Honor 8 review: In-depth review

This Honor 8 review is a post that’s been on my mind for the last week. Honor introduced this phone to a live audience full of tech reviewers and live streamed it to the world as well. The presentation matched the character of the Honor 8 itself and many of reviewers who left with the device in hand were rather impressed, right away. The Honor 8 is Honor’s first flagship phone and the company stepped up their game from the Honor 5x. Here’s why.

The Honor 5x was a remarkable device being it only set ya back about $199. There’s really not much else that was out at at that time to match the quality and price the 5x offered. If anything Honor’s name was put on the map. Many blogs and channels crowned the 5x as the best low cost phone of last year. This year we have the Honor 8, which is a flagship level device. Much like the 5x there’s not much else that matches the quality and price with the Honor 8. The Honor 8 is a beautifully designed phone and packed with many useful features. So let’s dig into what’s good, bad, and ugly about the Honor 8.

If you’re interested in the full specs, check out our specs post here.

The Good

Hardware

This phone looks amazing! I’ve never seen a phone that has such beautifully crafted glass! Being that I’ve used the Galaxy S6, Note 5, S7 Edge, and Note 7; who all have glass builds, those phones don’t hold a candle compared to how nice the Honor 8’s glass. The reason it looks so great is because of how they manufactured the glass in many layers and gives this sweet glimmer effect as light is captured and passed through the glass. In a sense it’s like a custom prism of light. This is definitely one of those phones you don’t want to cover up with a skin or case.

Honor 8 Review

Another very nice fact is the back is completely flat. No camera hump. No fingerprint button hump. Yep, flush and flat . That’s something we don’t see these days, till now. Which leads me to my next point.

Button Placement

I’m a big fan of having the volume controls and power button on the same side. The Honor 8 is a great one-handed device and the buttons on the right side a placed towards the top end of the phone. If the phone was taller, I would like them towards the middle area to help with how the phone is held. I’ve got large hands and the buttons are conveniently placed for easy access. Another button that is placed well, is the fingerprint button/sensor.

Honor 8 Review

The fingerprint button/sensor is placed on the backside of the Honor 8. This has been a trending placement on a number of devices at this point and when you get used to placing your finger on the backend, you’ll go for touching that area even on other devices that do not have the sensor on the back. I’ve caught myself reaching for that area on my Note 7 on a number of occasions.

Fingerprint Button/ Sensor

The fingerprint button/sensor is one of the coolest ones around! Honor has set the bar with what a fingerprint sensor should be like. It’s not only a fingerprint reader that unlocks your phone’s screen and adds a level of security, it is programable. Yep, you can program and customize what actions to do when pressing the button and/or swipe gestures.

4 Ways To Program

  • Press
  • Double press
  • Long press
  • Swipe – This one you only have the option to turn on, which is to swipe down to view the notification panel.

My setup is – Press to open messages; Double press to open the camera; Long press for Google. The Honor 8 allows the user to program the button to open any app for quick and easy access.

Honor 8 Review

Camera

The Honor 8’s camera is one of the strong points of the phone, at least in the photography department. Not to much in the video area and that will be discussed further down in this review. In a nutshell, the photos make this phone one of the best Instagram phone you can get. There’s tons of features packed inside the camera app. A few of my personal favorites is the Aperture adjustments with the filters to add, the Light Trail, front facing low light conditions.

Honor 8 Review

Aperture Mode feature is REALLY cool! In that mode tap on the subject, then adjust the aperture, and create some very sweet bokeh effects!

Honor 8 Review
Photo sample in Aperture Mode

How about that black and white, tho? Brooklyn Beckham can vouch for how well the Honor 8 performs to accommodate his taste for black and white photos. The dude has over 8 million followers, so he must know what he’s talking about, right?

Battery Life

This is one of the most important factors in buying a smartphone these days. With performance getting better and better, users care a lot about the battery, maybe even more than power performance. Personally, if the phone lasts me from when it’s unplugged through dinner time, I’m a happy camper. Mind, I consider myself power user, which means 4G LTE, GPS, bluetooth, full screen brightness, some game play, video viewing, social media, messaging, emails, etc. You get the picture. If a phone can last all day with me, you have nothing to worry about.

There are so many factors involved with battery life, that I tend to not like to even get into that conversation because everyone uses a phone differently. Long story short, it’s got pretty good battery life.

One Handed

Typically, I’m a big phone guy.  5.7″ screen are my favorite. 5.5″ normally is the minimum. However, I’ve not been annoyed or uncomfortable while using the Honor 8. The phone is ergonomically crafted to hold well and operate. Aiming back at the design section, the phone feels great in the hand. This screen size is 5.2″ making it the perfect size for those not in love with a phablet. As mentioned before, this guy has large hands and there’s definitely not an issue navigating the entire phone with one hand.

Screen

Apart from the size, the screen simply looks good. In an age where 1080p seems to be rather old tech, Honor has done a wonderful job making the Honor 8’s screen sharp, crisp, and clear. If you didn’t know and better, it would be hard to tell with the naked eye (or noncritical eye) the difference against let’s say an iPhone 6.

The elements of the screen from just the appearance is just the surface of what involves the Honor 8. The software plays just as big of a role.

OS

The Honor 8 is like an Autobot. There’s so much optimization, you could name this thing Optimus Prime. After all, it’s got a cool blue color scheme. Anyways, the OS beast on many levels. Just walking through the settings let’s ya know Honor has juiced up this phone. Personally, features are appreciated. Without getting into a battle between if stock Android or skins like EMUI or TouchWiz, let’s just say (imo) stock Android always needs to be improved.

