November 26, 2015
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huawei mate 8 press x (5)

Huawei is on an upward trajectory, both in its native China, where it just took the market lead, and the West, where the Nexus 6P is being hailed as the best Android smartphone. The company is looking to capitalize on this attention with a brand new flagship that was unveiled minutes ago in China.

Following last year’s Mate 7, and the intermediary Mate S, Huawei is now launching the Mate 8, a stylish phablet featuring the latest-gen Kirin processor, a handful of interesting features, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Details are a little scarce for now, because Huawei chose to give the Mate 8 a limited launch in China, with a full global debut to follow at CES 2015.

The Mate 8 features a 6-inch Full HD display (just like the Mate 7 before it), covered in 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The edge-to-edge design and large display give the Mate 8 a fantastic 83% screen-to-body ratio. The display itself is supposed to be improved compared to last year’s release, featuring a color range that tops 95% of the NTSC gamut.

huawei mate 8 press x (3)

Available in Champagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Space Gray and Mocha Brown, the Mate 8 appears to be comparable in thickness with the 7.2-mm Mate S. Confirming the rumors, the rear of the device is dominated by a large camera module and a circular fingerprint sensor evoking the Nexus 6P. The fingerprint scanner is said to be faster and more accurate than the Mate 7’s.

The Kirin 950 processor, which Huawei launched early this month, is the first processor to feature four Cortex-A72 and four Cortex A53 CPU cores, combined with a Mali-T880 GPU. Overall, this 16-nm FinFET design should provide plenty of performance and improved power efficiency compared to last year’s Kirin 930, but the real highlight here is the i5 coprocessor, which Huawei boasts is the most powerful coprocessor on the market.

The i5 coprocessor provides hardware support for tasks like speech recognition, low-power consumption MP3, sensor hub, fused location provider (FLP) navigation, and more efficient location-based tasks. In real life, this means that tasks that don’t require the phone to be awake will be carried out more efficiently, potentially improving battery life by a margin. Things like music playback, always-on voice controls, and GPS navigation should benefit from the presence of i5.

The Kirin 950 also integrates a powerful image processor, which will wrangle the data stream coming from the 16MP camera on the back. Keeping everything humming is a 4,000 mAh battery.

huawei mate 8 press x (4)

The Mate 8 will run Huawei’s heavily modified EMUI 4.0, which is based on Marshmallow. Even if we need to wait for at least another month to see it in action, the fact that Huawei is only the second major OEM to launch a Marshmallow device is pretty impressive. The company teased a number of software features for the Mate 8, including voice control, a power-saving firewall, a feature called eRecovery that we assume is some type of system restore, and even a defragmenter.

The Huawei Mate 8 will be available in China from today. More details about its price and availability around the world will be revealed at CES 2016 in early January.

Update: There will be three versions of the Mate 8, based on RAM and storage. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 3GB RAM/32GB storage: 2999 CNY ~ $470
  • 4GB RAM/64GB storage: 3699 CNY ~ $580
  • 3GB RAM/128GB storage: 4399 CNY ~ $690

Thoughts on Huawei’s new Mate 8?

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