Huawei P8 review
|Review: June 2015|
In a nutshell: The Huawei P8 is a flagship smartphone that costs less than you'd expect. We love its ultrathin metal design, its superb screen, its 8-core processor, top camera performance and decent battery life. Its only fault is the Huawei brand, so unless you're a brand snob, you'll find it to be a superb alternative!
Today's best buy: Huawei P8 Lite 2017 SIM-Free ... from Amazon (£139.99)
An ultraslim and stylish design
Huawei is clearly determined to beat the likes of Samsung and HTC at their own game. The Chinese company has been steadily improving its range of Android smartphones, turning out ever slimmer and nicer phones, and it's reached a new peak with the P8.
The P8 is a large phone, yet one of the slimmest smartphones ever. Measuring just 6.4mm thick, it's even slimmer than the iPhone 6. Its design reminds us of the iPhone 5s, with flat faces and subtly curved edges. In some ways its nicer than the Apple - we particularly like the ultra-narrow edges left and right of the screen, and the lack of any physical buttons on the front face. That gives it an extremely clean look. Its aluminium unibody gives it strength and style and a bit of weight too, although it doesn't feel too heavy. We're not so keen on the power button on the side though, as this is very small and fiddly. The mono speaker is located at the bottom.
Huawei has removed its logo from the front of the phone, placing it on the rear face instead. Since the Huawei brand isn't really a status symbol, this is probably a wise move. Apart from the logo, the rear face is quite empty, with the camera and flash positioned in the top left-hand corner within a narrow glass panel. We love the fact that the camera sits perfectly flush, in marked contrast to the stuck-out camera of the Samsung Galaxy S6!
The phone comes in a choice of colours - Mystic Champagne or Titanium Grey (exclusive to the Carphone Warehouse.)
The phone has a large 5.2 inch screen - the same size as the Sony Z3 for instance. And like the Sony, it's a Full HD screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels, giving it a very sharp resolution of 424ppi. The IPS screen doesn't have quite as much contrast as Samsung's AMOLED displays, but it's a pretty close match for the iPhone. The screen is very bright and perfectly usable in daylight, making the P8 a real contender.
The P8 has an unusual processor at its core. Shunning the Snapdragon processors of many of its rivals, Huawei has opted for the Hisilicon Kirin 930 processor instead. This is an 8-core 64-bit processor with 4 cores running at a fast clock speed of 2GHz and 4 1.5GHz cores. It's equipped with a large 3GB of RAM too. It's a fast device, and not too far off the performance of the latest Snapdragon 810-equipped phones like the HTC One M9.
The phone comes with 16GB of onboard memory, which is modest for a flagship phone. 32GB would have been nice. But there's a microSD card slot, which gives it a definite edge over phones like the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, which miss out on the ability to expand the memory.
The P8 runs Android 5 Lollipop, with the latest version of Huawei's Emotion UI user interface on top. The Apple-inspired UI adds some interesting features, but can make the phone a little laggy at times.
Camera quality is a key battlefield for smartphone supremacy, and Huawei has armed the P8 for war. The rear-facing camera uses a 13 megapixel RGBW Sony sensor, with an exceptionally large f/2 lens and a special image processor. It's also equipped with optical image stabilisation and a dual temperature flash. Huawei has also packed in a ton of extra features that may entertain or simply confuse the budding photographer. It can also capture Full HD 1080p video.
Overall, camera performance is very good. It can certainly stand comparison to phones like the iPhone 6 Plus or Galaxy S6, but if we had to choose the best, we'd come done in favour of the Samsung. The P8 doesn't quite have the dynamic range of the Samsung, but it's still very good.
The front camera has 8 megapixels and is fixed focus. That makes it a less impressive performer, but for selfies and video chat, it works very well. It too, comes with various tools for making yourself even more beautiful than you already are.
The P8 has connectivity pretty well covered, with 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Huawei has worked a miracle to pack a 2680mAh battery into this ultraslim phone. That's bigger than Samsung managed in the S6. It's a battery that should easily get you through a day of normal use, and perhaps two days of moderate use between charges.
The battery isn't particularly fast to charge however, requiring a good 3-4 hours.
Conclusion - the best Huawei
Watch out world, Huawei is coming! We've been watching the Chinese company steadily improve its products over the past few years. With each new release it makes a genuine leap forward. The P8 is certainly the best phone so far, and it's capable of taking on flagship phones from the established manufacturers. There may be one or two areas where the phone slips, but when you take into account the lower price of this phone, it's still a product that deserves five stars.
If you're comparing like with like, you'd compare the P8 with the similarly-priced Galaxy A5. The P8 beats the A5 hands-down, with a better screen, faster processor and larger battery.
Choose the P8 if you don't quite have the budget for a Galaxy S6 or HTC M9. Choose it for its fabulously thin design, its superb camera functionality, and its excellent screen. Choose it to be different!
Huawei P8 features include:
- Operating system: Android 5.0 (Lollipop) with Huawei Emotion UI 3.1
- 13 megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation, autofocus and dual temperature flash, 1080p video
- 8 megapixel front camera, fixed focus
- Display: 5.2 inches with 1920 x 1080 pixels
- A-GPS/Glonass/BeiDou positioning
- Music player
- Messaging: SMS, MMS, Email, Google Talk (Instant Messaging)
- Processor: Hisilicon Kirin 930, 8-core, 64bit, 2.0GHz
- Sensors: G-Sensor, Gyroscope sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity sensor, Compass, Accelerometer
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (2.4GHz b/g/n), Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.1+LE, micro USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio jack
- Memory: 16GB, microSD memory card slot, 3GB RAM
- 4G LTE, 3G, GSM
- Size: 145 x 72 x 6.4 mm
- Weight: 144g
- Battery: 2680 mAh
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Huawei P8 user reviews
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Average rating from 3 reviews:
Reviewed by Shaun
on 28th Aug 2016
Iv always had samsung and tried a htcm8 got this phone and its the best iv had hands down looks great super fast not sure the battery is as gd as the others but u easy get the day out of it doesnt rewlly matter when when no matter what phone u have u charge it everynight anyway.
Reviewed by Alex
on 3rd Feb 2016
This is by far the best phone I have ever had. The price is really good for all the features included on the phone. You get a lot for your money. I have used this phone for over 6 months now and I cannot fault it. I only use my phone for pretty simple things I have a few apps and use it for internet browsing. One of the best things about this phone for me is the Emotion UI. It makes it completely customizable. It is fast and shows no signs of slowing. The screen is very responsive. The battery lasts just under 2 days without a charge. Probably due to the consumption reminders which pop up so you can close running apps to save battery. This can get a little bit annoying but that really is the only negative I can think of. I think this is a great phone for a great price. Huawei deserve more recognition. I will 100% buy Huawei again when my contract is up.
Reply by Plamen
on 6th Nov 2016
i just read somewhere that EMUI isnt really good - am kinda confused.
Reviewed by Guy
on 30th Sep 2015
Had phone a few weeks now. All in all its not bad, in fact its rather good.
Major let down is video. No autofocus. I am contemplating taking it back and getting something else.I need a good autofocus video mode, this aint got it.
Would of given in 4 stars but for the video issues.