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Honor 8 Review – Made for the Photographer in you

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Honor lineup is relatively an affordable range of Android smartphones by Chinese supergiant HUAWEI. Honor 8 is their high-end product featuring dual rear cameras clad in metallic and glass body. With its alluring camera, Honor 8 seemingly offers high-end specs like 12 MP dual cameras, Kirin 950 CPU and 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM making it a remarkable upgrade over Honor 7. A 2-year warranty including first 3 months of screen breakage is an extra bonus at the price of ₹29,999. Still, is Honor 8 really worth? Find out more stuff in our Honor 8 review.

honor-8-review

What’s in the box

  • Honor 8 with built-in battery
  • USB Type-C cable
  • Travel Adapter
  • SIM ejector pin
  • User manuals and Warranty card

Honor 8 Specifications

  • Model: FRD-L02
  • Display: 5.2-inch Full HD LTPS Display (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution | 423 ppi pixel density) covered with 2.5D curved glass
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, on the back
  • Software: EUI 4.1 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • CPU: Up to 2.3 GHz octa-core processor, HUAWEI Kirin 950 SoC
  • GPU: Mali-T880 MP4 (900 MHz)
  • Memory: 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB internal storage (24.08 GB usable), MicroSD support up to 256 GB
  • Main Camera: Dual camera (12 MP + 12 MP) f/2.2, laser autofocus, dual-tone LED flash, 1080p video @60fps, 720p video @120fps
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.4, 1080p video @60fps
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, 3.5 mm stereo jack, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Other: Smart key on fingerprint scanner, DTS Sound
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, Single SIM (GSM) + MicroSD Slot
  • Battery: 3000 mAh Li-Po (non-removable)
  • Dimensions: 145.5 mm x 71 mm x 7.5 mm
  • Weight: 153 grams
  • Colors: Sapphire Blue, Sunrise Gold, Pearl White
  • Price: ₹29,999
  • Warranty: 2 Years, First 3 Months Screen Breakage

Design and Build

The design of Honor 8 completely differs the last years’ Honor 7. The Honor 8 is now covered with glass on both sides giving an all-new look. The fingerprint scanner on the back is now the new Smart Key. There are dual 12 cameras on the back and 8 MP on the front making it a total 3-camera smartphone. Moreover, it packs a Kirin 950 CPU (seen first in HUAWEI Mate 8) and 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM, plus it sits right behind the flagship HUAWEI P9.

At first sight, Honor 8 looks a redesigned P9 with a lower price tag, while not boasting the Leica brand. Since Honor devices come cheaper than HUAWEI itself, Honor steps up by bringing two cameras in a sleek 7.5 mm glass and metal shell while many others still holding the single camera setup. This could, at least, gain Honor 8 an advantage over the others and outshine in the camera division.

Talking more about the design, Honor 8 has metallic frames on the sides and 2.5D curved glass on the front and back. Honor 8 looks flashy and very premium. The design, in my opinion, resembles somewhat to the Google Pixel or maybe not. Never mind, that’s just what I think.

honor 8

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The primary component Honor 8 focuses on is its camera. Honor 8 has doubled its camera with two 12 MP f/2.2 aided by laser autofocus and dual LED flash. At first sight, I thought it’s the same camera fitted in HUAWEI P9 but I didn’t see Leica label. On the front, it is having an 8 MP f/2.4 camera.

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Honor Branding On The Back As Well

The power button on the right sits right at my thumb giving a good grip with its circular pattern. There are no keys on the left side. I remember there was an added Smart Key on Honor 7 and Honor 8 moved it to the back side at the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is embedded on the Smart Key.

It is 4G LTE but not VoLTE-enabled. Only one nano SIM can be added, the other slot in the tray is for Micro SD card that expands the storage up to 256 GB.

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Honor 8 is one of the few smartphones with an IR blaster. On top, you will find an IR Blaster. A microphone is placed at the top but surprisingly, I didn’t find the second microphone on the phone anywhere initially, but then I tested the microphone by recording a sound and found out that it’s there located beneath the speaker grill.

Like P9, Honor 8 also boasts a USB Type-C. It’s good that the headphone jack isn’t removed, There’s 3.5 mm headphone jack and loudspeakers at the bottom.

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Display

Honor 8 flaunts a 5.2-inch a Full HD LTPS display (1920 x 1080 pixels) giving a sharp and crisp images. Rather than using 2K display, a Full HD display acts as a battery saving trait.

The contrast looks better than many phones with IPS display. The screen colors and contrast are quite similar to the P9 but the brightness is lagging behind P9. The top and bottom bezels take a plenty of space but the side bezels are very thin.

