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Huawei P10 mobile review: Top performer

By Paul Carroll - Thursday March 09 2017

Mobile Review
DxOMark Mobile
87

Overview

With an overall DxOMark Mobile Score of 87 points, the Huawei P10 is up there as one of the best Smartphones we’ve tested for photography enthusiasts. For stills, its Photo sub-score of 88 points is excellent, thanks to generally good exposures in all conditions, including extreme low light, and good color rendering with accurate white balance. Detail and texture preservation is also very good, producing some of the sharpest results we’ve seen, and the P10’s autofocus is fast, accurate, and repeatable in both trigger and auto mode.

For Smartphone video enthusiasts, the Huawei P10 offers 1080p@60fps, as well as higher-resolution 2160p@30fps moving image capture, and achieves a good Video sub-score of 84 points. Videos generally have pleasant exposures with good dynamic range and accurate white balance in all conditions. The excellent detail and texture seen in stills persists in movie files, too, with well-defined edges and plenty of fine detail present. Autofocus performance for video is very good, too, with fast reaction and smooth convergence during scene changes and in panning videos.

Overview__920

A top performer for photography enthusiasts, the Huawei P10 boasts good exposures, and accurate white balance and autofocus, together with excellent fine detail preservation

 

Outdoors: Outstanding detail

The P10 does a very solid job of capturing outdoor scenes, with mostly well-exposed images, good color rendering, and accurate white balance. We observed some exposure failures in very bright conditions, where darker areas of the scene are noticeably underexposed in order to capture good highlight details in bright areas (such as the sky). The advantage of this strategy is that you should be able pull more detail out of the darker areas in post production, but it means you’ll need to spend a bit of time working them up for the best results.

Detail preservation is excellent on outdoor scenes too, with tiny details such as people in the very far distance clearly visible and well-defined in 100% crops. It handles noise extremely well in most outdoor conditions as well, and although some luminance noise is visible in cloudy skies, it’s much more acceptable in clear blue skies. Accurate white balance and vivid color rendering is also a strong feature in outdoor shots, which display rich, well-saturated color. We observed a bit of  instability in color rendering over consecutive shots, with the P10 recording slightly washed-out color in repeated exposures of the same scene, but it isn’t really much of a problem.

Outdoors: Outstanding detail

Outdoor exposures are generally very good and despite some underexposure in the darker areas of very bright scenes, the P10 records plenty of details in the highlights

Outdoors: Outstanding detail

Accurate white balance and pleasant color rendering is a feature of outdoor exposures, which generally display rich and well-saturated color

 

Indoors: Bright exposures in extreme low light

The Huawei P10 is an excellent Smartphone choice for photography enthusiasts after top-quality indoor or low-light pictures. Exposures in low light are generally very bright, even in extreme low-light conditions of 5 lux. Lots of fine detail is preserved when shooting indoors, too; and although in extreme low light some fine details are lost, indoor detail texture remains very good overall and is among the best results we’ve seen. With such good texture comes some slight luminance noise visible in most low-light images. Often rendered as a fine high-frequency noise, however, it’s far from offensive and doesn’t significantly impact overall image quality. White balance is very good when using different indoor light sources, too, with nice neutral results using tungsten light sources. Some color shading is noticeable in low-light images, however.

Indoors: Bright exposures in extreme low light

In good lighting conditions, indoor shots provide high dynamic range with very nice colored detail.

 

Details: Explaining the score

Details: Explaining the score

Exposure and Contrast (87)

The Huawei P10 achieved a very good score here, thanks to good exposures in all lighting conditions and particularly in extreme low light.  In some high-contrast outdoor scenes, occasional underexposures with clipped shadows, as well as exposure irregularities across consecutive outdoor shots reduced the score, but overall, this is a very good result.

Exposure and Contrast (87)

Exposure outdoor: images are mostly well exposed (left picture) but failures happen: details are sometimes lost on darker parts (right picture)

Exposure and Contrast (87)

Exposure instabilities are sometimes noticeable in outdoor

Exposure and Contrast (87)

Good exposure in low light conditions

 

Color (84)

The Huawei P10 scored a solid 84 for color, thanks to good color rendering and accurate white balance in all conditions. It lost points due to some slight color shading in all conditions, as well as because of minor color rendering instabilities over consecutive shots, with slightly more saturated and vibrant color in some exposures, but it’s not overly concerning.

 

Autofocus (92)

The Huawei P10 achieves an excellent score for autofocus, which is generally smooth, accurate, and repeatable, with consistently good performance using both trigger and auto autofocus mode. It’s fair to say autofocus is a fraction slower than its main competitors, and we observed the occasional failure, but it was generally quick, responsive and accurate in all lighting conditions.

