Previously, the two Huawei flagship smartphones – the Ascend P6 and Ascend P7 were both very impressive, in which the P6 achieved our Editor’s Choice Award. Therefore, the Huawei P8 has been expected to be a strong model in such a competitive market with a lot powerful brand names like iPhone 6 Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and other models. In addition, the LG G4 will be launched this month and the release of the Xperia Z4 will be very soon, too.
Although the hardware and design style are very nice, the performance and software are not that good as expected.
The PRICE OF THE HUAWEI 8
The price was 499 Euro at the time we review this model.
The Chinese manufacturers tend to base on the lower prices for smartphones and tablets to attract a lot of customers. This is similar to the way that Google did with Nexus product lines. Both the Ascend P6 and Ascend P7 were sold at the reasonable prices.
The price of the Huawei 8 is 499 Euro. In the theory, this price is significantly cheaper than its rivals which are often priced around £600. But when you look at the £500 price tag on Amazon from retailers in the United Kingdom, this price tag is higher than we have expected in regard of the European price tag.
DESIGN AND BUILD
Although the Ascend P7 was thicker than the Ascend P6, Huawei has made the P8 even thinner, measuring 6.5 mm only. We have seen many smartphones which are thin and have certain improved features, but holding these phones may be less comfortable. Fortunately, despite the super thin design, it is still pretty comfortable to hold the P8 in hands, partly thanks to the metal body together with bevelled edges. However, the design is not really sophisticated. There is not any logo embossed in the front and the back is full of legal information.
The P8 is also very light and the metal frame of the phone is more symmetrical than it was before when Huawei decided not to make rounded bottom edge anymore. In terms of the look, the P8 looks pretty similar to the iPhone 6. Meanwhile, its frame looks like that of the Samsung S6. In addition, we also see the square shape of the Xperia Z3 in its design. The Huawei P8 seems to be the combination of the three famous models in one product.
Huawei increased the size of the P8 over that of the previous versions. Although it looks similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 in regard of the height and width, it feels larger with the square shape.
There are four color options, including: prestige gold, titanium grey, carbon black and mystic champagne. The premium 64 GB model is available in the prestige gold and black while you can decide on the mystic champagne or grey for the standard 16 GB model. Although the waterproof capability is not fully supported, the spill resistant feature is available because the phone is covered by a nano coat.
In addition, an E-ink cover is available in case that you want to use this smartphone as a traditional eReader. In this respect, the Huawei P8 beats the YotaPhone 2. We cannot give comments on this cover now as we have not had a chance to touch it yet.
HARDWARE AND SPECIFICATIONS
Although the P8 is bigger than the two predecessors, its IPS screen as well as the full HD 1080p resolution of 424-ppi pixel density remain the same. Both colors and viewing angles are nice in general, but sometimes when use select the low brightness, the images shot with this smartphone may be spoiled.
There are two versions: standard 16 GB or premium 64 GB, both has 3-GB RAM storage. The P8 uses a Kirin 935 octa-core processor which is clocked at 1.5 and 2 GHz. The nice thing is that a microSD card slot is available, so you can make use of this to increase the storage space. This can be considered a second SIM card, so we can call the P8 a dual-SIM model.
The performance in general is nice but there still remain some drawbacks when we have tested this model thoroughly. For example, some lags happen when you’re trying to open an email or select one app in the Play store. According to Huawei, both the GPU and CPU of the P8 are better than that of the P7, it seems to be not that exact in our testing. There are still some noticeable lags with the interface sometimes.
The battery should last one and a half days when used normally. But in reality, the 2600mAh battery of the P8 can run for one day after being fully charged, which is an embarrassing thing. Through our test, the P8 gets 3296 points with the duration of 5 hours and 30 minutes while the Samsung Galaxy S6 hits 4136 points with the duration of 6 hours and 53 minutes.
The battery still runs out after the full charge even you don’t use the phone over night or for the whole day. Hope that this drawback just happens for tested sample. We just check another model to make sure about it.
The front camera has the resolution of 8 megapixels and the one in the back has the resolution of 13 megapixels. Thanks to the inclusion of the class optical IS and a DSLR-level independent image signal processor, the P8 can shoot very nice images under the inadequate lighting situations.
Among the feature list, the cameras are the greatest features. The results are nice, and especially outstanding with the following shooting options: landscape, low light and close-ups. In addition, the iOS-style app is very nice, which can be used to take advantage of the maximum resolution setting of the main camera. The default settings for this are a resolution of 10 megapixels and the aspect ratio of 16:9. Although the full HD mode is available, the phone often shoots videos at 720p resolution. The 4K recording is not supported, so you may want to find a model of higher price for this option.
While the P8 offer some nice shooting modes such as the Light painting or Time-lapse, the Beauty mode seems to be useless because sometimes, it turns the images into something unreal. The all-focus mode is not as nice as that of other phones. Switching between some mode is pretty simple through just a swipe, but for some other more useful modes like HDR, you have to tuck it away in the menu.
Similar to the P6 and P7, the P8 also uses the Android 5.0 Lollipop running system and the Emotion Use Interface which is created by Huawei itself. There are both strengths and weaknesses with these features.
The nice thing here is that the themes can be customized and it’s possible to adjust transition animations on the homescreen. The lockscreen is pretty interesting. For any time you hold down the power key, you will see another photo in this screen. In addition, there are several setting and shortcuts when you swipe the screen up from the bottom. But unfortunately, an app menu is not supported, so all the app icons must be placed right on the home screen. This is similar to the screen of an iPhone.
You can find the Phone Manager app very useful when you know how to use it. Thanks to this app, you can know which processor-intensive apped should be turned off. In addition, it’s also usefull for managing notifications, cleaning storage space and so on.
Moreover, Wi-Fi+ and Signal+ are nice additional features of this smartphone. Especially, a nice international dialler is supported so that there is no need for texting the country code.
You may find it a bit strange with the new Knuckle Sense feature. If you wan to capture a screenshot, editing it or drawing around parts of the screen, this feature can be useful. But because it’s activated randomly and it’s difficult to turn off it (we didn’t find the configuration for this feature), sometimes it’s inconvenient. As a result, it clearly affects the overall using experiences in some way.
The BOTTOM LINE
The Huawei P8 is a well-built smartphone with a great design style in regard of the lower prices compared to other flagship competitor. The hardware is also decent, particularly in terms of the photography features. However, the performance and software are not as good as expected, which certainly affecting the entire experiences. Therefore, we find it a bit hard to recommend this model.