Huawei is clearly focused on improving the performance of its flagship phones. The P9 and its Kirin 955 SoC performed well in our tests and was smooth and quick during everyday use. For the P10 and P10 Plus, Huawei has tweaked the underlying hardware and software to make them perform even better for longer.

Huawei’s EMUI software includes several features to keep the system feeling more responsive. Using the F2FS filesystem for the /data partition improves storage performance, and Huawei’s new “Machine Learning algorithm” prioritizes system resources (CPU, memory, and storage) to improve responsiveness and performance for the foreground app. Huawei is also using compression to increase the amount of data held in working memory.

Huawei P10 Series
  Huawei P10 Huawei P10 Plus
SoC HiSilicon Kirin 960

4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.84GHz
4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.36GHz
ARM Mali-G71 MP8 @ 1037MHz
Display 5.1-inch 1920x1080 IPS LCD 5.5-inch 2560x1440 IPS LCD
Dimensions 145.3 x 69.3 x 6.98 mm
145 grams
153.5 x 74.2 x 6.98 mm
165 grams
RAM 4GB 4GB / 6GB
NAND 32GB / 64GB / 128GB
+ microSD
64GB / 128GB / 256GB
+ microSD
Battery 3200 mAh (12.23 Wh)
non-replaceable
3750 mAh (14.33 Wh)
non-replaceable
Modem HiSilicon LTE (Integrated)
2G / 3G / 4G LTE
SIM Size 1x or 2x NanoSIM
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MU-MIMO, BT 4.2, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
Connectivity USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm headset
Launch OS Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.1
Software Version Tested Android 7.0
VTR-L09C432B112
Android 7.0
VKY-L29C900B109

Inside the new phones is HiSilicon’s Kirin 960 SoC, which uses a big.LITTLE arrangement of four ARM Cortex-A73 CPUs and four Cortex-A53 CPUs. When we looked at the Kirin 960 earlier this year, we found that its A73 core showed higher integer IPC than the Kirin 950/955’s A72 core, but that floating-point IPC generally regressed. The Kirin 960 registered improvements to the memory subsystem too. Even though our lower-level testing produced mixed results, the Kirin 960, which is also used in Huawei’s Mate 9, performed well when running common workloads such as web browsing and photo editing.

In addition to the new CPU, the Kirin 960 also includes a significantly upgraded GPU. The Mali-G71MP8 includes twice as many cores as the Mali-T880MP4 GPU in Kirin 950/955. It’s also based on ARM’s new Bifrost architecture, which includes a number of improvements over the previous Midgard architecture that should help improve shader core utilization.

Huawei, like other OEMs, is currently struggling to procure some of the other internal components—notably NAND and RAM—which can impact overall system performance. Samsung, SK Hynix, and Toshiba have said that they are struggling to produce enough flash memory in the face of increased demand, especially for higher density modules, and issues with ramping up 3D NAND production. This shortage, which applies to DRAM as well, started in 2016 and will likely extend through the remainder of 2017.

With supplies short and component costs rising, Huawei confirmed that it is sourcing memory components from multiple suppliers and stated that it never committed to using any specific type of NAND. Indeed, P10 owners are claiming that some units are using eMMC instead of UFS NAND, along with both LPDDR3 and LPDDR4 RAM. Multi-sourcing is actually very common among smartphone OEMs, particularly larger ones such as Apple, Huawei, LG, and Samsung, for a number of different components, including NAND, RAM, display panels, modems/RF, and camera sensors. Apple has even sourced SoCs from different foundries. Problems can arise, however, if the OEM does not hold its suppliers to the same standards and allows parts from different vendors to vary wildly in performance, which, unfortunately, happens all too frequently.

Based on Huawei’s official statement, we have no way to know who its suppliers are, what components they are or are not using (LPDDR3/LPDDR4, eMMC/UFS), or how many phones are using the potentially slower components. It only said that component selection is random based on the current supply and that there is no way for consumers to know what they are buying before opening the box.

In this report, we’ll establish what components our particular P10 and P10 Plus review units use, and then run them through a series of tests to evaluate everyday performance and battery life. Huawei was able to extend the Mate 9’s battery life over the previous generation, so it will be interesting to see if this is true for the P10 as well.

