Huawei Mate 8 Review: Examining ARM's Cortex-A72 And HiSilicon's Kirin 950

Mate 8 Software Setup And Camera

Huawei's Emotion UI or EMUI 4 interface (skinned over Android 6.0 Marshmallow) has some very iOS looking tendencies with slick translucent overlays and menu contrasts that are easy on the eyes, though it occasionally has dark text on dark backgrounds which can be harder to read. It’s definitely a little clunky in spots too with no app tray. What you end up with is a lot of swiping through home screens that you can tweak transition effects for, which is a nice touch, but everything just feels a little too cluttered in certain spots.

homescreen notifications

active apps settings

In terms of software features, the Mate 8 has the ability to offer a bit of multitasking in split screen mode, albeit limited to just Huawei apps like the Calculator, Gallery or Video apps. And There’s also a quick tools tray that sits off the bottom of the lock screen with easy access to things like the Flashlight and Calculator apps. The Mate 8 also supports omni-directional audio recording with three on-board microphones. And finally, don’t knock it till you try it – Knuckle sense 2.0 -- which offers special functionality like taking quick screen shots just by rapping on the display with your knuckle. It seems a little rough perhaps, but this device is strapped with Gorilla Glass 4, and Knuckle Sense does "just work". Another nice touch of EMUI, as you can see above, is the active apps menu that you can cycle through not only to switch between apps, but also where you can kill apps and free up memory resources. You can see exactly what your gained or remaining memory resources are down by the trash can icon as well; a nice touch to be sure.

Huawei Mate 8 Camera And Sample Shots

The Mate 8’s camera software is feature-rich and powerful with settings for things like HDR mode, Super Night shots, Panorama and Slow Motion shooting. You can even lock the retical on a subject in a shot and then pan the phone around , while your target remains in focus. There’s also a really nice Manual mode available that allows you to adjust things like exposure, Shutter Speed, ISO and White Balance settings.

camera main

camera settings

stills manual

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Shooting with HDR enabled, the 16MP camera on the Mate 8 offered very respectable performance with good balance and sharpness, but images were perhaps ever so slightly washed out in certain lighting conditions, lacking some saturation. Macro shots offered nice detail, while low light shots were less sharp but relatively grain-free. Shooting outside in sunlight offered good performance, especially using the zoom with image stabilization. Shooting video proved excellent as well, with 1080p recording at up to 60 frames per second and good auto-focus and image stabilization response.

In a nutshell, the camera setup for the Huawei Mate 8 is quite good and can offer comparable performance to what you could coax out of smartphone cameras from the likes of a Samsung Galaxy S6 or an iPhone 6.

But enough playing around, let's look at the performance metrics of the Mate 8 and its Kirin 950 SoC.

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