Huawei had released the Huawei P10 and the P10 Plus at MWC 2017. The devices featured an excellent set of specifications including the powerful Kirin 960 processor, 4/6GBs of RAM, a fairly decently sized battery and sharp camera setups.
Consumers who purchased the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus expect nothing less from the device. After all, the phones did cost €649 ($685) and €699 ($738) respectively, which is not exactly the most affordable price tag. But it seems, users may have been getting less than what they expected.
As initially reported by GizmoChina, early adopters of the P10 and P10 Plus started reported large variances in the storage speeds on the device. Users who ran AndroBench to benchmark their storage speeds were surprised to find a very large variance in the reported speeds, with some users reporting sequential read speeds of over 700MBps, some getting ~500MBps, others getting ~400MBps and some even getting under 300MBps. The results definitely raised some questions as they indicated that there could be differences in the storage specifications of the devices.
Android Authority reached out to Huawei on the issue, to which Huawei admitted that it is using memory chips of different specifications on the P10 and P10 Plus!
Huawei did not go into specifics on the different combinations available, but collected data from early adopters indicates that the two phones can feature any combination of LPDDR3 or LPDDR4 for the RAM and eMMC 5.1, UFS 2.0 or UFS 2.1 for the storage.
We are aware that there has been some recent online discussion in China regarding the flash memory in HUAWEI P10/P10 Plus.
Huawei employs the highest standards when selecting technologies and components for use in its products; we prioritize user experience, product quality and stability of supply. The HUAWEI P Series of smartphones is one of the company’s global flagship series and has become hugely popular worldwide, thanks to the excellent photography experience it provides. This popularity has led to enormous demand.
To meet global demand of millions of units, Huawei has employed the standard industry practice of sourcing solutions from multiple trusted suppliers to ensure a balance between user experience, quality and sustainable supply. Relying on a single component supply can lead to a shortage, meaning delays for consumers who wish to buy our new products. In the case of flash memory, in this instance, Huawei has chosen multiple simultaneous mainstream solution suppliers.
Huawei is and always has been, above all, committed to providing an extraordinary user experience. The performance of a single component can’t exactly reflect the overall system performance of a smartphone and these scores are not applicable in actual use scenarios.
Among all HUAWEI P10 marketing collateral, there has been no commitment to the use of only one specific flash memory. Different flash memory components are shipped randomly based on the supply at that time. There are no period batches or manual selection for chip batches, nor is there any discrimination or intention to defraud to consumers. Our approach is to measure the overall performance of our phones through software algorithms and chip tuning, rather than to focus on any single component.
In the HUAWEI P10/P10 Plus, we use multiple different suppliers for flash memory, which have been subject to strict and rigorous testing as part of our finished products, so as to ensure the excellence and consistency of user experience that we strive for. This has been reflected in the overwhelmingly positive worldwide response to the HUAWEI P10 since its launch, thanks to its beautiful design and the stunning artistic portrait photography experience it delivers.
Smartphone manufacturing is an industry with a very long supply chain. Huawei is committed to making the user experience the core factor in product design and innovations. We will continue to work closely with our partners to optimize the industry ecosystem and deliver even better products and experiences to consumers.
Huawei admits it is sourcing solutions through “multiple simultaneous mainstream solution suppliers”, which is marketing speak for using components of different specifications in different batches. While smaller variances exist and are unavoidably widespread across any electronic device because of how supply chains work, such large variances mean that a subset of users are getting devices that perform objectively worse than others, despite paying the same price for the device.
Huawei did cleverly foresee part of this problem when it launched the P10 and P10 Plus, as none of the marketing material of the device mention one specification of storage and RAM that will be used. Instead, the materials were mute on the specifications, so the company can claim that there was no misrepresentation on their end. So as far as the ‘quantity’ of RAM and storage were concerned, Huawei was true to its word and delivered accordingly; but as far as the ‘quality’ is concerned, Huawei can state that they did not mislead consumers since there was no marketing guarantee to begin with.
To rub more salt onto the wounds, Huawei claims that “the performance of a single component can’t exactly reflect the overall system performance of a smartphone and these scores are not applicable in actual use scenarios”. While these scores cannot exactly reflect overall performance, they are good indicators of performance in many scenarios. The differences between LPDDR4 and LPDDR3 are significant, and so is the difference between eMMC 5.1 and UFS 2.0 and UFS 2.1. Our very own Mario encapsulated the superiority of UFS 2.0 over eMMC 5.1 when analyzing why the OnePlus 3 was such an excellent device for real world performance.
The problem does not end here for consumers and potential consumers. Huawei says that “different flash memory components are shipped randomly based on the supply at that time”. So there is no way for a potential consumer to find out which combination of specifications is present in the device in front of him, unless he manages to install and use a benchmark app before making his purchase.
For users who have already purchased the device and have drawn the ‘bad’ lot with the combination of eMMC 5.1 and LPDDR3, there is no recourse available unfortunately. Even if they do return their device and get a replacement (which is unlikely in this scenario as this is not considered a ‘defect’ in any form, nor was there any misrepresentation on Huawei’s end), there is no guarantee that they will get a better combination. Huawei denies “any discrimination or intention to defraud to consumers” because their selection is random and not manual.
So if you do end up with a P10 or P10 Plus that is not the best combination, all we can recommend is to live with it. eMMC 5.1 and LPDDR3 are not unusable configurations by any means, and if your experience thus far has been great with the product, then this revelation does not change that fact. Still, it is concerning to pay the same flagship price for this product that others are paying, only to end up with a slower components.
What are your thoughts on the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus’s memory and storage specification debacle? Do you know of other OEMs who have done something similar with their products? Let us know in the comments below!