Huawei Mate 8 hands-on

by: Nirave GondhiaDecember 12, 2015
Huawei Mate 8 AA-

Huawei is growing in popularity, and that’s for good reason. The company just recently produced one of the best handsets on the market, the Nexus 6P, in partnership with Google. And following last year’s Mate 7 and the Mate S which launched a few months ago, Huawei has recently unveiled its high-end Mate 8 smartphone. We got the chance to take a quick hands-on with the device, so we’re here to give you our first impressions. Let’s dive right in!

On the aesthetic front, the Mate 8 is a Huawei device through and through. It sports an all-metal build quality that’s incredibly similar to that of the Mate 7 and Mate S. It has a large 6.0-inch LCD display with an unexpectedly low resolution of 1920 x 1080. From what we can tell it’s not a bad display by any means, though a bump up to Quad HD resolution would be nice to see here.

The device is powered by the octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor. It comes in three storage variants – 32, 64 and 128GB – with the latter two sporting 4GB of RAM, and the 32GB model sporting 3GB. It also has two SIM card slots. If you have no need for the second SIM slot, it doubles as a microSD card slot capable of supporting up to 128GB of additional storage. Around back we see a 16MP rear camera (complete with OIS) with a rounded fingerprint scanner underneath.

One of the benefits of having a device with a lower resolution display is that it will be much easier on battery life. Not that we think the Mate 8 would struggle in that area at all, as it sports a massive 4000mAh cell.


 Huawei Mate 8
Display6.0-inch IPS-NEO LCD display
1920 x 1080, 368ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
ProcessorQuad-core 2.3GHz Cortex-A72 + quad-core 1.8GHz Cortex A53 HiSilicon Kirin 950
GPUMali-T880 MP4
RAM3/4GB, depending on storage option
MicroSDYes, up to 128GB
Camera16MP rear camera, OIS, phase detection auto focus
8MP front camera
SoftwareAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Emotion UI 4.0
Battery4000mAh, non-removable
Dimensions157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9mm


We’ll of course bring you a full review in the weeks to come, so be sure to stay tuned. What are your thoughts? Do you think this could be your next smartphone? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

Check out more from Huawei

  • charlie Jason

    That is a beefy GPU man.
    Coupled that with 14nm A72 quad core and “only” 1080p, you have a bell of a performer

    • seattle tech

      Actually its a very weak gpu for 2016. They skimped out on it

      • Andreas Larsson

        Still better than anything current

        • seattle tech

          Nope even the old exynos 7420 mali-t760 MP8 is faster.

          • Andreas Larsson

            What? Why? That makes no sense

          • seattle tech

            the mali t760 has 8 cores compared the the mate 8’s t880 4 cores. The new exynos 8890 will have t880 12 cores 3 times the mate 8 4 cores.

          • Andreas Larsson

            And so what? Still slower gpu even with more cores, dont you remember the 72 core nvidia tegra 4? Yaay cores :p

          • seattle tech

            Apparently you have no idea what you are talking about

          • Andreas Larsson

            Hey it was you who started counting cores and not me :p

          • 1213 1213

            In the end the mali-t880mp4 would be lower than the mali-t760mp8, and will only do better becausebof the low res screen. The single core and multi core scores for the CPU are also not that much higher.

            The international release will be announced next year, so we can expect it to be Jan/Feb, when the next gen phones will be around Feb/March. Cores do matter, and you’re the one making stupid comparisons.

            ARM’s latest designs are still all built on its Midgard Tri-pipe architecture, which house most but not all of the key GPU components inside the “shader core”, allowing for scaling of performance by simply adjusting the number of cores. Most other GPU designs do not adopt designs which scale in this way, but this allows ARM to target a range of uses cases with quite similar designs. Just look at the Mali t760, there is a linear relationship with double the cores having very close to double the performance.

          • Pilz

            Meanwhile the Nvidia X1 in the Pixel c has 256 cores. The K1 has 192 cores, it’s not necessarily the core count, but in this case with plays in Nvidia favor.

