After watching the launch video via Facebook Live of both the LG G6 and Huawei P10, I was keen to share my thoughts on these flagship devices. Before this, I was already keen to compare the LG V20 and the Huawei Mate 9, as I have reviewed both of them last month. But let me put that aside and talk about these 2 newest models announced at the Mobile World Congress 2017, where both phones were announced within hours of each other.
The Huawei P10 is a straight upgrade from P9. The camera sensor specs remain identical: 20MP monochrome sensor with 12MP colour sensor. The Leica lens is upgraded from the Summarit to the Summilux f/1.8 lens. There are the usual hardware updates and software improvements but largely do not deviate much from what I have experienced in Mate 9.
What new things did Huawei offer? More colour options, which are usually available to mid-range. A new way to operate the 3 Android soft keys using just the front fingerprint sensor.
2 variants will be available: 5.1-inch P10 and 5.5-inch P10 Plus. Price appears to be higher than the average flagships.
The launch presentation focuses a lot of camera quality, and based on my review on Mate 9, I have to agree. But I don’t foresee any surprises in the features and UX, which is already available on the Mate 9. Some tech sites even commented the P10 is a mini-Mate 9.
Official product site: http://consumer.huawei.com/en/mobile-phones/p10/index.htm
There are more things to talk about on the G6. Its design is a radical departure from the G5, In terms of freshness, the G6 takes the cake.
First, the 5.7-inch 2880 x 1440 screen is 18:9, or 2:1 ratio, a first on smartphones. The body is unusually narrow for the screen size, merely 72mm, giving single-hand user a great advantage. The display is longer, allowing more information to be displayed on-screen. Ergonomics for the win.
Speaking of display, the LG G6 screen supports Dolby Vision HDR, which promises higher details. This technology was first introduced in LG’s consumer TV line-up in mid 2016.
Then, the dual camera lens is reworked, where the wide-angle is upgraded from 8MP to 13MP, while reducing the angle from 135-degree to 125-degree, in a bid to reduce the fish-eye distortion and make the image quality more “professional-grade”.
Third, the UX is tweaked such that on-screen content is split in 2 equal squares. This offers several UI advantages, for which I would need to experience personally before commenting.
Another much-appreciated feature is the IP68 rating, following the footsteps of Samsung and Apple. To further add to the durability, the rear camera is flushed with the glass body.
Finally, LG G6 comes with wireless charging, to match up with the Samsung offering again.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium and XZs
LG G6 is not the only smartphone that supports HDR display. Sony announces the new Xperia XZ Premium, in full 4K resolution (2160 x 3840) within a 5.5-inch display. Sounds like an overkill, but well, at least there is something to differentiate. The camera is also upgraded with 960 fps shooting capability, just like the Sony RX100 V, to capture mesmerizing slow-motion video. That’s another key selling feature that might interest me. Xperia XZ Premium will also sport premium-quality audio chip, in line with the Walkman series, supporting hi-res audio and LDAC codec for lossless Bluetooth audio.
Retaining the Xperia design DNA, the Xperia XZ Premium will be powered by the newest Snapdragon 835, and given Samsung Galaxy S8 will be the first to commercially sell with this processor, the XZ Premium will only be on sale in late Q2. Meanwhile, the Xperia XZs will be available from April using the older Snapdragon 820, and will also come with 960fps slow-mo video capture.
The Xperia X-series continues to be a compelling smartphone, boosted by some of the best technologies from the various Sony product lines: TV, camera, Walkman. It’s been years since I reviewed an Xperia, so hopefully I will be able to get a unit when it arrives in Singapore.
Bonus: Nokia 3310 (2017)
For the nostalgic middle-agers, myself included, Nokia 3310 is back, thanks to the brand licensee, HMD Global. Contrary to expectations, it is a redesign, not a re-issue, which I would very much prefer. After all, re-issues of original design is not new in the world of hobby toy collection.
Unlike the original, the front faceplate cannot be changed. The phone is also half the weight, which makes me believe it will never be as durable as the original. Colour screen is great, but it only supports 2.5G mobile network, which will not be supported in Singapore come April 2017. And, 2MP camera? That’s another deal-breaker.
Official Product Site: https://www.nokia.com/en_int/phones/nokia-3310
Which One To Buy?
Each has its own selling points, so based on specs, they all will appeal to their respective segment of consumers. Huawei P10 are for photographers who are won over by artistic monochrome images or distinctive bokeh effects. LG G6 should gain new consumers who appreciate wide angle photography and wants to try out a new UX in a new screen aspect ratio. It is also the most refreshing model among all. Sony Xperia XZ Premium will appeal to slow-motion content creators.
If only there is one smartphone that has them all.