Huawei's flagship Mate eight telephone goes international, we go arms-on
Huawei earned a brand new legion of followers after crafting the surprisingly good Nexus 6P, however its new flagship — the Mate eight — is a drastically totally different beast. The corporate introduced at its CES press convention that the Mate eight will get a worldwide launch, however I have been twiddling with the telephone for a number of days already. I plan to place it by way of the wringer through the use of it during the nightmare that’s CES, however one factor is obvious even after a couple of days: Huawei is aware of find out how to craft a stunning telephone. Now, if solely its software program chops have been nearly as good.
We have recognized what’s contained in the Mate eight for a while, I am going to accept a quick recap. Fairly than slap a Snapdragon within the Mate eight, Huawei as an alternative selected the brand new octa-core Kirin 950 with its mixture of 4 Cortex-A72 and 4 Cortex-A53 CPU cores, together with both three or 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and ARM’s flagship Mali-T880 GPU. Throw in a supposedly first-fee digital camera sensor made by Sony (the IMX298, for those who care) and startlingly massive four,000mAh battery and you have got additional proof that Huawei is not any slouch within the hardware division. Thumbing via menus, swiping by way of apps and simply utilizing the telephone the best way it was meant for use introduced only a few situations of stuttering and slowdown, and even then, I am inclined to chalk it as much as Huawei’s over-the-prime interface fairly than precise hardware funkiness.
That digital camera, then again, appears much less instantly spectacular. I am going to should spend extra time with it to actually get a really feel for its efficiency, however whereas colours appeared extra-or-much less proper on, I hoped for extra readability in a few of my photographs. The difficulty is extra obvious in decrease mild (as all the time), however I am going to hold fiddling and publish a comparability between the Mate eight and the Nexus 6P earlier than we depart Vegas.
Let’s not overlook what the gadget is wish to grip, both. For a telephone with a 6-inch, 1080p display — downright foolish by most individuals’s requirements — the Mate eight is a pleasure to carry. There’s barely any bezel flanking the left and proper aspect of the show, and your complete package deal is just 7.3mm thick in addition. If something, the most important shock is that the Mate eight does not have a USB Sort-C port for charging and knowledge switch like its extra Google-y cousin. Subsequent time. The Mate eight does, nevertheless, have a fingerprint scanner on its again that is about the identical measurement because the one on the Nexus 6P and — extra importantly — is simply as quick and correct. The 6P’s loopy good fingerprint detection ruined nearly all different Android telephones for me, and the Mate eight retains that custom going robust.
Make no mistake: the Mate eight is a reasonably telephone, and I would not thoughts if this factor wound up being the template for a brand new Nexus. In reality, if all it took to make an amazing telephone have been a mastery of bodily design, Huawei can be sitting on the head desk with Samsung, Apple and the like. The factor is, it is harder (to not point out costly) to construct distinctive, invaluable hardware options, so nobody must be stunned that the majority system makers make investments closely in iconic software program experiences. Huawei is not any totally different, so the Mate eight is loaded up with the corporate’s EMUI on prime of Android 6.zero Marshmallow… for higher or worse. Marshmallow makes for an excellent basis, however EMUI nonetheless looks like a bundle of really neat concepts combined in with some terribly executed ones.
Options like Knuckle Sense — which helps you to double-faucet the display together with your knuckle for a screenshot, or seize a piece of the display by drawing a circle together with your knuckle — undoubtedly fall into the neat column. It’d sound nutty, however the Mate eight by no means had an issue telling the distinction between my knuckle and my fingertip. Hell, you’ll be able to even double-faucet on the display with two knuckles to start out a display recording. It is a gimmick, positive, however the skilled gadget reviewer in me appreciates having my workflow streamlined. Typically although, it is the little issues which might be probably the most obnoxious. Think about your notifications, for starters: topic strains for emails are rendered in a darker colour than the remainder of the physique, which suggests you will typically wrestle to learn them towards the translucent gray of the notification shade. Who thought that was a good suggestion? And I nonetheless choose having the usual Android app launcher slightly than having all my apps splayed throughout my homescreen a la iOS, however that is extra a concession to the methods of the Chinese language market than something.
So yeah, EMUI basically is not precisely my cup of tea. On the flip aspect, it is lots skinnable if that is your factor and you may fiddle with themes to show the Mate eight into one thing extra up your alley. And for what it is value, Huawei is conscious of the vocal minority calling for inventory Android on their units — I would not rely on the subsequent Mate coming with pure Marshmallow nevertheless it’s not utterly out of the query. Regardless of an overbearing contact on the software program aspect, I can not assist however assume Huawei’s obtained one thing fairly particular right here. Too dangerous it in all probability will not ever get a US launch — the Mate eight will hit the standard far-flung markets in Europe and Asia very quickly (we want we had extra readability than that).