Hands-on: Huawei Honor 8 unlocked smart phone

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Thin, light, fast, fun and pretty, the new Honor 8 phone from Huawei is 5.2” of awesome with an appealing $399 price tag. It does practically everything you can think of and then some. Here’s a quick recap of  our first impressions.

The Specs

The Honor 8 is an Unlocked, Android-based phone with some advanced features and an eye toward slick design that help it stand out from the crowd. Here’s a full run-down of the key specifications from the Newegg product page:

  • Bionic 12 MP Dual lens rear camera (RGB + Monochrome Fusion Focus) + 8 MP front camera
  • 2-in-1 Design 3D fingerprint scanner, slick elegant design body with 15-layer glasses for both sides
  • 3000 mAh battery, Standard USB Type-C interface, Support QC 2.0
  • Hisilicon Kirin 950: 4 x Cortex A72 2.3 GHz + 4 x Cortex A53 1.8 GHz
  • 4GB RAM + 32GB ROM expandable up to 128GB
  • 5.2-inch touch screen, TFT, 16M colors, 1920 x 1080 (FHD), 423 PPI
  • Dual-microphone noise reduction
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0 OS, Huawei Emotion UI 4.1
  • Free 3-month screen protection

Touch-based shortcuts

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In terms of standout features, this Huawei phone is all about taking beautiful selfies and making your knuckles the new Lord and Commander of your phone. Just swipe your knuckles around the screen to make futuristic, sparkly colors that translate to cool functions on your phone.

This technology gives you a few more shortcuts than you have on your current phone. Draw an S with your knuckle to take a scrolling screenshot of a webpage. Draw an M and pull up your music. Draw a C to take a picture.

These touch controls could be a cool feature that you’ll get a ton of use out of, or they could just be left in the land of forgotten functionality. Either way, it’s new and different, and we tend to like that. If you take the time to get used to the knuckle gestures they can be a speedy and futuristic-feeling way to interact with your device. 

Look Mom, I’m Pretty!

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After I tested what I could do with different parts of my hand, it was all pictures, all the time. Resolution and colors were impressive on the 1920×1080 screen. The Honor 8 comes with two rear cameras (both 12MP) and one front camera (8MP), creating “finished” photos with very little effort on the part of the user.

Here’s a couple of images, unedited aside from size, taken with the Honor 8’s front-facing cameras. The first is just a basic photo, while the second two employ one of the phone’s built-in image filters.

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Do you own amateur editing by drawing your own additions to the photo, like putting a party hat on your depressed-looking coworker — they’ll love it!

The camera’s beautify button was better than some of the other ones I’ve tested, and the indoor photos I took were excellent. All my facial flaws were nowhere in sight, my eyes looked bigger, and I could adjust the lighting really easily to get a better shot. I took photos on a .9MP laptop that day in the exact same lighting, and ummm…let’s just say I would never let anyone see those. 

Huawei Making its Mark

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The rest of the phone (browsing, games, and apps) functions about how you would expect a higher-grade Android to function, with the added bonus of a phone that’s unlocked right out of the box. Huawei isn’t that well known in the U.S. just yet, but the company’s reputation has risen in the past few years as they continue to bring some of their top-tier products to the west. 

With with 4GB of RAM and 32 or 64GB storage, a 3,000 mAh battery that both charges quickly and lasts for your full waking day, and some distinctive design touches, the Honor 8 is definitely worth a closer look. Check out all the details, specs, and user reviews on Newegg today

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