The Honor 8 is an absolutely gorgeous smartphone. Even before digging into the details, it’s difficult to associate the Honor 8’s design with its price; its level of premium appeal is comparable to that of the more expensive Samsung Galaxy S7.The dual glass panel design is admittedly reminiscent of the Galaxy S7 and even more so of the Xiaomi Mi 4S. It is still quite remarkable, however, with the rear’s 15-panel light-refracting glass composition. This composition primarily enables some very enthralling light patterns.
The Honor 8 is sporting a 5.2″ 1080P LTPS display, which looks great with a good amount of sharpness and saturated and punchy colors. Color reproduction could have been more accurate, however. Mainly, the display’s color temperature is very cool. Thankfully, you can make adjustments in the settings to compensate for this, but it’s a shame that the device didn’t ship with a better calibrated display.
The Honor 8 boasts the same six-lens, wide-angle camera that debuted on the company’s P9.The rear cam is comprised of two 12-megapixel cameras with f/2.2 apertures and 1.25 µm pixel sizes. It’s capable of many cool tricks, because the Honor 8 can combine sensor data from its twin snappers to improve overall pic quality. One camera, a traditional RGB sensor, captures color data, while the second, a monochrome sensor, measures brightness. The Honor 8’s software combines the two streams into a single image — a feat Huawei said gives the Honor 8 and P9 a dramatic leg up in low-light environments.
It should come as no surprise that the Honor 8 is powered by one of Huawei’s own in-house processors, a HiSilicon Kirin 950. The Kirin 950 offers comparable performance to that of the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 820.
As is the case with many Chinese smartphones, the Honor 8 is unlocked and includes dual-SIM card support, meaning that you can use up to two different lines with this single phone. In the US, carrier support includes AT&T, T-Mobile, and their respective MVNOs. The phone also supports Band 12 LTE, so you’ll receive T-Mobile’s extended range coverage.If you’re willing to give up one of the SIM card slots, you can expand the phone’s base 32 GB of storage via microSD card, up to 128 GB. This is always a great option to have, even if you don’t think you’ll need it.
Huawei provides three battery profiles out of the box: performance, smart, and ultra. While the default smart mode does seem to marginally improve battery life, I noticed that it prevented many of my apps from sending notifications. This made me miss a few important messages in Slack and a couple of Snapchats within the first few hours of using the phone, so I had to switch to the less power-conservative performance mode in order to continue with my review.