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Software and User Interface

Honor 8 runs the HUAWEI’s EMUI 4.1 user interface based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow which isn’t the latest Android we have seen but quite reasonable. A few smartphone manufacturers have started to offer Android 7.x Nougat. The interface is already heavily customized and most features are from HUAWEI P9 itself.

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As you know, the predecessor, Honor 7 came with a SmartKey which can be freely assignable to whichever function you put on, the SmartKey on Honor 8 is actually on the backside at the fingerprint which can be physically pressed. The key reminds me of some phones like LG G5 but G5 instead uses it as a power button.

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The software seems to offer somewhat same features as P9. Nothing really added in the software. We have already covered the rest of the software part in our previous reviews.

Hardware, Performance and Gaming

Moving to the specs, Kirin 950 CPU highlights 8 cores with clocked up to 2.3 GHz. On the other hand, HUAWEI P9 equips a higher variant CPU, Kirin 955 clocked 2.5 GHz. I also noticed that the 4 GB RAM is LPDDR4 which makes faster loading times in games and other tasks. I never thought that Honor 8 leaves P9 behind in terms of RAM (4 GB vs 3 GB).

Furthermore, it has Mali-T880MP4 GPU which fairly helps in playing mainstream and some heavy games. Kirin 950 isn’t the fastest Kirin processor I have seen, HUAWEI P9 flaunts slightly upper clocked CPU Kirin 955. Further, the phone has 32 GB of storage. We got a 32 GB variant but there’s also a 64 GB variant available, plus a MicroSD card slot can be handy if you want to extend the storage up to 256 GB.

The performance of the exceptionally great for this pack of hardware. No lags found, everything is buttery smooth. The apps ran just fine.

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As for the benchmarks, AnTuTu gave a very good score of 91,398 points which is even better at than its big brother P9 (85,598 points) and I think it’s due to the higher amount of RAM available. Though it’s too far from the OnePlus 3 score (140,693).

On the new Geekbench 4, we received a score of 1,621 points and 4,618 points on single-core and multi-core CPU benchmark respectively. Geekbench 4 also gave GPU benchmark scoring 3005 points which turn out to be better than Samsung Galaxy S7 and HUAWEI Nexus 6P as shown in the image. The Quadrant benchmark scored 33,363 points.

  • See full Honor 8’s Geekbench 4 benchmarks here: CPU | GPU

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The games barely lag on Honor 8. It’s the same GPU we saw in P9, hence you can expect gaming performance close to P9. Mali-T880MP4 GPU can handle most high-end games pretty well though isn’t at par with Adreno 530 (Snapdragon 820). N.O.V.A 3 was smooth but in certain areas, it gave a few glitches, nevertheless, overall gaming was fine. If you are a hardcore gamer, I would recommend you to go for OnePlus 3 since it has the Adreno 530 and priced similar. We have tested games like Real Racing 3, Asphalt 8: Airborne, N.O.V.A 3, Modern Combat 5, Spider-Man Ultimate Power, Puzzle Pets. All the games are playable.

Games Tested on Honor 8:

  • N.O.V.A 3
  • Trials Frontier
  • BADLAND 2
  • Chess – Play & Learn
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Trials Frontier
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N.O.V.A 3
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Chess – Play & Learn

Honor 8 doesn’t heat much at long camera usage and long gaming hours. The glass body seems to keep Honor 8 cool under 36 degrees.

Storage and Connectivity

Honor 8 offers a 32 GB internal storage out of which user gets you get 24.08 GB free. The tray holds a MicroSD slot which can be used to expand it further. You also have the 64 GB Honor 8 variant but not yet available in India.

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On to the storage benchmark, we found the storage performance decent and similar to P9. OnePlus 3 is still ahead in the game. AndroBench gave sequential read and write speed of 252.05 MB/s and 103.77 MB/s respectively. The random read speed is at 33.47 MB/s and the random write speed is at 31.2 MB/s. A1 SD Bench gave us 172.48 MB/s and 109.69 MB/s read and write speed respectively.

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Cameras

The 12 MP dual camera on Honor 8 takes a different approach in the camera division. Unlike LG G5 that uses a wide angle lens and iPhone 7 Plus which uses a telephoto lens, Honor 8 uses two cameras one being the Monochrome sensor and the RGB sensor as the other. This concept came from its parent company HUAWEI. P9 is the first smartphone to feature a dual camera featuring Leica lens. HUAWEI proudly bears the brand ‘Leica’, while Monochrome mode is missing on Honor 8 i.e. it cannot take any direct monochrome shots. The Leica brand itself is missing, and thus price drops notably.

