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Honor 8 Review - Camera, battery life & verdict Review


Honor 8 – Camera

The dual-sensor camera returns – arguably, the Huawei P9’s headline feature. Gone is the Leica branding of the lenses, however. Sony’s 12-megapixel IMX286 sensors are used – one RGB, one monochrome – and they have 1.25um-sized pixels.

As before, the two sensors should combine to create punchier, more contrast-packed photos as a result of the monochrome sensor, which can capture more light.

Honor 8Smartphone with triple camera setup and fingerprint sensor.

On paper, the Honor 8 should perform similarly to the Huawei P9. In reality, I found its photos slightly softer and generally looking more washed out compared to what I was used to from the Huawei P9.

The low-light performance proved to be reasonable, but you do begin to see noise and pixellation under closer scrutiny. Perhaps there was more to the partnership with Leica for the P9 than was first thought. Certainly, in testing the Huawei P9 has the edge for image quality.

Honor 8Hand holding a smartphone using its camera application.

You can again adjust the aperture from f/0.95 to f/16 for enhanced depth-of-field effects and dive into “Pro” photo modes for greater control over shots. Since the lenses are actually f/2.2, the artificial bokeh effect is purely a software creation.

In fact, the f/2.2 aperture doesn’t compare particularly favourably with many flagship phones that pack in f/1.7 lenses. The latter allow far more light to reach the sensor and therefore improved low-light performance.

Other photo modes make a return, including the baffling Beauty mode, which annoyingly turns on automatically when taking a selfie. It does strange things to your eyes and skin tone, and I’m confident no-one would ever want to use it for anything but a laugh.

Here’s a selection of photos from the Honor 8 in varying lighting conditions:

Honor 8 1Train station interior with vintage decorations and British flags.
Even in this reasonably well-lit scene there’s a tad too much noise in the shadows for my liking

Honor 8 3Camera test image of boats in a low-tide harbor.
Outdoor performance is considerably better but the highlights are a tad blown

Honor 8 4Photograph of a colorful flower display in front of a house.
The Honor 8’s camera can deliver punchy colours, however

Honor 8 5Nighttime photo of Eiffel Tower showcasing camera's low-light capability.Flying Scotsman train under sunlight with lens flare.
Photos can occasionally be left looking washed out even with good light

Honor 8Nighttime photo of Eiffel Tower showcasing camera's low-light capability.
Low-light performance is only so-so with noise and softness

Honor 8 – Battery Life

I’ve been using the Honor 8 has my main phone for a fortnight now. This means copious amounts of WhatsApp throughout the day, checking Twitter and Instagram more often than I should, streaming music through Spotify during my commute, and occasionally browsing through Chrome.

Even with this heavy-use scenario, I could get to bed with around 10% remaining from the 3,000mAh Li-ion battery, which compares favourably to the Huawei P9 I used before.

Honor 8

An hour of Netflix with the display set to 60% saw the battery drop by 13% in an hour, which is again very similar to what I saw from the Huawei P9. An hour of Lumines gaming saw the battery drop 18% in an hour, which is about what I’d expect.

Fast-charging means you can get the battery back up to 100% in less than an hour, which is always useful. All in all, battery life is respectable, if unremarkable.

Should I buy the Honor 8?

With marginally better performance and a lower price, the Honor 8 should probably be a no-brainer when compared to the Huawei P9. For the most part, it does have the edge in all areas but the camera. While the EMUI skin continues to grate, the Honor 8 is a good all-round phone for its price.

However, since the Huawei P9’s release, we’ve also had the launch of the OnePlus 3 – which is even cheaper than the Honor 8, even after its recent post-Brexit price hike. It’s still by far the superior phone in this price category.


The Honor 8 is a good all-round mid-range smartphone that looks good and performs well – but it doesn’t particularly excel in any areas

We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main phone for the review period

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world testing

Always has a SIM card installed

Tested with phone calls, games and popular apps

Trusted Score

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Score in detail

  • Performance 8
  • Camera 7
  • Design 8
  • Battery Life 7
  • Value 8
  • Software 5
  • Calls & Sound 8
  • Screen Quality 8

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