Huawei has certainly taken the premium smartphone game seriously. Making its international debut at CES 2016, its latest Mate 8 phablet is a well put together package and looks impressive from the get go. I had the opportunity to have an early look at the device before its official launch on 8 March 2016.
The Mate 8 continues the design language seen on the stunning Mate S. This means an all-metal body with chamfered edges and 2.5D glass. Measuring just 7.99mm thin, it tips the scales at 185g. Finishing is impeccable, and out-of-the-box it looks and feels expensive.
Huawei has shaved down the camera bump on the back, and is now round instead of rectangular. The fingerprint sensor has also taken a round shape.
The fact that it’s so thin makes it less unwieldy despite the 6-inch screen. Speaking of screen, it sports a Full HD IPS-Neo panel that’s protected by Gorilla Glass 4. Nothing ground-breaking in terms of pixel density, but 368PPI should more than suffice for most.
The Mate 8 gets the baddest and fastest octa-core Kirin 950 chip rated at 2.3GHz, mated to either 3GB or 4GB RAM. Built on the 16nm manufacturing process, the Kirin 950 is paired with a high-end Mali T880MP4 GPU and Cat.6 4G LTE. In early benchmark tests, the Kirin blasts past 80,000 points on AnTuTu. Speed isn’t its only advantage. The Kirin 950 uses 60% less power than its predecessor – the Kirin 930.
Performance is snappy, at least based on initial impressions. Having said that, Huawei’s EMUI (Emotion UI) has traditionally performed well, anyways.
Storage options include 32GB and 64GB.
In the camera department, the Mate 8 stands out with its Sony-sourced 16MP f/2.0 rear shooter coupled with OIS and phase detection autofocus (PDAF). Autofocus is fast, and mate that to Huawei’s excellent camera software bundle, photography and videography should be highly enjoyable. The front gets a large 8MP f/2.4 module.
The camera module by the way, is a similar unit to the excellent Nexus 6P, also made by Huawei.
Keeping it running for a day or more is the massive 4,000mAh battery. With Android Marshmallow, this should deliver good if not great battery life.
There’s NFC, and it supports dual-SIM (nano-SIM, dual stand-by).
The Mate 8 will be available in Champagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Space Gray and Mocha Brown.
Stay tuned for the official Malaysian launch announcement and full review.
Check out the quick hands-on video: