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HUAWEI Mate 8 hands-on and first impressions

We take a quick look at HUAWEI's latest flagship offering, as we go hands on and give you our first impressions about the HUAWEI Mate 8!

Published onJanuary 5, 2016

First announced back in November exclusively for China, the HUAWEI Mate 8, is now primed for international markets. HUAWEI is showcasing their latest flagship offering at this year’s CES, and we got to spend some time with the device. Here is a quick look as we go hands on and give you our first impressions about the HUAWEI Mate 8!


In terms of design, the Mate 8 retains a lot of the design language and elements of previous generations Mate smartphones, including its full metal unibody construction. The device comes with a curved back that helps the large phone sit pretty nicely in the hand. With a 6-inch display, the Mate 8 is undeniably a large smartphone, but HUAWEI has done a great job with keeping the bezels very thin, allowing for a more manageable handling experience.


Up front is a 6-inch IPS LCD display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, and while Quad HD may be the expectation we have from current generation flagships, the display actually does look really good. 1080p is not a particularly low resolution by any means, and the decision to stick with it will have its benefits as far as battery life is concerned.


Under the hood, the HUAWEI Mate 8 comes with an in-house octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor, which has four Cortex-A72 cores and four Cortex-A53 cores, in a big.LITTLE configuration. Like the Mate S before it, there are going to be several variations of the device available. 32 GB and 64 GB are the options when it comes to built-in storage, and while the 32 GB iteration will have only 3 GB of RAM, the 64 GB variant will be available with either 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM. The larger storage variants will also be of the dual SIM variety, while the 32 GB version will only come with a single SIM slot.


On the camera front, the Mate 8 comes with a 16 MP rear shooter with an f/2.0 aperture, optical image stabilization, 4K video recording capabilities, and a dual tone LED flash, along with an 8 MP front-facing unit, that can be used to take advantage of the Beauty Modes available in the camera software package, and also allows for 1080p video recording.


Below the camera unit on the back is the fingerprint reader, and considering how great a job HUAWEI has been doing with fingerprint sensors with their other flagships, the fact that the reader of the Mate 8 is excellent is not surprising. The scanner is extremely fast, and the device unlocks pretty much instantaneously the moment your finger touches it. The reader can also be used as a shutter button to take selfies, which is a far more convenient and comfortable way to take the shot, as opposed to reaching for the on-screen shutter button.


The whole package is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery which HUAWEI says will last up to one and half days for heavy users, and for as long as two and half days with more moderate usage. The device also comes with fast charging capabilities, which HUAWEI claims will give you a full day of use after just 30 minutes of charging the phone.


6.0-inch IPS-NEO LCD display
1920 x 1080, 368ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Quad-core 2.3GHz Cortex-A72 + quad-core 1.8GHz Cortex A53 HiSilicon Kirin 950
Mali-T880 MP4
3/4GB, depending on storage option
Yes, up to 128GB
16MP rear camera, OIS, phase detection auto focus
8MP front camera
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Emotion UI 4.0
4000mAh, non-removable
157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9mm

On the software side of things, the HUAWEI Mate 8 runs the latest of iteration of the Emotion UI, version 4.0, that is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The user interface remains quite similar across iterations, and as has always been the case, EMUI comes with a slew of interesting and useful features, including Knuckle Sense, for cropping images with your knuckles, or opening up specific applications. Split screen multi-tasking is also available now, triggered by a long press of the Recent Apps key, and is a feature that is very easy to use on the large display of this device.


So, there you have it for this quick look at the HUAWEI Mate 8! The Mate 8 will be launched globally in the coming weeks, but there is no indication yet as to which markets will be receiving the phone, or what the price point will be. However, the Mate 8 is shaping up to be a fantastic flagship smartphone, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it to give it the full review treatment.

Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more great hands on coverage from CES 2016!

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