Welcome to my review of the Huawei G8.
First up this phone’s hardware is absolutely gorgeous. Curved corners, metal unibody and a very decent specification.
– Operating System Android 5.1 with Emotion UI
– Processor Snapdragon 615 Processor + 3gb ram + Andreno 405 GPU
– Storage 32gb (22gb available) storage plus micro SD card support upto 64gb
– Network LTE Category 4: 50 Mbit/s (UL), 150 Mbit/s (DL),DC-HSPA+: 5.76Mbit/s (UL),42 Mbit/s (DL),WCDMA: 384 Kbit/s (UL), 384 Kbit/s (DL),EDGE Class 12: 236.8 Kbit/s (UL),236.8 Kbit/s (DL),GPRS: 40 Kbit/s (UL), 60 Kbit/s (DL) – Phone has dual antennas
– Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.0,Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4G, USB2.0 high speed
– Sensors – Accelerometer,Proximity sensor,Ambient light sensor,Compass
– Cameras 13mp OIS f/2.0 BSI 28mm wide angled rear with sapphire lens, 5mp front
– Battery – 3,000mAh
– NFC – Yes
– Screen – 5.5 inch 2.5D 1080p,
– Dimensions – 152 x 76.5 x 7.5 mm, 401 PPI
– Weight -167g
– Fingerprint sensor
– Dual sim setup with micro SD
First let us see what we get in the box and take a closer look at the gorgeous hardware.
As this is manufactured by Huawei, the phone reception, in fact all the radios WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and cellular are excellent at picking up and signal as well as clear voice calls. The Mate S is configured with a dual sim arrangement, which can use the second nano sim as a micro SD card slot up to 64gb, although my 128gb sandisk card seems to work ok. The Huawei G8 will be on sale for around £350 or less, so is similar in price to the Honor 7. So what are the differences. Unlike the Honor 7, the Huawei G8 does include NFC so it is ready for Android Pay. It also has optical image stabilisation something the Honor does not include. However, the Honor 7 has a larger 20mp camera vs the G8’s 13mp. The Honor 7 also has the fancy light modes and the legendary smart key.
In terms of interface, the skin is Emotion UI (EMUI) so looks and feels identical to other Huawei offerings.
More about EMUI 3.1 – This is the custom Huawei’s custom launcher/skin. The main difference with this custom launcher is the removal of the app drawer. Think iPhone with folders or apps on home screens. There are many many themes available for EMUI to change the look as required. Of course, if EMUI is not to your liking then you can install another launcher eg. Nova or Google Now.
AnTuTu benchmarking produced an overall score of 36,023. However, like all benchmarking scores real world usage matters. So in use the phone is fairly fluid. The screen has good viewing angles too.
– Its a dual sim. Only one sim has 3g/4g. The second sim can only manage data at 2g. However, the first sim does 4g on all the UK bands. The dual sim management works well. You can select which sim is the default for data, calls and messages. Also when using 2 sims as I did, you can have 2 signal strengths showing in the status bar as well as both network names and the network speed.
– On screen menu buttons can be reconfigured and an extra menu for the notifications screen is available.
– To conserve battery there is an option for Protected apps (apps to be allowed to run in the background), Notification Manager (control apps that are allowed to be in the notification centre), Battery saving modes. If you are installing a lot of apps, you might find apps stop working in the background. It is important to make sure you setup the apps you want to run in the background. Also the phone reminds you of apps that are draining battery. This can become a nuisance.
– Fingerprint sensor that allows up to five fingers to be stored. Once unlocked the fingerprint sensor can be used a a touch panel. You can go back to previous view, back to home with a touch and hold, take photo, answer a call, stop an alarm, slide up to show the recent apps and slide down to display the notification centre. The fingerprint sensor is lightning quick to unlock.
– Voice Wakeup – by speaking at any time, “Dear Honor, where are you”, the phone plays this creepy music with a voice that gets louder whilst saying “I’m here”. You can also use the voice control to call contacts are other functions are available.
– Motions – You can flip to mute, pickup and reduce call volume, double touch to turn on, draw 4 different letters to launch an app e.g. draw a C to launch the camera.
– Glove mode. This is also available.
All the above extras are user configurable. So you could turn them all off or turn on just the features that you want.
Battery life – I got around 4.5 hours screen on time and managed to reach the end of a day with ease.
Camera and Audio
If you read my review of the Huawei Mate S or Honor 7, the G8 has a similar camera setup and app, except it is minus a few features. Huawei promote the camera with a high dynamic flashlight mode which is always on when needed. They have decided to go this route instead of including the super night and light painting modes found on the Mate S and even the Honor 7. However, the G8 does include optical image stabilisation to try and ensure you get a good shot first time and a two tone flash.
Camera app options include shooting modes for good food, video, photo, beauty, light painting, HDR, watermark, best photo, audio note, panorama, all focus and time lapse. Within the settings you can turn on voice control,timer, touch to capture,smile capture, perfect selfie, ultra snapshot, object tracking, adjust ISO, white balance, exposure, saturation, contrast, brightness and more. There is no manual mode and no raw options.
A selection of photos below.
Now a normal and HDR version. Notice the artistic effect.
So do you like the HDR shot? I am not too impressed with the normal shot. There is too much shadow.
Again a normal and HDR version.
I actually like the artistic HDR version but I accept not everyone will prefer this style of shot. It is also rather fake HDR looking. It would be better if Huawei just focused on trying to take a better more natural shot.
One more from the Huawei G8.
My views on the photos that I have taken is that the Huawei G8 can take acceptable shots in good light but introduces a lot noise in lower light. HDR photos are too fake looking for most people. Whilst the optical image stabilisation helps it doesn’t end up being the cure. I also am puzzled by the omission of all the special night and painting modes that are found on the cheaper Honor 7 and more expensive Mate S.
Audio. The loudspeaker is situated on the bottom edge and produces a reasonable clean sound. It is not at the level of the HTC One M9 but is acceptable for podcasts and such like. USB Audio is supported too. If you connect headphones, the output quality is good. The G8 also offers DTS Dolby sound via headphones. I have over 4,000 tracks on my 128gb sandisk micro sd card and the default music app had no issue handling this size of memory card.
With NFC and optical image stabilisation in a lovely metal unibody casing, I really like this phone from Huawei and have decided to keep this a while longer to see when and what Android Marshmallow brings to the table. The Huawei G8 actually has competition from within with its sub brand Honor and the Honor 7. If mobile payments are important then the Huawei G8 is the one to go for, but if its about the camera and functionality I would opt for the Honor 7.