Camera

Whoa, the camera impresses on many levels, including its cool low lighting shooting modes!

The most innovative and advertised new feature of the handset, however, is the new type of camera sensor: a 13-megapixel one with RGBW arrangement that should allegedly allow for better performance in limited light conditions. Huawei officially claims that this tech will bring brightness up by 32% in high-contrast lighting scenes, and reduce it by 78% in low-light environments.

Even though the fine details about this new sensor are still scarce, RGBW stands for red-green-blue-white, a different arrangement on top of the sensor than the standard Bayer RGBG one. Having a fourth white pixel could likely be used to gather more light information, and thus improve the sensitivity of the sensor. We've seen the Motorola Moto X adopt a similar (RGBC, with the C standing for clear) sensor two years ago, but the bigger question unanswered here is whether we’ll see concrete results with this particular implementation.

Before we get into all of that, let’s briefly talk about the updated camera interface, which reserves much of the space for the viewfinder. Ditching the menu driven interface of last year, most of its modes are accessed by just swiping between the options from the main screen – though, additional ones are collected in a separate menu.

Having shown us its photo-taking abilities last year, it’s no surprise that the camera interface is rich with these various modes and manual controls. Usual modes like HDR and panoramic are predictable, but Huawei deepens the experience by adding several others that are rarely offered by other phones in the same caliber – like time lapse, all-focus, super night, and light painting.

Time lapse and all-focus are kind of self-explanatory, but super night and light painting are the more intriguing modes. With the former, photos taken under low light are exposed longer, which brightens up shots that would normally appear dark, and then they’re sharped. Meanwhile, light painting mode is a nifty mode that allows us to play with light in the dark – you know, those photos with long light streaks due to having a super long exposure.

Image Quality


In combing over the P8’s camera quality, it shows us that it’s formidable and can easily replace most point and shoots out there. Not surprisingly, outdoor scenery shots where lighting is abundant produce the best results, which are filled with incredible detail, sufficient sharpness, and slightly saturated colors. For the most part, it handles dynamic range well – albeit, its HDR mode enhances it by delivering a more neutral exposure between areas of hard and soft lighting.

Indoors under artificial lighting, the Huawei P8 still delivers usable shots that we can’t complain too much about. What’s noticeable, though, is the subdued appearance of photos, which can sometimes translate to duller looking shots. It’s not bad, honestly, but the more pressing matter is how it handles conditions where lighting is extremely minimal or non-existent. Strangely, the results are a mixed bag, as in some instances it’s good – while others not so much. At times, there’s some noticeable noise in the shot, which doesn’t help either when details are softer looking. Conversely, there are times when it’s able to retain a high level of quality.

Actually, its superior quality is achieved by using the super night mode, since the long exposure helps to retain sharp details and keeps the scenery brightly toned – instead of being muddy and dark. In order to maximize the results, however, we’re required to keep the phone as still as possible, in order to reduce blurring that could be the inherent result from a long exposure. Our best recommendation is either to place the phone on a tripod, or better yet, just prop it up on its side while resting idly on something else. Of course, this is best suited for taking landscape shots, where there’s minimal movement. Another cool thing to use is the Light Painting mode for some slick looking photos where light can be used for some awe-inspiring results.

Don’t use the HDR mode under low light, just because the results are actually worse than the standard automatic mode. In fact, they’re noisier and smudgy looking! Rather than using HDR to try and enhance the quality with low lighting situations, you’re better off using the dual-LED flash to even out the composition.

The art of the selfie, it’s become a meticulous process for some. Thankfully, you won’t be disappointed by the P8’s front-facing 8-megapixel camera, which is better at taking selfies than most other phones. Not only does it capture great detail, but there are additional modes that diversify the experience – like beauty mode for that Photoshop look, and a panoramic mode that can get even more people into the shot.


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 P8 3.1
3.2
418
292
HTC One M9 3.75
No data
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S6 2.2
2.4
No data
No data

When the opportunity arises to capture something memorable, the Huawei P8 is undoubtedly a phone we’d totally want to have on hand for the occasion. For starters, it’s an all-around performer that’s solidified even more with its eclectic shooting modes. If you’re able to master its various night time shooting mode, you’ll be astounded by what cool imagery you can muster up. Nowadays, we have to be more critical about the quality from these cameras, but the P8 impresses on several levels to make it a formidable competitor that won’t disappoint.

Video Quality


In an era where 4K video recording capture has become an available option for most high-end phones, the Huawei P8 maxes out at only 1080p recording at 30 FPS – there’s no 60 FPS option sadly. It’s a shame, really, but even more when its quality is such a huge disappointment. Indeed, the P8 excels immensely with its still shot quality, but it flounders abysmally with video recording. Yes, we appreciate that there’s optical image stabilization available to keep things steady, but there are just too many displeasing qualities that are apparent.