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Honor 8 Camera Specifications

  • Camera: Dual 12 MP + 12 MP, f/2.2 aperture, laser autofocus
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): N/A
  • Rear Flash: Dual LED Flash
  • Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to focus, HDR, Pro photo, Beauty, Pro video, Beauty video, Good food, Panorama, Night shot, Light painting, Time-lapse, Slo-mo, Burst Shot, Watermark, Audio note, Document scan
  • Video Recording: Up to 1080p video  @30 FPS, Slow Motion 720p@120 FPS, HDR support, Pro video
  • Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.4 aperture
  • Video Recording: Up to 1080p @60fps
  • Front Flash: N/A, Screen flash

Honor 8 is equipped by a dual (12 MP + 12MP) f/2.2 camera with laser autofocus. Closely looking into the specs, the Honor 8 uses the same camera sensor i.e. Sony IMX286 (1/2.9″, 1.25 μm) that actually uses a dual, Monochrome + RGB pixel layout.

A smart feature that allows you to capture extended Depth of Field is available on Honor 8. It’s the same feature P9 boasts in its camera. It has the ability to refocus on the objects after capturing the image and applying intense blur effects in the background by adjusting the F-number.

The camera is blessed with several camera features like Pro video, Beauty video, Light painting, Document scan, Good food, and etc.

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Dual 12 MP Camera Interface
Front 8 MP Camera
Front 8 MP Camera Interface

Honor 8 Camera Samples

The image quality seems close to HUAWEI P9 in certain areas but only that I miss the Monochrome, the colored images are excellent. Images tend to produce richer colors and sharper details as you can see in the samples. For camera enthusiasts, its Pro mode actually comes handy, it lets you take control of the advanced features of the camera.

The camera even performs better than OnePlus 3 in low light. The images are sharp but not quite as noisy as seen on the OnePlus 3. Honor 8 can take long exposure night shots if you manage to keep it still.

Besides, Honor 8 camera lacks behind in two areas, the ability to record up to 1080p videos and no support for Optical Image Stabilization. The missing OIS could be somehow due to the slim design and no camera bump on the surface. Good thing, Honor made a flat camera exterior utilizing the least space for the rear camera.

The 8 MP front camera uses its own virtual LED flash from the bright screen. The details are still quite sharp in low light front cam. Better than many, the front camera performs above average.

Battery Runtime

3000 mAh battery sounds too mainstream for a flagship, especially if we see Kirin 950 CPU is a powerhouse. However, the battery turns out to be a decent performer. It lasts about a day and a half on average if used as a daily otherwise lasts a day on moderate usage.

I used Facebook, YouTube and Instagram apps, played a few games, streamed music playback both online and offline, some camera shots and calls and finally surfing the web on Chrome browser.

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Below Moderate Usage
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Battery Runtime Close To 2 Days

Emotion UI 4.1 enables you to tweak the power management. The default Power plan is Smart – a balanced plan that automatically adjusts the CPU and network usage. While Performance mode will let CPU to always run at full power, it will consume high battery. Ultra keeps your smartphone with basic functions to run longer than any other mode.

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The standby time is excellent. See below the battery test table that shows you how much the battery is consumed by the apps.

Honor 8 Battery Test Table

Tasks/Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Mobile Data)
4K Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Mobile Data)
YouTube (1080p)3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Trial Frontier8%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
N.O.V.A 37%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
BADLAND26%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Music Playback (Offline)5%1 HourAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Mobile Data)
Music Steaming (Online) - SoundCloud4%30 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Facebook App3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram App8%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)

Pricing, Variants and Warranty

Honor 8 is priced at ₹29,999 with 2 years smartphone warranty including 3 months of screen breakage.

Honor 8 comes in three color variants.

  • Honor 8 (Sapphire Blue)
  • Honor 8 (Pearl White)
  • Honor 8 (Sunrise Gold)

Verdict

I can say this Honor’s new top model offers a comprehensive package including a dual camera, an effective fingerprint scanner, 4 GB RAM and high-end Kirin 950 CPU for smooth app performance.

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I liked the features such as freely assignable Smart Key, IR Blaster, the option to expand the storage with MicroSD which OnePlus 3 doesn’t offer. Plus, OnePlus 3 camera interface is plain and simple with very few options. However, its AMOLED display, fast processor, fast charging, and big storage can be availed at a similar price.

Although I would like to suggest you Honor 8 if you really are into photography and style is your choice otherwise OnePlus 3 is worth for the money spent.

Strength

  • Stylish design, Solid build
  • Remarkable Camera – Great Image Quality
  • Smooth UI and App Performance (High-Grade CPU and RAM)
  • Lightning fast Fingerprint Scanner
  • Added features – Physical Smart Key, IR Blaster, Fingerprint Gestures
  • Decent Loudspeakers
  • Decent Battery Life

Weakness

  • Lacks Optical Image Stabilization
  • Slippery
  • No VoLTE Support

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