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Mar 15

Huawei Honor 8 Dual-Camera Unlocked Android 7 Smartphone Review
Huawei’s Honor 8 Is Their Top Dual-Camera Unlocked Android 7 Smartphone

Huawei’s Honor brand has released an unlocked Android smartphone that has features and capabilities only found in phones that are hundreds of dollars more expensive. The Honor 8 phone runs Android Nougat 7, comes with multiple 12MP cameras, support for T-Mobile’s LTE Band 12 for better range and signal strength, an industry leading eight-core CPU and a huge 3,000 mAh battery. Want better selfies? The Honor 8 has an 8 MP front facing camera to get nice selfies.

Disclosure: I am a Huawei International Key Opinion Leader and a Best Buy consumer electronics blogger. The smartphone was provided at no cost for review. I have not been compensated for the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos are courtesy of Honor.

Honor 8 Unboxing

What’s In The Box:

  • Honor 8 Smartphone in Black
  • Fast Charging US Wall Charger
  • USB Type-C Charge and Sync Cable
  • Warranty Card

Huawei Honor 8 Screen
Huawei Honor 8 Screen

Honor’s release of their 8 smartphone to the US market is a big deal. It signals a continued commitment to offering consumers here another top choice of unlocked smartphone running the latest Android Nougat 7 software. They promise to keep on top of Google security updates too.

Huawei Honor 8 3D Touch Sensor
Huawei Honor 8 3D Touch Sensor

Securing smartphones is more important now than ever before. Honor has built a 3D finger scanner on the back to unlock the phone in a snap. Its sensor can recognize a fingerprint faster than Apple’s Touch ID technology.

Huawei Honor YouTube Playlist

More than six months after the Honor 8’s release, the company has kept its promise by releasing EMUI 5.0, which includes Android Nougat 7 and the latest in Google security patches. And the company released the even more affordable unlocked dual camera Honor 6X too. For the price and feature set, the Honor 8 is one of my top recommended unlocked smartphones for GSM carriers.

One can tell a lot about the quality of a smartphone by its build, fit and finish. The Honor 8 feels well sculpted in the hand, the right size and weight. Two layers of glass, with a metal band surrounding the middle, give it a slick feel. All of the cameras are flush underneath glass. The antennae bands on both sides and on the top and bottom blend in between its metal frame. A USB Type-C connection port is located on the bottom middle of the device, a well thought out location.

Honor 8 Features:

  • Dual 12MP Rear Facing Cameras That Work Together
  • 8MP Front Facing Camera
  • Category 6 LTE With Band 12 for T-Mobile
  • 8 Core Kirin 950 CPU
  • 4GB RAM / 32GB of ROM
  • 3,000 mAh Battery
  • Premium Quality Fit & Finish

Huawei Honor 8 Screens
Huawei Honor 8 Screens

For comparison, the iPhone 6S Plus is too big to easily navigate websites, take photos or try to fit in a pocket. However, the Honor 8 smartphone has a 5.2” TFT screen with full 1080p HD, 423ppi resolution (better than a Retina screen), and a 16:9 ratio, perfect to watch shows and movies. While the top smartphones come with quad HD, a full 1080p HD screen saves battery life and the sales price.

The model Honor 8 I tested came with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The SIM card tray has a slot for an extra 128GB micro SD card. The SanDisk 128GB A1 micro SD is perfect for this phone to capture thousands of images, 1080p video and to run large Android apps from.

A fast charging 3,000 mAh internal battery is included. To keep battery quality high in these phones, Honor tests more than 10,000 of them for any deficiencies. That is important with a smartphone that might be in use for more than two years.

Dual cameras were available from Huawei and Honor for almost a full year before Apple included them in their top iPhone 7 Plus. The dual camera capability of the Honor 8 also brings a portrait photo mode, which Huawei calls aperture mode. The images taken in this mode can be modified later, such as changing the focus to another subject. That leads to the quality of photos that the cameras can produce.

Huawei Honor 8 Dual 12MP Camera
Huawei Honor 8 Dual 12MP Camera

Two 12MP cameras on the back combine images from dedicated color and monochrome sensors that produce rich photos. After mild processing with the Snapseed app, I noticed darker tones and better color reproduction than what I found from an iPhone 6S Plus’, single camera using the same app.

According to Honor, the dual lenses let in up to three times more light than what phones with a single lens does. I would have liked optical image stabilization for both image sensors. Though, its phase detection and image processing technology does do a fine job of quickly producing clear and sharp photos, even in low light conditions.

On the front of the Honor 8, an 8MP camera is ready to capture fantastic selfies. The iPhone 7 Plus, that costs hundreds more, only has a 7MP front camera. While it is not all about the megapixels, the 8’s imaging sensor certainly does help to bring in more light. A myriad of options are ready to help users beautify selfies without the result looking like a photo of a wax figure from the late 1800’s. Software is important and Huawei has engineered an interface that both makes it easier to use than stock Android and fully takes advantage of its eight-core Kirin CPU.

Huawei Honor 8 Overview
Huawei Honor 8 Overview

With Huawei’s EMUI 5.0 firmware, the camera app has been optimized and upgraded to react even faster than before. The former camera app in EMUI 4.1 had pre-installed extensions to take different types of photos. This newer version removes extensions to speed up the app, but can be downloaded again when needed. The only feature that would set this camera system apart from the others would be an automatic HDR recognition system. Its dedicated light sensor already knows to adjust levels in different conditions. Posting highly detailed images and HD video requires a strong wireless signal.

Connecting to the GSM carrier and wireless accessories of choice is even easier with the unlocked 4G LTE enabled Honor 8. The LTE bands that this Android smartphone is compatible with are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17 and 20. Connecting smartphones further and faster is what Honor and Huawei know best.

To make accessing the wireless Internet even faster, the Honor 8 is outfitted with category 6 LTE hardware. The maximum speed it can theoretically connect at is 301.5 Mbit/s down and 51 Mbit/s up. T-Mobile customers can enjoy band 12, which is important for improved range and speed as well as voice over LTE or VoLTE technology. To round out its wireless offering, Honor has included 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, 4.2 Bluetooth LE and NFC.

Huawei Honor 8 Eco Friendly
Huawei Honor 8 Eco Friendly

With all of the wireless capabilities of the phone, Honor made sure to install a high capacity and fast-charging battery. Its 3,000 mAh battery lithium-polymer battery is rated for 360 hours of standby time, 15 hours of 3G talk time and 9 hours of online video streaming. The fast-charging capable wall plug does a great job of powering up the phone quickly enough for hours of additional use with minimal charge time.

My time overall with the Honor 8 has been quite nice. Its quality and build materials made me feel that this phone should be hundreds of dollars more expensive. It is T-Mobile LTE Band 12 compatible for use on their best network. Honor has updated the firmware multiple times with the latest Google Android patches. Capture the best moments with an excellent 12MP dual camera system and best in class 8MP selfie camera. I highly recommend the Honor 8 to anyone looking for an unlocked Android smartphone with Nougat 7 to use around the world.

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