We review Huawei’s G8!
The mid-range market is fast becoming the most competitive segment of the smartphone market today. Companies like Lenovo, Samsung, ZUK and ASUS are all betting big on the 14 to 20K price range as evidenced by their newest releases. Chinese brand Huawei is no stranger to the mid-range and are looking to dominate that particular market with their full metal smartphone, the G8. Huawei’s not mincing words with the G8 – they’ve publicly stated that they’ve set their sights on Samsung’s A8 with their newest smartphone. Does their G8 pass muster? Let’s find out in our review.
Huawei G8 specs
- 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
- Adreno 405 GPU
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch full HD display with 2.5D glass, Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD
- 13-megapixel rear camera, AF, dual LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, USB OTG, Fingerprint scanner
- 3000mAh battery
- Android 5.1 with EMUI 3.1
Full-metal body and build quality that you usually get from flagships
Huawei’s mastery of metal smartphones is well known, and it’s one of the reasons why the company landed the gig to make the Nexus 6p. The company really does know how to make beautiful, all-metal smartphones, and by now they have that it down to an art.
The G8 uses a unibody aluminum design that’s a joy to look at though holding the phone for extended periods of time does get a little uncomfortable. As usual fit and finish are top-notch, and there’s really nothing to complain about when it comes to overall build quality – the G8 feels like a flagship phone, much on the same level as the company’s more expensive P8.
If there’s one thing about the design of the G8 that we’d complain about its the bezels on the top and bottom – they’re a little bit thick, making the phone taller than it should be. The phone uses a 5.5-inch full HD display that’s bright, bold and vibrant. Just like other mid-range smartphones, the G8 uses Gorilla Glass 3 to protect the display, though Huawei’s managed to layer that glass on the screen in a way that makes it look like it has a 2.5D glass effect.
The G8 also sports It has excellent color reproduction and viewing angles. Both volume and power buttons are on the right side of the phone while the 3.5mm jack is on the top. The USB port is located on the bottom of the phone.
Turning the phone over you’ll see the 13-megapixel rear camera with the dual LED flash right beside it. Right below the camera module you’ll see the fingerprint scanner. While the fingerprint scanner on the G8 looks a lot like the one in the company’s previous phablet the Mate 7, it’s a whole new unit.
Huawei claims that it’s almost twice as fast as the one in the Mate 7 when it comes to recognizing your digits. In practice, we really couldn’t see that big a difference in the overall unlocking speed, but we did notice that the fingerprint scanner was more accurate this time around as it managed to recognize our fingers almost every time we moved to unlock the phone.
The fingerprint scanner also gets a couple of new tricks – you can use it as the shutter button when you’re taking a selfie, and swiping from the top down when the phone is unlocked will show you your notifications without ever touching the display. Double tapping on it then dismisses the notifications you’ve accumulated thus far.
Kirin’s out, Qualcomm’s in
The G8 is a mid-range smartphone from an international company, so you know the drill by now: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of storage on tap and you can further expand that by using one of the SIM slots as additional storage, though again, you’d be sacrificing an extra SIM for more space.
We’re pretty sick and tired of seeing Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 phones by now, simply because there’s just so many of them in the mid-range market. But there’s a reason for that: Qualcomm’s mostly managed to iron out the kinks in their 615 SoCs. The 615 really is one of the best SoCs in terms of reliability, power, energy efficiency and cost and while it won’t be setting any speed records, it’s good enough for daily use.
Speaking of daily use, the G8 uses Huawei’s Emotion UI overlay on top of Android 5.1. We’ve become accustomed to Huawei’s UI overlay by now so it’s not really a big deal using it, though if it’s your first time to encounter it, know that it completely strips out the app drawer and lays all of your apps in the open, and is patterned off of Apple’s iOS UI.
Great camera, but it’s far from perfect
The camera on the G8 is an odd one. While it’s perfectly capable of producing great photos even in difficult lighting conditions, the camera software sometimes made what was supposed to be a great photo into something a little average. For example, this photo of the relatively backlit pool that had a lot of dark spots was improved tremendously by the phone’s HDR:
While this relatively supposedly easy shot of a brightly lit room has a lot of noise in it.
Which is weird, because another brightly lit photo inside a (different) room is way, way better:
Here are other photo samples from the G8:
Anyway, we’re hoping Huawei takes a look at the camera issue because the G8 is definitely capable of shooting more consistently compared to its present state.
A battery that won’t quit
There are a lot of things you can say about Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 processor, but being a power hog is definitely not one of them. The 3000mAh battery of the G8 managed to keep the lights on for an astounding 8 hours and 12 minutes in our PCMark battery benchmark. That translates to more than a day of continuous use, with a little more left the next day.
Verdict: another solid mid-range smartphone that won’t break the bank
With premium looks, a solid feature set and long battery life, Huawei’s G8 is another solid offering from a company that’s fast becoming a favorite among consumers. The G8 isn’t perfect – it’s plagued by an inconsistent camera that puts a damper on its other qualities. Still, it’s a great mid-range smartphone for anybody who is looking for a beautiful, feature packed mid-range device for the holidays.
Is it a better phone than Samsung’s A8? Well, we’ll have to see – we’ve yet to finish our full review on the A8, but based on pure value alone, the G8 is potentially the winner on that particular match-up.
The Huawe G8 is priced at Php 17,990.