Autofocus (92)

Autofocus (92)

 

Texture (92) and Noise (87)

The Huawei P10 achieves an outstanding score of 92 for texture, thanks to excellent detail preservation in both low- and bright-light conditions, and it outperforms some of its main competitors. 100% crops from the 12Mp RGB sensor clearly show good definition on tiny subjects, such as people in the far distance. In extreme low light (5 Lux), the finest details are lost, but the results are still good considering the conditions; and under brighter 20 lux conditions, detail preservation is very good. The extra texture and sharpness comes with some additional noise, however, which is a little more prevalent than that of some competitors. Some luminance noise is visible in the sky, particularly in cloudy conditions, although in areas of uniform color (such as a clear blue sky), the effect is better controlled. In low-light conditions, some slight luminance noise is visible, but the noise is rendered mostly in a less offensive high-frequency pattern, which is good news.

Texture (92) and Noise (87)

Fine detail preservation in 100% crops is excellent on the Huawei P10, which displays comparable texture to Google’s Pixel

Texture (92) and Noise (87)

100% crops: Good detail preservation but luminance noise sometimes very visible on cloudy sky. On blue sky, noise is acceptable.

 

Artifacts (86)

Optical deficiencies from the Leica Summarit f/2.2 lens are well-controlled for a mobile device, with only a slight loss of sharpness between the center and edges of the frame and some minor ringing visible on 100% crops. 

Artifacts (86)

Slight loss of sharpness visible in the corners

Artifacts (86)

100% crop: visible ringing

 

Flash (85)

The Huawei P10’s dual-tone LED unit offers good flash exposures on both flash-only and mixed-flash results, with only a very slight difference in brightness observed over consecutive flash exposures. Flash pictures display accurate white balance with pleasant color rendering, and white balance remains reasonably natural when combining flash with additional tungsten light sources. Some minor color shading is visible in flash pictures mixed with additional light sources, but it’s not overly offensive. Detail preservation is good, with nice texture and low levels of fine noise. The Huawei P10’s flash output is also nicely centered in the frame, but there is some light attenuation, resulting in noticeably darker corners.

 

Video (84)

Video (84)

Achieving a very good overall video score of 84, the Huawei P10 boasts good target exposures with fast and smooth adaptation during lighting changes. Video dynamic range is also very good, aside from occasional underexposure in tricky light conditions that results in slightly unsaturated color in some movies. That said, color rendering is pretty good, particularly in bright light, and white balance is generally accurate, with fast and smooth convergence as the lighting conditions change. In low-light conditions however, color shading is evident, shifting from pink in the center of the frame to green at the edges.

Video detail preservation is among some of the best we’ve seen, with nicely defined edge detail, although strong luminance noise is also visible in videos shot in all lighting conditions. Autofocus reaction and convergence is fast, with stable focus in panning videos, and although some slight focus stepping is noticeable in low-light videos, it’s not a huge distraction. Video stabilization is also pretty good generally, despite a little residual high-frequency motion visible in all videos and a noticeable “jello” effect in handheld videos shot on the move.

Video (84)

Video files on the Huawei P10 display excellent detail preservation in both bright- and low-light conditions, with slightly improved edge definition compared to its main competitor

Video (84)

Shooting video in low-light conditions, files display slightly unsaturated color with very noticeable color shading that shifts from pink in the center to green at the edges

Video (84)

Luminance noise is very strong on videos shot in low light, with more noise evident in areas of uniform color compared to videos shot using the Google Pixel

Photo

DxOMark Mobile Photo
88
Exposure and contrast
87
Color
84
Autofocus
92
Texture
92
Noise
87
Artifacts
86
Flash
85

Pros

  • Good exposure even in extreme low light.
  • Good white balance and color rendering in all conditions.
  • Good texture preservation, even in low light.
  • Accurate and repeatable autofocus.
  • Nice flash exposures with nice white balance and good detail preservation.

Cons

  • Luminance noise visible in the sky.
  • Slight color shading noticeable in low-light conditions.
  • In outdoor shots, details are sometimes lost in darker parts.

Video

DxOMark Mobile Video
84
Exposure and contrast
88
Color
83
Autofocus
86
Texture
86
Noise
75
Artifacts
80
Stabilization
86

Pros

  • Good target exposures and dynamic range.
  • Generally good white balance.
  • Excellent detail preservation.
  • Fast autofocus reaction and smooth convergence.
  • Good motion stabilization.

Cons

  • Visible “jello” effect during walking movements in outdoor conditions.
  • Strong color shading visible in low-light conditions.
  • Strong luminance noise visible in all conditions.
  • Slight difference in sharpness between consecutive frames with walking motion.