Hands-on With The Huawei Mate 8

Hands-on With The Huawei Mate 8

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In the wake of producing one of the best devices currently on the market, the Nexus 6P, Huawei are going strong and have recently announced the Mate 8,  the successor to last year’s Mate 7. The Mate 8 is a high-end Marshmallow device with impressive specs and a huge 4,000mAh battery, which is no doubt needed to keep the 6-inch LCD display going for long periods of time.

 XDA recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the impressive device in Huawei’s Chinese HQ. Hoping to live up to the expectations set by their recent Nexus launch, the device has big shoes to fill, here is what we discovered.

Mate 8
The Specs

Model:Huawei Mate 8
Dimensions157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9 mm
Weight185g
Display6 inch, LCD
Resolution1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi)
OSAndroid 6.0 (Emotion UI 4.0)
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 950
GPUMali-T880 MP4
Storage32 GB, 64 or 128 GB
RAM3 GB or 4 GB
Back Camera16 MP
Front Camera8 MP
USBMicro, Fast battery charging: 37% in 30 min
Battery4000 mAh
ColourChampagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Space Gray, Mocha Brown

The Design 10/10

The body of the phone comes in at a fairly hefty 185g (about the same as the Galaxy Note 2) but this is compensated for by being distributed over the massive surface area required for a 6-inch display and thus, feels in proportion to say the Samsung Note5 or S6 Edge+. The body of the device feels very solid, being made of metal and having no apparent flaws or gaps. Huawei have gone above and beyond when it comes to bezels and the vertical bezels are almost non-existent whilst the horizontal bezels are about as small as you could feasibly want without it starting to interfere with usage. Unlike the Mate 7, the Mate 8 has a circular fingerprint sensor which feels much nice to the touch if you like most users do line your finger up along an axis when using it. Likewise, the camera has also lost its corners and is now a far more aesthetically pleasing circle. The two speaker grills on the base of the phone are bigger than you would find on most devices however, remain subtle and unobtrusive.

Software 9/10

Huawei has claimed previously that Emotion UI is faster than stock Android and it’s easy to believe when handling the Mate 8, GPU profile rendering revealed very few frame drops even when rapidly changing apps and navigating. Some of the additional features such as “smart screenshot”, which allow you to take a screenshot of an adjustable portion of your screen by double tapping the display with a knuckle, really improves the experience. I would however have liked an app drawer, although this is an issue easily resolved by a 3rd party option such as App Swap.  The built-in permissions manager fills in the void left behind by developers not updating their apps ready for Marshmallow’s integrated permissions options and is certainly easy to use and on par with alternatives found in the Xposed repository.

The Hardware 9/10

The Kirin 950 handled very well on this device during the brief time we had to test it, the device was fast and the 4GB of RAM were managed well easily handling multiple apps open in the background at a time. I felt that the screen could have done with a higher resolution though as the relatively low (368) ppi was noticeable. The dual sim does take up the micro SD card slot meaning that in the unlikely event that 128GB is just not enough storage for you, you will have to sacrifice your second sim card slot in order to expand.

Huawei have performed admirably yet again, producing a device that not only handles well but also looks great. We are sure to hear more about the device at CES in Las Vegas next month so stay tuned for more news!