At this CES 2016 expo, Huawei set on an ambitious goal to increase its US presence in the consumer electronics realm, and just announced the US pricing and availability for one of its best midrangers yet. Announced back in September as the G(X)8 or G7 Plus, depending on the region it sells in, the phone will arrive on this side of the pond as the GX8.
It essentially takes the torch from the G7, and features a 5.5" display, just as its predecessor. The screen resolution has jumped from HD 720p to 1080p Full HD, though, and there are plenty of other improvements to talk about. The American GX8 version is powered by a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 615 chipset, and comes with 2 GB of RAM as well as 16 GB of internal storage, plus a microSD slot for memory expansion. These memory specs are par for the course in today's midrange standards, but Huawei didn't stop here, paying special attention to the camera on the back of the GX8. The shooter keeps the 13 MP resolution of the G7, but adds optical image stabilization, sapphire lens, and wider aperture, so low-light performance should be greatly improved in comparison.
The internals are all fine and dandy, but what about the first impression that a phone makes, its design? Well, Huawei jumped on the premium build trend that erupted last year, and made a "90% metal" handset, clad in aviation-grade aluminum in several uniform color versions, like Silver, Gray, and Gold. To keep up with the times, Huawei has also included a fingerprint scanner on the back of the GX8, as well as an improved speaker chamber. Android 5.1 is running the show, with a Marshmallow update pending.
The only ho-hum fields in the specs sheet are the dimensions, as the 5.5-incher comes at 152.5 mm tall and 76.5mm wide, which can't hold any "bezel-less" claims, though the size is about average for the screen diagonal. The weight of 167g is also average for a metal-clad midranger of this size, while the 7.5mm thin frame will make you appreciate the fact that Huawei still managed to retrofit a sealed 3000 mAh juicer in there.
The Huawei GX8 Plus will be available in Q1 in the US from direct channels like GetHuawei.com, and on Amazon. The pricing for this metal warrior? Well, at $350 off-contract, it is about equal to the price tag for the same handset, and not bad for what the metal-clad phablet offers, what do you think?
So, for approximately $100-120 more than the Alcatel Idol 3 or Asus 16 GB Zenfone 2, you get OIS, metal frame, and a fingerprint scanner? You lose dual speakers (Idol 3), GPU power (Zenfone 2) and if on specific carriers (T-Mo, ATT), wifi calling and I'm guessing visual voicemail? Any word on LTE bands?
If it was maybe $250-275, then it would compete much better IMO.