Mobile World Congress

Huawei puts Leica lenses up front too

Mr Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's consumer business, introducing the P10 and P10 Plus smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.
Mr Richard Yu, chief executive of Huawei's consumer business, introducing the P10 and P10 Plus smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week.PHOTO: REUTERS

The Chinese company means business in its push to get ahead in smartphone photography

The Leica look is back in full force in Huawei's latest flagships announced at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, as the Chinese company continues to find ways to enforce its focus on smartphone photography.

The Huawei P10 and its big brother, the P10 Plus, are the successors to last year's P9, which was the first phone in Huawei's line-up to feature dual-camera rear lenses made by famed German photography firm Leica.

The P10 line carries on the tradition, and ups the ante by slapping on a Leica lens on the front as well.

Both the 5.1-inch P10 and 5.5-inch P10 Plus sport a 20-megapixel monochrome lens and a 12-megapixel colour lens.

Quick tests with the phones revealed clear and sharp shots even in low light.

The bokeh feature introduced in the P9 returns in the P10 line, which allows for dramatic photos with a blurred background to be taken - like those that are shot with a DSLR camera.

Pictures taken in this mode do look obviously simulated to have that effect, though, which can make them look somewhat unnatural.

Setting the camera to auto mode produces decent, but not great, shots. Switch to manual mode, however, and the phone starts to shine. Settings are easily available to adjust on the fly, and the range of filters, such as the black-and-white mode, are fun to switch around and play with.

The 8-megapixel front-facing camera takes ridiculously clear selfies, along with the standard beautification features that can make you look eerily smooth and alien-like if used to the extreme.

The quad-HD display of the P10 Plus makes for a great viewing experience, and really makes the photos you take look even better.

Both phones feel similar to the P9, with some key aesthetic differences. The fingerprint sensor has moved to the front of the phone and more colours have been added to the range.

The P10 is priced at €649 (S$970) while the P10 Plus will cost €699. Both phones are expected to launch in Asia next month.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Huawei puts Leica lenses up front too'. Print Edition | Subscribe