Event Coverage

Hands-on: Huawei P8 and P8 Max

By James Lu - 16 Apr 2015

Hands-on: Huawei P8 and P8 Max


Huawei's new flagship device is here. The 5.2-inch P8 boasts an ultra-thin, full metal design, octa-core processor, dual-sim capabilities and Huawei has loaded it with interesting hardware and software features to give it an edge over the competition. Oh and there's also a 6.8-inch phablet version, the P8 Max!


The P8 has ultra thin bezels, giving it one of the highest screen-to-body ratios out there (78.3 percent!)

The P8 is super slim. In fact, at just 6.4mm it's one of the thinnest phones out there. Best of all, unlike the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6, it's completely flat, with its camera bump sitting flush with the rear of the device.

The P8 is more symmetrical and squarish than last year's P7.

Despite its thin (6.4mm) profile, the P8's camera bump remains flush with the back of the device.

Compared to last year's P7, the P8 looks a bit more squarish, with the curved edge along the bottom of the P7 now gone. The square design is echoed in the interesting squarish power button, which can be found on the right-side of the phone. Over here, you'll also find the volume rocker and slots for the nano SIM card and microSD card slots (which also doubles up as a second nano SIM card slot).

The power button, volume rocker and dual nano-SIM slots can be found on the right-side. One of the SIM slots also doubles up as a Micro-SD card slot.

Despite the more squarish look of this year's P8, the frame of the phone isn't actually entirely flat, it's slightly rounded, although the curve is far less pronounced than the ones found on the iPhone 6. It's just enough to make the phone comfortable to grip, without being too slippery.

On the front of the phone, razer thin bezels haveallowed Huawei to pack a 5.2-inch Full HD display into a pretty compact-sized phone, and the P8 actually boasts one of the best screen to body ratios around, at 78.3 percent (for reference, the front of the iPhone 6 is only 65.8 percent, and the front of the Samsung S6 is 70.8 percent). The display is topped with Gorilla Glass 4, and Huawei have also given it a nano-coating to protect it from liquids spilling on top of it.

On the bottom of the phone, the P8 sports fairly loud dual speakers. Huawei has put some effort into making the P8 a decent audio player, and it boasts an on board Hi6402 DSP for improved audio quality.

On the bottom of the P8 you'll find two speakers and the Micro-USB port.

The phone will be available in four colors: carbon black, titanium gray, mystic champagne and prestige gold. The prestige gold appears to be a much more ostentatious gold color, while the mystic champagne is more subdued.

Here's what the mystic champagne looks like. It's more of a coppery gold color.


The star feature of the P8 is its camera module. Huawei were quick to state that it's "not all about megapixels" and as such, the P8 has a fairly middling 13-megapixel shooter, but it is equipped with a number of innovative camera technologies that we have yet to see on any other smartphone camera.
First up is the P8's "best in class" optical image stabilisation, which is able to correct camera shake of up to 1.2 degrees. This should make the P8 significantly better better than the 0.6 degree correction provided by the Apple iPhone 6 Plus.

Next up, the P8 has the world's first four-colour RGBW (red, blue, green and white) imaging sensor, with the claim that the camera will be able to more accurately capture a wider range of colours than traditional RGB sensors. Huawei says the extra white pixel also helps keep noise down in low light shots.
Finally, the P8 is armed with an independent image processor, just like you get in a DSLR, aimed at improving automatic scene recognition, providing more natural colours and more balanced exposure.

To complement its hardware, Huawei has loaded a number of interesting software functions into the P8's camera. A long-exposure "Light painting" mode lets you easily capture tail light streaks, star trails, light writing and flowing water, while the new "Director" mode lets you use your P8 to take control of up to three other Android smartphone cameras, and combine the video shot on them into one movie with multiple angles.

Huawei Consumer Business Group CEO, Richard Yu, showing off the P8's Light Painting feature.


One of the drawbacks of last year's P7 was it's slightly underwhelming performance. Huawei is determined to correct that this year, and the P8 is armed with an octa-core Kirin 930 64-bit processor that Huawei says is 80 percent faster than the P7's Kirin 910.
The P8 is powered by a non-removable 2,600 mAh capacity battery, which is on par with the Samsung Galaxy S6 (2,550mah). However, Huawei claims that battery life on the P8 is much longer, and estimates about one and a half days of normal usage, thanks in part to technology like Huawei's "Power Consumption Firewall", which blocks "abnormal" power usage from background apps.

Huawei P8 Max

It seems like everyone is doing the 'one more thing' these days. Huawei's big surprise at the end of the P8 event, was the unveiling of the ludicrously large P8 Max, a 6.8-inch phablet with a Full HD display.

The P8 Max is huge, but thanks to those razor thin bezels, it boasts a whopping 83 percent screen-to-body ratio!

Essentially, the P8 Max is the same as the P8, but adds a multi-tasking view similar to the one found on the Samsung Note Edge 4, and it's also armed with a huge 4,360mAh battery. Despite its gigantic size, the P8 Max is actually rather thin, measuring just 6.8mm.

Despite that, it's still rather thin, at just 6.8mm.

The only real design difference between the two phones is that the P8 Max has a single speaker at the bottom, and the micro-USB port has been relocated to the top, next to the headphone jack.

The Micro-USB port gets relocated to the top on the P8 Max.

At 6.8-inches, the P8 Max is basically a tablet. Huawei claims that the P8 Max is still pocketable, but you'll need some very large pockets for that.


The P8 will be available in late May/early June, and will be available in a Standard version with 3GB and 32GB internal storage for €499 (~S$722), or a premium version with 64GB internal storage for €599 (~S$868). The P8 Max will also be available in a standard version with 32GB storage for €549 (~S$795), and a premium version with 64GB storage for €649 (~S$939). Do remember that both the P8 and P8 Max also support expandable microSD storage up to 128GB (but you'll have to give up one of the Nano-SIM slots to use it).

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.