In early April, the world of Huawei was in perfect order: the key brand focused on the middle and upper classes, and Honor – on the lower and middle segment. Of course, the daughter brand had a lot of interesting accents, but the division was still felt. But the situation is changing with the new model Honor 8 Pro, which attacks both “home” smartphones and high-end competitors.
But Honor is changing not only the price segment, but also the distribution channels. Until now, the Honor brand has been distributed, mostly through branded online stores and some retail partners. “Touch” the smartphone before buying it was possible in a few retail stores. All this well corresponded to the target audience of “digital native”. For the lower and middle price categories, this approach works well, but with the Honor 8 Pro the brand decided to move to a new level. In particular, the smartphone will be actively promoted in cooperation with cellular operators.
In particular, in Europe, a smartphone Honor 8 Pro can only be purchased from an operator O2. And it can be bought both with a contract, and without. As a result, with a smartphone “live” will be able to meet a fairly significant audience of users.
However, the price / performance ratio should also be very attractive, which was performed in conjunction with the same Honor 6X. But how will the smartphone show itself two generations later?
Belonging to a certain segment can be determined by two characteristics: equipment and price. In the first case, we mean the performance of a smartphone. Yet modern smartphones are increasingly being used as mobile game consoles and for other digital entertainment. Even everyday applications are sometimes very resource-demanding. If the smartphone installed SoC entry level, then in the applications and interface there are twitching, jerking, delay or other unpleasant effects. All this has tried to take Honor into account when developing the new Honor 8 Pro.
The company decided to use the company’s chip Kirin 960, which we already met in smartphones Mate 9 , P10 and P10 Plus from Huawei. In the first two cases, we conducted our own tests, SoC convinced us in almost all areas. The chip is based on four cores Cortex A53 and four A73, as well as the GPU Mali-G71 MP8, the fastest version of ARM for today. The maximum frequency Honor indicates at 1.8 and 2.4 GHz for the CPU cores and 1.037 MHz for the GPU – here we do not get any differences from the Mate 9 and other smartphones.
SoC is made on 16-nm process technology FFC, the amount of RAM in Honor 8 Pro is a decent 6 GB (LPDDR4), 4-GB model will be sold only in China. Actually, there the smartphone was already presented in February as Honor V9. Internal flash memory is connected via UFS 2.1 interface, but in Honor 8 Pro the transfer speed is still inferior to P10 . In any case, the speed of up to 469 and 89 MB / s on reading and writing remains quite high.
The same goes for the usual tests, whether it’s 3DMark, AnTuTu, Geekbench or GFXBench: Honor 8 Pro always shows itself well. It’s pretty interesting to compare the new model with the P10. This especially applies to the multi-threaded performance of the CPU, as well as the GPU. In the latter case, we were somewhat disappointed with the P10 tests on the Kirin 960, but now the graphics module showed great performance, bypassing the Adreno 530.
However, high performance is maintained for a short time. In our tests, performance began to decline after about two minutes – the difference with the maximum level was more than a third. The reason lies in the high heat release. At the back of the Honor 8 Pro, the temperature was about 44 ° C, according to the utilities, the Kirin 960 processor in such scenarios was heated above 60 ° C. Similar temperatures we have not seen in the case of smartphones Mate 9 or P10, although they did not provide the maximum performance level for a long time. So Honor, apparently, uses a more aggressive temperature tolerance. However, we did not find any differences in everyday scenarios. Despite throttling, we did not encounter any twitching or jerking in demanding applications. The interface Honor 8 Pro has always worked without any problems.
Very interesting will be the comparison with the Samsung Galaxy S8 . The Korean smartphone uses the Exynos 8895 chip with the Mali-G71 graphics core, but already in the MP20 version. On the other hand, the GPU operates at a frequency of only 546 MHz – probably to minimize overheating problems.