Honor 8 Review

What I like about EMUI is there practical features like battery optimizations, transitions, menu options with the power button, Link+, Eye Comfort, Fingerprint ID, Smart Assistance, and honestly the list can go on. There’s so many options to customize your experience. Best of all, it’s not like a bloatware type of feeling. They’re simply ways to help get the most out of your phone.

Audio

Earpiece speaker quality is a deal-breaker. If a phone call conversation is difficult, it’s an automatic turn off. Samsung has been the best so far and the Honor 8 is right up there with em. There’s no sound boost option, but calls are loud and clear.

The speaker placement isn’t my favorite, but the speakers at least pretty good. Not saying that are HTC 8/9 Boomsound or Nexus 6P due to their stereo front facing speakers. Coming from using the S7 Edge and while using the Note 7, the sound quality has gone down a bit because of the water resistance. All that to say, the Honor 8’s speakers are somewhere in-between the S7 Edge and HTC Boomsound. Not a bad, but not the best experience. Regardless, I like the sound that is produced and am able to enjoy videos and games.

Storage

Can I get an amen for companies bringing back SD card support this year? The Honor 8 comes with two choices of internal storage, 32GB/64GB. But can have up to 128GBs added.

Honor 8 Review

Availability

There are many stores to buy this phone from and makes it easy to get your hands one an Honor 8. While pre-order status is running, there’s some perks like $50 gift cards as a reward. All the links you need are at the bottom of this post.

Most Improved Company

Last year I named Huawei as the most improved company of the year. Huawei is still going strong, but Honor takes the prize this year. Think about it, the company has only been around for about 2/3 years, made a super low cost quality Honor 5x last year, and now has a flagship Honor 8 that is ready to take on the competition. Some users would go as far to say they’d use it over the OnePlus 3 and other flagships. Honor 8 is on their way to great things!

The Bad

Videography

While the camera can take nice photos, the video on the other hand needs some help. It’s not horrible, but it’s lacking one feature that would fix it all. The Honor 8 needs OIS. Don’t plan on using this phone for vlogging or anything like that. Using a gimbal stabilizer will certainly give the results needed for crispy videos.

Carrier Support

This is where my feelings are hurt a little bit. My main line is Verizon, but the Honor 8 only supports GSM networks. I would love to use the Honor 8 on Verizon. And before all the Verizon haters sound off, please mind T-Mobile does not have good coverage in my area and I’m still rocking the unlimited data plan with Verizon. At this time, this Honor 8 using on T-Mobile pre-paid to test out the network and phone, but plan to swap over to Cricket Wireless for my Bane Creative Videography business.

Speaker Placement

This will be a point I’ll continue to make and I fully realize it is a preference, but front facing speakers are the best placement. It just makes sense to have sound come at you versus away from you. Front facing speakers are about impossible to cover up accidentally while holding. There’s been a number of times when the speakers were covered up while playing games, watching videos, and even while holding the phone in portrait.

Honor 8 Review

Auto Brightness

This has never been a point I’ve had to make with a phone, but the auto brightness gets too dark. Normally, in low light situations I like to toggle on auto brightness so the screen isn’t blaring in my eyeballs, but I can’t do that with the Honor 8. The brightness has to be manually controlled.

Other Notable Things To Consider

No Wireless Charging

Wireless charging is not a deal-breaker to me, but I know others it is. I’m happy as long as their is some sort of fast charging involved.

Official Case

The official case that was given with this Honor 8 is not the best quality. It does do the job of protecting, but scratches up in a hurry.

Screen Protection

If you’re like me I like to use some sort of screen protection. I ordered a tempered glass screen protector and because of the bubbled edges the protector cannot reach from edge to edge. Therefore, leaving a hint of the actual screen exposed and seems to add the effect of shortening the screen size. See the photo for what I mean. Not to mention a small ghosting effect.

Personally, completely flat screens are better and help us who like to protect screens use protection.

IR Blaster

IR blasters are almost unheard of these days, but somehow Honor has squeezed in one in the Honor 8. I’ve not really taken advantage of using an IR blaster, but I know there are those of you who would appreciate having this feature.

Honor 8 Review

Final Thoughts

The Honor 8 is a heck of a device! There’s a lot to the phone and you’re gonna get your money’s worth. It’s beautifully crafted, packed full of useful features, and is part of an upcoming company with a promising future. If you’re looking for a fun phone great for social media, Pokemon, and accomplishing everyday tasks; the Honor 8 is a phone worth getting. Mind, if you’re the type who likes stock Android, you’ll have to get over the EMUI skin, which is not hard to do.

What is your favorite feature about the Honor 8? There’s too many to say what is my top feature at this point. But if I were to choose, it would be the design and fingerprint scanner features.

Purchase Links

Amazon ($50 gift card + silver case)

Best Buy ($50 Gift Card when you buy a Huawei Honor 8 unlocked smartphone. Sapphire blue color available only at Best Buy)

Honor ($50 coupon)

NewEgg ($50 NewEgg promotional card)

B&H Photo

Pre-orders are live from Aug 17 through September 3rd.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post and sincerely hope it was found helpful and enjoyable! Please feel free to leave thoughts down below in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to Bane Tech on YouTubePeriscopeGoogle+Facebook, Twitter Instagram!

Josh
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Josh

Addicted to tech, smartphones, & gadgets! I share my experience about them! Reviews, guides, & more! Techies - Geeks - Nerds! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/BaneTech