“Dual cameras on a mid-range smartphone? That’s what the Honor 8 is all about”
2016 has been the year of the dual-camera smartphone. We’ve seen it on flagships like the LG G5 (review), Apple iPhone 7 Plus and Huawei P9 (review), and now we have it even on mid-range devices. One of the most recent smartphones to come equipped with this feature is the Honor 8, was unveiled in China in July. The device is due to be launched in India next month, with Huawei’s sub-brand attempting to cash in on the buzz surrounding its Leica-branded P9. Before the launch, we got a chance to check out the Honor 8, and here is the unboxing and our first impressions.
The Honor 8 ships in a very distinctive packaging. Instead of the traditional blue retail box, we now have a minimalist white box which is slim and rectangular. Sliding open the lid greets you with another box inside. Lifting up the cover reveals the smartphone sandwiched into a slim slot. Smaller boxes neatly packed inside contain the remainder of the box contents – a USB Type-C charging cable, Huawei fast charger, a SIM ejector tool and some documentation.
Moving over to the smartphone itself, the Honor 8 is a pretty compact phone. It features a glass sandwich design, with 2.5D curved glass at both the front and rear, with an aluminium alloy frame in the middle. The screen measures 5.2-inches and gets full HD resolution. Above the display you’ll find the front 8MP camera, earpiece and sensors, while below you get only Honor branding. The Android navigation keys appear as onscreen controls.
The right spine is home to the power button and volume rocker, while at the left you’ll find an ejectable tray that accepts two nano-SIM cards, with one slot also functioning as a hybrid microSD card slot. The botton edge is where you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-C port, primary microphone and loudspeaker grill. At the top, you’ll find the secondary microphone along with an IR blaster.
The rear panel of the smartphone is where you’ll see the dual 12MP rear cameras. Similar to the Huawei P9, one of these is a monochrome sensor while the other is RGB. The hardware of the dual cameras is almost identical to the P9, except that it doesn’t get the Leica brand of certification. Next to the camera you’ll see the laser autofocus sensor along with the dual-LED flash.
At the centre is the round fingerprint sensor. What’s interesting about this is that it’s both capacitive and physical. You can touch it to unlock the phone from sleep, and press it to perform a variety of actions, a feature which Huawei calls Smart Key. In settings, you can configure the button to open an app or shortcut with a short press, long press or double press action.
The Honor 8 is powered by an octa-core Kirin 950 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM. It gets 32GB of internal memory, out of which about 23GB is available out-of-the-box. The smartphone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow with EMUI 4.1 on top. It’s fuelled by a 3,000mAh battery, and the bundled charger supports fast charging as well, which is a bonus.
The Honor 8 goes on sale in India next month, but until then, we’ll be using the smartphone as our primary driver to find out whether it’s worth your money.
Disclosure: This writer attended the product showcase event in Goa on Honor’s invitation