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Huawei Honor 8 Review – A Midrange Flagship Beauty

by Linus 3,442 views23

Huawei’s Honor brand has been known for nice devices that bring some great specs at affordable prices. The Honor 8 is one of their latest offerings and it’s very beautiful. Learn more in our full review.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: VIDEO REVIEW

Huawei Honor 8 Review: UNBOXING

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The phone comes in a fancy Huawei-style box and the contents include a fast charger, USB C cable, SIM ejector pin and some paperwork.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: SPECS

Display
5.2″ 1080p (Full-HD)
Processor
Hisilicon Kirin 950, octa-core, 2.3GHz (max.)
RAM
3GB
Camera
8MP Front/12MP Back
Connectivity
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
Battery
3.000 mAh (non-removable)
Dimensions
145.5 x 71 x 7.5 mm / 153g
OS
Android 6.0
Storage
32GB (expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB)

Huawei Honor 8 Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY

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Once I first took the phone out of the box, my first impression was – it is a really nice looking and well-built phone. Sure, it sports a familiar design but it definitely feels like a flagship phone.

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The device is compact due to its 5.2” 1080p display, which is sharp and crisp, it has a decent sunlight legibility and it is just a beautiful panel overall.

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Just above the display we have a sensor light, a beefy 8MP camera and LED notification light. Unfortunately, the phone only has on-screen navigation buttons.

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There is so much going on the back of the device. It starts with a dual 12MP camera setup, similar to the one found on the Huawei P9. We also have a laser auto-focus system and dual-tone dual LED flash.

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Just below the camera, there is a multifunctional button, which also acts as a fingerprint scanner. You can unlock your phone straight from the standby mode and the scanner is very accurate but not as fast as e.g. OnePlus 3.

In addition to this, you can physically press this programmable button and it can do a lot of things e.g. you can double-press it to turn on the flashlight. You can also swipe it down to open up notification shade and so on.

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The side buttons are nice and tactile.

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We have a loudspeaker, which sits next to the USB C port and it has a pretty good sound quality for the class.

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Some extra features include the IR blaster, which has already started disappearing from other devices… again.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

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My review unit comes with the Hisilicon Kirin 950 octa-core processor with the max. clock speeds of 2.3GHz, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which can be expanded via the microSD card.

You can also opt-in for a higher-end model, which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

I played games like Asphalt 8, Nova 3 and Modern Combat 5 on the highest graphics settings. There were just a few skipped frames but that is not the reason worth complaining about and I would say that the gaming performance is great.

The phone tends to get a little warm but it does not overheat.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: BENCHMARKS

Huawei Honor 8 Review: USER INTERFACE

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Speaking of the user interface, the Honor 8 ships with the EMUI 4.1, which is built on top of the Android 6.0.

We have a typical Huawei UI we’ve seen on other devices. There is no app drawer, the icons look cartoonish but there are so many features and customization options. If you are new to Huawei phones, it may take a few days to get used to and try all those features.

There is a baked-in theming engine to customize the looks. Also, there are quite a few pre-installed apps like Health, to help you track your fitness routines. Also, you can adjust the display settings, customize the navigation bar, use your knuckle to take a screenshot, easily turn on/off a convenient one-hand operation mode or manage your phone with the built-in phone manager.

There are plenty of other features, settings and tweaks to talk about, we just wanted to give you a basic idea of a variety of options you get with this Huawei device.

The UI performs fine on a daily basis. It is fast, I didn’t have any lags and I’m pretty happy with it.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: CAMERA

The camera can take pictures quite fast. We have a bunch of shooting modes to choose from. Just to name a few, there are manual photo and video modes.

You can also make the best use of the secondary camera by adjusting the aperture and selecting the focus area after you take the image. This feature works pretty well and you can get some really nice photos with bokeh effect.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: IMAGE QUALITY

When it comes to the image quality, the Honor 8 is a very good yet not perfect performer. The daylight images come out sharp and detailed, and the color reproduction is accurate.

The indoor and macro shots look pretty good too.

You can take some nice images using the secondary camera that captures depth information. You can focus on different objects after you take the image and apply various filters. Not all photos look natural but you can definitely achieve some nice looking results.

The camera can take some nice photos in low-light. Sure, the photos look grainier but the noise reduction is pretty good for the class. However, some of the shots are ruined with a red tint if you are taking pictures close to the light source e.g. street lights.

The phone can shoot videos up to 1080p. The quality of the footage is just mediocre. Also, my Chinese review unit does not have the continuous auto-focus feature. I know that Indian retail unit supports this feature. See a video review for a video sample.

8MP selfie camera is great and it also comes with some advanced beautification features to make you look better.

Download full resolution camera samples (Part 1)

Download full resolution camera samples (Part 2)

Huawei Honor 8 Review: CONNECTIVITY

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The phone comes with a hybrid SIM card slot that can take either 2 SIMs or 1 SIM and the microSD card.

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I didn’t have any issues with call quality, signal reception, GPS or wifi.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: BATTERY LIFE

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The Honor 8 ships with the 3000mAh battery that performs well on the daily basis.

I got 3 hours of screen-on time but bare in mind that I had set the display brightness to maximum, I was in a bad signal reception area and I used the phone quite intensively.

