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Huawei Mate 8 review

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Summary

Our Score:

6

Pros

  • Lovely design
  • Great battery life
  • So, so speedy

Cons

  • Shocking software
  • Inconsistent camera
  • Colours issues with the display
  • Broken Google notifications

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Key Features

  • 6-inch, 1080p display
  • Kirin 950 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB storage
  • Android 6.0
  • 4,000 mAh battery
  • metal body
  • Manufacturer: Huawei
  • Review Price: £429.99

What is the Huawei Mate 8?

Every time a new Huawei phone is released, there’s the same question asked: Can we have this design, but without the awful software? Last year, with the Nexus 6P, that request was finally answered.

No one is really asking for a Nexus 6P with awful software and in many ways that’s exactly what the Mate 8 is. It has a similar build, camera specs and it’s very fast, but it struggles to really compete. It’s still a good phone, but it’s another missed opportunity for Huawei to really make its mark in the USA and UK.

Huawei Mate 8 – Design and Build

If there’s one thing you can count on from a Huawei flagship, it’s that it will look pretty stunning. Both the Huawei Ascend P8 and Huawei Mate S easily matched the craftsmanship you’d normally expect from Apple, with a mixture of metal, glass and other high-end materials.

The Mate 8 follows this pattern, taking many cues from its half-brother the Nexus 6P. The sides of the phone are chamfered, reflecting light like a jewel. It’s an old trick used by Apple as far back as the iPhone 5, but I still think it looks great.

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Like the Mate S, the back slightly curves. The curve is only subtle, but it makes the Mate 8 more comfortable to hold than most flat back competitors. This is an impressive achievement as it's a frankly huge phone.

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Yes, it’s a touch shorter than the Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S Plus, but it’s much wider, meaning you really have to wrap your hand around it. Like using your phone in one hand? Don’t even take a second look at the Mate 8, it’s virtually impossible.

The only other phone I have used that can match the Mate 8 for size is the Nexus 6 and that was described by many as unusable due to its massive footprint.

Considering just how big it is, it feels surprisingly light. It isn’t though, at 185g it should feel heavy but the weight seems to be spread out well across the metal phone.

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Related: Huawei P9 specs

I’m far from convinced about the ruggedness of this phone though, but then again I am coming from the shatterproof and downright durable Moto X Force. After a few days with the Mate 8 jangling around in an empty pocket it has already starting to pick up noticeable scratches and even a slight scrape on the side. On the plus side, Huawei includes a case in the box. It’s hardly pretty, but it’ll get the job done.

Huawei Mate 8 – Display

The majority of the specs on the Mate 8 are some of the best out there, except one. The 6-inch display isn’t 4K like the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium or quad-HD like the Samsung Galaxy S6. It’s only 1080p. What is this, 2014 again?

Stretched out over 6-inches is where quad-HD, that’s 2560 x 1440, really comes into its own so it’s a shame to see it missing on the Mate 8. Maybe it’s cost cutting measure, but this is still a premiumly priced device at £429.

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I’m not saying the screen isn’t good: It’s sharp enough to make seeing pixels difficult, has decent viewing angles and once you’ve kicked it up all the way, the brightness is fine. But it pales in comparison to much of the competition.

My main issue is with colour reproduction, whites have a pinky finish and reds come across overly bright. Blacks are nice and deep though, and with such a large screen it’s great for watching YouTube.

Maybe I’ve just been spoilt with great screens over the past few months. Even other 1080p panels, like the one used in Sony’s Xperia Z5, are of far higher quality than this.

Best Deals for Huawei Mate 8

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Dead Words

January 5, 2016, 11:41 pm

I thought the Kirin 950 was octa-core? 4 Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.3GHz and 4 Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz.

‫محمد مرعي‬‎

January 7, 2016, 8:47 am

im not agree with u wat makes huawei the best is the em ui and the great rom and andriod cleen rom is rubbish and with no intersts

Dead Words

January 23, 2016, 3:20 am

I have to partially agree with them. I think the design is decent with EMUI, but the execution is just terrible. It's just broken, it really is. And, although the design isn't terrible, it's very much divisive.

ArtifexIV

January 23, 2016, 8:41 am

6/10 while the Mate 7, on EMUI too, got an 8/10 ? The Mate 8 is an awesome smartphone, one of the best right now. It's a shame to criticize a device just for its software, especially when several launchers exist and can compensate that.

Novage

January 23, 2016, 2:50 pm

Bad review

Andy

January 23, 2016, 7:14 pm

A bit harsh. Yes the software is rubbish, it's also rubbish on Samsung phones. Simply replace with Google launcher and you have tablet battery life in a stunning phone. Who really genuinely needs 2k or even 4k screen on a phone, really!

adrianeds

January 25, 2016, 9:34 pm

Tech websites, frankly a lot of you are becoming a farce, you here ridicule the Huawei Mate 8, yet, stuff.tv praises it to high heaven. And don't give me it's all opinions, surely there should be some consistency!!

smtechportal.net

February 10, 2016, 9:46 am

The latest technology news and reviews, Phones,Laptops,Digital cameras,Headphone,Networking product,gadgets and more | The most important, interesting and inspiring news and features at SMtechportal

harleypeter

April 2, 2016, 3:31 pm

vey negative review indeed. I am a proud owner of the mate 8 and I can tell you the battery life is beyond impressive. I can easily get two days on one charge and with regular uses. Using whatsapp a lot seem to used up a lot of the battery. Btw I can use one hand to operate the mate 8 so it was wrong to say its impossible. The mate 8 is also super FAST, absolutely no lagging. To say that you would not recommend is a bit personal, and you should keep that yourself. I dont need 2k and 4k screen which is only there to justify the very high cost. The mate is an awesome phone , the best at half the price . I love my mate 8 and I would recommend it to anyone.

Johnny Zenith

May 11, 2016, 10:32 am

Is there such a thing as an Android Rom? An official one I mean?

Johnny Zenith

May 11, 2016, 10:32 am

I'm seriously considering it.

barankai

June 19, 2016, 7:25 pm

The same about EMUI. Bugs gotta be fixed and hopefully will be soon but taking it down just because it's different does not make sense. Also MIUI is a great OS and I've read the same unfounded complaints. Then, Mate 8 supports a wide spectrum of LTE frequencies which is a great feature for globetrotters. And the price... I've got it from HK for less than 400 bucks and a 2y warranty... Samsung is as buggy as supposedly Mate 8 and Sony's warranty is practically fake in Europe. So what's the problem here with the Mate 8? The only alternative has been to me MI Max a hard choice for less than 300 just supported frequencies too little especially the missing 800.

Zaffran Zavahir

September 18, 2016, 7:17 am

OMG this review. I know that you guys do some good reviews but I call BS on this one. EMUI is insane dude. It is one of the best iterations of Android for me. So it is very subjective. Reviews need to be objective. Also, about the speakers, they sound pretty good, just not very loud. Sound is super crisp and punchy. In fact my friends who own Samsung and Apple went wow when my phone rang.

Only negative area I agree with you on is the camera. If photography and videography is important this isn't the phone for you. For everything else this just nails it.

This is by far my favourite phone ever and I've used flagship from all major brands.

Sad Lad

October 27, 2016, 10:38 am

ABSOLUTELY agree with you.Even I like the camera...Brilliant phone.SHIT review...

Den List

November 14, 2016, 6:48 pm

Huawei Mate 8 - a good device, but its competitor Uhans H5000 is cheaper and has a higher capacity battery

Aptech

November 22, 2016, 6:35 pm

Nomu S30 could beat Mate 8,As the Nomu S30 has amazing features.
For the Hardness Test for Nomu IP68 Rugged Phones you can see the video on their official youtube channel :)

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