Storage speed in phones often isn't heavily promoted, even in flagship handsets, but it's something which can affect how fast a device feels. As Engadget's Richard Lai reports, some Chinese Huawei P10 owners noticed slower flash memory performance in their devices — speeds in line with the older eMMC 5.1 spec, not the newer UFS 2.0/2.1. Unlucky devices with eMMC 5.1 chips would score significantly lower in storage benchmarks. In one test, P10s with the slower memory managed less than half the throughput seen by models with faster chips.
Huawei CBG (Consumer Business Group) CEO Richard Yu reached out on social network Weibo to address the issue, while also commenting on our biggest gripe with the P10, its lack of oleophobic coating on the display.
On memory speeds, Yu blamed a "serious shortage" of faster UFS 2.0 and 2.1 chips in the supply chain, which apparently led to Huawei having to fall back on slower, but more readily available eMMC 5.1 memory in some units. Now, it's true that Huawei never included UFS on the P10's spec sheet. However, customers could be forgiven for assuming the P10's specs would line up with the Mate 9, a phone which shares the same Kirin 960 platform and was promoted as using speedy UFS 2.1 storage.
Yu insists that real-world performance isn't impacted by the use of slower memory in some P10s, saying "a good real-life performance and experience" is maintained thanks to Huawei's hardware and software optimizations.
Newer P10 batches will include an oleophobic coating, says Richard Yu.
As for why the P10 doesn't have an oleophobic coating on the display — the smudge-resistant layer used in all other flagship phones to deter the buildup of smudges and grease — well, apparently a combination of Gorilla Glass 5 and static electricity is to blame. According to the Engadget report, Yu said that the touch panel in the phone's Gorilla Glass 5 display had problems with the original oleophobic coating technique, where static buildup would interfere with the touch sensor.
That would explain why Huawei-built contemporaries like the Honor 8 Pro, which uses Gorilla Glass 3, still manage to include the coating. (In any case, we'd still argue that simply using different glass would've been a more acceptable compromise.)
Yu says that newer batches of P10 phones include the coating — made possible by a new coating technique that doesn't lead to static buildup — and that customers in China could visit their local Huawei store to have the treatment applied to their device. It's not clear what help that'll be to anyone who's bought a P10 outside of Huawei's home market, though.