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Huawei P8 Max

Luke Johnson



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Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max
  • Huawei P8 Max


Key Features

  • 6.8-inch, 1080p Full HD display
  • 64-bit Kirin 930 processor
  • 13-megapixel OIS-enhanced camera
  • 8-megapixel selfie snapper
  • Manufacturer: Huawei
  • Review Price: free/subscription

Huawei P8 Max: First Impressions

I’ve seen a lot of phones during my time in this industry. I’ve seen candybars and clamshells, the world’s thinnest phones and those with curved, flexible and even transparent displays. Until now, however, I had never seen one as big as the Huawei P8 Max.

Forget blurring the lines between smartphones and tablets, the P8 Max kicks those lines in the shins and simply does its own thing. The handset – if I can call it that – features a massive 6.8-inch display. As well as being a full 1.6-inches biggest than its smaller, flagship sibling, the Huawei P8, the Max is just 0.2 of an inch off lining up as a direct Nexus 7 rival.

When is big too big? Based on my hands-on time with the Huawei P8 Max, well before you get to 6.8-inches.

Watch our Huawei P8 Max hands-on video below.

Huawei P8 Max: Design

There’s no escaping it, this thing isn’t just big, it’s huge. Forget the pocket-stretching likes of the iPhone 6 Plus or the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the Huawei P8 Max has taken things to new – frankly ridiculous – levels.

With a number of high-profile tablets on the market sporting smaller displays – I’m looking at the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 6 here – the P8 Max’s form is nothing short of confusing. Sized like a tablet, skilled like smartphone, the Max is a halfway house device that falls between the cracks of credibility in either camp.

I found the handset ok to hold but difficult to use – at least one handed. Trying to type a message or URL was awkwardly uncomfortable with one hand. As an adult man of average hand proportions, I struggled to stretch my thumbs across the phone’s not inconsiderable width. At this point, portability and practicality go out the window.

Despite being too big for most standard functions, the Huawei P8 Max is a brilliantly built product. The phone’s aluminium body looks and feels the part, pairing a high-end, easy-on-the-eye finish with a well balanced, robust feel.

At 6.8mm slim, the handset is not oversized in all directions. Sadly however, at least on first use, the P8 Max’s negatives far outweigh the positives – at least on a design front.

Huawei P8 Max

Related: Huawei P9 specs

Huawei P8 Max: Screen

Despite stretching a 1080p Full HD panel over a near 7-inch form, the P8 Max’s screen is a strong addition. When I approached the handset for the first time I expected grainy images and a blocky text. What I saw, however, was a bright, vibrant, detailed display that is suitable sharp for most daily tasks.

Unlike its smaller sibling, a 2K panel here would make a notable difference, if only a small one. That said, I found text sharp and video playback fluid. This is key as video is one area where the phone’s oversized features come into their own.

Huawei has attempted to keep the P8 Max’s overall footprint down while adopting an oversized display. It has done this by minimising the phone’s bezels. The company has been relatively successful in these attempts, with the phone’s 83 per cent screen the body ratio a market leader on the phablet front.

Finishing things off, a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protective coating should help ensure the phone remains impervious to scuffs and scratches.

Huawei P8 Max

Huawei P8 Max: Features

Big in stature and ability, the Max’s features list is an impressive one. The phone is powered by Huawei’s in-house Kirin 930 chip. This 64-bit, octa-core chip offered more than enough power for early tests, with all app launches and multitasking commands handled with consummate ease.

This processor, which should offer more than enough grunt for even the most demanding of users, is backed up by 3GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB internal storage options. Both capacities are enhanced by microSD expansion and are available in single and dual-SIM iterations.

As has become the norm, the Huawei P8 Max runs a skinned version of Google’s latest Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. Huawei’s Emotion UI has come a long way in recent years and has continued to evolve on the P8 and P8 Max. Dropping some of its more childlike styling issues, I found the software skin to be more refined and sophisticated than in recent years.

However, while manufacturers such as Samsung are stripping back their UIs, Huawei’s Emotion offering is still slightly cluttered. Customisation options though are strong, with a mass of varying themes available to help you better attune the handset to your tastes.

Huawei P8 Max

Such a sizeable device needs a sizeable battery to keep things running. Here, Huawei has bestowed its latest phablet with a massive 4680mAh power supply. According to the manufacturer, this should offer two full days of use on a single charge.

At this stage, however, this is nothing but a hollow promise. All manufacturers make lofty battery life claims, few fulfil them. Given my limited time with the device, I’ve been unable to test the Max’s staying power. This will be fully addressed in our full Huawei P8 Max review, coming soon.

Huawei P8 Max

Huawei P8 Max: Camera

Like its little brother, the Max plays host to an impressive camera collection with a 13-megapixel primary shooter lining up alongside a secondary 5-megapixel camera up front.

The primary snapper features a 4-colour RGBW sensor and independent Image Signal Processor alongside optical image stabilisation. It’s also enhanced by a selection of new shooting modes, with Time Lapse, Light Painting and Perfect Seflie options available.

On first use, in challenging lighting conditions, the Max produced solid, but not groundbreaking results. Its low light abilities we put to the test, with results balancing well between areas of light and shade. Similarly, the front-facing camera produce decent images that lacked a bit of depth.

Further, more intensive camera tests are required before we can pass final judgement on the phone’s imaging abilities.

Huawei P8 Max

Early Verdict

The Huawei P8 Max is an impressive device with major identity issues. Too big to be a practical primary phone, its USP runs the risk of being its downfall.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


April 16, 2015, 2:20 am

Good review. Absolutely huge phone (no I will not relinquish and call it a Phablet...)!

FYI the company name is pronounced "hwaa way", though seems Huawei released an "official" way to pronounce their name for Western audiences...


Still not accurate to the Chinese :P

Good stuff!


April 16, 2015, 9:09 pm

I seem to recall the original Note was met with much the same reaction.


April 20, 2015, 7:50 am

what is a "usp" ...people should be smart enough not to write articles with undefined words that only insiders would know.


June 16, 2015, 3:01 am

Battery not able to come out might be a deal breaker.


July 8, 2015, 4:30 pm

Unique Selling Point


August 13, 2015, 8:32 am

Did you write the review of the media x2 as well. Same idiotic pov. If it had a replaceable battery I would have one yesterday.This is the size most of us will carry including you.


September 30, 2015, 8:45 am

Just get from the very beginning that this phone is not designed to be carried in your jeans pockets. You carry it in a bag or a coat pocket or a phone case on your belt. As soon as you get that, the size immediately stops feeling rediculous.

Jakob H.

March 17, 2016, 4:45 am

hmm, kirin930 and 8mpix selfiesnapper as key-features in the P8max??.. wasnt familiar that max was with 8mpix and 930kirin in that handset.. would reckon it was 5mpix and the faster clocked kirin935.. anyway thx for the trusted-review.. I will decide to trust in trusted review and belivive that they ofcourse know what they are reviewing and first hand knowledge, and perhaps there are different version of the the max edition, for otherwise i would have concluded that the 8mpix selfie + the kirin930 was the little brother called the p8

Anthony Gar

July 19, 2016, 3:29 am

They got the wrong guy reviewing this. You don't use it with one hand. Get over it and review the device with an open frame of mind.

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