Huawei P8: Watch out competitors, here’s Huawei’s kick-ass flagship phone

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Huawei P8 launch

The Huawei P8 is now officially launched in the South Pacific region (Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore), available in Singapore starting 3 June 2015 for SGD699. The regional Huawei P8 launch also saw the unveiling of the more affordable sibling -- Huawei P8 Lite and several wearables including the TalkBand B2 and TalkBand N1. Closer to home, Malaysia has commenced pre-orders for the P8 at VMall.my at RM1,799. The device is expected to officially hit Malaysian retail channels from 18 June 2015.

The Huawei P8 answers consumers' call for a flagship device that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, with flagship-beating craftsmanship, performance and features.

Huawei P8 launch

A flagship phone in every right

Undeniably, the P8 is Huawei's best phone to date. The aluminium unibody with chamfered edges showcases craftsmanship and impressive build quality. At 6.4mm, it's even slimmer than an iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6, two flagship devices that costs hundreds more.

It sports a 5.2-inch IPS-Neo Full HD display with ultra-thin bezels making it feel as small as the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in the hand.

The heart of the P8 is the impressive 64-bit octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 930 processor, backed by 3GB of RAM. The in-house developed Kirin has been quite a revelation, offering a true alternative to the usual silicon suspects namely the Qualcomm, MediaTek and Intel. Likewise, the Kirin 920 on the Honor 6 and Kirin 925 on the Honor 6 Plus offer plenty of realworld performance, too.

Storage is 16GB onboard, with the option of microSD expansion. There are two variants of the P8 depending on country/region. Singapore gets a single SIM version, with microSD; while other markets feature dual-SIM, with a hybrid second SIM tray that doubles as a microSD tray.

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Huawei P8 launch

If there was one killer feature of the P8, or at least what's being made as a key focus, is the camera. Huawei was quick to declare that "it's not about the megapixels," and on the personal front, I agree. The 13MP main camera packs several key characteristics that make it a better camera compared to others in the market.

Firstly, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) that's made to tolerate shakes in excess of 1.2 degrees, double of what other smartphones (like the iPhone 6 Plus) can do.

It also boasts the world's first four-colour RGBW 13MP sensor. This offers improved brightness of 32% and 78% in noise reduction in low light situations. The RGBW sensor also reproduces 100% of the Adobe RGB gamut. Impressive. It also gets a 'DSLR-level' Image Signal Processor (ISP) that optimises picture quality and a f/2.0 lens.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group also emphasised that the camera module on the P8 was seamless and bump-free, unlike on the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6. 

On the front, there's a whopping 8MP unit that supports panoramic selfies.

Huawei P8 launch

One groundbreaking feature of the camera is the ability to capture light painting images but intelligently adjusting shutter speed and exposure. This mode lets you create light painting trails or soft water effects effortlessly.

Another killer feature is the Director mode that lets you sync up and control up to three devices to capture different angles of a scene. Director requires a P8 to work as a host or 'Director' and you'll be able to combine footages within the app on-the-fly, and subsequently combined into a final video. Neat.

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Huawei P8 launch

To ensure all-day battery life, the svelte device is integrated with a 2,680mAh battery which Huawei claims will last you 1.5 days in normal use, or up to one full day with heavy usage.

The P8 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with the latest EMUI 3.1 user interface. A rather unique (if a tad gimmicky) feature that Huawei is introducing with EMUI is called "Knuckle Sense," where you can literally use your knuckle to interact with the P8. Double tap the screen with your knuckle, and it with take a snapshot of the screen. Outline a section of the screen with your knuckle, and it will allow you to take a snapshot and crop the image.

Being an infrastructure expert, Huawei is confident of the P8's connectivity through its Signal+ technology. The P8 superior dual-antenna design and rapid-switching technology ensure faster network lock-on while roaming and also cellular signal overall, even if you're on a 300km/h train ride.

Huawei P8 launch

A lighter P8

As expected, the more affordable Huawei P8 Lite was also revealed during the regional launch. Featuring a 5-inch HD IPS display, the 4G-capable device also showcases fine craftsmanship with its slim 7.7mm thin body.

Powered by a 64-bit 1.2GHz octa-core Kirin 620 chipset, it packs 2GB RAM, 16GB of storage, 13MP/5MP cameras and a large 2,200mAh battery.

Huawei P8 launch

Pricing and availability

The Huawei P8 is available in Singapore for SGD699 and will be in Malaysia from 18 June 2015 at a price of RM1,799. Pre-order from VMall.my.

The Huawei P8 Lite retails for SGD329 and will be available in Singapore by end of June.

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