Date:1 June 2016
What is it? The next iteration of Huawei’s successful Mate product line. Big, bright screen. Spectacular camera. Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Massive battery. Incredible performance. All the traditional Mate boxes checked and improved upon.
Under the hood: Android 6.0 Marshmallow overlaid with Huawei’s Emotion UI 4.0, driven by a Kirin 950 octacore CPU (4x 2,3 GHz Cortex-A72 + 4x 1,8 GHz Cortex A53) incorporating a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU. Memory on the test unit was of the 32 GB storage and 3 GB RAM variety, while picture taking duties are handled by a 16 MP (f2) unit equipped with optical image stabilisation and phase detection autofocus. Selfie cam is an 8 MP (f2.4, 26 mm) job. Battery capacity is a hulking 4 000 mAh.
I like: I can’t lie, big batteries get me sprung. You’ll definitely get through a full day on a charge. Raw power is always nice and the Mate 8 takes any task in its stride. The microphone is particularly good – I did two interviews with it and the audio quality was superb. That fingerprint reader is one of the best in the business, even though it lacks the functionality of the tormented Mate S. It can stand up straight on a desk. That camera can produce shots like the one of the Merc above.
I don’t like: It’s huge. It doesn’t feel that big in your hand, but it will impede your range of motion if in your pocket. Operating with one hand also isn’t an option unless you use the silly one-handed mode. While a single charge could fetch 10 hours on the trot easily, it’s a far cry from the two day marketing claims. This was yet another Huawei device which improved when I switched to the Google Now skin and its time the company starts using stock Android.
Who should buy it? Someone who is looking for a big phone that makes no compromises or excuses for itself. It’s a lot pricey, but the current deals offer a free Huawei Watch included, plus you get a case in the box.