The set of sensors and interfaces Honor 8 Pro can be called conservative. LTE-modem, built-in SoC, officially supports Cat 6, which gives a download speed of up to 300 Mbps and downloads up to 50 Mbps. Unlike the Chinese version of Honor V9, the European model supports an important band LTE Band 20 (800 MHz). In our tests, we did not encounter any anomalies in the quality of communication or unnecessarily frequent transitions to networks of lower-speed standards.
The quality of telephony is also quite convincing. In Honor, only two microphones are built in, but they provide quite effective suppression of background noise. The main voice speaker covers a sufficient range of frequencies for telephone communication, the volume is also quite sufficient. The second speaker also showed a high volume level, distortions appear rather late. But the middle frequencies are not enough, but there are practically no low frequencies. Modes of operation of two speakers in a pair are not supported, in contrast to the same P10 Plus.
As for the wireless network, WLAN 802.11ac is supported. For short distances, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC are available. Thanks to the built-in IR transmitter Honor 8 Pro can control the TV and other devices, the smartphone has the corresponding application installed. Charging, data cable and headset are connected via the USB Type C jack, but there is also a 3.5 mm audio jack. Honor, like in the case of new smartphones Huawei, supported only the USB 2.0 standard. Given the fast built-in memory, this step is depressing, because when you exchange data with a computer, the USB 2.0 interface will be a bottleneck.
If the built-in 64 GB of memory is not enough, it can easily be expanded with a microSD card, cards up to 128 GB are supported. But, as usual, while you have to abandon the function Dual-SIM. By the way, the function Dual-SIM differs from most other models of Huawei and Honor. Although the Honor 8 Pro only one SIM-card can work in the LTE network, the second can be registered in 2G and 3G networks; LTE support is available on the SIM card that used to work only in 2G.
Huawei’s choice of display strategy is not always clear, but Honor gives a clear signal: the top-level device should be equipped with a display that is not inferior to the main competitors in terms of performance.
Therefore, at the Honor 8 Pro display we get a high resolution of 2.560 x 1.440 pixels at the IPS panel with a diagonal of 5.7. “The panel has a classic 16: 9 aspect ratio, its area is 89.57 cm² .It is interesting that the display area was even higher than 5, 8 “panel Galaxy S8, because because of the format, Samsung’s area is only 85.38 cm².
Of course, one can argue for a long time about the advantages and disadvantages of large display diagonals, as well as the importance of high resolution for everyday scenarios. But other characteristics are perceived more unambiguously. The maximum brightness of Honor 8 Pro is an excellent level of 570 cd / m², it is enough to work with a smartphone on the street on a sunny day. Is that it is better to avoid direct sunlight. This value of brightness is especially desirable to emphasize taking into account the high resolution, because with a significant density of pixels, highlighting them becomes more difficult, and power consumption is increasing. It is for this reason that many WQHD displays operate at a lower brightness level or raise the brightness for a short time in Boost mode. Contrast can be called good. The brightness of black color was 0.36 cd / m², as a result, we get a contrast of 1.583: 1.
With color rendition, everything is not as good as we would like. NTSC 90% color coverage seems quite decent, but the shades are too cold. We tried to fix the situation in the settings, but still had to be satisfied with almost 7.100 K.
Battery capacity Honor 8 Pro is quite high. The level of 4.000 mAh corresponds to Mate 9, but the case of the latter is almost 15% larger. All this became possible thanks to the optimization of the layout of components, if only it did not work out as with Galaxy Note 7.
Unfortunately, Honor did not inherit the Super Charge fast charging system. Buyers will have to settle for its previous version of Fast Charge, of course, paired with a full charge of 18 watts. However, there is an advantage: Super Charge requires a special cable, and Fast Charge works with any cable – if only it had the necessary plugs. The battery is not removable, wireless charging technology is not supported.
Honor decided to abandon the Leica brand, which is noticeable, first of all, by the software of the camera. But we can get some differences in optics and algorithms. The exact information, unfortunately, no.
The design of the camera is well known: two sensors at 12 MP each, one for RGB, the second for monochrome shooting. They are complemented, among other things, by a Dual LED flash, laser focusing and focusing by phase comparison, but there is no optical stabilizer. The orifice Honor indicated f / 2.2.
