After using the Huawei Mate 8 for a few days, I can finally give you my honest thoughts about Huawei’s latest flagship.
First, let’s start with the design. I think Huawei has done a terrific job of bringing sleek design through its unibody all-metal frame along with fingerprint sensor on the back and even support for dual SIM/microSD card slot. Can a smartphone smartphone be beautiful yet have external storage and extra long battery life? Yes, Huawei Mate 8 is exactly that.
As for performance, the Mate 8 comes with Huawei’s own Kirin 950 processor which boasts the fastest performance “right now” eclipsing the current speed king Galaxy Note 5. Couple that with a 1080P screen and you have a killer smartphone with speed of a ferrari and battery life of hybrid car. In my experience using the phone, I’ve had zero lags, everything runs super fast, I actually think it runs a lot faster than the Note 5. Of course, if Huawei could have used 1440P screen, I would have enjoyed it more.
Speaking of its 1080P screen, it’s actually the brightest LCD screen I have tried. Although not as bright as AMOLED screens used on Note 5 and Nexus 6P, the Huawei Mate 8 has a detailed, crisp screen that will amaze you so much you can’t believe it’s only 1080P. While most phablets are going with 1440P, it’s rather surprising Huawei didn’t go with 1080P but in the end, you may benefit from the extra long battery life. Of course, for people who do watch a lot of 1440P content such as YouTube, you may be inclined to get another smartphone with more resolution.
The Huawei Mate 8 the biggest battery capacity in its class (out of phablet-sized phones 5.5-inches or larger) with a whopping 4,000mAh. That’s a full 25% bigger capacity than the Galaxy Note 5 and still bigger than the Nexus 6P. In my daily driving, I found that battery life easily lasts 1.5 to 2 days on average use and you will always get a full day even on super heavy duty usage. Mate 8 is definitely the king of battery life for larger smartphones and if that’s something you are looking for, Mate 8 may be your next “mate”.
Camera on the Mate 8 is not the best I’ve tried but it’s decent. While its auto mode works great in bright light, I found it didn’t perform as well in low-light with a lot of noise. However, the Mate 8 does have a full Professional mode (or Manual mode) that works well in low light situations. This may be also improved when the final retail version is released as the version I have is a beta version for the media. As for video, the Mate 8 lacks 4K video recording which I feel is crucial to any flagship smartphone these days (can you name any other flagship phone without 4K? probably not). But it does support up to 1080P 60fps and stabilization/OIS is one of the best I’ve tried. Again, the video quality isn’t as good in low light situations and this could also be improved with a software update. Probably the coolest feature on the Mate 8 isn’t its awesomely, fast fingerprint sensor but its front selfie camera. It’s one of the best I’ve tried and the front 1080P video recording works well. For selfie lovers, this may be the ultimate smartphone.
Speakers and microphone are decent, nothing to be wowed about but the Mate 8 does offer 3 microphones with directional recording using its voice recording app. This could come in very handy for meetings, voice overs, etc…etc…
Mate 8 does offer dual SIM slots along with a microSD slot. The dual SIM supports 4G LTE/3G data in the first SIM while voice/data is supported on the second SIM slot. Since Mate 8 runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, you can easily convert any of your microSD cards into internal storage (e.g. add 128GB to convert your phone from 32GB to 160GB phone).
Overall, Huawei Mate 8 isn’t the best smartphone in the world but it can be the best smartphone for you if you don’t care about having a 1440P screen, you don’t record videos often, and all you really care is about super fast performance, super long battery life, external storage, and dual-SIM capabilities. If this is something you are looking for, definitely watch out for Huawei Mate 8 coming soon to your area.
P.S. In case you are wondering, as for myself, I am going back to my Note 5 and Nexus 6P (I use 2 phones) for now as I enjoy the much crisper photos I get with my Nexus 6P and both Note 5/Nexus 6P have 1440P screen/4K recording, something that I need as a power user. The Mate 8 is a great phone but lack of 1440P, 4K video recording, and not-as-good still camera is a deal breaker for me. I don’t feel sorry though, the Nexus 6P is also made by Huawei, they are definitely on the right track to making better phones.
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