Huawei P8 review

The P8 is the new flagship smartphone from Chinese mobile giant Huawei. Here's what we made of it.
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Huawei P8 review

We got our hands on the Huawei P8, and it impressed us quite a bit. Let’s take a closer look at the Huawei's new flagship smartphone and find out what it’s capable of.

Pros

  • Premium build, attractive design
  • Groundbreaking rear camera
  • Good looking HD display

Cons

  • Some features a bit gimmicky
  • Some apps can't be removed
  • Sound can lack quality

Look & feel

There’s no doubt about it, the P8 is an attractive phone. It’s nice and sleek (a mere 6.4mm thick), and the full aluminium unibody design gives it a premium look and feel.

Picking the P8 up, it feels nicely weighted and comfortable in the hand. Its slightly curved edges give it some extra grip, and we found it easy to use with one hand. Huawei has actually included a one-handed user interface in the settings, making things shrink and move down to the bottom of the screen for easy access. It’s a nice touch, and it works really well.

The P8 boasts a 5.2” Full HD display, and we found it to be clear and bright (even in direct sunlight) with vivid colours and deep blacks. As for sound, the P8’s speakers on the base of the phone certainly pack a punch. They’re certainly loud enough, but the actual sound quality can be hit and miss, with bass and treble suffering when you crank up the volume.

How it works

Turn the phone and you’ll be welcomed by Huawei’s Emotion 3.1 user interface. We must admit we found it a bit drab looking, but there are other themes to choose from. So you should be able to change things to suit your taste quite easily.

The P8 runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop, so everything’s smooth quick and responsive – no problems there. However, Huawei has added a lot of their own features and apps on top of the standard Android interface. And if you don’t want any of these little extras, then you might just have to grin and bear it – a lot of them can’t be removed.

One feature we did like was the ‘Voice Wake Up’ mode, designed to help you find your phone quickly if you lose it. You’ll need to shout a pre-determined phrase, and if your phone can hear you it’ll reply with an “I’m here!” to tell you where it is. If your phone regularly hides itself behind a cushion or under a seat, this could be a feature you’ll get a lot of use from.

We’re less than convinced by Huawei’s ‘Knuckle Sense’, which lets you take a screenshot by tapping the phone with your knuckle. This could be useful in those situations where you… okay, we’ll admit it - we’ve really no idea when you’d need to use this.

Camera

The P8 comes with a front-facing 8MP camera, with a wide angle for great group-selfies. There’s also a ‘Beauty Level’ feature to make yourself look stunningly attractive (or worryingly weird if your turn it up full). The 13MP rear camera fits completely flush with the back, and there’s a lot of impressive hardware behind it including optical image stabilisation, super close-up macro mode, and low light enhancement.

When we tested the camera out we were impressed. All the photographs we took (in a variety of lighting conditions) looked bright and clear, with accurate colour representation. And you can have some fun with some great built-in special effects – some that we haven’t seen before. We’re especially taken with the ‘light painting’ mode that allows you to create some spectacular night-time images. We can’t wait to whip our sparklers out on Bonfire night and fire this up (no pun intended).

Performance

Behind the scenes, Huawei has gone for its own 64-bit Kirin 930 processor with 3GB of RAM, which is more than capable of coping with most advanced games and the biggest apps.

The P8 packs a 2680mAh battery, which should last about a day and a half of normal use, or about a day of heavy use. Be wary about hitting the video streaming too hard though, as this’ll use up your juice in 5-6 hours. You’ll be able to get the P8 back up and running fairly quickly with its fast charging – around 3 hours from flat to full when we tried it out.

As for storage, you’ve got a choice of either 16GB or 64GB. If you want more, you can add up to 128GB with a microSD card.

Huawei P8

Verdict

The Huawei P8 might not be as sexy as Samsung or some of the other premier smartphones, but having spent some time with it, we don’t think it’s too far behind the big boys. It’s got some really imaginative features (some almost too imaginative, maybe), and both the front and rear cameras impressed us with their quality and accuracy.

It’s a good looking device too, so if you’re thinking of getting a new phone in the near future, why not check it out? You’ll have four colours to choose from; Mystic Champagne and Titanium Grey on the 16GB version, with Carbon Black and Prestige Gold available on the 64GB version.

Do you like the sound of the Huawei P8? Could you see yourself owning one? Are you even more impressed than us by its Knuckle Mode? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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