The working principle, too, has not changed. In the color shooting mode, the monochrome sensor is responsible for capturing the details and brightness, and the RGB sensor for the colors. Then the composition of the image is executed by the software, because of the division of tasks we need to get a more detailed and contrast image. Deviation from the described principle is observed in three modes. In black and white mode, only a monochrome sensor is used; In wide aperture (bokeh) and 3D Creator modes, the sensor provides additional depth information except for details and brightness.
In the wide aperture mode, which is used to simulate the bokeh effect, you can change the aperture (from f / 0.95 to f / 16) and the focus point after shooting. In 3D Creator mode, you can shoot portraits with a 3D effect.
On the quality of shooting Honor 8 Pro roughly corresponds to P9. In good lighting conditions, we get good colors and details, but in some places software processing over-emphasizes sharpness – especially around the edges of the picture. In case of cloudy weather, small color problems are added, some bright shades turn into dull photos. Not all is well in the wide aperture mode, the images are slightly darker than in the automatic mode. The rest is interesting after shooting “play” with the effect of the bokeh and the focus point, although it benefits from this, mainly, portrait shooting. After tests it is still noticeable that the Honor 8 Pro camera is inferior to Mate 9 and P10. In a direct comparison, the dual-camera of the second generation of these smartphones is better.
Especially if you compare the pictures in poor lighting conditions, for example, in the evening. At Honor 8 Pro, the noise in the photos is more pronounced, although at first there is not much of it. There are also problems of color reproduction, among other things, the yellow shifts in the direction of the green. In any case, the camera shows results above the average.
The same applies to the front camera with a resolution of 8 MP and aperture f / 2.0. Its quality is enough for self and video communication, at least until the lighting is good. As for the video recording of the rear camera, here we get all the typical functions for the top segment. The resolution of shooting can be increased to UHD, there are no restrictions on the time of shooting. In addition, Time Lapse and Slow Motion effects are available. In the first case, you can shoot 30 fps and 720p, in the latter – 720p (240 fps) or 1080p (120 fps). You can also select the wide aperture mode, but the quality and close does not fit the level of the photos. The camera in the tests had small problems with focusing, and not only in the mentioned mode. Otherwise, we get the same strengths and weaknesses as when taking photos.
The camera application is very similar to Huawei smartphones without Leica branding. Vipe left opens the camera settings, wipe to the right – available modes, including such familiar features as panorama, HDR and Pro. In the latter case, the user gets access to the most important parameters, if you practice, you can get results higher than in the automatic mode. It’s a pity that there is no automatic switch to HDR mode, and the HDR mode itself can not be called convincing.
Despite the capacious battery and 16-nm SoC, Honor claims a relatively short battery life. In everyday scenarios, the smartphone should last two days. In the case of enthusiasts, charging will have to be connected after almost one and a half days of work. And when watching movies, the smartphone will last for ten hours. In two of our tests (PCMark and video), the results of the Honor 8 Pro smartphone can be called above average. In the PCMark scenario, the smartphone showed almost eight hours, 20% less than the same Mate 9. In the cyclic video playback test, the result was almost 12 hours, the Mate 9 lasted 3% longer.
In everyday scenarios, the smartphone lasted two and a half days, even longer than promised Honor. On the other hand, with heavy loads, battery life is significantly reduced. For example, in games – here charging will have to be connected in less than six hours.
According to the design, Honor 8 Pro differs from related models of Huawei. The smartphone is distinguished by a flat back, and also the shape of the case here is different than that of the P10 and P10 plus. But the differences are visible and for small details.
Overall, Honor 8 Pro looks modest, but the lines and shapes fit well. Thanks to the 2.5D-glass, the display seems to be one with the body. The frame of the case seems to be flat, but it has a slight curvature. At the front, the transition to the display is made in the form of a bevel, from behind we get a rounded transition from the frame to the panel. There are also small details that give the appearance of the smartphone its charm. The antenna isolators are highlighted in the background of the case, and there was a silver rim of the fingerprint scanner. Is that the rear camera looks like an alien element, although it does not stand for the plane of the body.
