At CES 2016, Huawei showcased their next flagship phone that they’ve dubbed the Mate 8 in a press conference. The phone is a 6-inch phablet hewn from metal with 2.5D diamond-cut glass and an 83% screen to body ratio.
Screen and Processor
The Mate 8 has a 6-inch 1080P 368ppi display covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and runs Android Marshmallow 6.0 overlaid with Huawei’s updated EMUI 4.0 user interface on Huawei’s new in-house Kirin 950 octacore chipset that pairs a quartet of A72 2.3GHz processors and a quartet of A53 1.8GHz processors to offer, on paper, 70% more power efficiency, 125% better GPU performance and 100% more CPU pixel crunching power than the older Kirin 925 processor.
The phone will support four 2G bands, nine 3G bands and 18 4G bands and comes predominantly as a dual-SIM model though a single SIM 32GB/3GB RAM variant exists which makes it handy for travellers.
Camera, Battery and Fingerprint Sensor
Like other recently introduced Huawei phones like the Mate 7, Mate S and Honor 7, the Mate 8 comes with a fingerprint sensor that also lets you act as an unlocking mechanism for pictures and documents. Placed just above fingerprint sensor is the new Sony-sourced 16-MP IMX298 sensor which has optical image stabilisation, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED flash along with a slew of filters and modes with the ability to take 1080P video while the front-facing 8-MP selfie camera has an improved beauty algorithm to fix aesthetically challenged mugs. The Mate 8’s battery is a large non-removable 4000mAh job and has fast charging tech that lets you get about 40% of juice in half an hour of charging with a good day and a half of battery life with average use.
The specs look very respectable though what makes the Mate 8 interesting are the host of little software tweaks that Huawei has gradually added to their phones like their knock sensor that lets you rap the screen with your knuckles to take a screen cap while rapping the screen with two knuckles lets you take a short video of whatever is on screen.
The audio recorder app has seen an improvement as well with the ability to record directional audio as required from the three built-in mikes on the Mate S which comes in handy for interviews.
One additional handy feature is the ability to snap business cards and parse it into the Mate 8’s contact list so there’s no need for you to manually have to write everything down when you meet a new contact and they pass you a card. One particularly nifty feature is integrated voice commands to take or cancel calls which may come in handy if you’re tucking into a meal with gusto sans cutlery.
In terms of variants, the Mate 8 comes in a 3GB RAM and 32GB variant and a higher end 4GB with 64GB storage in four different colours: Champagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Space Gray and a new shade of Mocha Brown. There’s no official word on the local launch of the Mate 8 though it will cost 599 Euros (RM2857) for the 3GB/32GB and 699 Euros (RM3334) for the 4GB/64GB variant when it hits 30 countries around the world though these are rough estimates as local taxes and other costs will affect local pricing. According to a local source, the Mate 8 is slated for a Q1 launch in Malaysia though exact dates and which variant will be hitting the market are still yet to be finalised.
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