Honor 8 Pro review: best phone for value for money?
The long-awaited Honor V9 finally arrives in Italy as Honor 8 Pro. On paper it represents one of the best phablets you can currently find on the market: the specifications are practically perfect, but will daily usability be too?
Honor 8 Pro has a particularly accurate packaging: immediately under the device we find a lightweight cardboard container inside which the USB-Type C cable, the 9 / 5V 2A wall adapter, the clip to unlock the trolley are stored. SIM and the two lenses, to be stored in the supplied Cardboard. You got it right, inside the eco-friendly package there is also what you need to compose a VR viewer with which to fully enjoy the QHD resolution of Honor 8 Pro.
Leaving aside the matte blue color that I personally love, the first thing you will think when handling the Honor 8 Pro will be: “But how did they put such a large battery in it?”. The thickness of less than 7mm, in fact, particularly amazes, especially when compared to the weight of the phone (184g) and to the dimensions: of course it is always a frying pan device that you will hardly handle with two hands (the single-hand mode and the fingerprint sensor smart help in this case), but which still manages to maintain a more compact body than other renowned competitors.
Frontally we find the display from 5.7 ″ QHD with buttons on the screen, at the top there is a 12 Megapixel lens, the ear capsule – in which the notification LED is inserted – and the proximity and brightness sensors. At the bottom, however, we find the word Honor in white.
The top end features the microphone for background noise suppression and the IR blaster. In the lower part, however, there is the USB Type-C port accompanied by the speaker grille, the main microphone and the input for the 3.5mm jack.
The left side houses the trolley for the SIM, while in the right one we find the volume rocker and the power button. The latter features a knurled texture to make it distinguishable.
The back cover, made of metal, shows the Honor frieze, has a double camera at the top left with double LED flash and the fingerprint sensor, placed a little lower.
It goes without saying that most of the time you will have to use two hands to handle it: perhaps what is really missing is a modicum of innovation in the design of the phone, but we appreciate the choice of a large battery. As usual, the IP certifications for resistance to water and dust are missing.
The technical characteristics are as follows:
|Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Dimensions||157 x 77.5 x 6.97 mm|
|SIM||Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|Guy||LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Dimension||5.7 inches (~ 73.6% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1440 x 2560 pixels (~ 515 ppi)|
|– Emotion UI 5.1|
|OS||Android OS, v7.0 (Nougat)|
|Chipset||HiSilicon Kirin 960|
|CPU||Octa-core (4 × 2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4 × 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|SD||microSD up to 128 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)|
|Internal||64GB, 6GB RAM|
|Primary||Dual 12 MP, f / 2.2, phase detection and laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash|
|Video||2160p @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60fps|
|Secondary||8 MP, f / 2.0, 1080p|
|Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery (Fast Charge 9V-2A)|
The heart of Honor 8 Pro it is, therefore, the advanced chipset Kirin 960equipped with 8 cores – 4 high-performance 2.4GHz Cortex A73s and 4 power-saving 1.8GHz Cortex A53s – paired with a RAM of 6GB. This setup allows you to increase the performance of each single core by 10% and multi-core ones by 18%. The Mali-G71 GPU, which includes support for the latest Vulkan graphics and API, is capable of increasing graphics performance by up to 400%, according to the company. Honor 8 Pro is able to support the most powerful and “bulky” games without any problem, minimizing the risk of lag or error, even in 3D.
The Vulkan APIs allow GFX units to support the CPU in running OpenGL and to enhance the graphics and data management capabilities of the device. The large internal memory from 64GB it also allows the installation of numerous applications and can be further expanded up to 128GB with a microSD card.
The Honor 8 Pro’s 5.7-inch IPS (515ppi) QHD display has a really appreciable color rendering even if slightly unbalanced on cold shades (it is always possible to adjust the colors through the settings). The viewing angles are excellent and the blacks, although not absolute, are well calibrated, even when viewed from the edge. Excellent oleophobic treatment.
The brightness sensor is a tad slow to respond to sudden changes in light: it generally tends to keep the brightness level very low. Personally, this does not give me problems, on the contrary, I appreciate that you do not raise the brightness too much, but on the other hand it will take a few moments outside to properly calibrate the brightness.
Once again we find the paired RGB sensor and monochrome sensor which, by now, acts as a business card for Honor / Huawei phones. This time, however, unlike what happened for Honor 8, you can decide to take advantage of only the monochrome sensor to take respectable B&W photos. Alternatively, the software will take care of merging the information coming from the two cameras together. This will also allow you to take advantage of the wide aperture mode implemented on the software side to obtain shots with an accentuated blur effect.
