9/10

Huawei’s Horse in the Race :: Hello P8

Earlier this month, we had the absolute pleasure of travelling to Singapore thanks to our new mates at Huawei (pronounced ‘Hwa-Way’). The reason? An introduction to the P8; the latest in Huawei’s smartphone offering and their answer to the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6.

Yeah, we stayed at the lavish Marina Bay Sands and drank more Singapore Slings than a man ever should, but you don’t care about that kind of malarkey . You want to know if the P8 is worth ending your long term relationship with Apple or Samsung for. Huawei is the foxy little thing that just moved in next door, and you’re wondering if it’s time for a change up. Should you jump the fence? Is the grass greener? Thankfully, there’s no need to leap blindly at this one. We’ve done the leg work for you.

The Good

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to a smartphone. The P8 uses the Android operating system, so if you’re familiar with that then it’s an instant tick in terms of usability. If you’re an iOS person, just think back to your first iPhone. It seemed weird and too hard, as though you would never get the hang of it, right? The P8 feels the same to begin with, but with your tech savvy, highly malleable 21st century brain, you’ll pick it up in no time.

What we were really looking for with the P8 was a point of difference. The reality for Huawei is that they are not a well established consumer brand in Australia. It’s an uphill battle if they want to convince consumers that the P8 is worth the hassle of a device change over. The first difference you’ll notice is the feel of the handset. It’s big. The screen is a massive 5.2″ FHD, and the display is beautiful. However, big doesn’t mean chunky. Using Chinese design wizardry, Huawei have kept the P8 incredibly light and streamline. It feels comfortable in your hand and it looks much cooler than a Samsung.

The second, and probably most significant difference between the P8 and its contemporaries is the camera. Huawei has placed a massive emphasis on giving their customers a groundbreaking piece of technology to take photos with. The P8 has a 13MP rear camera and a DSLR level image signal processor, which equates to sharp, bright photos. Huawei has also included a Four Colour RGBW sensor (most phone cameras use three colour sensors), which helps capture harsh light contrasts  and brings out a sharper colour in each shot. There’s also a mode for low light shooting, which makes shooting at night way easier than it is with either a Samsung or Apple phone.

Two super cool features on the camera worth noting are Light Painting mode and Director Mode. Light Painting allows you to change the exposure time, so you can create psychedelic images with any light source. This is definitely novel, but you can get really creative with it and it is a lot of fun (think of the depth this will add to your Instagram game). Director Mode is very cool. It allows you to pair your P8 with other Android devices so you can shoot a scene from multiple angles at the same time. You control the action using the P8 and the final product is a seamless video from multiple angles. Look out, Spielberg.

Another handy feature is the sophisticated power saving setting. If you’re travelling without regular access to a charger, you can switch to power saving mode and extend your battery life to 3 times its usual length. This is really useful for those who travel a lot for work and need constant access to their phone.

 

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The Bad

The single worst thing about the P8 is, simply, that it isn’t an Apple or Samsung product. The phone itself is spectacular. Side by side with the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 the P8 stands shoulder to shoulder, and in many ways is more impressive than both of them. The biggest battle Huawei is faced with is convincing people to give them a shot. Telling an Apple or Samsung customer that Huawei’s P8 is better than their phone is like telling Americans that guns are stupid, or Rugby League fans that the A-League has usurped them in relevance. Deep down they know it’s true, but will they actually toss their guns in the bin or go out and buy a Melbourne Victory jersey?

It should also be noted that if you’re buying a P8 for its stellar camera which many of you will, it’s definitely worth looking into a tripod. You can still take great hand held shots,  but this camera is at it’s best when mounted, so unless you’ve got hands like a surgeon (which we know you don’t because we saw how many Singapore Slings you’ve knocked back today) a tripod is a good option.

 

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The Bottom Line

After much deliberation and heated debate among the inner sanctum here at The Great Manifest, we’ve decided the following; do it. Take the plunge. The P8 has everything your current handset has, and then some. It looks good, it works well and it takes photos that belie your true artistic prowess. If nothing else it’ll be a good conversation starter when you pull it out at a party.

TL;DR – Buy a P8 because #YOLO. Here’s a fun table that really breaks down the comparison for you.

 

Brand

Huawei

Apple

Samsung

Model

P8

iPhone 6

Galaxy S6

SoC

Huawei HiSilicon 930

Apple A8

Exynos 7420

Display

5.2″ FHD

4.7″ HD

5.1″ QHD

RAM / ROM

3GB / 16GB

1GB / 16GB

3GB / 32GB

MicroSD Card

Yep

Nope

Nope

Camera

13/8MP

8/1.2MP

16/5MP

Battery

2680

1810

2550

RRP

From $699

$999

$999

All images taken using the Huawei P8 by a thoroughly mediocre photographer.