Honor 8: Top marks


Personalise your phone: The Honor 8 is highly customisable with different themes, shortcuts and motion gestures. — Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Personalise your phone: The Honor 8 is highly customisable with different themes, shortcuts and motion gestures. — Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Flagship-grade features at a fraction of the price.

Today, there are plenty of options available for premium smartphones.

From the ones which go for more than RM3,000 to the ones in mid-RM2,000 range, there is something for everyone if you have the cash to splash.

But what if you could get a ­premium model as good as the best in the market, at almost half the price?

Huawei’s latest Honor 8 is a ­statement of intent from the Chinese smartphone maker, which shows premium design and ­specifications can be affordable.

New dimension

Following in the footsteps of the flagship Huawei P9, the Honor 8 features a 12-megapixel dual-lens setup which is currently the latest must-have on a smartphone.

With the setup, one can easily artificially recreate a shallow depth of field effect by selectively blurring out the background.

While it is nice to be able to shoot creative bokeh photos, we noticed that often times, the camera struggles to smoothly blur out the edges of the object – nonetheless we believe the problem could easily be fixed with future software updates. Overall, image quality is pretty good for both indoor and outdoor shots.

The Honor 8 is highly customisable with different themes, shortcuts and motion gestures. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The phone fits comfortably into the hand due to the curve metal side frame.
 

However, the Honor 8’s smaller f/2.2 aperture resulted in unsatisfactory low light performance – images often turned out with strong noise and less detail.

Most phones today already sport the relatively large f/2.0 aperture – basically the lower the number, the better as a larger aperture allows more light to be captured by the sensor, resulting in greater detail.

Also, the lack of optical image ­stabilisation also means that one has to shoot photos with steady hands to avoid shaky images.

On the front, the 8-megapixel is a decent shooter especially for those who love taking selfies.

Classy gold

At the relatively affordable price of RM1,899, the Honor 8 comes with a striking rear glass design that, together with the curved metal frame, simply oozes class.

Similar to most Honor-branded and Huawei smartphones, the Honor 8 sports a streamlined appearance devoid of any physical keys on the front screen.

Instead, it features on-screen keys for home, most recent and back, which we prefer compared to the capacitive keys found on most Android smartphones today.

With the dual camera lens, one can artificially recreate a shallow  depth of field effect.
With the dual camera lens, one can artificially recreate a shallow  depth of field effect.
 

It’s also not overly large as we could easily handle the phone ­without losing our grip.

The only complaint we have was the slippery glass back. More often than not it slipped out of our ­pocket, particularly when used without a case.

More than Android

Another thing we loved was how fast the rear fingerprint sensor was at unlocking the phone. This is ­largely due to the self-learning ­capability – the more it’s used, the faster and more accurate it becomes.

The sensor also acts as a ­programmable “smart key” with three options – press, double press, and press and hold – to launch selected apps or certain functions.

For instance, press and hold can be designated to launch Google Now, and double press to immediately start voice recording without the need to open the app.

The phone fits comfortably into the hand due to the curved metal side frame. — Photos: TAN KIT HOONG/The Star
The Honor 8 also comes in a shiny gold finish.
 

Other cool features include knuckle gestures – a simple double knock on the screen will immediately trigger a screenshot, while drawing an enclosed space on the screen with your knuckle will result in a cropped screenshot.

Even cooler, a double knock using two knuckles will record a video clip of your onscreen actions which is ideal for creating walkthrough videos.

If you’re into personalising your phone, you’ll be happy to know there is a theme store featuring tons of free creative designs for you to download.

Despite running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, Huawei’s EMUI skin managed to offer lots more features than what you would get from a phone with Vanilla Android.

Top marks

The Honor 8 is powered by Huawei’s in-house flagship-grade Kirin 950 processor, previously found in Huawei’s Mate 8 phablet, and boasts 4GB of RAM. Our review unit came with 64GB internal storage but there is also a 32GB variant priced at RM1,699.

It had no problems running ­graphic-intensive games such as This War Of Mine, Banner Saga and other casual games such as Alto’s Adventure, Lara Croft: Go and Kingdom Rush: Frontiers.

However, the phone did get a little warm during prolonged periods of gaming, which is common on phones with glass and metal builds.

Throughout the review period, there wasn’t any noticeable lag or sluggishness during day to day use thanks to the light user interface and good memory optimisation.

Also, battery life turned out to be decent for its 3,000mAh battery – the phone managed to last until around 7pm daily with heavy social media use, occasional photo shoots, music streaming, and casual gaming throughout the day.

The 64GB model is available in Sapphire Blue and Sunrise Gold, while the 32GB comes in Pearl White and Midnight Black.

Conclusion

All in all, the Honor 8 is a ­complete package of what you would expect from a flagship device, at a fraction of the price.

Given how useful the fingerprint sensor is coupled with the ­customisation options available – like the knuckle gesture motions – the Honor 8 is one of the best value for money smartphones on the ­market right now.

If you don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet for a premium ­smartphone but still want ­premium flagship-level features, the Honor 8 might be the phone for you.

Pros: Classy design, useful bokeh effect, very fast fingerprint sensor, plenty of customisable shortcuts and motion gestures.
Cons:
Poor low light shots, no optical image stabilisation, slippery, rear glass prone to scratches.

Get the Huawei Honor 8 right now at Lazada.

To download the Lazada App and start shopping on your mobile devices, click here.

Honor 8
(Huawei)

Android smartphone
NETWORK:
4G
OPERATING SYSTEM:
Android 6.0 Marshmallow with EMUI 4.1
DISPLAY:
5.2in display (1,080 x 1,920 pixels)
CAMERA:
12-megapixel rear camera; 8-megapixel front camera
CONNECTIVITY:
Bluetooth 4.2 WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct
PROCESSOR:
HiSilicon Kirin 950 (quad core 2.3GHz Cortex-A72 + quad core 1.8GHz Cortex-A53)
MEMORY:
64GB internal storage, 4GB RAM
BATTERY:
3,000mAh
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H):
71 x 7.5 x 145.5mm
WEIGHT:
153g
OTHER FEATURES
: fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, fast charging
PRICE:
RM1,899
RATING:
Four stars

Review unit courtesy of Honor Malaysia, 1800-22-3366