Chinese company Huawei hasn't got to the top of Indian customers' shopping list yet. But it's trying. Part of the strategy is to launch devices in different price brackets, most recently, the Holly 3, its first ‘Made In India’ device costing Rs 9,999, the Honor 8 Smart for Rs 19,999 and the Honor 8 at Rs 29,999.
Another part of the strategy is to come up with devices that have what users want most -- great design, a good camera, and top-notch specifications. With the Honor 8, Huawei has got a lot right, but missed out on some important features as well.
Glass all over
There's no doubting that the Honor 8 looks beautiful. It's said to be made with 15 layers of glass, which is why the back glints and shines in patterns. The device looks as if it's made of one mould, with the glass curving in around the edges. In blue, if you can get that colour, it's even prettier. Users like to just stare at it but the thing is it's really shockingly slippery. You don't get a case in the box and will have to go on a big hunt for something appropriate, and when you find it, it will be a pity to hide that beauty. But it's so slippery it tends to travel along a smooth surface and well, you can imagine the rest. It isn't flimsy, which is a mercy, but it's still smooth as an egg yoke.
A better camera
It's not easy to get a worthy camera in the sub-Rs 40,000 category. The camera is still the one thing that is a differentiator between the top two or three flagships and everything else. But this is changing. Huawei's own P9 has a camera that can be counted among the top few, and now so does its less expensive sibling, the Honor 8. It's a dual camera setup, one monochrome and the other RGB. The lenses work together to create a more detailed, richer image. Both rear cameras are 12MP with an f2.2 aperture. That isn't too impressive, but the phone still takes good pictures. It has a Pro mode with lots of settings to fiddle with and those who know how to do so get what they are calling astonishing results. That includes bokeh or that nice blurred background effect. The front camera is an 8MP with an f2.4 aperture. There are many modes to keep photo enthusiasts busy in the camera app. The camera works fast but surprisingly doesn't have any optical image stabilisation and this is to the detriment of video and photos in low light.
Specs on the Honor 8 include a 5.2-inch (1080x1920p, ~423 ppi) IPS LCD display, which means it's a little smaller than usual and good to hold or use with one hand -- were it not for the slipperiness. The phone works on Huawei's own octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage and expandable memory. It is not a dual SIM, nor does it support VoLTE specifically. Among the features the phone is missing is an FM radio, beloved of most Indian users. There's a 3,000mAh battery, which generally gets one through the day unless there's a lot of camera work going on.
The Honor 8 works with Huawei's own very customised skin. There are lots of features packed in that one wouldn't get on a plain Android phone. The excellent fingerprint sensor, for instance, can also double up as an app trigger. You can programme it to open up the camera, click a photo, light up the torch, and so on. Drawing letters on the screen can also lead to actions such as an 'e' to start up Chrome.
As a package the Honor 8 is pretty good, were it not for its higher-than-expected price. The phone competes with mid-range devices that pack a powerful punch but cost less. The popular OnePlus 3 is one of these. But yes, those 15 layers of glass must have cost something to make.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)