The quality of the test sample does not cause any complaints. The volume and standby buttons on the right panel are integrated neatly and without play, the same applies to the card tray on the left panel. Honor even managed to perfectly match the shade to the color of the frame, recently some manufacturers had difficulties with this. Unless the transitions of the lower insulator are slightly felt to the touch, but this can hardly be called a serious drawback.
In terms of ergonomics, the Honor 8 Pro showed itself a little better than we expected from a display with such a diagonal. With dimensions of 157.0 x 77.5 x 7.0 mm, the smartphone is still noticeably more compact than the same HTC U Ultra, equipped with a 5.7 “display, but the Honor smartphone is not easy – it weighs 184.
It is hardly possible to work with one hand because of a large diagonal. The display occupies 79% of the front panel, which is slightly worse than the same Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 +. Despite all the efforts, Samsung managed to achieve only 83%.
Honor 8 Pro is very close to related models not only for hardware stuffing, but also for software. The operating system is installed fresh – Android 7.0, although there was an update under 7.1.1. The security level (March 2017) is quite adequate, as is the EMUI interface, which is available in version 5.1.
By software filling, Honor 8 Pro is very similar to P10 and P10 Plus. The user will be able to change the design of the interface, as well as choose between the classic application menu or iOS style. The advantages of EMUI 5.1 include artificial intelligence, which examines the actions of users. That is, during the operation the new smartphone Honor recognizes which programs are launched most often, and takes into account the time of day – this part of the Huawei at the presentation EMUI 5.1 did not mention. If the user usually reads Facebook’s tape in the morning, then this application can be loaded into memory in advance. Whether Honor 8 Pro supports proactive touch input is still unknown. But this function is also an integral part of the interface; At least it is available with P10 lite .
We were somewhat surprised at the availability of a simple GoPro Quik video editor. At the presentation of P10, the editor was called an integral part of EMUI 5.1, but it lacked the P10 lite. In the case of Honor 8 Pro, the editor returned, which is sure to please some users. On the other hand, the application is different from the editor, which you can manually install through Google Play.
Finally, the company’s EMUI interface from Honor 8 Pro allows novice users who are not familiar with the world of Android and Huawei / Honor to quickly get comfortable with the smartphone. Unless some settings are “buried” too deep, but the built-in search function will help.
Smartphone Honor 8 Pro marks several prime for the daughter brand Huawei. For the first time Honor presents such a large display diagonal, for the first time exhibits such a price tag and for the first time changes its sales model. In addition, the new smartphone was very convincing.
Buyers will receive a powerful smartphone, the quality of the shell is excellent, the design can be called unique. In Honor 8 Pro’s opinion, there is a very good camera, as well as a rich equipment that will satisfy most users. To drawbacks can be attributed too cold color rendition, as well as throttling processor Kirin 960, which can not provide a high level of performance for a long period of time. However, this only affects those users who use the smartphone intensively and launch “heavy” applications, and also use it as a game console for several hours. All other trotting will not notice.
In general, Honor 8 Pro proved to be excellent, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Everything starts to look a little different if you take into account the price. Most other smartphones are inferior to the Honor 8 Pro in terms of price / performance ratio. So if you decide to buy a smartphone of a high-end category, we recommend that you take a closer look at Honor 8 Pro. In terms of performance and equipment, it is at the level of Galaxy S7, Pixel XL and Mate 9, but at the price of Honor 8 Pro is closer to the flagships of the previous generation – which is very nice.
Direct competitors Honor 8 Pro can be called HTC U Ultra for 650 euros, Huawei P10 Plus for 750 euros, Galaxy S8 for 800 euros. Also to the list of candidates can be added and Galaxy S7 edge at a price of 550 euros.
Despite the presence of eminent competitors, the smartphone Honor 8 Pro was able to stand out excellent value for money, if such a definition is appropriate for the high-end segment.