Huawei’s Mate 8 phone – already available in some markets – is going global in 2016, and Australia is on the launch list. The Mate 8 is the followup to 2014’s Mate 7 and flies the Premium flag for the Chinese manufacturer in a number of pretty stunning ways.
The phone’s 6 inch screen is housed in a body with impressively slim bezels, making the phone feel smaller than it really is. It’s still a 1080p display though, with Huawei seemingly not ready to make the jump to QHD – or maybe the screen is helping with the phone’s impressive battery life.
With a 4,000 mAh battery tucked away inside, Huawei says the Mate 8 will last 2 days on a single charge. We’re not quite ready to call it 2-day battery life, but that 4,000 mAh battery will make everyone’s lives easier. To go with that there’s 9V/2A rapid charging, which should refill a third of that big battery in around 30 minutes.
Internally there’s Huawei’s Kirin 950 processor, which Huawei is calling its best ever SoC. It’s an Octa-core processor with 4 2.3 Ghz and 4 1.8 Ghz cores, with the first ever Mali T880 GPU. There’s either 3GB on the 32GB or 4GB RAM on the 64GB model respectively. I like a nice big amount of memory on my Android phones these days, so I know which one I’d prefer — but our review unit is the 32GB model.
Huawei’s also upping the ante on the camera. After the last couple of phones have been well-received on the photography front, the Mate 8 will come with a brand new Sony 16MP sensor, with a proproetary ISP. There’s also advanced OIS on offer with up to 1.5-degree anti shake, and a 6-piece aspherical lens.
Huawei launched a number of new touch sensing features around knuckle sensitivity on the Mate S at IFA 2015, and those features are making their way to the Mate 8 now. Yes, the screen can tell the difference between a finger and as knuckle, leading to some interesting UI possibilities. By tapping on the screen with your knuckle (called a knock), you can trigger a screen capture mode and then trace the area you want to capture with your finger. Huawei’s also offering double-knock features for video editing.
The Mate 8 also a good focus on business utility, with advanced meeting and conference voice recording and features. The Mate 8 is able to record and isolate multiple speakers in a room using its three microphones, and in hands-free mode the microphone has a 120-degree directional mode with a three metre range. If you’re taking a picture of a presentation in a meeting, the onboard software can also adjust the image to straighten up off-angle images.
For security, the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor has been sped up by 100%. It can also be used to lock photos, videos, documents and apps. There’s also Android’s usual full-disk encryption, and Huawei’s also added the ability to lock the SD card.
The Mate 8 will be available in four colours – Huawei’s bringing back brown (or Mocha Brown, to be precise) and there’s other more standard colours on offer like Champagne Gold, Space Gray and Moonlight Silver. They’re all dual sim models with Huawei’s now-standard SIM/SD slot and the company has a long list of supported bands.
Launch pricing has been quoted at €599 for the 32GB model and €699 for 64. The phone isn’t coming to the US market, hence the European prices – they translate to about AUD $899 and AUD $1049 respectively. We don’t yet have a firm release date, but we’re expecting the phone to become available pretty soon in Q1 of 2016.
There’s some impressive numbers being thrown around about performance, and the phone certainly seems to have the chops it needs. Huawei’s star is rising on the hardware front, and we’re looking forward to putting the review unit through its paces. Look out for a hands-on report later this week!
Are you interested in the Mate 8? Tell us in the comments!