In many ways, the newly launched Honor 8 is essentially a redesigned, cheaper version of the flagship Huawei P9.
What’s the next big thing in smartphones? Well, that’s the million-dollar question on the minds of manufacturers, industry experts and us reviewers. We’ve seen screen resolutions cranked up, bigger displays and even faster and beefy processors. But it seems the next big thing in smartphones could be the dual-lens camera setup. We’ve already seen the likes of the LG G5, the newly launched iPhone 7 featuring dual- camera lenses. Chinese manufacturer Huawei has already launched its P9 flagship featuring a Leica-branded dual-lens camera setup. The company is now back with another dual-lens camera phone with the Huawei Honor 8, which notably sells at a much lower price point than the flagship Huawei P9.
In many ways, the newly launched Honor 8 is essentially a redesigned, cheaper version of the flagship Huawei P9. Priced at Rs. 29,999, the Huawei Honor 8 gets more or less the same specs as its flagship counterpart, featuring a full-HD display, the same 3000 mAh battery, but most importantly, it rocks the same dual-lens camera setup. But at this price point, it’s in direct competition with probably one of the best Android smartphones out there – the OnePlus 3. Now, this makes one wonder if the Honor 8’s dual-lens camera setup is enough to make it a compelling choice over the OnePlus 3. Let’s find out.
Build and Design
Huawei’s devices have always been high on their design aesthetics, and the Honor 8 doesn’t disappoint. The use of glass and metal works rather well and gives it that luxurious look and feel. The 2.5D glass on both the front and rear, the smooth rounded edges, and the phone’s dual-camera setup which sits flush with the back lends it a sleek polished look. Also, the fingerprint scanner, the volume rockers along with the power button are ergonomically placed and easily accessible. At 153 grams and 7.45mm in thickness, the Honor 8 feels comfortable in the palm and is easily manageable. Overall, the Honor 8 is an ergonomically designed phone with top-notch build quality.
The only gripe I had about the phone’s design was the glass back which makes it rather slippery and also gets easily smudged with fingerprint stains. Moreover, I would have preferred a little more subtlety, as the Honor 8 does feel a bit unnecessarily flashy (in my opinion).
The Huawei Honor 8 rocks a 5.2-inch Full HD display with a 1080 pixel resolution giving it a pixel density of 423ppi. It performs fairly well in terms of sharpness, colour reproduction, and sunlight legibility, though we would have preferred better brightness levels and colour accuracy. The OnePlus 3, for instance, offers much better blacks and brightness levels, along with richer and vibrant colours. The Honor 8 clearly fell short of the OnePlus 3 in this aspect, as colours weren’t as rich and vibrant. Moreover, the lack of an sRGB mode means there’s no way you can tweak colour and saturation levels. While this is no way a deal breaker as the phone’s full HD display is still quite sharp and crisp. But for a phone that costs Rs. 30,000, the Honor 8’s display fails to awe.
Hardware and Performance
The Honor 8 packs a Kirin 950 octa-core processor bundled with 4GB of RAM, which is good enough to handle anything thrown at it. Tasks such as multi-tasking, web browsing and app-switching felt like a breeze. Besides, it can even handle high-end games likes Asphalt 8 and Mortal Kombat X at ease without any lags or frame drops. In our synthetic benchmark tests, the Honor 8 scored an impressive 79130 in Antutu, while in Geekbench 4 it pulled-off single and multi-core scores of 1521 and 4815. The phone also rocks a fingerprint scanner on the back, which is snappy, responsive and easy to use. Besides, it offers added functionality as you can use it to lock apps, access hidden files, and perform gestures to take calls and selfies.
Overall, the Honor 8 is a rather solid performer across the board. Though, I did notice the phone’s tendency to get warm while using the camera. Besides, even the device’s external speaker is quite a bummer as the output while playing games or watching videos gets muffled and distorted.
Multi-tasking, web browsing and app-switching feels like a breeze on Honor 8.
However, the 3,000mAh battery on the Honor 8 is quite a workhorse. It easily lasted me a day of intense usage, which included taking calls, using the camera, occasional music and video streaming, along with web browsing and gaming. On a regular day, the Honor 8 should have no problems lasting a full 24 hours for any user. Besides, I even got an average on-screen time of around 4, which is pretty decent as well.
That said, it takes slightly above two hours to fully recharge the smartphone once the battery is totally drained out, which is a woefully long time to reach 100 percent charge. Though with the bundled charger you get 50 percent charge in around 40 minutes, which isn’t great but still manageable. The Honor 8 is devoid of Quick Charge 2.0 technology but does incorporate a fast-charging system according to Huawei.
Besides, the Huawei Honor 8 gets dual-SIM capabilities, USB Type-C charging slot, 32 GB of internal storage which is further expandable up to 128GB via microSD slot. Connectivity options on the smartphone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-OTG and NFC. Though, it does lack FM Radio and VoLTE.
Call quality for both incoming and outgoings calls is pretty crisp as well, as I faced no issues hearing the other person during calls. There weren’t any unexpected call drops either.
Just like the flagship P9, the Honor 8 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow layered with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 skin. Thankfully, it hasn’t been victimised by some heavy Android skinning and you still get key stock Android features such as Now on Tap, Doze and App Permissions. Besides, Huawei has made some minor tweaks to the notifications panel, settings and quick-launch shortcuts. The whole implementation works rather well, and the phone’s UI has an easy-going minimalist feel to it. There are also several gesture-based actions and voice-activated features that you can access in Settings under the Smart Assistance tab.
The Honor 8’s dual-lens camera setup is primarily the highlight of the device. It gets the same camera setup as the flagship Huawei P9, which can take some gorgeous pictures, especially in well-lit conditions. And same is the case with the Honor 8, featuring two separate 12MP sensors – one regular RGB sensor and a 12MP monochrome sensor. The two work in tandem to produce better, sharper pictures. Moreover, it allows you create that shallow depth of field. Also known as the bokeh effect, it lets you define the level of depth you want in an image after clicking a shot. While it may not be close to the kind of bokeh effect shot on DSLR, it’s still quite impressive to have such a feature on a mid-range smartphone.
Huawei Honor 8 gets the same camera setup as the flagship P9, which can take some gorgeous pictures, especially in well-lit conditions.
And just like the P9, the Honor 8’s rear camera system takes vibrant and detailed shots in in well-lit conditions. Colours look vibrant and punchy, without being over-saturated. It even does a fairly good job in low-light conditions, barring some loss of detail and noise levels creeping in. Also, the phone’s 8MP front-facing camera performs consistently in most lighting conditions.
Overall, I was impressed with the Honor 8’s dual-lens camera system. While it doesn’t get the Leica-branding of the flagship Huawei P9, it’s safe to say the Honor 8 is certainly one of the best mid-range camera phones out there.
Priced at Rs. 29,990, the Honor 8 ticks all the boxes with its impressive performance, excellent battery life and a top-notch build quality. Besides, its dual-lens camera setup is quite a cracker and takes photos like a pro in most lighting conditions. That said, it still falls short of the OnePlus 3 in terms of overall performance and camera quality. If you’re looking for something that’s not as chunky as the OnePlus 3 and is a reliable performer across the board, the Honor 8 should be your go-to device.