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Honor 8 review: Value for money smartphone with an amazing camera

The smartphone has sweet dual camera setup with shallow depth of field & great low light capabilities.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 16, 2016, 09.23 AM IST
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The best features of Honor 8 include the beautiful glass-metal design and a  high-quality screen.
The best features of Honor 8 include the beautiful glass-metal design and a high-quality screen.
PRICE: Rs 29,999

SPECIFICATIONS: 5.2-inch 1080p IPS LCD, HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage + micro SD (up to 256GB cards), dual 12MP f2.2 rear cameras with laser AF, 8MP f2.4 front camera, WiFi ac, BT4.2, USB-C, IR emitter, fingerprint scanner, 3,000mAh battery, 153 grams.

+ Beautiful glass-metal design, excellent performance, dual lens camera system, high-quality screen, flagship-level build quality and features at a nice price.

-
All glass design attracts smudges/ fingerprints and is very slippery, does not record 4K video (max 1080p)

Honor 8 shares a lot with parent company Huawei’s Leica-branded P9 — it has sweet dual camera setup with shallow depth of field & great low light capabilities.

Increasingly, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to spend a huge amount of money on a flagship smartphone. OnePlus has shown us the way: the OnePlus 3 is one of the top-rated flagship smartphones in the Indian market and it costs well under Rs 30k!

The Honor 8 is stepping into a hotly contested space here but it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, this is a smaller phone — with a 5.2-inch screen instead of 5.5-inch. It’s also lightweight (153 grams), slim (7.5mm) and has very slim bezels which makes the whole phone smaller and lighter than what is considered ‘mainstream’ now. The glass back has multiple layers inside that reflect light in interesting ways. You can get it in white, blue and gold. The dual 12MP camera module sits flush with the body — unlike so many others.

Honor 8 review: Value for money smartphone with an amazing camera
The smartphone offers a dual 12MP camera and a fingerprint scanner. (Image: Flipkart)

It also has a fingerprint scanner that’s fast and accurate. Couple of things here — the fingerprint scanner is the same colour as the rest of the phone (so it’s blue in the blue phone and so on) and it also works as a button. They call it the Smart Key and you can set it to different things with a click, double click or long press. On top, it has an IR emitter (with a universal remote app and learning function) while the bottom edge gets a 3.5mm out and USB type-C with fast charging support.

In terms of absolute numbers, the Kirin 950 processor is not as good as the Snapdragon 820 in phones like Mi5 and OnePlus 3. That being said, it can still handle any game, app or extensive multitasking with ease. It’s just that if you want to see the highest numbers when it comes to software benchmarking apps, this is not the phone for you.

As for the software, it runs Emotion UI (EMUI) with a lot of extra features over Android. There is no app drawer and you get features like data traffic management (detailed options), different home screen styles, display colour temperature adjustment, an eye-comfort mode
and a section called Smart Assistance (one hand UI, motion/voice control, floating dock and so on).

The camera is one of the highlight features on the phone. The dual 12MP cameras use Sony IMX 286 sensors and one of them only does monochrome. The purpose of this setup is to capture more light: the image from both sensors is combined into one .

Interestingly, this is the same approach taken by the Huawei P9, though the P9 does have some Leica-created modes Honor 8 also offers a mode with super shallow depth of field (you can adjust point of focus and depth after capturing). There are multiple modes: beauty photo & video, HDR, pro photo, pro-video, time lapse, slo-mo and light painting. It has a great camera which surprises you when you least expect it.

In fact, the Honor 8 has almost all the same features and the same camera performance as the more expensive Leica-branded Huawei P9 (Note: Honor is a sub-brand of Huawei, though they are run as separate companies). However, the price difference is Rs 10,000, meaning that the Honor 8 is designed to be the more ‘downmarket’ version. Having said that, it offers great call quality, battery life and user experience.

Overall, we quite like the Honor 8 for what it provides at the price. The OnePlus 3 is still cheaper though and out top pick if you like larger phones. If you want higher performance in a similar form factor, consider Xiaomi’s Mi5.
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