Honor 8 Pro review: OnePlus 5 has some serious competition


Huawei, despite its global muscle, has been considered an underdog smartphone brand in India. Although it enjoys massive popularity in China and Europe, the brand is yet to make a dent in the crowded Indian smartphone market. Surprisingly, its phones have been incredibly powerful, but they have fallen short compared to other flagships. When I reviewed the Huawei P9 last year, it was a phone to beat in the camera department, but it couldn’t match the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6s Plus overall. Similarly, Honor 8 was a good device in my opinion, an eye-catching phone that went unnoticed.

Honor 8 Pro, however, is an exception. Like many smartphones, it features dual camera, which is quickly becoming a standard. However, the Honor 8 Pro is much more than a pair of dual rear cameras; it also packs a vibrant 5.7-inch Quad HD screen, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, microSD card support, and a massive 4,000mAh battery that results in the longest battery life I have ever seen on a flagship.

That puts the Honor 8 Pro in the same zone as the OnePlus 5, which is already hailed by many as the smartphone to beat in the premium mid-end segment. While the OnePlus 5 is a great phone, the Honor 8 Pro surprisingly beats it on several key features. At Rs 29,999, Honor 8 Pro is priced lower than the OnePlus 5 which starts at Rs 32,999. And, it is by no means an inferior phone. If you just want a solid phone at an attractive price, the Honor 8 Pro has everything. I have extensively tested the Honor 8 Pro on various parameters in the past week or so, and here’s my verdict.

5.7-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440, 515 ppi)| Kirin 960| 6GB RAM | 128 GB storage| Dual 12MP rear cameras + 8MP front camera | 4000mAh | 4G LTE | Honor 8 Pro specificationsAndroid 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1

Honor 8 Pro price in India Rs 29,999 Honor 8 Pro Design, display review

All smartphones these days look and feel the same, and the Honor 8 Pro is no different. But you won’t find the 2.5D glass coating both on the front and back of the phone, as seen on the Honor 8. Instead, it has a metal back, with an attractive brushed effect. Honestly, I’d have preferred the Honor 8-like glass back because it gives a distinct feel.

From a practical point of view, the metal design attracts less fingerprints, which means you don’t necessarily need a case to protect the phone. Nevertheless, Honor 8 Pro reminds me a lot about the Honor 8. The phone still has smooth rounded curved corners that are easy to grip. At 7.0mm thick, the Honor 8 Pro is a slim device stacking up well compared to the competition, including the 7.3mm thick OnePlus 5. Though it is heavy at 184 grams, it feels natural and comfy in hand. For a 5.7-inch phone, it might seem heavy at first, but it’s not.

Honor 8 Pro stands out for its thin bezels. The bottom of the front edge holds the mono speakers, the USB Type-C connector, a microphone and the headphone jack. The upper side of the screen has an 8-megapixel front-camera. The power button and the volume keys are placed on the right side, while a dual SIM slot that doubles-up as a microSD slot for storage expansion lies to the side edge on the left-hand side.

The back of the phone has the antenna lines running through the top and bottom of the rear. The dual cameras and the flash reside at the top, while the Honor branding is placed right in the lower side of the phone. There’s a fingerprint scanner as well on the rear, which continues to be accurate and able to unlock the phone in seconds.

The design of the Honor 8 Pro didn’t disappoint, although I’d have preferred a slightly better packaging. We got the black colour variant for review, and though it is quite a looker I think the blue is the better option. I maybe a little biased here because blue happens to be my favourite colour.

Honor 8 Pro sports a large 5.7-inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixel with 515 pixels per inch (ppi). This is the first time I have seen an eye popping display on a Huawei-made device. The display is big. It’s bright and colours look good. Thanks to the Quad HD resolution, everything is sharp. I wear power glasses, and hence a high-resolution display always helps.

Even otherwise, if you enjoy watching movies on the go, the display on the Honor 8 Pro really brings the action to the life. Huawei has also added a feature called eye comfort mode (for night reading), which filters out blue light when reading for long periods.

