Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: What's the difference?

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 comparison review: At the massive MWC 2017 mobile expo, Huawei has just introduced its shiny new P10 flagship boasting an improved Leica dual-lens camera and premium specs. So how does the P10 stack up to last year’s stellar P9 flagship?

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9: Specs at a glance

Huawei P10 Huawei P9
Screen size 5.1-inches 5.2-inches
Screen resolution Full HD (1920×1080) Full HD (1920×1080)
Weight 145 grams 144 grams
OS Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.1 Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.0
Front camera 8-megapixels (Leica) 8-megapixels
Rear cameras 12/20-megapixels (Leica 2.0) 12/12-megapixels (Leica 1.0)
Processor 2.4GHz/1.8GHz Kirin 960 2.5GHz/1.8GHz Kirin 955
Memory 4GB RAM 3GB RAM
Storage 64GB + microSD up to 256GB 32GB + microSD up to 128GB
Battery 3200mAh 3000mAh

In our eyes, the P9 served as the first of the company’s flagships that really tried to stick it to the competition. It was thin, light, fast, well built and boasted a new dual camera co-engineered with Leica. One year on and the arrival of the P10 definitely represents an iterative evolution, but it looks as though the biggest improvements have occurred in all the right places.

Both phones pack premium metal builds with pillowed glass fronts set into metal frames with glass surrounds against their rear dual camera arrangements. The P10 moves away from the squared silhouette of the P9, with more rounding along its edges and corners that not only give it a more comfortable feel in the hand, but hints at design language more readily seen on Apple’s iPhones.

Both phones can also be had in a host of colourways, eight each, with different surface treatments depending on your choice in both cases. The P9’s new red and blue hues feature a gloss-covered brushed metal back, whilst the P10’s Dazzling Blue and Dazzling Gold options debut a new ‘hyper diamond cut’ aesthetic that you won’t find on the P9. There’s also a green P10, which was coloured by the experts at Pantone, whereas Huawei kept the colour work in-house for its predecessor.

The other most notable physical difference is the migration of the phone’s fingerprint sensor, which lives on the back in the case of the P9 and sits beneath the display, set into the cover glass on the P10. What’s more Huawei has reworked basic navigation, with the one button serving as the back, home and multitasking key on the P10, depending on whether it’s tapped, long-pressed or swiped. Some may prefer the rear-mounted offering on the P9, which swaps the multitasking gesture for the notifications panel when the user swipes down on the sensor.

The P9 boasts a larger display with its 5.2-inch Full HD IPS-NEO LCD, whilst the 5.1-inch Full HD panel on the newer P10 benefits from marginally higher pixel density and a faster touch driver for more responsive inputs.

On the software side, despite an update to Android 7.0 and EMUI 5.0 on the P9, there are a few notable additions that help the P10 edge out in front. Its Emotion UI 5.1 experience offers colour-matched themes out-of-box, there’s better memory management to minimise performance degradation over time and a new smart gallery app that organises your snaps and lets you quickly edit highlight videos using tech based on GoPro’s Quik app.

On the hardware front the P9 doesn’t lag behind all that much in general performance, thanks to its respectable Kirin 955 SoC, however, the Kirin 960, which we first met on 2016’s Huawei Mate 9, is accompanied by 4GB of RAM (in place of 3GB on the P9), better graphical performance and double the internal storage at 64GB (expandable via microSD up to 256GB). The P10 also boasts a marginally larger battery (3200mAh in place of 3000mAh) and better fast charging (empty to full in 90 minutes, with a day’s usage possible after just 20 minutes).

As we said at the start, the P9 debuted an intriguing new camera arrangement built alongside famed camera brand Leica that proved to be more than just a branding exercise, but Huawei hasn’t rested on its laurels, meaning the 2.0 version on the P10 shoots at a higher resolution (12/20-megapixels versus the P9’s dual 12-megapixel sensor), is capable of filming up to 4K footage (a no-go on the P9), boasts a slick new portrait mode, OIS and wider apertures on both its front and rear sensors.

Speaking of the front sensors, both phones shoot with 8-megapixel cameras, but Leica’s turn its hand to the one found on the newer P10, which can intelligently differentiate between a solo selfie and a group shot. There’s no such intelligent shooting chops on the front of the older P9, not to say that its selfie experience isn’t still impressively rich; with a number of modes and live makeup tools to tweak your visage in real-time.

We still can’t price the P10, but it will unsurprisingly clock in significantly higher than the P9, which has dropped in price so much that’s it’s become quite the appealing affordable flagship if you’re after a good deal right now.