Huawei has been busy at CES this year. They released two new variants of their Watch aimed specifically at the female market, and aficionados of “Mockadile” (this should keep our resident Pixel Density Enthusiast editor Matteo happy). Huawei also unveiled an update to their tablet lineup in the form of the Mediapad M2 10.1. However, the big news came from their phones team, in the form of the Mate 8.
The Mate 8 has previously been released in China, and it is now going to make its way to other markets in the coming spring (TBC). The phone is much like its predecessor the Mate 7, but this time it has taken the footprint of the Mate 7 and combined it with the meticulous design language from the Mate S (which we reviewed last year. There are also some cues from the Nexus 6P, which was made by Huawei and is one of the top flagship Android phones on the market right now.
What we have here is a 6″ screen that has been squeezed into the same space that was taken up by its Mate S predecessor (5.5 inches). We also have a beautiful metal unibody design.
As for the specs, let’s dive in and have a look.
6-inch FHD IPS-NEO LCD display
920×1080 resolution (368 ppi)
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
16MP rear camera
Sony IMX298 sensor, ƒ/2.0, OIS
1080p resolution video; Slow Motion: 720p video at 120fps
8MP ƒ/2.4 front-facing camera
4,000 mAh fixed battery
HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor
4xA72 cores @ 2.3GHz + 4xA53 cores @ 1.8 GHz
Mali T880MP4 GPU, i5 co-processor
3GB RAM with 32GB storage
4GB RAM with 64 or 128GB storage
Dual SIM slots
MicroSD storage with 1 SIM in use
Android 6.0 Lollipop
EMUI 4.0 user interface
Pretty nice looking, I think you will agree – especially considering the battery – which is one of the bigger units I have seen recently, at 40000mah. We also see the newest Kirin chipset onboard in the form of the 950 that features a quad-core processor clocked at 2.3GHz, and another quad-core processor at 1.8GHz.
It should place it well in comparison with some of the new chipsets from the last few month from the likes of Samsung, Apple and of course Qualcomm. It is of course, far too early to actually have any indication of performance (although some other sites have done reviews apparently).
This is also the first outing of EMUI 4, Huawei’s custom UI. This time around it is based on Marshmallow from the get go. Again, it will be interesting to see what tweaks have been made to the UI, as it was something I am not a huge fan of but it is nowhere near as bad as earlier versions were, and I got by using the older version during my time with the Mate S.
On the back, we find the familiar fingerprint reader that we have seen on most Huawei devices of late. This time they have switched the design for a circular reader which meant moving away from the square one of old. This may be in part due to the phone most likely being developed alongside the Nexus 6P, so hopefully we will see all the usual toys that they like to add, such as scrolling by using the fingerprint reader.
I also expect to see all of the usual Huawei customisations, such as “knuckle touch” and “one-handed mode” as these have really become staple features of the EMUI builds.
Cameras are taken care of in the form of a 16mp Sony image sensor for the rear, with OIS and an f/2.0 aperture, and up front is an 8mp unit with f/2.4. Both are capable of at least 1080p video, with the rear being able to shoot slow motion at 720 at 120 frames per second. All the usual modes are present, including super night mode and beauty mode for those all important selfies.
All in all, this looks like a promising phone and one to keep an eye on. One thing we reckon is that it will probably be fairly pricey when it does hit our shores later this year.
Here is a promo vid to whet your appetite
New flagship device features the world’s most advanced smartphone technology ever: a new benchmark for amazing performance and long battery life
Las Vegas, Nevada – January 5, 2016 – Today at CES 2016, the Huawei Consumer Business Group globally launched the Huawei Mate 8 smartphone, a productivity-driven device with significantly enhanced power, efficiency and battery life. The Mate 8 continues Huawei’s track record of delivering high-end devices that reflect global consumer demand and inspire loyalty in their users.
Featuring the most powerful chipset, a high-capacity battery and stylish design – including a unique mocha brown color option – the Huawei Mate 8 is the ideal smartphone for today’s on-the-go professional. The Mate 8 is designed from the ground-up for productivity and its hardware and software have been fine-tuned to provide an elegant, efficient experience.