Out of everything, it’s lacking in detail, to the point that the overall video exudes a dull looking tone. In addition, there’s no continuous auto-focus options, so there’s a constant need to use touch focus to adjust it – though, to be fair, there is an object tracking option. Rounding things out, its quality is marred further by its finicky exposure adjustment and thin sounding audio recording. All in all, we’re just shocked by the outcome!



Multimedia

The speaker is one of the strongest in terms of volume, but it’s thin sounding and strains at the loudest setting.

The Gallery app is pretty generic with its operation and layout, but it’s nice that we can access the camera from the main screen by swiping down on the interface. Arranged either in a timeline view or in albums, photos can be editing with the usual array of tools, but it’s not as comprehensive as some of the editing tricks found in devices like the HTC One M9.

When it comes to listening to music, we have two options to choose from out of the box – Google Play Music or the Huawei music player. With Huawei’s option, it sports a minimalist layout that’s also light in features. Generally speaking, the music player is generic, but we do like how there’s a section that displays the accompanying lyrics.

Impressively, the single speaker of the Huawei P8 is one of the strongest we’ve tested – reaching a deafening mark of 78.5 dB. No doubt, it’s loud enough and it travels far in large spaces too, but at the loudest volume setting, it emits a thin sounding quality, which doesn’t help when there’s some audible strain in the process.

More than ideal for the video watching occasion, the only thing lacking with the P8’s video watching experience is its lack of multi-tasking. Essentially, it’s either we watch a video, or not – that’s all!

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Huawei P8 0.605
HTC One M9 1.022
Samsung Galaxy S6 0.54
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Huawei P8 78.5
HTC One M9 72.8
Samsung Galaxy S6 73.7


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51 Comments

1. vuyonc

Posts: 1088; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

Yup, the curse of Kirin strikes again :/

10. QWERTYslider unregistered

What US carriers are these optimized for? With no removable battery and SD, and competing with Samsung, the only thing to sell this is price.

15. Bondurant

Posts: 778; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Huawei phones released in US uses the Qualcomm chips to get over US restrictions. Not clear what chip they will use when P8 releases in US.

49. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

It has SD Card removable.

19. waddup121 unregistered

Not even surprised the SLIGHTEST BIT. This phone is hella good. As I said before, the problems with the knuckle-gestures and very slow charing times kinda needs to be compensated for have a great experience on this phone. I watched a full review, and to say that the phone's great despite having some issues with the software (the touch gestures is one of them) and the rather subpar battery life due to the slim profile. Otherwise, the phone's great.

2. Djz89

Posts: 437; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

I my country g3, z2 s5 and almost z3c is priced the same. I would much rather have one of those compared to P8, still a nice phone though. Love the design, but lack of sd and ip is in my case a deal breaker.

3. Kruze

Posts: 1285; Member since: Dec 30, 2014

There is a SD card slot in the P8.

17. Djz89

Posts: 437; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

Ah my bad.

4. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Camera shots have good light but the details are less than expected. Great design but didn't like that black surrounding bezel though on the screen. Should be started from 32GB internal atleast for this price. Rest is very good.

8. Simona unregistered

Why shouldstart from 32? I have 128GB sd card ready.. And yet, I wont be paying 150 bucks more for more storage when 128gb sd cost me 50-60 nowadays

9. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

P8 is a 2015 flagship my friend and for that price it should have been 32GB, though it's just my opinion. Whoah!!! You have 128GB card ready, that's awesome. All the best for your purchases.

22. Simona unregistered

There WILL be 64GB version but that wud be stupid to buy that is am trying to explain.. They charging for 32/64 100 or over 100 more but micro sd card 64GB cost just 20 quid.. 128GB cost 50-60 bucks

23. TerryTerius unregistered

Good for you, but not everyone does that. His point was that the phone itself should have a minimum of 32 gigs, especially considering that it is starting in the price range of the M9 and S6 which both have a minimum of 32gb. Think about it this way. If Huawei truly wants to take on Samsung, Apple, or HTC then they will have to meet or exceed them in every way. If you have to look at a product and recognize that it has compromises in areas where other options in the same price range do not, it becomes harder to justify that purchase. With pretty bad video recording, sub-par low light photography, unstable gaming performance, and lower storage options... I'm not sure that a pretty design and a smooth, good looking UI is going to make up for that for most consumers. Huawei may one day make phones every bit as good as SS and Apple. But they aren't there yet.

28. Simona unregistered

But every phone is expensive at launch jeezuch ppl.. within month ot two the price will drop bout £50 down.. just needs to be patient I can buy this phone 16GB just for £400 or cheaper About vid recording .. that will be improoved in next updates don't worry ... playing gamez is just for kids .. this phone is not for kids.. You can read about S6 how battery life is just alarming bad... Huawei matched up samsung even apple.. P8 Max is on another level..

