Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is all set to unveil its flagship smartphone dubbed the Honor 8 in India on October 12. At the preview event held in Goa, we got a chance to get our hands-on of the device and well, we came out pretty impressed. Now, that we have spent just about a week with the Honor 8, it’s time for providing you with our first impressions of the device.
The Honor 8 apparently has a lot in common with the flagship Huawei P9. It all starts from the dual 12MP camera setup found to the back of the smartphone. The familiar Leica branding seen on the Huawei P9 however goes missing here. The most impressive part about the Honor 8 however, is its design. Gone are those budget friendly flagship looks of the Honor 7. Rather, the Honor 8 indeed looks and feels like a premium product from a reputed smartphone maker.
To the front and the back lies Gorilla Glass 3 which is slightly curved to the edges. The glass back however comes with its set of cons, as it is fingerprint magnet, to say the least. That said, the Gorilla Glass back of the device doesn’t get scratched as easily as the Jet Black iPhone 7. In fact, the Gorilla Glass 3 covered back of the Honor 8 came out unscathed without any scratches or dents, despite some occasional unmindful drops. The side profile of the 7.5mm thin smartphone is made out of metal with single noticeable antenna line located in the upper one-fourth.
The Honor 8 comes in four different colors – Sapphire Blue, Sunrise Gold, Midnight Black, Pearl White, and Sakura Pink. However, it’s highly unlikely that the Honor 8 that launches in India will come with all these color options. It’s safe to assume that the Pink and Black variant would inevitably not make it to India. That said, the Honor 8 we have with us is a Sunrise Gold variant. In our opinion the Sapphire Blue and Sunrise Gold editions are by far the best looking variants of the Honor 8.
Up top, the Honor 8 is flanked by a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD display that produces punchy colors with excellent viewing angles. In fact, it won’t be a far stretched, to state that the device has by far the best display in its class. While the OnePlus 3’s AMOLED panel is indeed a great display, it is nowhere as accurate as the Honor 8 in terms of color accuracy. The sunlight legibility of the display is also quite good. The best part however, is the absence of black bezels that we have now grown used to seeing in flagship smartphones from Huawei and Honor.
To the rear lies the dual 12MP f/2.2 rear cameras with LED Flash and a Laser Assisted Autofocus sensor. Unlike the dual camera setup on its sibling the Huawei P9, the Honor 8 doesn’t come with a Leica branding. However, just like in the P9, one 12MP sensor shoots in monochrome and the other captures the colors. Thereafter the images are overlayed using Huawei custom imaging algorithm to produce a vivid and detailed shot. The default camera app comes with a lot of inbuilt features which enables you to use the 12MP dual camera setup to its full potential. Below the camera lies a 3D Fingerprint Scanner which doubles up as a button that is capable of multiple gestures including the receiving calls, opening notification drawer, sliding across photos in the gallery and even turning on the flashlight.
On the inside, the Honor 8 rocks a Kirin 950 chip with four Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and four other Cortex A53 at 1.8GHz each. While it’s quite similar to Snapdragon 652 except for the higher clocked, we can expect the Kirin to deliver a markedly better battery life from the 3000mAH cell inside the Honor 8. This is mainly due to the improved 16nm construction of the 950 over the 28nm Qualcomm. That said, in a surprising exclusion the Indian version of the Honor 8 misses out on Quick charge support. It’s also worth noting that the Honor 8 that will go on sale in India comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. While the internal memory is similar to the Huawei P9, the RAM on the inside is slightly larger than the 3GB chip on the former.
Another area of concern with the Honor 8 is the presence of a Hybrid SIM slot. While the SIM tray located to the left of the Honor 8 has two slots – one for a Nano SIM and other for MicroSD/Nano SIM – the smartphone was unable to read the second SIM. Apart from that the presence of a single IMEI slot makes us believe that this isn’t a Dual SIM device after all. There seems to be some confusion regarding this and we will update you about this soon. The Honor 8 also sports an IR blaster to the top for controlling various electronic appliances like TV, AC, DSLR etc. There’s also support for NFC thereby making the device mobile payment friendly.
As for the software, the Honor 8 from Huawei runs on Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 with EMUI 4.1 on top. One interesting feature of the Honor 8 is the inbuilt Pedometer that helps track your steps and calories burnt, just like a Fitness band. Yes, it works and is nearly as accurate as the Mi Band from Xiaomi. There are also a number of nifty features like ROG battery saver mode that lets you scale down display resolution to 720p, Wallpaper Carousel etc. We will be testing the device in the coming few days and will come up with a detailed review soon. Stay tuned.