Honor 8 Pro Performance, Battery review

Huawei is gradually moving to its own processors to power devices. The Honor 8 Pro is powered by its Kirin 960 processor coupled with 6GB RAM, making it a highly capable smartphone. What is surprising is this processor was able to stand up to the OnePlus 5, and other flagships running the Snapdragon 835. The Honor 8 Pro is able to handle pretty much anything, from streaming movies to gaming to even photo editing. It doesn’t get hot, especially when running a demanding game like Real Racing 3.

Running the AnTuTu test, the Honor 8 Pro managed to score a respectable 133362. It’s comfortably ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or Apple iPhone 6s. Though it might not able to beat OnePlus 5 in the benchmark tests, I still believe that the Honor 8 Pro has a flagship-level processor. For now, I’m certainly convinced.

It’s not a fancy feature anymore – the battery life on a smartphone is more important than any other feature. Honor 8 Pro comes with a 4000mAh battery, more than the 3300mAh on the OnePlus 5. Overall, battery life on the Honor 8 Pro was very good. I could easily stretch out the battery up to one and half days with very little effort.

During a working day, with hundreds of notifications, three or four hours of music, web browsing, glancing at my social feed quite a few times and running apps and playing games, I would make easily make it to last more than a day. The phone also comes with a fast charging support. It takes close to 60 minutes to charge the battery from zero to hundred per cent.

Call and data connectivity were excellent throughout. I used a Reliance Jio 4G SIM for the purpose of testing. The audio quality from the speakers was satisfactory when watching videos or playing games, though I’d expect audio to be a bit louder.

Honor 8 Pro Software review

Honor 8 Pro runs a modified version of Android called EMUI 5.1, based on Android 7.0 Nougat. It is heavily customised. But it is hard to accuse Huawei for not featuring stock version of Android, when other players like Samsung and Xiaomi are doing the same.

While there is no end to this discussion, the software experience on the Honor 8 Pro isn’t too bad. EMUI is filled with some additions and that can modify the device in a positive way. There is no app drawer, as usual, which means all the apps are placed on the homescreen like Apple’s iOS. While the interface has improved a lot over the past few months, it still reminds users of the past at times.

Honor 8 Pro dual cameras review

There’s so much to talk about the dual camera setup on the Honor 8 Pro, but in this review I will only be able to give an overview. Honor 8 Pro has two lenses – one for colour and other for monochrome. These dual 12-megapixel cameras are accompanied by a dual-LED flash, phase detection, laser focus and f/2.2 aperture.

During my tests, the Honor 8 Pro captured photos that were sharp, and colourful. The focusing is quick (something the OnePlus 5 lacks), and it takes microseconds to capture the shot perfectly. Thanks to dual lenses, this enables the Honor 8 Pro to add depth-of-field effects to your photos. In right conditions, I was able to capture just the perfect shot. Honor 8 Pro is easily the best phone in its price range to offer the monochrome mode. Photos taken with the Honor 8 Pro came out more natural. See samples below.

Honor 8 Pro excels when shooting photos in dark conditions areas, especially during the night. In a photo taken from the metro station, I noticed my subject was visible with least possible noise. Overall, I’d say the Honor 8 Pro dual cameras are much better than the Honor 8’s.

Video recording is decent, unfortunately, optical image stabilization (OIS) is missing from the Honor 8 Pro. Though 4K video recording option is present. The camera also supports a slow motion video recording. The 8-megapixel front camera produces good selfies.

Honor 8 Pro Verdict

Honor 8 Pro is attractive, well-built Android phone that offers great battery life and excellent cameras on board. If you are looking for a high-end phone that costs under Rs 35,000, Honor 8 Pro is the one to look forward to. But there are still a few drawbacks to consider. The software experience is still cluttered compared to that of OnePlus 5.

Again, you are getting a fairly capable phone that looks lovely. And yes, it comes with 128GB of internal space, and microSD card support. Huawei has also thrown in a gimmick by bundling a VR headset – the Honor Pro’s box doubles-up as a VR headset. In my opinion, Honor 8 Pro deserves a chance to shine because it’s a solid phone at the end of the day.

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