Honor 8 : The Latest affordable flagship is here

The general consensus is the Samsung S7/S7 Edge/Note 7 are the best damn Android phones you can buy right now. They’re also really expensive. Off contract you’ll be dropping at least $800 to enjoy a gorgeous device saddled with TouchWiz. But Huawei just went and made the Honor 8, a phone very similar to the S7 lineup, but at half the price.

Huawei took to the stage today to unveil its latest device, the Honor 8, to those in the United States. The company held a press conference in San Francisco to show off the latest and greatest, and impressed many in the process.

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The Honor 8 is just the latest device to enter the current budget battle that is being waged between manufacturers providing flagship specs with mid-range pricing. But what makes this release so exciting is the fact that its the “first flagship device” that Honor has brought to the U.S. market.

“Honor 8 perfectly represents the evolution of our overall product view. It goes against established industry norms and market conventions with a higher aesthetic standard. At thesame time, it balances looks with the smarts, speed, and connectivity that today’s millennial consumers demand. Honor 8 reflects our understanding of and commitment to their needs and goals.”
– George Zhao, President of Honor

Honor 8 Specs:

  • 5.2-inch Full HD display
  • Octa-core Kirin 950 Processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB/64GB Storage expandable up to 128GB via microSD
  • Dual 12MP rear-facing cameras
  • 8MP front-facing camera
  • 3,000mAh battery with fast charging capabilities
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ Huawei Emotion UI 4.1 overlay

The Honor 8 features a similar design to the Galaxy Note 7 with glass surfaces on the front and rear of the device, while featuring an aluminum frame. This makes the Honor 8 a pleasure to look at and will be sure to turn some heads in the process.

Subpar camera aside, the Honor 8 has something more going against it. It’s got Huawei’s eMUI version of Android. I hate it because it feels like Apple got mixed into Android and that’s where a lot of Android users especially in the US will agree. But keeping in mind that these devices are made for the masses who have no idea if they’re running android or iOS, this can be effective. For people like us, its mostly a huge negative.

Like OnePlus, Motorola and others, Huawei embraces gimmicky gestures and shortcuts. You can knock on the screen to interact with it or click the volume button twice to immediately open the camera app and take a photo. The fingerprint reader in the back also doubles as an additional, very click, programmable button. So you can turn on the flashlight with a press and take a screenshot with a double press. While the introduction of new button functions for the volume rocker is popular from all the major Android manufacturers, Huawei is the first to turn the fingerprint reader on the back of the phone into a programmable button too.

Not having to furiously engage with the slick glass-covered screen to access these features isn’t a game-changer, but it’s a convenience that is awfully attractive when paired with the Honor 8’s price tag of $400 for a 32GB phone and $450 for the 64GB version. People who pre-order also get an additional $50 back in the form of a gift card. The phone is available via major retailers including Best Buy and Amazon and pre-orders start August 17 with the phone expected to ship the first week in September.

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