Huawei P8: An impressive alternative to more expensive flagship phones

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The Huawei P8 flagship smart phone is officially launched in our South Pacific region and it is a huge step up from its predecessor, the Ascend P7. For the Malaysian market, Huawei Malaysia has commenced pre-orders at VMall at RM1,799. In Singapore it will be available starting tomorrow 3rd June for SGD699.

With the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone 6 being top contenders for a high-end smart phone, Huawei aims to position itself as an alternative without burning a hole in your pocket.

In terms of design, the Huawei P8 gets a metal unibody design that’s only 6.4mm thick. That’s thinner than the Galaxy S6’s 6.8mm and iPhone 6’s 6.9mm thickness. The screen is a 5.2″ IPS Full HD display but with thinner bezels, it feels like a much smaller device in the hand. The overall build is much improved over the Ascend P7 and we found it to be quite similar to the Sony Xperia Z3.

Powering the P8 is Huawei’s in house developed 64-bit Kirin Octa-Core 930 processor that’s mated to 3GB of RAM. The early Kirin processors like the 910T on the Ascend P7 was quite mediocre, but the newer ones including the Kirin 920 on the Honor 6 has been quite remarkable. On-board it gets 16GB of storage which you can put on a microSD card into its second SIM slot of the device.

As photography is among the main usage of a smart phone, Huawei is put more emphasis on its camera capabilities. The 13MP main camera has Optical Image Stabilisation but Huawei claims it has been improved to tolerate shakes better at 1.2 degrees, double of what other smart phones are capable of.

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On top of that, the P8 also boasts the world’s first 4-colour 13MP sensor. According to Huawei, this offers better brightness by 32% and 78% noise reduction in low light. The P8 also gets a DSLR-level ISP which helps to optimise its picture quality.

In terms of features, the Huawei P8 is proud to showcase its light painting capabilities built in with its camera app. There’s no need to adjust shutter speed or manul settings and all you’ll need to do is to select the right mode and start drawing with any light source.

For more epic videos, the P8 has a rather unique Director mode that works in-sync with 3 devices You can have each P8 set up to capture different angles and the director mode lets you select the combine the right footages for the final video on the fly.

Being a flagship, a smart phone should be able to last as long as your busy schedule. With a 2,680mAh non-removable battery, Huawei reckons that the P8 could last up to 1.5 days in normal use or up to 1 full day with heavy usage. While most new flagships are boasting quick charge, Huawei surprisingly lacks any fast charging features on the P8. If the P8 does deliver all day battery life performance like the Xperia Z3, many wouldn’t mind the omission of a quick charge.

On the software front the P8 runs on the Android 5.0 Lollipop with its own custom EMUI 3.1. There are a couple of smart features including a rather different knuckle sense. This lets you screen capture and crop using your knuckles. There are a couple of features that help to boost its WiFi and 4G LTE connectivity including a faster network lock-on while roaming.

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Also announced during the regional launch is the Huawei P8 Lite, an affordable compact version that’s also coming to Malaysia. It gets a smaller 5″ display that pushes lower HD 720p resolution, Under the hood, it gets a mid-range Kirin 620 processor with 2GB RAM, which is similar to the Honor 4X. It gets 16GB of storage, 13MP + 5MP cameras and a 2,200mAh capacity battery. The P8 lite will be available in Singapore at month end for SGD329.

During its London launch, there’s a larger P8 Max model boasting a huge 6.8″ display, 32GB of storage and a whooping 4,360mAh capacity battery which is rated to last more than 2 days. For our region, Huawei has no plans to bring this yet. If they do consider, it is likely towards the end of the year.

Huawei P8 Unboxing Video

Huawei P8 Promo Video