The Huawei P8’s Capacitive Touchscreen, Octa-core processor, 3GB RAM and high-quality camera proves it’s serious about going toe-to-toe with the big brands. The fact that it’s considerably cheaper makes it an even better alternative to one of the big-brand rivals.
Released in April 2015, the Huawei P8 is one of the Chinese firm’s real shots at making a mark in the premium market. Although Huawei lacks the big-hitting brand name that comes with a Samsung or an Apple handset, it hopes to entice users with the P8’s sleek design, iPhone-like aluminum body, along with some solid specifications.
The Huawei P8 looks and feels a lot more expensive than its price tag would suggest. It’s beautifully crafted, taking obvious inspiration from the iPhone 6, but with a more angular look and feel.
The Huawei P8 adds some refined touches that distinguish it from the competition, including a smooth glass rectangular section on the back of the phone where the camera sits. The front face of the phone is clean, with no branding, no home button and no unpleasant plastic-looking speaker grilles.
The chiseled curved edges of the P8 are similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6, while the softly textured metal back of the phone is like that of the iPhone 5. Huawei hasn’t just taken design ideas from its rivals though; it’s also followed the trend different colors with ridiculous names. As a result, the 16GB version P8 is available in Mystic Champagne/Titanium Grey, and a 64GB P8 is available in Prestige Gold and the less ludicrous Carbon Black. Colors may vary more though.
The power button and volume keys on the right hand side of the P8 are the only physical keys on the P8, and they’re the only real flaw with this phone’s design. However the power button is so close to the volume keys that it’s easy to hit the wrong button.
A double tap of the bottom volume key opens the camera and takes a picture when the phone screen is off. It’s a good feature, although it would be easier if the power button was larger, further away or on the opposite side of the phone.
Huawei P8 – Screen
The 5.2-inch screen on the Huawei P8 is one of the finest Full HD screens in a phone. It’s big, it’s bright and it’s useable in all lighting conditions.
The P8’s screen looks good at acute viewing angles and adapts to changing light conditions well, too. This is one particular area where the P8 really impresses, though it’s by no means the only area – it’s a great screen all round.
The P8 has a Sony-developed 13-megapixel Camera with a steadfast image processor and lens, which is designed to deliver better low light performance.
In use, the P8’s camera is great, especially in good light. It is easy to use and responsive, even if the autofocus could be better. The P8 recognizes faces quickly and tracks them well. It takes about a second to focus, which isn’t bad.
The P8 has some fancy camera modes that help people to capture creative and enhanced images without needing any technical know-how. Light painting is probably the most complex of the Huawei’s photo modes and helps people to capture photos with a range of different effects, such as Car light trails, star tracks and smooth flowing water.
The camera’s 8-megapixel front-facing camera is ideal for selfies and comes complete with some built-in ‘beauty’ tools, to help scrub up our otherwise ugly mugs.
Huawei has done some great work on its camera processing to produce images that enhance colours and convey sharpness. The result is that the P8’s images look great on the phone’s screen and social media.
Even though the P8 runs Android Lollipop 5.0, there’s no attempt to hide its Apple-likeness. Everything from the shape and styling of the phone’s icons to the home screen pull down gesture that activates the Spotlight Search function have been replicated.
Huawei has used an Android user experience that is mostly responsive, clean and clutter free.
Huawei has also given the P8 some unique features. We mentioned some of them in the camera section, but another add-on is ‘Voice Wake’ that allows you set a voice trigger to wake and to find your phone.
The other “feature” lets you use your knuckles to carry out additional gesture commands, such as screen capturing. The phone knows the difference between fingertips and knuckles and will screen grab instantly if you knock on the phone twice for example.
The system is powered by a Huawei developed 64-bit HiSilicon Kirin 930 chipset, made up of two ARM Cortex-A53 quad-cores. One set is clocked to 2.0GHz to handle intense tasks, while the other 1.5GHz quad-core takes care of standard phone functionality and operations, such as calls, email, web browsing and listening to music.
This setup is very power efficient. For the most part the phone is responsive and capable when it comes to tackling intense tasks.
Huawei P8 – Speaker and Call Quality
The speaker and microphone of the P8 are at the base of the phone, either side of the the micro USB port.
The mono speaker is loud, but it doesn’t sound great. The quality of the audio is noticeably top heavy and can distort quite easily. But there’s still respectable level of bass to be heard.
The provided headphones are tough plastic and they don’t fit well unless you have large lug holes. The earphones are loud though, and give a good frequency response across the board, but they leak sound badly so will annoy people around you.
This P8 doesn’t have any issues with mobile signal or call quality. You’ll receive good signal strength anywhere you reasonably expect to receive service. The phone is 4G compatible, and uses a special antenna design with what it calls ‘seamless switching technology’ to keep call signal strength consistently good.
Huawei P8 – Battery life
The Huawei P8 has a 2,680mAh capacity battery. Used moderately, it will last a day and a half. The battery level barely moves when idle, but declines steadily for every hour of video or playing games. Listening to songs doesn’t seem to impact the battery any more than having the phone active but on standby, which is great for music lovers.
A round of interaction with social media checking, some video watching and then a morning of going through emails leaves the battery at about 85-90% by midday. The phone also offers a range of solutions to help optimise battery performance, with suggestions for which apps and settings to optimise.
It takes a lengthy 3.5 hours to charge from critical to 100%. It needs to be charged once every 24 hours if used moderately, but you’ll rarely be caught off guard by critical battery status alerts.
Why Huawei P8 Stands Out
It lacks big name prestige, but it’s much cheaper than phones it matches and sometimes surpasses, and what you lose in its inbuilt specifications, you gain in owning a phone few people will know. They’ll certainly notice it when they see it – it looks great.
Moreover, the P8 has all of the features a flagship phone should have, including a great screen, fast processor and a good 13-megapixel main camera. A larger 3,000mAh battery which is a match for more storied rivals.
It costs could be the best value phone you’ll see this year. It ranges from UGX1, 590, 000 in MTN outlets to UGX1, 700, 000 in other outlets.