Every top smartphone needs to aim for a USP. The Galaxy S6 has all that fancy glass while the Huawei P8 has an even skinnier frame without a camera lens that sticks out like a skin tag.
Huawei played the same trick with the Huawei Ascend P7. We didn’t swoon over it, but can the P8 turn things around?
The Huawei P8 is just 6.4mm thick and made of metal, making it a whopping 0.1mm thinner than Huawei’s last slim flagship. Yes, we’re being sarcastic, but it sure is thin.
You’ll be able to get the phone in four shades: black, gold, champagne and silver. Not bad looking, is it?
With a sizable 5.2-inch screen the Huawei P8’s display is a mite bigger than the Galaxy S6’s without trading pocketability. It uses an IPS-NEO panel, a kind of LCD screen designed for top efficiency. After all, the battery can only be so big in a 6.4mm-thick phone.
It’s only 1080p, though, so not quite up to the supreme sharpness of the LG G3 and Galaxy S6.
In the usual Huawei style, the P8 dumps Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets in favour of Huawei’s own silicon brains. It uses a 64-bit, eight-core 2GHz Kirin 930 CPU that’s a bit like the Samsung Galaxy S6’s Exynos 7420 CPU but with a slightly lesser 16nm architecture, less punchy ‘power’ cores and slower GPU.
But hey, you can’t have everything and it’s a big upgrade over the last Kirin 925. Elsewhere the microSD slot (supplementing 16GB of built-in storage) and dual-SIM support (one micro, one nano) will keep the geeks happy.
It’s deliberately not a standard-setting speccy monster. Take the camera: it has a 13-megapixel sensor when the HTC and Samsung rivals have more. However, it’s clear that Huawei’s proud of it, claiming ‘best in class’ optical image stabilisation (OIS) for reduced motion blur and ‘DSLR-grade’ image processing, plus it sits flush with the body. The flash is dual-tone too, in theory providing more lifelike lighting.
Selfie fiends, take note – there’s an 8MP snapper around the front for you to capture every blocked pore. More interesting is a software tweak that will allow you to capture long exposure shots of light sources without whiting out the image, which means you can create light paintings so beloved of product marketers. Director Mode lets you capture video footage from the P8 and up to three paired Android phones simultaneously, too (now that sounds fun).
There’s more to the sensor than meets the eye as well. It is the first phone we’ve seen to use an RGBW camera. This means that each of its sensor pixels have an extra white subpixel. As this receives more light than the red, green of blue ones, it can improve image fidelity.
At the right price this could be a sensible alternative to the 2015 Android big leagues. On past form we’re expecting it to undercut the flagship rivals, but at the moment we don’t know by how much. As soon as we do, you will too – stay tuned to Stuff for more on the P8.