With a lighter use, you may easily get over 4 hours of SOT that should translate to 1-1.5 days of usage.

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The phone supports fast charging feature and I was able to fully charge a phone in 1 hour and 15 mins.

Huawei Honor 8 Review: CONCLUSIONS

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So, there you have it, the Huawei Honor 8. After using this phone for quite some time I can say that it is a rather compelling offering at the price of $350.

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It has the looks and the build quality of a flagship, a great display, multi-functional fingerprint scanner button and powerful internal hardware that allows you to play 3D games and enjoy a smooth user interface performance on the daily basis.

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Also, the dual camera setup is what makes this phone standout from the crowd of similarly-priced phones. You can take some great photos and play with the bokeh effect if you want.

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On the other hand, the video quality could be better, the user interface may look cartoonish to some and the glass back panel is slippery, and it attracts fingerprints easily.

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At the end of the day, the Huawei Honor 8 is a great phone. Sure, it may have a few flaws but it is one of the better phones at this price range at the moment.

4.8

Huawei Honor 8 is a great phone. Sure, it may have a few flaws but it is one of the better phones at this price range at the moment.

Design and Build
Display
Hardware
User Interface
Camera
Connectivity
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
Buy Xiaomi Mi5
  • Zami

    In the price range its a great phone to have.
    Specially the black and blue colour ones looks fantastic.

    • mf1gt3r

      Eggxactly.

  • Muhammad Yasir

    “When it comes to the image quality, the Honor 8 is a very good yet not perfect performer.”

    Linus , then WHAT is the PERFECT performer for you ? PLEASE tell !

    • Perfect performer is the one that takes great photos in any light and shoots very good videos. Galaxy S7/edge/Note 7 is as close as it gets. The Honor 8 has a very good camera but the video quality is just mediocre and some of the night shots are affected by a red tint.

      • Muhammad Yasir

        hmm… so they sensor is crap w.r.t to Video Processing (amirite??? , sensors do vid processing when recording, right ? or is it the cpu helping the sensor out?)

        red tint … could be a problem with your piece only … or maybe again a sensor-wide issue

        • Muhammad Yasir Snr

          the* sensor
          am i right****
          video*

      • RafalS

        Is Honor 8 does the same pictures as P9 ?? Is P9 is, however, another – a better camera.

    • balcobomber25

      Perfect performer for me is the LG G5, to me Samsung phones don’t produce natural colors from the camera, they look great but when compared to other top flagships or a DSLR the colors are always overblown and over-saturated.

  • bro-reac

    Linux the man. Thanks,

    • Muhammad Yasir

      Linus*

      or maybe he transformed into a powerful AI and we din’t know 😛

  • Ionut Johnny

    Great Job Linus, you are very good and active. Great phone but I’m actually looking for the best of best, I found LG G5 new on ebay 350 GBP ,used S7 Edge with minor marks at 400 GBP or a new oneplus 3 ?
    Which do you think it’s better. camera, display, battery life, audio etc.
    I may be waiting for the Mi Note Edge,Leco 8 gb ram edition on september 5th.

    • balcobomber25

      Best camera – G5
      Best display – Depends what you prefer (AMOLED or LCD) but overall the S7
      Best performer – S7 with Exnyos or any of the 820 phones
      Best audio – Axon 7
      Best battery life – Mi5 or S7 Edge
      Best overall value – OP3 or Axon 7

      There really is no best of the best, all of the current flagships compete head to head in every category. Some might have a slightly better camera or slightly better display but with any of the top flagships you will be getting a great phone no matter what you buy. Go with the phone you think looks the best and which software you like the most.

      • Nam Dang

        Best audio – Axon 7 is not precise IMO.
        When it comes to dual speakers, then it is a good competitor to HTC M8/9, the new Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra could be interesting.
        Sound via headphones is quite subjective, but technically the iPhone has the overall best audio performance.

        • balcobomber25

          iPhone has very good audio I wouldn’t say it’s the best, independent tests show it’s no better than the HTC phones.

  • Ivo001

    Would you recommend this phone over the mi5? I plan to use my phone for capturing some nice videos and photos during concerts and festivals, where most of them will be in low light.

  • balcobomber25

    This launches in the US next week, can’t wait to actually see that Blue version in person. Good review overall.

  • BTN

    LOL It´s almost a copy of an iphone…shame on you Huawei…

    • balcobomber25

      Which iphone model has dual rear cameras, a fingerprint sensor on the back and is made of glass?

      • MaxPower

        Didn’t you see it?
        It’s rectangular just like iPhones.

        • balcobomber25

          It also has a screen and plays sounds just like an iPhone! COPY!

          Did you get the Axon 7?

          • MaxPower

            Not yet, I’ve bought a lot of crap recently and my wife already gave me dirty looks.
            I’m waiting until everything calms down 🙂

          • balcobomber25

            I know that feeling. I am just waiting for the Honor 8 launch then ill pick something.

  • MKBS

    Does this unit (from the good ol’ folks at Oppomart) have full Google Play Services pre-installed? The software has multi-language (in the screenshots), but is it also an original software (one that supports OTA updates which are important if I ever want to get Android N 7.0)?