Huawei Honor 8 aims to bring the dual camera experience of their flagship P9 down to a cheaper price point without any major compromises. The Honor 8 comes with a 5.2-inch fullHD display, 4GB of RAM, a 3,000mAh battery and dual 12MP cameras.
The Huawei Honor 8 is available from Flipkart, Amazon India and the Honor online store at a price of Rs 29,999.
Can the Honor 8 stand out in the ultra-competitive premium mid-range segment dominated by the likes of the OnePlus 3T? Does the Huawei Honor 8 have what it takes to compete with the Moto Z Play, Asus Zenfone 3 and the Xiaomi Mi 5? Let’s find out!
Huawei Honor 8: Detailed Review
The Honor 8 comes with a metal unibody design with tapered edges which looks incredibly premium and well worth the money. What really works in the Huawei Honor 8’s favor are the slim horizontal bezels which make the device extremely compact and comfortable to hold in the hand.
A major source of frustration, however, is the all glass front and back because of which the device is an absolute fingerprint magnet. A few minutes of use is enough to make the device start looking icky and grimy.
The power and volume keys on the right are a delight to use, are very ergonomically placed and are not too mushy. There is a fingerprint sensor on the back which has a few tricks up its sleeve. The button can be programmed to act as a shortcut for most used apps and also opens Google Now upon a long press.
There are no physical buttons on the front. On top of the display resides the earpiece, front camera, and the ambient light sensor. Underneath the display, there exists the Honor branding and nothing else. The left edge is empty except for the hybrid SIM slot which can house either two SIM cards or a single SIM alongside a microSD card.
The USB Type-C port, headphone jack, and the single mono speaker is found on the bottom of the smartphone. The inclusion of a headphone jack is a welcome relief in a world where many companies are out to ditch as many legacy ports as possible.
The Huawei Honor 8comes with a 5.2-inch fullHD display with a resolution of 1080×1920.
In the day and age of 2K displays, a 1080p display at this price point is a little disappointing, Competition like HTC, Samsung, LG, all have moved on to QHD displays. Heck, even the LeEco has packed a 2K display in the LeMax 2.
In real life, however, the display is crisp and sharp, with adequate brightness levels and good viewing angles. The blacks are not as deep as I would have liked and the colors don’t ‘pop’ as much as the competition.
All in all, the Honor 8’s display is par for the course and will not be a cause for complaint. The lack of a QuadHD display might be a downer for some, especially if you are interested in using the device with a VR headset.
Huawei’s offering is powered by the home-grown Kirin 950 octa-core processor, which is seen on Huawei’s high-end offerings like the P9. Additionally, the device comes with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded via a microSD card (of up to 128GB) and Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box.
Kirin 950 is an extremely capable processor and helps the device fly on a day to day tasks with relative ease. The device handles tasks like scrolling through photos, opening applications and browsing the net with aplomb.
When it comes to gaming, the device handles causal games like Subway surfers run very well, although intensive titles like Modern Combat 5 exhibit a few dropped frames.
What really lets the device down is the laggy and un-optimised EM UI. Opening basic applications like the dialer, contacts, and messages take an extra second or two which really adds up in the long run and becomes extremely frustrating.
The Emotion UI looks unfinished and unpolished and lacks the refinement of stock Android and even certain OEM skins like Sony’s Xperia UI and OnePlus’s Oxygen OS.
On a positive note, the device doesn’t overheat when pushed, which is a refreshing change of pace from most smartphones out in the market.
On the connectivity front, the OnePlus 3T supports 4G LTE, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/c, NFC, GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS, USB Type C for charging and data transfer, dualSIM and Bluetooth 4.2.
The highlight of the Honor 8 is the dual camera setup at the back which consists of a 12MP color sensor and another 12MP monochrome sensor. Both cameras have an aperture of f/2.2 and work together to provide better contrast, better light, and shadow reproduction and in general better detail.
The rear camera on the Huawei Honor 8 is good, if not spectacular. While the images produced are a marked improvement over the Asus ZenFone 3 or the Xiaomi Mi 5, it cannot compare to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6/S7 and the iPhones of the world.
In well-lit situations, the images produced are crisp, vivid and full of detail. While there is a bit of blurring and watercolor effect at the edges of images taken in poor lighting situations, the smartphone actually produces decent and usable low light shots with an adequate amount of detail.
Even though the Huawei Honor 8 lacks OIS, the onboard electronic image stabilization works well as long as you keep the device relatively steady. Video capture is a mixed bag. While 1080p video capture is nice and crisp, the lack of 4K capture is a big letdown and there is a noticeable decrease in quality when shifting from photo to video modes.
The Bokeh mode is simply excellent. In this mode, the smartphone captures photos with a shallow depth of field, leading to a Bokeh effect. Unlike solutions from many other competitors, photos taken in this mode do not take ages to process and are sharp and crisp.
The 8MP front camera (f/2.4) produces sharp and crisp, albeit a little washed out images. The wide angle lens is great for cramming all your friends/family into a selfie.
The Honor 8 comes with a 3,000mAh battery and fast charging support.
While using it as my daily driver, the smartphone managed to make it to the end of the day, but just about barely. However, this was under a usage – Bluetooth and mobile data always on, tons of calls, messages and web use throughout the day.
With a balanced use case scenario, the device will easily last you the whole day. What helps is the fact that the device can be topped up quickly and easily with the help of the included fast charger.
The device can be charged from dead to 80% in about one and a half hour with a full charge taking just a few minutes north of two hours.
The Huawei Honor 8 aims to distil the essence of the flagship P9 in a more affordable and compact form factor. The device succeeds to an extent, with great imaging performance, a decent screen, a svelte and compact body and above average battery life.
The only out and out negatives of the device are the laggy, unrefined and unoptimized UI and the fingerprint magnet all-glass body.
The biggest problem with the Honor 8 is the fact that while it does a lot of things right and as a package is hard to beat, it simply doesn’t stand out from the competition in any way. The OnePlus 3T is a better device in almost every aspect and is priced 2,000 rupees less.
Where the Honor 8 trumps the OnePlus 3T however, is the inclusion of a microSD card slot which is a must for those who take a lot of images or store a lot of media on their smartphones.