Honor 8

Android Advisor - - Contents -

The Honor 8 has a beau­ti­ful de­sign and an im­pres­sive build qual­ity. Priced £369, it’s a £40 more ex­pen­sive than the OnePlus 3, and £120 more than its pre­de­ces­sor, the Honor 7. How­ever, its fea­tures jus­tify the ex­tra cost.

De­sign

The Honor 8 has a 5.2in Full-HD (1920x1080) IPS dis­play with a pixel den­sity of 423ppi. The dis­play is sharp, with clear text, and bright enough to be vis­i­ble in sunny con­di­tions. It can be cal­i­brated in the phone’s set­tings too. We like the ‘Eye com­fort’ mode, which re­duces the amount of blue light emit­ted from the screen. This works like Ap­ple’s Night Shift and the Night Mode fea­ture that was tested dur­ing the An­droid Nougat beta.

The dis­play has a 96 per­cent NTSC colour cov­er­age, re­sult­ing in ac­cu­rate colours with good con­trast. This is IPS tech, so you don’t get the same over­sat­u­rated colours you get with AMOLED.

The phone is just 7.45mm thick, but it’s the Honor 8’s all-glass de­sign that makes it stand out from the crowd. Fif­teen lay­ers of glass are used to re­fract glass in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions from the back.

The Honor 8 has one of the most unique and el­e­gant de­signs we’ve seen in a phone, mak­ing it at­trac­tive for the young Mil­len­ni­als Honor is pitch­ing it at. But we think it’s a good-look­ing phone for users of all ages.

De­spite all that glass, the phone weighs only 153g and mea­sures 145.5x71x7.5mm.

The im­pres­sive crafts­man­ship is seen through­out the de­sign, and with­out a pro­trud­ing cam­era the phone sit­ting will sit flat on a ta­ble. Thin bezels and rounded edges make the Honor 8 feel nice in the hand. On the right side is a power but­ton and a vol­ume rocker, while at the top there is a mi­cro­phone and an IR blaster. The lat­ter can be used to con­trol home ap­pli­ances us­ing Honor’s Smart Con­troller app.

In­ter­est­ingly, Honor has placed the 3.5mm head­phone jack down at the bot­tom of the phone, where you’ll also find a USB-C con­nec­tor and a down­ward-fir­ing speaker.

On the left side is a SIM card tray, which dou­bles up as a mi­croSD card slot. The Smart Key has been moved to the fin­ger­print sen­sor, which al­lows you to per­form var­i­ous click ges­tures. The new de­sign is re­spon­sive and makes it eas­ier to ac­cess your favourite app from the get-go.

A 12Mp dual-lens cam­era with a dual-LED flash and laser auto-fo­cus is found at the rear. At the front you’ll find a sin­gle-lens 8Mp cam­era, plus a front-fac­ing speaker and a prox­im­ity sen­sor. Un­for­tu­nately, Honor has dropped the front-fac­ing flash, a fea­ture we liked in the Honor 7. More on the cam­eras be­low.

Per­for­mance

The Honor 8 is a pow­er­house, with a Hisil­i­con Kirin 950 chipset run­ning on an octa-core (4x 2.3GHz Cor­tex A72 +and 4x 1.8GHz Cor­tex A53) CPU. This runs along­side an i5 co-pro­ces­sor which aids small oper­a­tions, the ar­chi­tec­ture is based on a 16nm FinFET tech­nol­ogy, the same type used in the lat­est GTX10-series Nvidia graph­ics cards, but for this phone’s GPU there’s the Mali-T880 MP4.

In our bench­marks we found very im­pres­sive pro­cess­ing and com­put­ing per­for­mance, eas­ily beat­ing other flag­ships in the mar­ket. It couldn’t quite keep up with the Sam­sung Galaxy S7, how­ever, and par­tic­u­larly in our GFXBench graph­ics tests (in which the Quad-HD-screen Sam­sung has a dis­ad­van­tage). Even against its Full-HD OnePlus

3 ri­val, though, the Honor 8 man­aged only 7fps in com­par­i­son to its 18fps in Car Chase.

In real-world us­age, we found the Honor 8 to per­form smoothly in As­phalt rac­ing games, and games such as Poké­mon GO. The gen­eral user ex­pe­ri­ence was fluid with no no­tice­able lag or in­ter­rup­tions be­tween an­i­ma­tions.

We also found its JetStream browser bench­mark un­der­whelm­ing, with its 46.3 score fall­ing short of the Sam­sung Galaxy S7 (61) by quite a mar­gin.

