along smarter software enhancements. The Galaxy S8 will grab three images every time you hit the shutter, then stealthily merge and manipulate the results until you get one brilliant shot.

The results are consistently spectacular with strong lighting and better than expected in low light, and we'd put it right up there with the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel as packing the best phone cameras right now. The Huawei P10 isn't close behind, but we think Samsung has a slight, slight edge here.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S8

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