Phone

Huawei P10+: The Best Smartphone for Portraits

Huawei P10 Plus dual cameras by Leica

There are many reasons to buy a smartphone. For Huawei P10+, you only need one reason, especially if you love to shoot portraits or objects like food, people, products.

The Depth of Field Magic

Photographers spend hundreds of dollars and incur bulk and weight to shoot with DSLRS and big lenses with large aperture, in order to achieve shallow depth of field. Smartphone cameras cannot achieve that effect physically, so Huawei used some post-processing magic assisted by Leica dual cameras. HTC did that first with the One M8, which they call “UFocus”. Brilliant, but marred by the UltraPixel concept where the cameras shoot at “low” resolution than industry back then. HTC did not pursue this feature subsequently, which is a shame.

From Huawei P9, Mate 9, and now the P10 and P10+, the dual camera set-up allows these Huawei smartphones to create background and foreground blur. This alone transforms ordinary smartphone camera photos into expressive works of imaging art.

Huawei P10+ test image - mynah bird

I am not even going to dwell into the colour saturation or the contrast control, or even the noise. There are smartphones out there that may better all these. But one thing that no one can do better than Huawei: the wide aperture effect.

Huawei P10+ test image - buffet spread

If you look at these photos and feel that they look normal, then Huawei has achieved its goal. You see, the out-of-focus effects do look rather natural.

Huawei P10+ test image - flower pot

Here is the same scene taken by LG G6. Yes, the background is blur, not not blur enough.

LG G6 test image - flower pot

Naturally, not all situations will look authentic. After all, these effects are all processed by imaging algorithm. But the ability to isolate subjects make the image extra special. In the current society where everyone tries to impress with unique photo results, Huawei offers that edge.

Huawei P10+ test image - VR ride

I would recommend you adjust the wide aperture effect to get a more natural look, instead of going for the maximum blur. And you can still do that in the Gallery app after the shot is taken.

Huawei P10+ test image - Breakfast

You can even play pranks by changing the focus area after the shot is taken, then save to another separate image without overriding the original.

Huawei P10+ test image - Out of focus

While Huawei camera has a monochrome mode, I prefer to shoot in colour first, then post-process using the Gallery app, so that my original image is at least in colour for further manipulation.

Huawei P10+ test image - Amit

For selfie shots, the camera also processes the output aggressively for mostly unnatural outcomes. There is an option to enable artistic bokeh and since there is no dual camera, the effect is not so convincing. You can adjust the beauty level to your preference. The front camera is not quite wide angle so it’s favoured for solo or couple shots at arms length.

Huawei P10+ test image - Selfie

Other Shooting Modes

Other than shooting people and products, the Huawei P10+ does a great job with scenery. White balance is accurate even when shooting through tinted glass.

Huawei P10+ test image - Garden

This is how an iPhone 6S looks.

iPhone 6S test image - Garden

Low light scenes are also well handled, but I had to adjust EV as the camera over-exposed the scene. I also overrode the ISO so that the image is less grainy. Tripod is recommended for best quality – I shot the below image handheld.

Huawei P10+ test image - Night scene

The Night Shot and Light Painting modes are really ingenious. The Night Shot exposes the scene in long exposures to achieve a HDR-effect. The Light Painting similarly lets you expose the scene but shows the outcome on-screen in real time, so that you can choose when to stop the long exposure and get the desired effect. Tripod is recommended to get amazing outputs.

But There Are More Reasons

Besides the camera prowess, there are other reasons to buy Huawei P10+. These features are in many cases, better the competition.

  • 128GB storage, 6GB RAM. This is one of the most generous spec from a smartphone today. Most other premium smartphones offer only 64GB storage and 4GB RAM.
  • SuperCharge. This is another fast-charging technology that claims to charge even faster and less heat than QuickCharge, delivering 5A charging current with 4.5V input.
  • Fingerprint Fast Unlock. The fingerprint unlocks the phone really fast, as if the phone was never locked.
  • Selfie Preview Window. When taking a selfie, a small preview window appears below the front camera so that your eyes look towards the front camera for the desired eye contact.
  • Dual Speaker. The phone produces audio with 2 speakers: the bottom speaker delivers low frequencies while the top speaker produces high frequencies. The result is an overall improved fidelity in audio output that bests most other smartphones.
  • iOS Single Drawer or Android App Drawer. For iOS users, a single drawer will help in adapting a new OS.
  • App Twin to let you access 2 Whatsapp and 2 Facebook accounts in the same phone
  • S$998. This price is again really competitive given its hardware specs. There is nothing technically lacking with the Huawei P10+.

I have listed a lot other features in the Huawei Mate 9 review.

Conclusion

The Huawei P10+ is the most ideal smartphone to shoot portraits and close objects. It does not aim to please purists with its aggressive post-processing, where images are bright, punchy, high in contrast, lacking natural shadow details. The phone runs smooth and the battery management is customisable to cater to user preferences. It comes with many colours to satisfy every consumer, and is available for purchase in Singapore from 15 April 2017.

Huawei P10 launch colours

Official product website

Summary
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