The 3000mAh bat­tery was on-par with its com­peti­tors, with a re­sult of six hours 19 min­utes and a score of 3793 in our Geek­bench 3 bat­tery test. Sim­i­larly, the OnePlus 3 scored 3735 and a run time of six hours 13 min­utes. Still, Honor claims it will last 1.22 days with heavy us­age and 1.77 with nor­mal use.

The Honor 8 doesn’t sup­port Qual­comm Quick Charge, but us­ing the in­cluded 9V/2A charger it can get from zero- to 50 per­cent in just 30 min­utes.

The Honor 8 comes with 32- or 64GB of in­ter­nal stor­age, and sup­ports mi­croSD cards up to 128GB for ex­pan­sion. How­ever, the mi­croSD oc­cu­pies the same slot as the sec­ond SIM, so you can’t have both at once.

Con­nec­tiv­ity

The Honor 8 is a dual-SIM dual-standby phone, with the pri­mary slot of­fer­ing 4G con­nec­tiv­ity and the sec­ond 3G. In terms of other con­nec­tiv­ity, you also get 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band 2.4- and 5GHz WiFi, Blue­tooth 4.2, A-GPS and GLONASS.

The Honor 8 also has NFC ca­pa­bil­i­ties, which is great for quickly pair­ing your phone to

Blue­tooth ac­ces­sories or even us­ing it to pay for pur­chases. Its fin­ger­print sen­sor has been im­proved since the Honor 7, with an un­lock time of 0.4 sec­onds. We found the new fin­ger­print sen­sor to be ex­tremely re­spon­sive.

Cam­eras

For its pri­mary cam­era the Honor 8 has two 12Mp Sony IMX286 sen­sors with a dual-tone flash.

The two rear-fac­ing cam­eras com­bine to cap­ture stun­ning shots. This is the same tech as is seen in­side the Huawei P9, which com­bines the im­age cap­tured by the mono­chrome- and RGB sen­sors to pro­duce the fi­nal im­age. Im­ages are ac­cu­rate, colours pop, and the Honor 8 per­forms very well even in low-light con­di­tions, with greatly re­duced im­age noise over the Honor 7.

Re­sults are fan­tas­tic, which is partly due to the plethora of op­tions. Our favourite is the abil­ity to change the aper­ture and fo­cus of the im­age af­ter it has been cap­tured. The Honor 8 holds its own ver­sus the likes of the Sam­sung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6s, the Lu­mia 950 and the BQ Aquaris M5.

We were also im­pressed by the Pro cam­era mode, which al­lows you to fine-tune your set­tings as you would on a man­ual SLR cam­era. Granted the op­tions aren’t as in-depth as an ac­tual cam­era, but pho­tog­ra­phers can at least use the Honor 8 as a sec­ondary point-and-shoot cam­era.

The im­ages are cap­tured at 12Mp (3968x2976) with a 4:3 as­pect ra­tio. You can op­tion­ally choose to shoot at 9Mp (3958x2250) with a 16:9 as­pect ra­tio.

The rear cam­eras can record Full-HD (1920x1080) video at 60fps, but it doesn’t sup­port

4K. The front cam­era also records at 1080p, but is lim­ited at 30fps. We found the video qual­ity to be con­sis­tent, fairly well sta­bilised and full of de­tail when shot in Full-HD.

At the front of the Honor 8 there’s an 8Mp cam­era, but un­like the Honor 7 it has no flash (you can cre­ate the ef­fect us­ing soft­ware, with the screen flash­ing white be­fore it takes a selfie).

The front-fac­ing cam­era pro­vides less sat­u­rated colours and more ac­cu­rate im­ages than its pre­de­ces­sor. As with other Honor de­vices, you have a flurry of op­tions to choose from when tak­ing a photo, in­clud­ing Beauty mode, which softens the colour tone of your skin.

Other fea­tures found within the cam­era app, in­clude fil­ter mode, beauty shot, panorama, time­lapse, good food, light paint­ing and HDR. The light paint­ing fea­ture is nice, a fea­ture we also liked in the Honor 7.

You can edit cap­tured im­ages within the photo app and those with the aper­ture sign at the bot­tom of the im­age can also have their fo­cus al­tered.

In com­par­i­son to its com­peti­tors, the Honor 8’s cam­era is truly fan­tas­tic. Honor has done a great job in pro­vid­ing a high-spec cam­era for £369.

