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Huawei P10 review: Strong camera in a compact body (that won't bust your jeans)

The P10's lovely compact design and terrific camera are the best reasons to buy this phone.

Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Expertise Smartphones, Photography, iOS, Android, gaming, outdoor pursuits Credentials
  • Shortlisted for British Photography Awards 2022, Commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022
Andrew Lanxon
4 min read

The P10 may just be my favourite phone that Huawei has ever made.


Huawei P10

The Good

The compact Huawei P10 is comfortable to hold and looks great. Its camera is awesome and it has oodles of power.

The Bad

It's expensive, the touch-sensitive navigation key is awkward to use and it's not waterproof.

The Bottom Line

Despite some criticisms, the P10's lovely design and brilliant camera make it a very compelling choice -- as long as you can stomach the cost.

It's the design that really struck a chord for me, an all-metal body that mixes highly polished edges with an attractive micro-etched finish on the back. My review model came in a cool blue hue, which sets it apart from the black and grey phones that usually land on my desk.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

But the best part for me is the size. With a screen measuring 5.1 inches, the P10 is much smaller than most flagship phones. That makes it fit comfortably in my hand. It doesn't bulge out my jeans when it's in my pocket and you won't need experimental surgery to extend your thumb to text one-handed.


I love the camera, too. It has the same dual-lens setup that's on last year's P9, albeit with increased resolutions. One lens takes shots in colour and the other only shoots in black and white, with both delivering great performances. Colour shots are rich, vibrant and well exposed. I'm impressed with how quickly the phone focuses and at how well it balances very bright and very dark areas in a scene.

Huawei P10 camera test photos

See all photos

It's the black and white mode that I like the most, though. While you can simply apply black and white effects to any photo after you shoot it, the P10's dedicated monochrome sensor delivers beautiful results with gorgeous contrast without any extra tweaking. It's great fun to head into town with the monochrome mode enabled and see how the world looks in black and white.

And the 8-megapixel front-facing camera is more than sufficient to capture your most embarrassing grinning selfies.


Beyond the camera, the P10 has a decent 64GB of storage and an octa-core processor that easily handled the demanding tasks I threw at it. For example, photo editing in Snapseed was a breeze and it tackled graphically demanding games like Asphalt Xtreme without breaking a sweat.

The battery is extremely capable too, lasting an impressive 15 hours on our rundown tests. By comparison, the Google Pixel XL managed just under 14 hours on the same test, while the OnePlus 3T almost got to 17. With reasonably careful use you'll get a day out of the P10 (keep your gaming and video streaming until you're near a plug), but you'll almost certainly want to give it a full charge overnight.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

It is not a perfect phone (no phone is). To start, the fingerprint sensor on the front doubles as a navigation key, requiring you to tap it to go back in a menu, press and hold to go home, and swipe up to access Google Now. It was clunky to use and often I found myself unceremoniously booted to the home screen when I meant to take a step back in an app. You can turn the button's navigation functions off and use on-screen navigation instead, but then you're left with a large bezel and button on the bottom of the phone that's only there to scan your prints. (My colleague Patrick Holland had a much more positive experience with the Motorola Moto G5 Plus.)

You also won't find any kind of waterproofing on the P10, a feature I'd like to see become standard on all high-end phones. As such, be careful using it by the pool or in the bathroom.

Should I buy it?

Despite these concerns, the P10 is still a good bit of kit. It squashes a brilliant camera and plenty of power into a compact and attractive body. At £570 SIM-free in the UK, it's far from cheap, but if you're after a comfortable, great-looking phone with skills to rival any of the other flagships, then it's worth checking out.

The P10 isn't available in the US, and at the time of writing, Huawei hasn't given any indication of whether it ever will be, but we'll update this review with more information as it becomes available. The UK price, less tax, converts to roughly $600, for reference. The P10 will sell in Australia, although Huawei has yet to confirm a price. The £570 UK price converts to AU$970, however.

If it's the slim metal design that's caught your eye but you don't like the high price, look instead toward the OnePlus 3T. You'll sacrifice the awesome black and white camera, but the 3T has a great metal body and a much lower price.

P10 Plus

The P10 is joined by the P10 Plus. Beyond its larger 5.5-inch, 2,560x1,440-pixel display, the P10 Plus has a beefier 3,750mAh battery and 128GB of storage. Its lenses also have a wider f/1.8 aperture that should let in more light in dimly lit scenes. We haven't fully tested the £680 P10 Plus yet, so we'll have to wait and see if these slight upgrades are worth the additional £110.

Huawei P10 specs comparison chart

Huawei P10Huawei P10 PlusOnePlus 3TSamsung Galaxy S8
Display size, resolution 5.1-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.8-inch; 2,960x1,440 pixels
Pixel density 431ppi534ppi401ppi570ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.72 x 2.73 x 0.28 in6.04 x 2.92 x 0.28 in6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 in5.86 x 2.68 x 0.32 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 145 x 69 x 7 mm154 x 74 x 7 mm153 x 75 x 7.4 mm149 x 68 x 8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.11 oz; 145 g5.82 oz; 165 g5.57 oz; 158 g 5.5 oz; 155 g
Mobile software Android 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 Nougat
Camera (megapixels) 20 (monochrome) + 12 (RGB)20 (monochrome) + 12 (RGB)1612
Front-facing camera (megapixels) 88168
Video capture 4K4k4K4K
Processor 2.5GHz + 1.8GHz octa-core Huawei Kirin 960 2.5GHz + 1.8GHz octa-core Huawei Kirin 960 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz + 1.9GHz) or octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 (2.35GHz + 1.7GHz)
Storage 64GB128GB64GB, 128GB64GB
Expandable storage microSDmicroSDNoneUp to 2TB
Battery (all nonremovable) 3,200mAh3,750mAh3,400mAh3,000mAh
Fingerprint sensor Home buttonHome buttonHome buttonBack cover
Special features Dual cameras, multiple color options and finishes, Gorilla Glass 5Dual cameras, multiple color options and finishes, Gorilla Glass 5Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash ChargingWater-resistant (IP68); wireless charging; Gigabit LTE-ready
Price off-contract (USD) Converts to $600 (64GB)Converts to $844 (128GB)$439 (64GB), $479 (128GB)AT&T: $750; Verizon: $720; T-Mobile: $750; Sprint: $750; US Cellular: TBA
Price (GBP) £570 (64GB)£680 (128GB)£399 (64GB), £439 (128GB)£689
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$970 (64GB)Converts to AU$1,125 (128GB)Converts to AU$590 (64GB), AU$650 (128GB) AU$1,199

Huawei P10

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 7Performance 8Camera 9Battery 9