          • seattle tech

            ARM states the the t880 is up to 80% faster than the t760. Do the math 4x t880 or 8x t760. Also i have the nvidia x1 its fast but buggy

          • Pilz

            Mine isn’t buggy at all, but I agree about some having issues. I wish we could have an Nvidia Maxwell based GPU with a Qualcomm or Samsung SOC

          • Goran

            So…are you intending to fly to Mars with your phone? Be real. What u use your phone for?

          • 1213 1213

            With that argument you should probably not even be looking at the performance of the latest phones. Stick to phones that are over 3 years old and low end phones.

          • Goran

            Just check benchmarks and others for processor in mate 8 before saying something like that. Right now it’s the fastest. Shure new exynos and sd 820 will be faster but…do u really need something stronger…

          • 1213 1213

            Do you need something as fast as the mate 8 then?

            But yes, next phone I get I wanted to try out the GameCube emulator, the kirin 950 doesn’t seem like it would be able to play it like the s7 would. It will play it better than the s6, but my prediction is it will only be properly playable with the snapdragon820 or exynos8890.
            And ‘right now’ isn’t accurate when the international release is next year.

          • Goran

            There is some true in what u said…i have Samsung galaxy alpha and I am more than happy with it. It’s amazing device that I got for OK price. But I need bigger phone. 4.7 is just not enough. And I want OK price to pay for one. And Huawei phones, at least in my country are reasonably priced. Samsung is close but after few months when they release new phone. So I will pick among them. S7 plus seems tempting but price will be much bigger propably. HTC and their insane pricing is out of the question. Even though i like their phones best. Metal build and quality is uniq…but they ask way too much.They are delusional with pricing their phones in Europe. LG from some reason is doing the same. So between these two price will decide IF audio chip is simular.I am audiophile. And no doubt, of all big phone makers….Huawei is best priced.

          • #Note5 IsBoss

            The Exynos 7420 takes a dump on anything made by Huawei just like all Samsung handsets piss all over Huawei yearly

          • squiddy20

            Proof or you’re lying. Oh, right, you’re the guy who makes all kinds of crazy claims without once ever providing a shred of evidence to back up what you’re saying.

          • pseudo

            You do realise you can like a brand without defending it to the death. Sammy really doesn’t care about your personal loyalty. Each company has good devices and none of them are perfect not even the note series. You laugh at apple fanbois for accepting whatever apple gives them when you do the same.

            For me, Samsung got interesting with the s5 and active due to being waterproof, others hated the sticking plaster styling.

            Samsung have always been good for specs but they lack the things I look for in a phone. Then again nobody has had something to encourage me to pay flagship prices.

    • Android Crazy Modder

      that CPU is a beast, but GPU sucks ass

      • seattle tech

        The Kirin 950 looks to be in last place compared to the snapdragon 820 and exynos 8890

        • Andreas Larsson

          Still way faster than anything current an almost on pair with the 820 and already available

          • seattle tech

            Like I said in the other comment. You write jibberish without any facts. So my a57 scores 1646 in geekbench while the next gen a72 mate 8 scores 1700. Thats pitiful for a72. while the 820 scores around 2400.

  • Alex_Mendez

    Any word on network compatability?

  • Konstantin Stefanov

    if i did not have the huawei p8max this would have been my next phone, since i owned the mate 7.. amazing phones, just flawless construction!

  • Martyn Butler

    Only 1080? Thats a PLUS point in 6 inches – it wont be a power sucker – Really liking HUAWEI designs now about some colour options …………..

    • Android Crazy Modder

      1080p saves a lot of power. people now days in China focus more on battery life instead of pixel race. :D

    • Officer sweetchuck

      Saves on battery and doesn’t tax the processor so much

    • Regular Dude

      The Kirin 950 has a WEAK GPU compared to SD820 / Exynos7420 / Tegra X1.
      So, if Huawei put a high res screen it would be very laggy.

