Huawei Mate 8 launch & hands-on
Huawei today announced a quartet of new devices, including the anticipated Mate 8, the Mediapad M2 10.0 and two new smartwatches targeted at the fairer sex. During a long speech by Product Marketing Director, Luke Au, they were proud to tell all members of the media and dealers present that they now hold the 3rd largest share of the global smartphone market, and have grown exponentially in terms of smartphones shipped and revenue. Well, good for Huawei, but I know readers of Pokde.net aren’t interested in all those marketing figures. So let’s get down to business.
The Huawei Mate 8 will be available here in 4 colors, including the Mocha Brown which according to Luke Au is one of the most exclusive color variants. It isn’t hard to see why as the combination of gold accents with the brown aluminium body has never been done before by any other smartphone manufacturer.
The pricing of the Huawei Mate 8 is pretty reasonable in our books, costing only RM2099 for the standard variant and RM2399 for the premium one. Considering that the premium variant doesn’t add much more than an extra GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, I believe the standard version will be considerably more popular. In any case, the memory is expandable via microSD cards.
The Huawei Watch was also launched in two new iterations targeted at the female demographic. The Huawei Watch Jewel sports 68 1.5 mm Swarovski Zirconia inset on the bezel of the smartwatch for that exclusive look. Speak about diamonds are forever. Heh. The Huawei Watch Elegant features no Swarovski crystals but it does have a unique knurled pattern around the bezel. Pricing wise the Jewel is costlier than the Elegant by RM300, coming in at RM2299 compared to the Elegant’s price tag of RM1999.
The Elegant model looks…err…pretty elegant with the knurled edges and leather strap.
I regrettably took no images of the Mediapad M2 10.0, but it is quite a looker. Compared to the smaller Mediapad M2 8.0 which I have previously reviewed, it now features a whopping four speaker configuration. The speakers are divided into the high tones and low tones for a more wholesome listening experience. World class audio company harman/kardon is also involved in the tuning of the Mediapad M2 10.0’s audio system, so great audio quality should be expected from the tablet. A new fingerprint sensor is also found on the front for better security. The Mediapad M2 10.0 price ranges from RM1299 to RM1999, depending on color, storage and connectivity options.
Huawei Mate 8 hands-on
The display takes up 83% of the front real estate of the Mate 8, and is a 6.0″ 1080p panel boasting 95% NTSC color saturation, which honestly I have no idea what it means. Probably what they meant was that it supports 95% NTSC color gamut? The screen looks great even though it pushes only 1080p resolution, when other flagships are pushing for 1440p already. The 368 ppi is more than enough to qualify as a Retina-class display, so I believe few if any will be able to spot individual pixels. Thanks to the really small bezels, the Mate 8 is surprisingly easy to hold comfortably even with the larger-than-average screen size. The launcher here looks exactly the same as on the Mate S and P8, except for an extra column of icons due to the larger display area.
All the buttons are located on the right side of the device. As per tradition for Huawei devices, the power button is textured while the volume buttons are smooth. In practice, this works very well as I have never pressed the wrong button on both the Huawei devices I have reviewed. The sides are quite narrow, but still offers adequate grip thanks to the curved back.
The fingerprint sensor on the rear has also been optimized for a better user experience. It is now set shallower in the phone for quicker access, while also enlarged by 10%. Compared to the Mate 7, the Mate 8 claims twice as fast recognition times, while cutting error rates in half. I have not tested the fingerprint sensor function on the display devices, but I will be sure to try it when I get my hands on a review unit.
The camera on the Mate 8 is an interesting one. It uses the 16 megapixel type 1/2.8″ Sony Exmor RS IMX 298 sensor behind a f/2.0 aperture. It features PDAF and closed-loop motor control technology for faster and more accurate focusing. A new image processor is also working behind the scenes to allow you to make the best shots. It also sports an OIS system which is touted as the industry’s greatest image-stabilization angle with up to 1.5° of anti-shake.
I did try the camera a little but I didn’t copy the samples over. Here’s a look at the camera UI while I attempt to take an artsy shot of the Mate 8s with our photographer. The UI doesn’t seem to have changed much from the previous Huawei devices, which is a good thing as the simple user experience is very enjoyable to use. Just point and shoot. From the short hands-on experience, our photographer who uses a Nexus 6P mentioned that the Mate 8’s rear camera seems to be better than the 6P’s, a pretty mean feat considering that the 6P is quite an amazing shooter.
The front camera is 8 megapixels, and is augmented by a comprehensive list of beautification modes. Colors seem pretty good and accurate aside from my photographer friend looking anaemic in this shot for some reason. Maybe we accidentally turned on whitening mode…
That concludes our coverage of the Huawei Mate 8 launch event which was held at KL Convention Centre Conference Hall yesterday!