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honor 8 review: Seriously pretty

A fatal flaw?

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Have you ever been envious of people who seem to have everything in life? Money, good looks, intellect and a charming personality all wrapped up in a perfect little package seems too good to be true right? They must have a flaw. The more perfect they seem to be, the more catastrophic the flaw I imagine they must have. The universe is fair like that…at least I like to think that it is.

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When I saw the brand new honor 8 for the first time, I was immediately impressed with how good it looked — both inside and out. It has a premium construction, quality internals and — perhaps more importantly — it looks seriously pretty. Kudos for that.

But, as you would imagine, there was this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that honor’s new flagship had an obvious flaw and I was going to be the one to discover it. So the investigation began.

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I didn’t find it in the performance. ‘Solid’ would be a word I’d use to describe the honor 8’s day-to-day. The Kirin 950 processor (same as the Huawei Mate 8) and 4GB of RAM was smooth throughout my review period, even with my hectic usage. Its screen was also really nice and sharp with vibrant colours and good viewing angles. It even has a feature to let you adjust colour temperature, which is nice. It felt a lot like Huawei’s more expensive P9 flagship smartphone. The model I have here is the 64GB storage variant, priced at RM1,899, but you can also opt for the more budget-friendly 32GB base model for RM1,699.

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The honor 8 also looked as good in the flesh as it did in photos and video. There’s something about the way light glints off the back of this handset that just gets people. Everyone I showed it to was almost immediately impressed with how beautiful it looked. But more than that was how nice this little flagship felt in one’s hand. Even though I’m not a big fan of the fingerprint-magnet material that is glass, I couldn’t suppress the satisfied smile that spread across my face the first time I held it in my hand.

SEE ALSO:  Honor MagicBook laptops are coming to Malaysia

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One thing about the build did irk me, however, and that was the fingerprint sensor cum button mounted on the back of this handset. Don’t get me wrong, the Huawei-made sensor is as good as it always has been, I just didn’t like that it was also a button. In a way, it felt like a chink in the otherwise seamless glass armour of the 8 and that annoyed me more than it should have.

That said, it is quite useful because you can assign different apps and shortcuts to it so that they’ll launch with either a single tap, double tap, or long press. But, because the fingerprint sensor was so quick and accurate, I rarely found myself in need of the quick launches.

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Thanks to the amusing relationship between honor’s flagships and Huawei’s P series of smartphones, the honor 8 is pretty much still the affordable brother to Huawei’s P9. Just take a look at the camera module and you’ll see where I’m coming from. In addition to an 8MP selfie shooter, the 8 sports two 12-megapixel camera sensors on its back, with one shooting in monochrome while the other shoots in full colour. Sound familiar?

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Of course, that’s not a bad thing because the pictures out of the honor 8 look nice enough. It is worth noting that under extensive use of the camera, the phone can get really really hot but the good news is that the camera doesn’t really slow down as it’s still quick to launch, snap and store. However, there is a catch. Although the honor 8 has a dedicated monochrome sensor, you can’t shoot with it standalone. But I guess that’s to be expected because that is what makes the P9 special and something stops being special if everyone can do it too.

SEE ALSO:  Honor's first 5G flagship smartphone will be revealed on 26 November

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Still, at least the 8 comes with an IR blaster and a fast charging adapter out-of-the-box — both of which are only limited to Huawei’s more expensive P9 Plus.

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With the fast charging adapter — that charges the phone’s 3,000 mAh battery via a USB Type-C port — you’ll be getting about a 25% charge in 15 minutes and about a 44% charge in 30 minutes from dead. A full charge will take just over one and a half hours, which is not bad.

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To top that all off, the battery life is pretty good too. I managed about 4 hours and 50 minutes of screen-on time on the “Performance” power plan while the “Smart” power plan yielded anywhere from 5 to 6 hours of screen on time (depending on usage). No problems with lasting me through a day, then.

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So far, my quest to find the honor 8’s obvious flaw has come up rather empty. After some thought, I realised that there really wasn’t a monumental flaw with the honor 8. Instead, it seems like honor shaved off a little bit here and there across the board with the honor 8 and I’m actually glad they did.

Yeah, it’s not as snappy as the OnePlus 3, nor does it have the camera prowess or gorgeous AMOLED display of the S7 edge. But these are things you’d only notice only if you’ve been using those two, arguably better handsets, for a significant amount of time. For the average smartphone buyer who is looking to purchase their first phone, or upgrade from a lower-tier or older handset, the honor 8 will feel as buttery and as smooth as a flagship should.

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And if you think about the fact that all of these little cost-saving measures were done to keep the price under RM1,900 and to bring you a smartphone as pretty as this, I think you’d find that honor definitely made the right move. I certainly did and I think that makes the honor 8 a really solid buy.

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