      • Aaaight


      • Karly Johnston

        Good point, I have the best of both worlds with the Mi4c, an SD808 only pushing a 1080p screen = great battery life and high frame rates.

      • Ismail Akram

        In your dream it’s for sure powerful than Rubi’s 7420

      • Say What??

        And in the real world you see zero difference.

  • Osakwe tochukwu

    Now thats the next company that would replace samsung as the king of android flagship. Nice phone….love the 6 inches thou 2k resolution wont be bad…but 1080p is still nice.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Lol. Though the Mate 8 looks amazing as well as their Honor phones and Nexus 6. it’s gonna take a lot more than fancy design to replace Samsung. They’re the number 1 manufactuer for a good reason.

      • Osakwe tochukwu

        Well u have a point there. Read an article for the best of android smartphones cam shoot out 2015 and huawei wasnt even on the list. However the blackberry priv seems to have impressed me so much. I think bb coming to android will force samsung to get really serious or have their number one spot siezed from them.

        • drifter77

          Problem with BB Priv is its mediocre battery.

          • Coket


        • Andreas Larsson

          Nexus 6p is huawei and that won the test? Or are you talking about some other test than the android authority one?

          • Osakwe tochukwu

            Well it was called nexus 6p not huawei6p. I meant a phone built by huawei under the banner of huawei not under google banner

  • HR

    oh boy, here I go droolin’ again.

  • rocketryan

    Saw one in the shops today gorgeous, really reminds me of when I first saw the m7, 2k screen would be better but 1080p is fine.

  • William Peterson

    Nice phone. I like what they are doing with their phones. Still think I’ll go for the Nexus 6P. I do believe they could give Samsung a run for their money and become something big in the US.

  • Ivan Jensen

    I am a photog- hobbyist, and do study pictures on larger screens.
    1080P is enough on screen size > 6 inch….. typically spec. freaks think more is always better…

    I do like to watch footage on my phone, without burning my fingers, so welcome Kirin 950…

    • vision33r

      Majority of people are still using a 20-24″ 1080p monitor just fine and that’s less than 136ppi vs these phones with over 400ppi

      • Sagar Wadhwa

        You do realize that people don’t use their monitors in their hands, so close to their face ? Not that I’m lobbying for a higher res display, but I think it would be nice to have a bit higher resolution on a device this size (laying stress on the word ‘nice’)
        But whatever creates a better user experience especially from the battery standpoint, which I think is the Achilles Heel of the phones of today, would get my brownie points.
        The only problem I have with this phone really though, is the humongous 6in screen. I currently have a OPO (5.5″ Screen) which I got as temporary phone as my S4 broke, but it looks like I might just use it till I see something game changing in the mobile phone tech (I really hope it to be higher capacity batteries). Even the OPO seems too big for my tastes. Single handed operation is just not possible. I think 4.7 – 5 in. is the sweet spot for mobile phones and would love to see a well built phone which doesn’t burn a hole in my pocket in that size.

        • Andreas Larsson

          You do realise it is still a higher ppi on this than on iPhone 6s and all tablets currently avaliable, just to compare it to other devices you hold at the same distance as this

        • Say What??

          4.7-5 inches? My fiance has no trouble with her 6″ Nexus 6 that I gave to her. I think 5.3-6″ may be the perfect size range for most people in 2016.

  • Murray Winiata

    So… a hands-on with no actual impressions supplied? I could have written this piece from a spec-sheet. Can we have some useful feedback? How did the screen seem “not bad”? Whites/blacks/colour accuracy/brightness/reflectivity? Didn’t try any camera snaps? How was camera start up speed and shot to shot time? Lots of things that could have been covered even from a brief hands-on.

    • Jugo

      Story of most ‘hands-on’/’unboxing’/’first impressions’/’first n hours’ videos.

      • Murray Winiata

        No doubt, still I was hoping for more. My Mate 8 arrives next week, so at least I won’t have to wait long to find out more.