31. TerryTerius unregistered

Well, no you're wrong in that statement. For example, LG's G Series (up until this year) has always been significamtly cheaper than the Galaxy S, One and Z series of flagship's. Same thing with one plus, Huawei and Xiaomi. Actually, most companies Price their flagships significantly cheaper than the duopoly of Samsung and Apple. You have 0 proof that they're going to significantly improve video recording with an update, because that pretty much never happens with any phone. Yes, updates are pushed out that may improve image quality for different manufacturers every now and then, but it is rarely something like a drastic turnaround. The s6 gets better battery life than literally every other five inch phone from a major manufacturer), barring the Sony Z series. So no, objectively Huawei has not quite matched Samsung or Apple. Insofar as your claims of games being only for kids, don't be ridiculous. The hundreds of millions of downloads of games, wasn't all done by children. The millions of dollars game developers have raked in isn't from kids. Obviously there are literally millions of adults that play (and purchase) games on their phones. I'm not saying Huawei did a bad job with the p8. But, I literally can't think of a single reason to get this phone over an s6 (which has a better camera, better graphics performance, more available accessories, wireless charging, true multitasking and charges faster) iPhone 6, M9 or G4. It doesn't do anything that those phones already don't do, and actually does a few of them worse.

32. TerryTerius unregistered

Aside from that, your comment about price id ridiculous. The large majority of any smartphones sales come within the first two to three months. in other words, most of Huawei's sales will come right now, while their flagship is new. The average consumer that is looking for a phone is not going to wait a few months for this phone to drop in price, they'll likely buy something from Samsung, Apple, HTC, or LG. If they have to wait for their phone to drop in price in order to move units.... Then there was literally no point in trying to price it near the level an iPhone6, M9, or S6 in the first place.

38. Simona unregistered

I disagree .. i have different opinions sorry you statements are obsolete to me.. u wont change my statements and opinions .. As I know it from past... Hav a nice dayyy

50. javy108

Posts: 1004; Member since: Jul 27, 2014

Youre right it should be 32 GB starting for its price, also SD card Slot is really useful.

43. zoomtech

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 11, 2014

yes this is true

5. Bondurant

Posts: 778; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

The review is kind of lazy on the UI. Totally wrong so many times. The theme modification of EMUI is very deep and everything from icons to dialers to notification panel, fonts, etc can be modded with the theme engine. The EMUI 3.0 also has split screen multitasking but maybe its possible not enabled on these sample devices. And EMUI has so many useful functions all over it that calling it "light and simple" is kind of untrue. Its more like simple and easy layout yet smart and full of features.

11. Ghost04

Posts: 515; Member since: May 03, 2014

PA probably reviewed the phone with some negative mind . They were like 'it was good but it wasn't good' . They praised everything and the same time they criticised all of them .

16. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

No, they are basically indirectly saying Huawei still has some work to do to perfect their phones to match the bug guys but are getting there.

12. haikallp

Posts: 319; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

In my country the iphone 6 16GB was S$988 at launch. The Galaxy S6 32gb was S$998 at launch. The LG GFlex 2 is S$998 at launch too. The Ascend P8 base model is rumored to be around S$700 at launch. That is, imo a good price.

13. Bondurant

Posts: 778; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

In China the P8 16gb is priced at 2888 Yuna (466$) and 64gb at 3588 Yuan (579$)

14. nebula

Posts: 1009; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Great value for money phone ruined by terrible video recording. I am surprised how awful video qulity greatly excelled by very decent camera performance. Slap dash here we go !

24. Simona unregistered

Well they probably cant set it properly.. I've seen vid samples of this phones and some of them are bad others better but it needs setting up in settings . video stabilization focusing, etc..

20. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

well if it uses qualcomm chips in its us release then the graphics will get a huge boost

26. Bondurant

Posts: 778; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

But its a mystery what Qualcomm chip they will use. The 810 has heating issues, coupled with battery and slim factor of P8, doesn't sound a good match. While S805 is outdated and its not 64bit and the CPU performance of Kirin 930 is far better than S805.

30. arch_angel

Posts: 1651; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

Yeah the 810 is the best choice even with its issues

29. JohnK

Posts: 117; Member since: Mar 03, 2015

About SD card guys, i noticed in another video review that while browsing storage menu, this phone supports the "storage location" feature: it's used to choose between internal storage and external storage (for installing apps etc..). So basically, snap a fast 64gb UHS3 card inside and you are good to go almost like if it was a 64gb device. I know that since i'm used to chinese phones and they often give you that feature.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

P8
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2000 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2680 mAh

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