All in all, the Honor 8 Pro offers good shooting quality. The images are well defined, detailed and with an excellent dynamic range (as long as you stay outdoors: in low light the brighter objects tend to be overexposed). A little bit slow to focus after opening the camera for the first time. you can fix this by manually selecting the focus.
Check out the full resolution images on Google+.
On the software side, Honor has made a real one available to the user creative studio where it is possible to create artistic shots and videos that were previously unthinkable with a simple smartphone. With the mode Light Paintingfor example, you can manage the shutter aperture to create lighting effects such as:
- Trails bright urban: captures the trails of moving cars in the night
- Graffiti bright: captures light trails in the dark
- Silky water: captures the movement of the water flow recreating the silk effect
- Star trails: catch the light trails of the stars in the night sky
Speaking of video, there is the 4K mode (30fps H.265 encoding) which, however, is not stabilized (the 1080p mode is stabilized on the software side): it will result in fairly shaky videos if you do not remain firm with the phone.
Software, PERFORMANCE AND CONNECTIVITY
As with the new Huawei devices, the Honor 8 Pro also features the brand new Emotion UI 5.1 (and, of course, Android 7.0).
To change, in this new version of the proprietary interface of the Chinese company, are the general performance, as well as some changes at the graphic level. To underline, in particular, the introduction of the drawer, choice particularly appreciated from our part.
Speaking of performance, therefore, Honor 8 Pro introduces a new back-end feature that should intelligently manage the power offered by the phone: Ultra Memory. It is an algorithm focused on optimizing the use of RAM memory by learning what interests us most or we consider important, which will be benefited and kept in memory longer than the rest of the apps.
To ensure a Honor 8 Pro consistent performance throughout its entire life cycle, Honor has developed an intelligent file management system, decisively reducing fragmentation. This translates into a constant user experience over time.
Good management of notifications that reflects the Vanillia version of Android, merging it with the typical style of the Emotion UI: therefore, the timeline introduced in the previous versions disappears, while the quick toggles, customizable and the slider for the brightness appear.
Inside Honor 8 Pro we also find the Highlights feature, developed together with GoPro, which intelligently organizes photos by categories and creates video-stories that can be simply customized – making sharing memories even more beautiful and fun. For photo and video editing enthusiasts, Honor has developed a vast assortment of editing tools that allow you to give your images and videos that extra “finishing touch” without the need for additional apps or computer processing.
With a data sheet of the kind Honor 8 Pro guarantees a practically perfect experience from any point of view: daily usability is absolutely pleasant, thanks to the enormous amount of RAM available, and to the decidedly performing processor. Under stress it tends to heat up on the back side, but without reaching excessive levels (as happens to Huawei P10).
In terms of reception, as well as calls, you cannot complain: the audio is clean during calls and the signal is always stable. As for connectivity we find support Dual Sim Dual Standby (LTE), the NFC chip, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, OTG, GPS and Glonass. FM radio is missing.
The Honor 8 Pro’s built-in battery has a capacity of 4000mAh. Personally, I had a hard time evaluating the phone in this respect. The smartphone, in fact, tends to offer very different experiences from day to day depending on the use made of it. Those who followed us on Telegram will know well that in the first few days I struggled to get to 4h of screen on with about 18h of total use (most of it under WiFi). Under 4G, on the other hand, it tends to heat up a little and performance suffers, with performance well under 4 hours of screen. For a QHD device, they turned out to be acceptable overall, but from 4000mAh we would have expected something more. Fortunately, fast charging comes in handy with just under two hours for a full cycle.
As for energy saving, Huawei offers two modes:
- Ultra: Keeps only the call and message functions available
- Energy saving mode: Automatically adjusts the CPU, closes background applications, restricts push applications and reduces some sound effects.
Honor 8 Pro has few compromises: it keeps all promises with some reserve. The price is definitely something to take into consideration: you will hardly find a device with so much power at such a low price. However, in everyday use, it is certainly no better than the Honor 8 (which in many respects I personally prefer in terms of usability).
Honor 8 Pro it is available for pre-order on vMall.eu, at the recommended price of 549 €, and with the possibility to choose between three different free gifts in the bundle: a 128GB microSD + Honor Tripod selfie stick; a 10000mAh Honor power bank + Honor Tripod selfie stick; a 64GB microSD + 4 Smarts VR viewer. Honor 8 Pro it will then be available starting from April 20 at all Honor partners, both online and offline.
What we liked:
- Hardware components
- Fast charging
- Fluidity and performance
What we didn’t like:
- Lack of HW stabilization
- No IP certification
- Anonymous design