        • Joshua Courtney

          Where did you order yours from?

          • Murray Winiata

            AliExpress, same place I got the P8Max from previously.

          • Joshua Courtney

            Which seller? Could you send me the link please?

          • Murray Winiata

            I will once I get some real tracking information, not sure if the number I have is genuine and not been collected/processed by DHL, or supplied to string me along while they await stock. Bit stressful buying new phones from China at times!

          • Joshua Courtney

            Ok cool. Let me know how it goes.

          • Murray Winiata

            Well, seems to be tracking now, purchased from Brucomax Electronics on AliExpress.

          • Joshua Courtney

            Which carrier are you on?

          • Murray Winiata

            Vodafone New Zealand, it’ll work fine here on both 3G and 4G.

          • Joshua Courtney

            Oh I’m on AT&T in the US

          • Murray Winiata

            Looks like frequencies ok for AT&T, let me check when I get it and confirm the bands.

          • Joshua Courtney

            Which carrier are you on?

        • Andreas Larsson

          Wich colour mate 8 have you ordered? :D

          • Murray Winiata

            Gold. 4gb versions only available in gold at present (Mocha colour doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, and the others do not appear to be planned for 4gb RAM versions in China’s domestic market).

  • Dave

    This is supposed to be a ‘hands on’? This is nothing more than writing down specs and adding some pictures! -_-

  • Arturo Raygoza

    Did I miss the price?

  • Denmark de Guzman

    Mate 8 is the phone of the year!

  • Goran

    From what I’ve seen, mate 7 was quite good device with excellent reception for signal….and I’ve read that mate 8 will never loose GPS signal thnx to some new technology. Just concerned a little for the screen….it’s true that Kirin is not as good as Exynos….but unless u wanna fly to Mars with your phone….it has plenty of power for real life. More that we really need in fact. I am audiophile and pls review this on mate 8.

  • vision33r

    1080p is not low res. 720p is low res but still usable today. Bigger phones these days needs to trim it’s power consumption. Pixel race is bad for both screen and cameras.

    • AbbyZFresh

      On a 6-inch phone, i say 1080p is a bit on the low side.

      • Andreas Larsson

        Why? It still has a higher ppi than iPhone 6s

      • Say What??

        LMAO it absolutely is not.

  • John Mart Palma

    Dem bezelssssss B)

  • George

    That phone is a beast!
    I’d pick it over S6 any day.

  • Nate

    So does this work on any Lte carriers in the US?

  • Siya Chibi

    I would like to see the recent apps screen, the v5.1 EMUI 3.1 is horrid!

    Hope we get the carousel.

  • Adeel

    are they going to do the same bullshit in giving a grey one in 3GB RAM model and only Golden and weird brown in 4GB RAM ???

  • ‫محمد مرعي‬‎

    sure its goin to be my next phone i love huawei and its phones

  • Jimmy Donta

    Here i was hoping for a 2k display:^( Guess I’m holding on to my note 4 a bit longer…

  • Juan Ovalles

    What about the “hands on” experience???????? I could have written this from a spec-list.

  • Samplethief

    This phone gets maximum style points from me. It looks amazing but my johnson went soft as soon as I read the numbers “1920 x 1080”. This year has been awful for phones. Not a single company has brought us the golden triangle of items:

    1. Quad HD
    2. Micro SD
    3. Design

    Roll on HTC with the M10. I have been stalling my upgrade.

  • Avieshek Rajkhowa

    QiKU – Q Terra

  • Snigger

    I own a Mate 7 and will not upgrade as this is too similar in spec. I expect a marshmallow update at some point. Having looked at and translated the Chinese site there a re a few nice features. Colours Champagne Gold, Mocca and 1 other which I forget. My only gripe with the existing model is twofold firstly the keyboard can sometimes play up and put other characters in addition to this if trying to use google to set a time for the alarm verbally ends up setting the alarm on silent…not exactly helpful. Otherwise I am delighted with the phone and my new Huawei Watch.