Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: Is this year’s Huawei flagship a worthy upgrade?

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: We look at if this year’s flagship update is a worthy successor to the photography-focused Huawei P9.

Huawei has finally unveiled its P10 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it builds upon the photographic elements of the Huawei P9. As before, Huawei has partnered with Leica for its rear dual camera sensors and that’s going to be the main selling point for many.

But while the dual sensor setup was slightly less prevalent when the Huawei P9 first launched, it’s not being adopted by rivals, such as the LG G6, and we fully expect to see it again in the iPhone 8.

But if you picked up a Huawei P9, you’ll want to know what’s changed and what’s new with the Huawei P10 update. Well look no further, as this article will answer those very questions.

In this article, I’ll be answering the following questions:

  •     How do they look and feel different?
  •     How do the Huawei P10 and Huawei P9 specs compare?
  •     What’s new with the phone software?
  •     Which phone is better value for money?
  •     Is the Huawei P10 the phone for you?

Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a summarised version of this article.

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Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 Design: What’s the difference?

The main difference you’re immediately going to notice is the almost ridiculous amount of colour options available for the Huawei P10. There are eight colour choices in total, including Greenery, Dazzling Blue, Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Ceramic White, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Gold and Graphite Black. It means you’ve got considerably more colour options. The Huawei P9 only came in Grey, Silver, Red and Blue.

HuaweiHuawei P10

The Huawei P10 also has High Gloss, Hyper-Diamond Cut or Sandblast finishes depending on what colour you opt for, so some models have a slightly textured finish.

The other difference is the fingerprint sensor, which has been moved to the front of the Huawei P10, whereas it was on the back of the Huawei P9. You also have the option of integrating all of Android’s navigation into the front fingerprint sensor, so a tap goes back, a hold takes you to home, and swipes left or right bring up recent apps. The fingerprint sensor is supposed to be faster to respond, too, although we found the P9’s no slouch.

The Huawei P10’s display has actually gotten a fraction smaller, measuring in at 5.1-inches compared to the Huawei P9’s 5.2-inch display. The resolution remains the same at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The reduction in size with the same resolution actually bumps up the pixels-per-inch so the P10 will be very marginally sharper.

Huawei P9Huawei P9

Otherwise, the design of both phones are very similar in the sense that they feel solidly constructed. Both phones make use of USB-C charging and the Huawei P10 has retained its 3.5mm headphone jack, so no controversies here.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 Specs: Which phone is more powerful?

The flagship phones of today hardly leave you wanting for power, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to say no to an extra boost in performance. Here’s where we de-construct the performance of each of these two smartphones.

While rivals all swarm to the latest Qualcomm chipsets, Huawei likes to do things its own way. First of all, the Huawei P10 now uses a Kirin 960 chipset. That’s an Octa-core (4 x 2.4 GHz A73+ 4 x 1.8 GHz A53) chipset for those wondering.

This is the very same chipset as seen in the Huawei Mate 9. For gamers in particular, Huawei reckons this delivers a 180% increase in performance and 40% in power efficiency from the GPU. The Huawei P9 uses the older Kirin 955 chipset, which equates to Octa-core (4 x 2.5 GHz A72+ 4 x 1.8 GHz A53).

Huawei P10Huawei P10

The other big change is that the Huawei P10 has 4GB of RAM as standard, whereas the Huawei P9 made do with 3GB. Base storage has also been bumped up, so you’ll now have 64GB of storage as standard, whereas the Huawei P9 came with 32GB. This has impacted the starting price of the Huawei P10, however. It’s also worth noting that both phones have microSD slots, so you can easily upgrade the storage for much less.

Battery capacity has seen an increase in the P10, up to 3,200mAh from 3,000mAh in the P9. That should hopefully result in better longevity alongside some of the software updates present in the P10. The Huawei P10 also supports SuperCharge, which should get you to a day’s worth of use within 30 minutes of charging.

But it’s the camera that’s the star of the show on both phones. The Huawei P10 has that same ‘Co-engineered with Leica’ badge of honour but the camera sensors have been improved for the Huawei P10. As before, there are two sensors round back, one monochrome and one RGB.

Except this time, the monochrome sensor has been bumped up to 20-megapixels, with the RGB sensor remaining the same at 12-megapixels. On the Huawei P9 both sensors were 12-megapixels. The rear lens apertures remain the same at F/2.2.

Huawei 12Huawei P10

It’s around the front where more prominent camera changes can be found. The front camera remains 8-megapixels, but the aperture has been greatly improved to F/1.9 where the Huawei P9 made do with a much poorer F/2.4. This means more light can reach the sensor for greater low-light selfie opportunities, as well as better background blur for better selfies.

