Overnight, Huawei announced their 2015 flagship phones, the sleek and decidedly sexy looking Huawei P8 and the massively large P8 Max. Huawei have given us some hands-on time with both the phones, so here’s our thoughts on the P8 – and a brief first look at the P8 Max.
The P8 is a really, really nice looking phone. It’s made out of a single piece of aluminium and feels like a premium phone straight off the mark. The phone has a minimalist look, which is what Huawei, Head of Mobile Design Team, Joonsuh Kim said was the aim of the phone. Apart from the usual volume rocker and power buttons on the side, there’s really nothing to interrupt the clean lines on the phone.
The whole phone is aluminium, but there is glass covering the 5.2″ FullHD display on the front. There’s also a small strip across the top of the phone at the rear of the phone, covering the camera lens. The camera is a 13MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture lens, dual-tone flash and Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), and on the front is an 8MP sensor with an f/2.4 aperture lens.
The camera is where a lot of the focus of the P8 has gone, with a heavy emphasis on low-light photography. There’s a dedicated image processing chip included in the P8 to help with a range of effects like the low-light capture, as well as Light Painting. The early look i’ve been getting at the camera looks pretty good, though the low-light pictures may bear further investigation. Though there’s no stars out in London tonight, the star trails are something I’m very much interested in checking out – so I’m going to try this out tomorrow night if the UK will help me out.
The phone feels fast when you’re using it. There’s a good amount of power sitting beneath the surface, supplied by Huawei’s own Kirin processor and 3GB of RAM. The Kirin processor is a 64-bit octa-core CPU which should handle almost anything you throw at it and the early signs are good just loading apps and playing around.
It’s running Android 5.0, with Emotion UI (EMUI) 3.1 overlayed over the top. We’ve had some issues with the decision to leave an app drawer out of the EMUI launcher but it’s their decision to make.
There’s some nifty software features bundled in outside of the camera features which headlined the launch as well. Features like the ‘Find My Phone’ function. It’s pretty neat, you essentially assign a custom phrase to wake up your phone and then say ‘where are you’ and it starts playing a ringtone and saying ‘I`m here’.
There’s also a new gesture feature called ‘Knuckle Touch’ which lets you use your knuckle to take screenshots. You can double tap to take a screenshot, or use your knuckle to outline a smaller area to capture. For me, this is a killer feature as I’m constantly using the crop function to cut smaller parts of screenshots out.
There’s an interesting feature which is to do with power consumption built into EMUI. You’ll get alerts in your app notification area telling you that X App is running in the background and consuming power. You are given the option to close it down if you decide you don’t want it. It’s part of the App Firewall, how it actually helps battery life we’ll see in the long run.
The Huawei P8 has a 2,680 mAh battery included, so with the App Firewall and this battery, you should get a decent amount of use out of it. There’s no wireless charging built-in to the P8, but there is a quick charger included in the box, so you can recharge quickly if required.
Overall, the P8 is really striking me as a phone I could use daily – the camera has some great promise, it’s comfortable to hold and it’s fast. We should see more about an Australian release in the next couple of months, including the pricing. I’m hopeful that both the standard (16GB storage) and the Premium (64GB storage) will arrive in Australia and we’ll bring you more as soon as Huawei Australia have more information to announce.
You can check out the P8 in this live demo :
If you like the look of the P8, but think the screen could be a bit larger, or it could do with a bigger battery, then the P8 Max could be right up your alley.
The P8 Max is essentially the same spec as the P8, with similar features built-in to the software. There’s some slight differences, with the front-facing camera bumped down to a 5MP shooter, but the battery has been bumped up to a whopping 4,360mAh battery, which Huawei claim gives you up to 16 hours of video watching.
The P8 is large, it’s got a 6.8″ FullHD screen to pack into the Aluminium body, and it feels big in the hand. It’s not going to be a lot of people’s first choice, but there’s definitely a market for it. The line is certainly blurred between tablet and phone with the P8 Max, but a number of people are looking for this, so there’s a market. Whether that market is Australia hasn’t been determined as yet, so we may not see the P8 Max in Australia.
The P8 Max has a pretty decent case that will be made available if it does launch in Australia. It’s similar in look to the HTC Dot View case, but comes in a premium leather material. It also supports the phone in landscape mode to sit it up while you watch video. It’s going to come in three different colours as well, so you can match it to your phone.
The P8 Max is a pretty interesting looking phone, but it’s going to have a larger price to match. Indicative pricing for the P8 Max has been set at €549 for the 32GB model, while the 64GB version will sell for €649 – the P8 Max probably won’t come to Australia but you can guarantee that if it doesn’t the various grey importers will fill the void.
If you want a look at the P8 Max in action, you can see our hands-on video