Audio

Speaker qual­ity The Honor 8 has a sin­gle down­ward­fir­ing speaker, which un­like its pre­de­ces­sor, the Honor 7, has its lo­cated on the right-hand side. The phone doesn’t suf­fer from any dis­tor­tions at max­i­mum vol­ume, but when held in-hand you can feel the speaker’s vi­bra­tions at the lower-back chas­sis of the phone. The phone has the same loud­ness lev­els as the Honor 7, scor­ing a 7/10 in our loud­ness rat­ing.

The speaker’s sound qual­ity was vastly dif­fer­ent from the Honor 7, with a great em­pha­sis in the mids and highs. When we com­pared it to the Honor 7, we found that the new Honor 8 didn’t have any sub-bass or mid-bass pres­ence, but did make up for its lowend fre­quency loss in its mids, which were for­ward sound­ing and ac­cu­rate.

We did find the highs to have a nice sparkle, but did sound slightly sibi­lant. The sound­stage was in­trigu­ing, where we found the Honor 8 to have a some­what sur­round sound, even though it only had a sin­gle down­ward-fir­ing speaker.

In­ter­nal sound qual­ity The Honor 8 uses the same HiSil­i­con Hi6402 Audio DSP (with a smart am­pli­fier) as the Honor 7. It there­fore uses a SoC (sys­tem on chip) de­sign, util­is­ing the HiSil­i­con Kirin 950 chipset to power its in­ter­nal audio. Just like the Honor 7, the Honor 8 had to be cranked up to 90- to 95 per­cent, which was a lot of vol­ume re­quired ver­sus other phones found on the mar­ket that are able to de­liver the same vol­ume at a much lower per­cent­age.

When we am­pli­fied the sig­nal, there was neg­li­gi­ble hiss­ing present and a small static pop when play­ing or paus­ing mu­sic. There­fore, we were im­pressed by the sound iso­la­tion and min­i­mal in­ter­fer­ence found on the Honor 8.

The in­ter­nal sound qual­ity was iden­ti­cal to the Honor 7. When A/B test­ing we couldn’t hear a dif­fer­ence be­tween the two phones. The Honor 8 has a good low-end pres­ence with a sub-bass ex­ten­sion to be praised and a mid-bass slam that was both con­trolled and ac­cu­rate.

The mids are for­ward sound­ing and its highs ex­tend well, al­though could have had a touch more sparkle to them.

Un­for­tu­nately, the Honor 8 shares the same fate in its sound­stage re­pro­duc­tion as the Honor 7; it lacks width and depth, but on the plus side still has good in­stru­ment sep­a­ra­tion.

Soft­ware

Honor uses EMUI as an An­droid skin. In this case EMUI 4.1 run­ning Marsh­mal­low 6.0. We like the non-in­tru­sive EMUI ex­pe­ri­ence, but it can be a per­for­mance hog in com­par­i­son to stock An­droid. There are some sub­tle tweaks, for ex­am­ple you can use the fin­ger­print sen­sor to swipe down and re­veal the no­ti­fi­ca­tion panel, or click on the Smart Key to open an app. A num­ber of bloat­ware util­i­ties and apps are pre­in­stalled on the Honor 8, but you will be able to unin­stall most of these.

Ver­dict

The Honor 8 is a fan­tas­tic smart­phone, but the price has gone up from the Honor 7. In re­turn for the ad­di­tional ex­pense you get a fan­tas­tic dual-cam­era, a sleek and stylish de­sign, a faster fin­ger­print sen­sor and a beau­ti­ful dis­play, which com­bined

make the Honor 8 a wor­thy com­peti­tor to the OnePlus 3. Christo­pher Mi­nasians

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• An­droid Marsh­mal­low 6.0 (EMUI 4.1) • 5.2in 1920x1080 IPS touch­screen, 423ppi

• HiSil­i­con Kirin 950 • Octa-core (4x 2.3GHz Cor­tex-A72 & 4x 1.8GHz Cor­tex A53)

• Mali-T880 MP4 • 4GB RAM • 32/64GB stor­age (ex­pand­able mi­croSD card of­fers ad­di­tional 128GB)

• Fin­ger­print sen­sor and Smart Key • Dual 12Mp f/2.2, dual-LED flash front-fac­ing

• 8Mp rear-fac­ing cam­era • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band 2.4- and 5GHz

• USB Type-C 1.0 • Blue­tooth 4.2 • 4G LTE • Nano- and Mi­cro-SIM • A-GPS, GLONASS • NFC • 3000mAh non-re­mov­able bat­tery • 145.5x71x7.5mm • 153g

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