“With the Mate 8, we have delivered a device that meets the needs of a new style of business. With this fast, impeccably designed smartphone, users can work more efficiently and free up valuable time to spend with friends, family and on personal pursuits,” said Kevin Ho, President, Handset Business, Huawei Consumer BG. “The Mate 8 is the ultimate high-end smartphone. It strikes the perfect balance between high performance and long battery life, enabling people to stay connected and be more productive in every facet of their lives.”
Designed for Performance and Efficiency
With new groundbreaking hardware, the Mate 8 is the first smartphone to run the Kirin 950 chipset, with CPU boosting power up 100 percent, GPU performance up 125 percent, and power efficiency up 70 percent compared to the Kirin 925. The device’s architecture balances energy efficiency with high-end performance through 4 x A72 2.3 GHz processors and 4 x A53 1.8 GHz processors.
Equipped with a 4000mAh high-density battery, the Mate 8 delivers industry-leading power efficiency offering over two days of normal usage. And with rapid charging technology, the phone is able to charge a day’s worth of power in just 30 minutes. In fact, regular users can go without charging their phone for 2.36 days, and heavy users can go without charging for 1.65 days. The Mate 8 also features advanced six-layer thermal mechanics, which allows higher heat dissipation, leading to an excellent handling experience and lower power consumption.
Built for Productivity
Running on Huawei’s EMUI 4.0, based on Android Marshmallow 6.0, the Huawei Mate 8 offers hundreds of user experience tweaks and improvements, including a built-in automatic defragmentation service that continues optimizing system performance. Additionally, the Mate 8 features a split-screen mode that enables enhanced multitasking between apps.
Smart and Secure
The Huawei Mate 8 introduces a new generation of fingerprint security with enhanced protection technology. The circular fingerprint sensor improves the effective identification area by 10 percent. In addition, the fingerprint friction ridge matching has three levels of security, providing a higher level of protection for users. The new sensor design also increases the unlock speed by 100 percent.
The Mate 8 maintains two sets of fingerprint interface standards to improve smartphone payment experiences—the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) and Android M standards. The strong CPU also supports real-time encryption of full storage for better data protection. The Mate 8 provides a microSD card lock, preventing anyone from accessing content in the card without a password. If a phone is stolen, user data cannot be obtained.
Huawei invested $98 million over three years to develop the first proprietary image sensor processor for faster focusing, higher clarity, and more accurate color shading. A leading research team was assembled in France to increase the processing speed of the camera, resulting in increasing the process bandwidth by four times with 14-bit precision.
In addition, the Mate 8 adopts the revolutionary, all-new Sony 16MP IMX298, increasing the sensor size by 23 percent for breathtaking images. The Mate 8 also features an 8 MP front camera with a new beauty algorithm for taking the perfect selfie.
The Huawei Mate 8 features “Super Hands-Free 3.0” technology that enables hands-free operations in a variety of environments. Whether you’re in a car, a conference room or at a crowded party, users can enjoy clear conversations from up to 3 meters away. With a 120 degree range of audio pick up and directional noise reduction mode, conference calls are crisper and clearer than ever before, no matter where they take place.
The Mate 8 features omnidirectional recording and directional playback. Three microphones automatically detect sound sources and record voices from all directions. During playback, people can choose any direction of the sound source they want to hear. Additionally, the Mate 8 provides document readjustment camera mode, which automatically straightens images that are captured at an angle for better viewing.
The Mate 8 supports global connectivity and more bands than any other dual-SIM phone, including four 2G bands, nine 3G bands and 18 4G bands in 217 countries and regions with 1,334 operator settings. This makes it the perfect device for the global business traveler.
The Mate 8 features a refined, elegant design that highlights its beautiful 6-inch high contrast display. With a leading 83 percent screen-to-body ratio, the phone is able to stay sleek and compact without sacrificing a large display. The 2.5D curved diamond cut glass and aerospace grade aluminum metal are joined seamlessly, giving the device a blend of beauty and practicality.
The Huawei Mate 8 will be initially available in 30 countries including: Spain, Germany, France, United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Australia. The device will cost 599 euros for 3GB +32GB and 699 euros for 4GB + 64GB. It is available in four elegant colors: champagne gold, moonlight silver, space gray and mocha brown.