CPU & System Performance
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  • Eden-K121D - Friday, May 12, 2017 - link

    It is very hypocritical of a company when they market a Product as a flagship but don't hold them to the same standard. It is very bad that they mislead customers about very much slower emmc and then make rubbish claims of optimization. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Friday, May 12, 2017 - link

    Roughly equivalent or perceptually equivalent is one thing. Clearly different, as is the case with the flash here, is unquestionably unacceptable. Guess I can mark Huawei off my list of manufacturers to follow. Reply
  • niva - Friday, May 12, 2017 - link

    The only Huawei I wanted to buy was the Nexus 6P, and only because Google was in charge of the software running on it. Otherwise I'm really not interested in any Chinese phones, this may be generally true for any non Nexus/Pixel phones but the Chinese have earned a special disdain from me many years ago with their practices/software.

    So no... I'm not interested in this phone. If you gave me one I'll go ahead and try to sell it immediately.
    Reply
  • AlphaBlaster - Sunday, May 14, 2017 - link

    Who writes this innocuous crap? "Trump is ruining his political career?" Trump doesn't have a political career. He is a circus clown told what to say by the wealthy few who are running everything, own everything! They put a magpie frontman in that position to guarantee that their status quo is maintained and increases , by design, to their benefit alone, and to the oppression, impoverishment, and murdering of everybody else. "Providing context?" On what? At this stage of the game, the only 'context' any legitimate person should be engaged in is guerilla warfare! Reply
  • kaidenshi - Sunday, May 14, 2017 - link

    Did you mix up your AnandTech and Facebook tabs? Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, May 12, 2017 - link

    This reminds me of Kingston using different flash that is far slower but nothing on the box to state what it is (only find out when you used it for a bit or do benchmark tests Reply
  • boozed - Monday, May 15, 2017 - link

    Did we read the same review? Reply
  • virtuastro - Friday, May 12, 2017 - link

    I'm glad you said that it's smooth and responsive but not Pixel XL smooth. It's good to know. I want to see how P10/ P10 Plus's camera image quality. But I did saw dxomark review about it. Reply
  • John Other - Sunday, May 14, 2017 - link

    I've not used the Pixel, but can confirm that my P10 is really very smooth and responsive and a pleasure in general use.

    But I can absolutely imagine that with the OS familiarity Google has, on the same hardware, battery smoothness is entirely possible. Gratuitous car analogy: Mercedes-Benz not quite a Bentley.

    On the other side of the coin, I think the physical build, first rate certainly, you will be able to sense as short of a iPhone 7, if you ever once use the iPhone for a while. The iPhone has the better mass distribution of the two, the P10 just a touch weighted on the left. It may be my recovering hand from injury that makes my hold less secure than before, but I went to a store specifically to jog my recollection. IPhone definitely wins in the purely illusory feeling of security in holding balance. I caveat this with the fact that during recovery from my hand in which my index finger was badly broken, I perceived that perfectly flat items like credit cards I gripped were concave. So my touch is not calibrated. However the impression I relate is that which I went to check only last week.

    I should further note that my P10 replaced my LUMIA 650. This was too close a call entirely due to the LUMIA 950 XL making the only sensible decision that just does not feel sensible any longer. Other than the state of hardware, and sorely needed Edge advancements, the switch from Windows 10 Creator's Mobile, is one I simply would not have called, was a Microsoft direction visible. I think it is testimony to Steve Ballmer, how much survived, superannuated, that remains very good. Nadella appears to have had to asphyxiate the Ball er legacy plans, as if he couldn't present good reason to shut them down. Microsoft have forgotten that cutting off the air supply is supposed to be done to the competition.... But if Windows Phone is the price of maturing beyond that level of aggression, in a market where we need software integration absent hardware leaps, to drive performance, then so be it. Just to not tell the world, of such a positive game plan, beats me.
    Reply
  • Speedfriend - Friday, May 12, 2017 - link

    The thought that you can buy a product that may be totally different to the review that you have read is crazy. They should be punished by no one buying them Reply

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