Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9

Huawei has just launched its next flagship handset in the form of the Huawei P10, but is it that much of an improvement on last year's phone?

The P10 has upgrades in the design, camera and chipset department, but when you factor in a higher cost is that really enough to make it a better buy than the Huawei P9?

We gave that phone four stars out of five, so if there aren't many improvements here it may still be worth picking up the Huawei P9 instead. We've compared the specs of the two handsets below, to help give you a clear picture of which phone is the better choice, and how much of an improvement the Huawei P10 really is.

Note: At the time of writing Huawei has no plans to release the Huawei P10 in the US.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 design 

Much of the design on the Huawei P10 has come directly from last year’s phone. If you were to see these two phones sat next to each other, it would be a little difficult to judge which is which without studying them.

The biggest change is the fingerprint scanner, which was on the rear of the Huawei P9, but has moved around to the front of the P10. Huawei claims this is for a more minimalist design, but it hasn't made the phone any thinner than the P9.

The fingerprint scanner on the Huawei P10 sits in a new home button created for the front of the phone below the screen. 

You can use this button to navigate around the device, but unlike some handsets there are no capacitive keys alongside it.

On the Huawei P9, the fingerprint sensor sits on the back of the phone and is a little easier to tap when you’re holding the phone in your hand, but trickier to reach when the device is sat on a desk.

Both the Huawei P9 and P10 have a single speaker driver at the bottom of the phone, with a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge.

The power button for both handsets is about two thirds of the way down on the right hand edge, while there’s also a volume rocker for controlling your music levels just above it.

Another big change for the Huawei P10 is rounder corners. This helps lead to an iPhone 6S-like look, to the point that you'll likely struggle to tell the two apart with a quick glance.

This does make it a little easier to hold and use compared to the Huawei P9 though.

The other major difference between the Huawei P10 and P9 are the designs for the back of the phone. The Huawei P9 only comes in either a stainless steel metal uni-body or a Ceramic White version.

Ceramic White still uses metal, it just covers it with a coating that makes it look and feel different to the standard option. There's also a Ceramic White version of the Huawei P10.

The best version of the P10 is the new 'Dazzling' design, which comes in either blue or gold. This gives the back of the phone a great reflective look and means fingerprints won’t pick up easily.

Huawei is also launching the P10 in black, silver, green, rose gold and a normal gold effect.

The Huawei P9 has the same material effect across all colors - apart from Ceramic White - and comes in Haze Gold, Rose Gold, Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver, Prestige Gold, Red and Blue.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 display 

Huawei P10 with the screen on

Huawei P10 with the screen on

If you were hoping for a major upgrade in the screen department on the Huawei P10, you’ll be disappointed.

The Huawei P10 has a 5.1-inch Full HD display, which is a slight downsize on the 5.2-inch Full HD screen on the Huawei P9.

Both phones have bright screens, but if you want a higher resolution on a Huawei handset you’ll have to opt for the newly launched Huawei P10 Plus, which features a 5.5-inch QHD display.

The big upgrade for the screen on the Huawei P10 comes in the protection, which is now upgraded to Corning Gorilla Glass 5, from Gorilla Glass 3 tech on the P9.

That should mean the Huawei P10 has more chance of surviving a tumble to the floor, but it won't gurantee your new phone won't smash if you drop it.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 OS and power 

The Huawei P10 has been upgraded under the hood. The P9 comes with a Huawei-produced Kirin 955 chipset, but on the newer phone there’s now a newer Kirin 960 chip, which we saw originally in the Huawei Mate 9.

The P9 also comes in two different versions, one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and another with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but Huawei has limited it to the latter specs for all models of the Huawei P10.

As for software, the latest Emotion UI 5.1 will be running on the Huawei P10 when it’s available, and that comes with Android 7 Nougat software baked in. The P9 launched with Android 6 Marshmallow on board, but you can now upgrade it over-the-air to Android 7.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 camera and battery

The Huawei P9 saw the company launch a partnership with German camera firm Lecia, and include a new dual-lens setup on the phone, which has been a major focus for Huawei ever since.

The Huawei P9 has a 12MP RGB sensor for color images, but will then combine that with an image taken from a 12MP monochrome (black and white) sensor that will give extra detail to each image.

On the Huawei P10 it’s a very similar affair, but instead this time there’s a new 20MP monochrome sensor to help ensure better detail in each of your shots.

For selfies, both the Huawei P10 and P9 have 8MP sensors that should be able to help you out when shooting front-facing shots for social media.

The P10 also comes with a new facial tracking technology that can use up to 190 points of a human face to track down the best selfie shots possible. Whether this actually works in practice, we haven't found out yet.

Battery capacity on the Huawei P10 has been upgraded from 3,000mAh on the P9 to 3,200mAh. We didn’t love the battery life on the Huawei P9, so hopefully this slight upgrade will give it a significant amount of extra life from a single charge.

Both phones also come with fast-charging features and charge via a USB-C connection on the bottom edge, but neither comes with wireless charging.

Huawei P10 vs Huawei P9 price 

The Huawei P9 launched at $470 (£449.99, AU$799), but it's expected that the Huawei P10 will launch at a higher price. The only official price we know so far is it will cost €649 in Europe, which works out at around £550/$680/AU$890.

The P9 however has already dropped to £400 in the UK and it will likely be even cheaper when the Huawei P10 is officially out.

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James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.