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Flagship Performance for Under $400, Huawei Announces the Honor 8

Honor 8 Sapphire Blue
Honor, Huawei's direct to consumer, brand within a brand, announced the US launch of the Honor 8 this evening. It's a new Android phone that combines true flagship performance at a less than flagship price. The Honor 8 a replacement for last year's Honor 7, not the popular sub-$200 Honor 5X. The Honor 7 was not widely available in the US, but Honor plans to change that with the Honor 8.

Based on the top of the line €649 ($734) Huawei P9, the Honor 8 has a 5.2 inch, 1920x1080px IPS display, rear mounted fingerprint sensor, and a USB-C charging and data port with 9V/2A quick charging support. There's a dual-purpose SIM/memory tray that can accommodate either two SIMs or a SIM plus a microSD memory card. Update 8/17: the version of the Honor 8 sold in the US only supports a single nano SIM and a memory card. The 3000 mAh battery is not user replaceable, unfortunately. There are two memory configurations available, with 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage, both with 4 GB RAM.

The SOC is the octa-core Kirin 950 from Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon. It has four 2.3 GHz Cortex-A72 CPU "big" cores plus four 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 CPUs "little" cores and a Mali-T880 Graphics processing unit.

The Kirin 950 has turned in some impressive benchmark numbers, including a GeekBench multi-core score of 6393, which is better than the 5396 of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 used in the Samsung S7 and Note 7 and the LG G5. To be fair, the Snapdragon 820 does beat the Kirin 950 in the singe-core GeekBench test by a score of 2320 to 1871. However, the Kirin 950's single and double core GeekBench scores beat those of other high end SOCs, including the Snapdragon 805, 808 and 810 and the Galaxy S6's Exynos 7420.

The camera setup on the Honor 8 is unusual in that there are two 12 MP rear cameras. One camera shoots in color and the other in black and white. According to Honor, the phone's software uses data from both cameras simultaneously to improve picture quality and low-light performance. There's also an 8 MB front facing selfie camera.

The OS is Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Huawei's "Emotion UI" (EMUI) skin. EMUI is not everyone's cup of tea, it seems to be trying to look like iOS, including no app drawer. If you don't like EMUI, you can easily install an alternate launcher like Nova or the Google Now launcher to provide a more Android like UI.

Physically, the Honor 8 has a high end look and feel. It's slim at 7.5 mm. The metal frame and and slightly curved glass screen with matching glass back reminds me a lot of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

The Honor 8's launch price is $399.99 for the 32 GB model and $449.99 for the 64 GB version. Pre-orders open tomorrow, Aug 17 at hihonor.com and also at Amazon, Best Buy, B&H, or Newegg. Customers who preorder between Aug 17 and Sept 3 will receive a free $50 gift card.

Like the rest of the Honor line, the Honor 8 will be sold online, unlocked, rather than through carriers. It supports quad-band GSM, UMTS/HSPA+ bands 1, 2, 4 and 5 and LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12 and 17 for compatibility with AT&T and T-Mobile. There's also VoLTE support and WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4G&5G). According to TMONews, T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling is not supported.

All in all the Honor 8 looks like a worthy competitor to the similarly priced One Plus 3 and the sone to launch Nexus Sailfish.

Source: Honor


9 comments:

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  1. tl;dr

    People buy sub-$100 phones for the specs, so long as they're "good enough."

    Above that, it's all about gimmicks and status symbols.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a well-written article of decent length. Tldr doesn't fit at all.

      And it has nothing at all to do with phones costing less than $100. Are you even reading the same article?

      Delete
    2. I said tl;dr because the article still didn't convince me to piss away $400 on an overpriced toy that'll be obsolete within 2 years.

      8GB of RAM or bust.

      But even then, $200 tops for a glorified mobile monitor that lacks a keyboard, mouse and gamepad.

      Anyway, until phones achieve RAM parity with budget PCs, I wouldn't spend more than $50/yr on a daily driver unless I absolutely had to.

      Delete
  2. Blu phones have similar specs and cost less. Plus, I would rather support a US company.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BLU has been known in the past for its poor displays. Are thry any better now?

      If it's an American company that is union-free, I might consider supporting it.

      Delete
  3. What kind of track record does Huawei/Honor have in providing OS updates? Obviously something less than Nexus phones, but hopefully more than one-and-done?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love my Axon7 Better specs and better price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have you had any problems with your axon? Any disappointments?

      Delete
  5. Unimpreddivr price point. Should be << $200.00

    ReplyDelete
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