Tuesday 22 November 2016

Huawei Honor 8 Review

Huawei has been regularly adding devices in it's Honor series and the Honor 8 is the latest entrant after the Honor 7 which was well received from customers last year. The major difference though is the higher price range for this device. Let’s find out if it’s value for your money…

Design & Hardware  

The Honor 8 looks a completely different device from the previous Honor devices and looks more premium thanks to the metal frame and curved 2.5D glass on the front & the back. Scratch guard alert for those who don’t want to risk it slipping out of your hands and breaking it! The corners are diamond cut , hence smoothly rounded with an ultra narrow bezel. The front has a 5.2” (423 ppi) LTPS Capacitive screen with the 8MP camera & light sensor at the top left & no physical buttons at the bottom, just a Honor logo.The notification LED is hidden in the earpiece grill.

The back has the fingerprint sensor and the 12MP dual camera setup which is the USP of the Honor 8 with dual LED flash.At the top edge, you’ll find the infrared sensor while at the bottom you’ll find the 3.5mm jack & Type C charging port with the speaker grill next to it. 
The left edge has the 2in1 4G SIM & Micro SD card tray , so no Dual SIM support on this one . The right edge has the volume control & power button . The Honor 8 weighs only 154 grams & is pretty slim. It ships with an 18W fast charger & there are 3  colours, Sapphire Blue, Pearl White & Sunrise Gold for the phone to chose from.

Hardware is what increases the cost of the phone & is pretty obvious when you see why the Honor 8 is slightly on the higher side as compared to the One Plus 3 , Asus ZenFone 3.
Huawei always use the in-house Kirin processors for their phones & the Honor 8 has been given the latest Kirin 950 Octa-core SoC (4 x 2.3GHz ARM Cortex-A72 + 4 x 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A53 ) which is similar to the Snapdragon 820.The GPU is Mali T880  that is combined with 4GB RAM & 32GB ROM & an expansion slot to support 128GB Micro SD card & a 3000 mAh battery.

Dual band Wi-Fi, OTG support, NFC are a given considering the price but no FM Radio and VoLTE support which could be an issue for many since 2017 will see most telecom operators move to cheaper data & VoLTE will be used for calling. Hopefully there’s a software update that can enable it if it has the right H/W inside! 

Coming back to the Fingerprint sensor, which besides unlocking is also actually like a button and can be sued to take a selfie or pull down notifications or answer calls. The Smart Key on it has 3 types of touch sensitivities single, double and long which can be assigned functions like toggling the flashlight, taking a screenshot or even voice recording , stopping alarms, swiping for browsing photos. It can also be assigned to launch apps! Now THAT is how you reinvent ! 


The Honor 8 runs on EMUI 4.1 which is a skin on top of the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS.EMUI is Huawei’s custom interface and it’s been evolving for the last 2 years. It's got great icon packs & the UI is very unique and you won’t see the real Android layer underneath. Some new features are Now-On-Tap via Google, Link+ in the WIreless options for improved signal reception & WiFi+ to switch automatically between Wi-Fi & Data based on signal strength.

There are Voice Control features like Voice wakeup , Answering calls & Quick calling.
The Knuckle sense meanwhile let’s you take a screenshot by drawing a circle on screen or start screen recording by knocking with your knuckles. . Overall it’s a smooth UI & you can move to the simple layout mode if you don’t want all these bells and whistles on the home screen. The screen size can also be reduced in size for single hand functionality by quickly swiping to the right on the navigation keys. 


The dual camera setup consists of a monochrome sensor & a 12MP colour camera which is similar to the iPhone 7 Plus. The major difference is in the aperture where the Honor 8 is f/2.2 , the iPhone 7 Plus is f/1.8 which is which it’s in a league of it’s own. The S7 edge meanwhile has f/1.7 which takes the cake! The Honor 8 is still a great camera phone and produces great details in daylight while low light is much improved than the Honor 7 & compared to other devices in the same budget. The manual mode offers good macro options & blur effects thanks to the wide aperture mode.

Modes include HDR, Pro, Panorama, slow motion, light painting, Beauty & Time Lapse.
Video recording maxes out at 1080p at 60fps and there’s no 4K, absolutely unbelievable when you market your phone as a camera phone & at this price! 
Front camera is at 8MP and f/2.4 captures good wide angle selfies. 


Media playback is good and supports 4K . The stock music player is neat as well & supports DTS audio while the speaker is pretty loud as well. Demanding games like FIFA Mobile , Asphalt 8 & Mortal Kombat X work pretty smooth and didn't notice any frame drops . AnTuTu score was at 91575 which isn’t justifying the hardware but the real world performance is great.  

The IR sensor controlled by Smart Control 4.0 can operate all your electronic appliances like TV, set top box, AC etc.  Thanks to the 3000 mAh battery, all day 4G with games , streaming & music kept the device running for over 9 hours. There’s a ROG battery feature that makes the display 720p to save power and when charging the device , it went upto 40% in 30 mins! 


If you’re ok with losing out on Next gen VoLTE feature and 4K video recording, the Honor 8 is a good device but it’s in the premium segment . If you want more bang for your buck, look at Moto Z, One Plus 3, Nexus 6P (though old) are great devices.  

An honorable  3/5.


Pritesh Khilnani

Honor 8  at CeX

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