Huawei P9Huawei P9

We haven’t had a chance to really put the Huawei P10’s snapper through its paces just yet, but considering the P9 was a good performer, we have high expectations, especially as Huawei has improved its Camera app with dedicated portrait modes, which can also be used for the front facing camera in the P10.

Here’s a full comparison of the two phone’s specifications:

Huawei P10 Huawei P9
Screen 5.1 inches 5.2 inches
Display Resolution 1,080 x 1,920 pixels 1,080 x 1,920 pixels
Dimensions 145.3 x 69.3 x 6.98mm 145 x 70 x 6.95mm
Chipset Kirin 960 Kirin 955
RAM 4GB 3GB
Storage 64GB 32/64GB
Rear Camera Dual: 20-megapixel monochrome, 12-megapixel RGB, f/2.2 Dual: 12-megapixel, f/2.2
Front Camera 8-megapixel, f/1.9 8-megapixel, f/2.4
Battery Size 3,200mAh 3,000mAh
Charging SuperCharge Standard
Headphone Jack Yes Yes
Waterproof No No
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, USB-C Wi-Fi, 4G/LTE, USB-C
Colours Greenery, Dazzling Blue, Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Ceramic White, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Gold, Graphite Black Grey, Silver, Red, Blue

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Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 Software: What’s new with the phone software?

Both phones use Huawei’s EMUI Android skin, and the Huawei P9 is getting an update to a version based upon Android 7.0. The Huawei P10 will launch with EMUI 5.1 right off the bat and this brings with it some performance improvements that Huawei is calling Ultra Memory and Ultra Response.

Huawei P10Huawei P10

Ultra Memory impacts how the operating system frees up and recycles memory and Huawei says it’s so good that 4GB of RAM can perform as well as 6GB in competing phones. Ultra Response includes touch prediction, so that the software can guess where your finger will go next to reduce touch input latency, making for a smoother user experience when navigating.

The EMUI experience visually is very similar on both phones, even when running EMUI 4.1 on the Huawei P9. With a software update coming to the P9 – and already available in some territories – software isn’t a massive separator between these two phones.

Huawei P10 vs P9 Price: Which phone is better value for money?

With the Huawei P10 starting at €649 for the 64GB/4GB RAM model, it immediately looks more expensive than the Huawei P9’s launch price of €599, but in fairness this was for a 32GB/3GB of RAM model, so it’s not a direct comparison. The P9 had a 64GB/4GB configuration available in certain territories for the same price as the P10.

So the price hasn’t changed drastically for the Huawei P10. Comparing these two phones for the same money, the P10 is the clear winner. But as the P9 is now much older, it can be had for considerably less money.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: Which one should you buy?

If you’re considering a Huawei P10, here’s our advice:

If you want the best camera hardware, choose the Huawei P10. Unsurprisingly, the Huawei P10 improves on the Huawei P9 in terms of specifications, so you’re going to get much better performance with the newer phone. But the cameras have been improved, and that’s going to be the main draw of the Huawei P-series of phones. The front-facing camera in particular is much better for the narcissists out there.

If you want to save some money, choose the Huawei P9. It’s a tough call to say whether or not the Huawei P10 is really worth the extra cash, especially with the Huawei P9 available for a lot less money than its launch price and software updates still being released to keep it up to date.

Consider the alternatives before buying either phone. The Huawei P10, as a flagship phone, is pricey, so it’s competing with the likes of the new LG G6 and undoubtedly the Samsung Galaxy S8 when that launches. Then there’s the slightly older, but still great, Google Pixel for around the same money, too. For the budget-conscious, the OnePlus 3T is still ridiculously hard to beat for value, too.

Huawei P10Huawei P10

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 Summary: What’s the difference?

Here’s a brief overview of the key differences between the Huawei P10 and the Huawei P9.

Design: Really, both phones are very similar in the design stakes. If you want a ridiculous amount of colour choices, the P10 takes it, though. The different textured finishes of the P10 also make them a bolder choice.

Specs: Unsurprisingly, the Huawei P10 takes this, with newer internals and better performance. The improvements to the camera sensors shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Price:
Considering the price of the Huawei P9 has fallen since it’s launch, it has to win this one at least. The starting price of the Huawei P10 has also been pushed up as the baseline specifications have been improved, but that might push it out of reach of some.

Value: We would have to give this to the Huawei P9, too, based on its lower price. If you’re comparing the launch prices, then it’s a dead rubber.

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Which phone would you rather have? Let us know in the comments.