Huawei's latest flagship combines world-class hardware with software which is, at best, an acquired taste.
The quick take
The Huawei P8 is a great phone with a capable camera, long battery life and an expansive array of features, set back by weird software. The hardware is top-notch, but Huawei's EMUI 3.1 is buggy in places, and often at odds with Google's preloaded services.
- Great build quality, with premium materials
- Slim, lightweight design
- Great performance and battery life
- Highly capable camera
- Buggy, overbearing software
- Much of Lollipop is hidden behind Huawei's skin
- Google services take a back seat, and in some cases don't work properly
- Android Wear support is completely broken
- 5.2-inch Full HD
- IPS LCD display
- 1920x1080 resolution (435ppi)
- 13MP, ƒ/2.0 lens, OIS
- 8MP front-facing camera
- 2680mAh battery
- Fixed internal battery
- Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 930 processor
- 4x2.0GHz A53e cores + 4x1.5GHz A53 cores
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage
- microSD slot
Huawei P8 Full Review
As big as it is in the broader world of telecommunications, Huawei doesn't have the brand recognition of LG, Samsung or even HTC in Western markets. Indeed, it's hard enough for most of us to agree on how to pronounce the company's name. (H'wah-way is what we're told, by the way.) Nevertheless, the Chinese wireless giant is eager to push further into Europe and establish itself as a player in the notoriously tricky U.S. market. This year, that starts with a new flagship smartphone: the Huawei P8.
It's pronounced 'H'WAH-way.'
Having ditched the old "Ascend" brand, beefed up its hardware and moved to all-metal construction, Huawei will be hoping its flagship can be seen in the same light as the more established smartphone brands. Indeed, its London launch event was full of favorable comparisons with the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6.
Huawei's premium hardware has been improving steadily over the past couple of years, arguably outpacing many of the bigger Android brands. Yet on the whole, its high-end phones have been primarily sold in Asia and a handful of European countries. (In the U.S., for instance, you'd probably be more familiar with Huawei's many mid-range offerings.)
As such, the company's EMUI software appears to be built, first and foremost, for a Chinese audience — a market in which Google doesn't officially operate, and where tracking down trustworthy apps can be challenging. And when that software suddenly has to live alongside a full suite of Google apps and services, things can become a little awkward. That's pretty much the P8 in a nutshell: amazing hardware paired with software to madden Android purists. Read on for a detailed breakdown of Huawei's 2015 flagship.