On the back you have the a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and dual-LED flash. Huawei is using a Sony IMX 298 image sensor for the re-facing camera that supports fast focusing, phase autofocus and has an aperture of f/2.0. The front camera is an 8-megapixel, f/2.4 camera that uses a Sony IMX 1709 sensor. The rear-facing photos are 4608x3456 (4:3) and the front-facing are 3264x2448 (4:3). Both cameras take FHD 1080p videos (16:9, stereo audio).
Below the rear-facing camera you'll find Huawei’s much-improved circular fingerprint scanner that is similar to the one used on the Nexus 6P. The Mate 8 maintains two sets of fingerprint interface standards to improve smartphone payment experiences—the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) and Android M standards. Besides scanning your index finger you can also use it to trigger the camera shutter, hanging up calls or for other tasks by going into the settings and making the changes you'd like.
The pictures that the Huawei Mate 8 take in auto mode can be seen in the gallery above. We found the camera to be adequate for your normal daily photos. The first five photos in the gallery above were taken at the shopping centers in Ceasers, Wynn and Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas in auto mode with no flash. The final two photos were just some random ones we took at a meeting with Zotac at CES 2016 where we used auto mode with the flash enabled. All of the images were shrunk to 1920x1440 and uploaded with no other changes being done.
Along the right side edge of the phone you have volume rockers and then below that you have the power button.
On the left hand side you'll find a dual-SIM card slot is on the left. One of the SIM card slots doubles as a micro SD slot, so you are able to expand the memory by up to 128GB if you wanted to toss in a Micro SD card.
On the bottom of the phone you'll find two speakers that are located near the edges of the phone that are divided by the a microUSB port. It would have been nice to see the Mate 8 use USB Type-C for charging, but keep in mind that this phone came out in China back in 2015 and the reversible USB Type-C connector costs more money. At the price point Huawei is charging for this phone we feel that one should have been included and are disappointed by this design choice.
Ice Storm Unlimited
||GFXBench 4.0 T-Rex
Apple A9 SoC
Apple A6 SoC
HiSilicon Kirin 950
Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
|Droid Turbo 2
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
|| 56 FPS
|Zenfone 2 Laser
Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
|| 14 FPS
When it comes to industry standard benchmark performance tests the Huawei Mate 8 was found to be a very powerful smartphone, but was behind the Apple iPhone 6S in every single benchmark. We tested the phone in high performance mode. On the browser benchmarks WebXPRT 2015 and JetStream, the Mate 8 performed really well and placed second behind iPhone 6S. The other benchmarks are a combination of CPU and GPU performance and you can see that the Apple iPhone 6S is still dominant and the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 SoC were both performing faster than the Mate 8. The performance of the Mali-T880 GPU on the Mate 8 was actually lower than we expected as the Mate 8 scored lower than the Samsung Galaxy S5 from 2015 in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. There is no way that the Adreno 330 GPU on the Galaxy S5 should be out performing the Mali-T880 GPU on the Mate 8, but that particular benchmarks shows that it is. When you look at GFXBench 4.0 T-Rex (Offscreen) the Mate 8 scores 52% higher than the Galaxy S5, so it's odd that it loses in one GPU heavy test and then wins by a long shot in another.
To test the non-removable Li-Po 4,000mAh battery in the Mate 8 we used the battery test benchmark in AnTuTu tester and found that the phone scored very well in high performance mode. In fact the score of 8,343 was the highest that we have ever seen in high-performance mode! That is pretty dang impressive and it's no wonder that we were getting through two work days on normal use before needing to charge the phone. Heavy phone users should still find that they have enough power to last them a full day. Charging the Mate 8 is also a painless experience as you can get to about a 35% charge in just 30 minutes. Huawei says that you can get a full days charge in 30 minutes thanks to the phones rapid charging technology and that appears to be true for light users.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions:
Huawei is the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, as well the largest in China, so be sure to keep an eye on smartphones from Huawei as this is a growing company. Huawei shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015 – a 44 percent increase from the previous year – becoming the leading Chinese smartphone manufacturer thanks to products like the P8, Mate 7, Mate S and Nexus 6P.
We were impressed by the Huawei Mate 8 as it features a solid all-metal design, powerful HiSilicon Kirin 950 SoC, huge 6-inch display, a long-lasting battery and it runs Android 6.0. On the downside we wish it had a higher screen resolution as premium smartphones have been running Full HD now for several years and we are ready for Ultra HD displays on flagship smartphones here in 2016. We also wish that Huawei went with a USB Type-C connector to help future proof the Mate 8 and we are tired with fiddling with the power connector when we charge our phone.
The Huawei Mate 8 isn't the perfect end-all smartphone on the market, but it's pretty solid on both paper and when tested in the real world. The fact that you can't buy it in many countries is a bummer as is the fact that it costs €600 for the Huawei Mate 8 standard version. At ~$650 USD that puts this phablet in a rather crowded premium market. The Google Nexus 6P, also made by Huawei, is priced 23% lower at $499.00 shipped when purchased at Amazon
. The Nexus 6P might have a smaller battery, screen, and less powerful 12MP camera, but it also runs Android 6.0 and even sports a USB Type-C connector. You also have the Xiaomi Mi 5 powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC coming out next month that appear like they will be competitive.