Huawei Mate 8 Review

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Camera

You’ll relish over its vast shooting modes and controls, but the quality of the camera leaves more to be desired.

Love and care is abundantly evident in the phone’s camera hardware, one that features a 16-megapixel 1/2.8” Sony IMX298 CMOS sensor. That’s paired with an f/2.0 apertures lens, phase detection auto-focus, tri-axis optical image stabilization, and a dual-tone LED flash. If that’s not enough, the 8-megapixel front snapper ensures it’s going to be more than adequate for selfies. Even with the dreamy combination, the only chink in its armor is the fact that video recording tops out at 1080p.


In complementing the rich camera gear, the Huawei Mate 8 runs the same diversified camera interface we’ve seen in many iterations of its EMUI skin. There’s a vast set of tools, shooting modes, and yes, a manual mode as well to please advanced users, but despite all of its prowess in the still shot department, the video recording experience is still largely an automatic affair once the record button is pressed. Indeed, there are manual controls to preset parameters like the focus, but once it starts recording, they can’t be adjusted on the fly.

Image Quality


The hardware sounds delightful on paper, but in reality, we find its performance to be at best average. Scenes with abundant lighting are handled nicely by the camera, churning out sufficient details and mostly neutral colors. Going indoors, however, artificial lighting tends to cast a noticeably greenish hue to our shots – while details become significantly softer. And even though noise is kept to a minimum under low light, the lack of detail in the shots simply makes everything subdued. Plus, its auto-focus becomes erratic at times as well.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Huawei Mate 8 2.5
2.8
715
429
Huawei Ascend Mate7 2.8
3.2
797
586
Samsung Galaxy Note5 2.1
2.7
842
No data
LG V10 2.7
3.9
557
453

Video Quality


You’d think a phone of this caliber would be endowed with 4K UHD recording, but that’s not the case. Overall, its 1080p samples fail to impress with its soft-toned looks – there’s just no meaningful presence of fine detail. However, its auto-focus is snappy and the audio recording is mostly clear. Going with the standard 30FPS mode, there’s an option for its stabilizer feature, but the camera is very prone to this wobbly, jello-like effect when moving around.


Multimedia

We can’t complain about its on-the-go media consumption.

If you can stomach the color inaccuracies of the display (or at least partially correct for them by setting white balance better), you'll find that the 6-incher of the Mate 8 is a good fit for on-the-go media consumption. Like most high-quality phablets, really.

The video and music players are both pretty basic and offer little more than you'd expect from a built-in solution. The Gallery is a bit different in that its photo editor is actually quite powerful and integrates features — such as pixelization for censoring parts of the image and a bucket load of filters — that you'd usually be forced to seek elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the internal speaker is underpowered, mustering up a maximum output of 71.4 dB. While that’s sufficient for smaller spaces and produces a neutral audio tone, it just doesn’t have the substance to make it sound commanding. Conversely, using the headphone jack with DTS enabled delivers an enjoyable experience that’s rich sounding.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Huawei Mate 8 0.368
Samsung Galaxy Note5 0.609
LG V10 0.52
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Huawei Mate 8 71.4
Samsung Galaxy Note5 70.7
LG V10 69
Huawei Ascend Mate7 79
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