Honor 8 Review: A Super Gorgeous Flagship!


Honor announced its flagship, the Huawei 8 this week in India. The phone will be available for 29999 INR on Flipkart. The Honor 8 is one of the best looking phones the company has ever made. Let us look at a detailed review in this article.

Hardware, Look and Feel:

The Honor 8 has a double-sided glass design’ with a first from Honor – a Sapphire blue colour. The edges are smooth and straight design makes the device easy and comfortable to hold.

The phone is very light and feels great to carry along. The back is quite ergonomic and the rear flows very well to the front.Might feel slightly slippery because of the all glass body. A protective case will still be a good idea.

The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side which feels vey neat and also offers a good amount of tactile feedback. The power button also have a textured feel to it making it more comfortable to use. The left side is for the SIM and SD card slots.

The Emotion UI makes the OS much user friendly and optimises the OS with a good RAM management. The OS also provides some good tweaks that help in better performance when compared to other phones in this segment. The Gaming performance on this phone is impressive as well. It also allows the users to take partial or full screenshots with the tap of their knuckle and similar other features through its enhanced knuckle feature.

The rear of the phone sports the dual camera and the finger print sensor.

The finger print sensor is an impressive feature on this phone (or in any Huawei phone in that matter). The finger print reading is fast (the company says 0.5 seconds to unlock) and also, has worked well all the times for me. When compared to other phones, the accuracy is pretty neat. It also doubles up as a button here.

The phone is powered with an octacore Kirin 955 chipset (This octacore processor comes with 4 x Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz and 4 x Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz), Mali T880 GPU, faster EMMC 5.1 and 4GB RAM. The Honor 8 has a Depth Image Signal Processor onboard. The phone has a onboard 32GB ROM, expandable upto 128 GB. The phone doesn’t support adoptable storage though.

The Kirin 955 chipset also helps with silicon-chip level protection. There is a dedicated security module within the silicon chip that ensures user security, handling key information like fingerprints, keypad, and voice.

The phone has a 3000 MAH battery which offers a decent battery life of around a day. The charging speed isn’t one of the best either. Considering the phone to be a flagship, the battery life could’ve been better for sure. However, With Emotion UI, there are tons of more customisations which you can apply, to make your phone even better in terms of battery saving. Thanks to the patents Huawei has on the same.

The call quality is very impressive and the volume is good too. The Wi-Fi+ 2.0 automatically connect to the strongest available Wi-Fi network. The phone ranks the Wi-Fi hotspots, and prioritises the best connection.

The combination of beautiful design, powerful hardware, and a great camera gives this phone an edge when compared to the rest of the competition.

Display

The Display is very impressive and sharp. I find it to be one of the real good features of the phone. Its a 5.2″ FHD display with 96% colour saturation and high contrast. The quality and the details are neat. Images aren’t over-saturated or too warm/cold. the colours are vibrant and the brightness on the screen is impressive as well.

The LCD ensures blacks are nice and deep. It’s quite good even in a broad day light. Reading text on the phone is pretty good. I like the fact, it isn’t too sharp giving a realistic clear text.

If you want to nit pick, the display brightness could still look slightly low when compared to other flagships who offer Quad HD displays and much brighter nits. Huawei has managed to offer a better battery life with a full HD display here.

Software, User Experience:

The Honor 8 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box with the customised version. These days, Every company have their own android skins for their phones. Out of all, my personal favourites have been the Flyme OSMIUI and Emotion UI. They are not just basic customisations, but give users few features that are worth trying.

This phone offer Emotion UI 4.1, featuring Marshmallow.  There are few software features which makes the phone pretty good. My personal favourite is the notifications window. They show a lot more detail on a timeline about the app notifications and your system.

Shake to re-align icons is cool as well. Themes would also fancy some people for sure. I also like the screenshot gesture, where you just have to knock the screen.

step counter emui healthI love the Health App; that little notification on the lock screen is super cool. This version of EMUI also brings in some performance improvements.

The emotion UI provides you way more options to further make use of the finger print sensor, than to just unlock your phone. Gestures help you do that. For e.g.: Swiping up on the finger print scanner shows the recently used apps. Swiping down brings in the notifications page to quickly read through and toggle settings. A tap can be configured to take you to back screen or even click a picture while you take a selfie. You can even take a call, or use it like a home button with customisations available. Read some of our favourite features of EMUI here.

Camera:

There has been great number of dual camera phones available in Indian market this year. This is the second phone from Huawei after the P9 to come with a dual lens this year. While on the LG G5, the secondary module acts as a wide-angle lens, Huawei’s approach is different here. Check out the other implementations here.

The Honor 8 has a 12MP RGB main sensor and accompanied by a 12MP monochrome chip on board. The Honor 8’s merging algorithm, intelligently combines the colours taken by the RGB sensor with the detail of the monochrome sensor. There isn’t an exclusive Monochrome mode like the one on the Huawei P9. However, you can use filters/advanced settings to get the effect.

According to Huawei, the image information from both sensors makes the Honor 8 camera 100% more light-sensitive than other smartphone cameras. Further, using the colour and monochrome camera simultaneously helps in producing a superior image with deeper blacks, vivid colours, and natural looking depth of field.

The Dual Lens on the Honor 8 also helps in simulating shallow depth-of-field.

The camera is powered with a 12MP sensor, a f2.2 aperture, 22mm Leica optics, which does allow a lot of light and a dual tone LED flash to use in low-light conditions. The device doesn’t have an optical stabiliser though.

In outdoors, the camera performs very well and is quick. The quality of pictures is fantastic and the details are sharp with colours being good as well. The bokeh (background blur) is natural unlike the other phones in this segment. Thankfully, the software doesn’t over-sharp the images and hence, images feel realistic. Emotion UI also offers a great camera software which gives DNG Raw capture and other modes.

The Honor 8 also offers manual shooting controls (professional mode) for people who like to create photographs. Here are some of the pictures I clicked with this camera over the past 2 weeks.

Pros and Cons, Value for Money:

In the past two weeks, I have been using the Honor 8 as my primary phone, and I am very impressed with it. To begin with, the phone feels great on hands, software is optimised, the images aren’t too saturated; the colours and details feel real etc. The phone is gorgeous and feels super premium with the glass body.

Well, at this price, although it looks quite expensive, we need to consider that, the camera optics on this phone is superior than the rest of the competition in this segment. The design feels very unique. While the camera is the most interesting feature on this phone, the oct-core chipset, The EMUI, and a fast fingerprint scanner are worth appreciating as well. The phone is perfectly sized, feels premium and the software is top-notch as well.