Earlier today, Huawei launched the P8 — notice the Ascend branding has been given the boot — an update to its top-billing P7 smartphone from last year. Also gone are the two layers of Gorilla Glass 3 held together by the previous model’s angular skeleton, replaced by an all-metal frame with a matte finish, chamfered edges, and rounded corners.
The result is a product that looks nothing like its predecessor, especially when you tilt it sideways to showcase its ultra-thin 6.4mm profile that’s a smidge thinner than Huawei’s older flagship. What it does look like is a cross between the Sony Xperia Z3 and Oppo R5 (or, to a lesser degree, the iPhone 6), which is to say, the P8 borrows heavily from other handsets we’ve seen before.
The device steps up to an almost-bezel-less, full-HD IPS display measuring 5.2 inches and a homegrown octa-core processor that Huawei claims is its fastest and most advanced yet. Yes, even faster than the octa-core chip found in the Mate 7.
You also get Android Lollipop 5.0 on top of the company’s custom user interface, 3GB of RAM, and at least 16GB of expandable storage to go along with the usual trove of wireless technologies, including WiFi, 3G and 4G/LTE, Bluetooth, and NFC. And though the 13- and 8-megapixel rear and front cameras didn’t get an upgrade this year, Huawei says they should perform better across the board compared to the sensors of the P7.
The Huawei P8 starts at $530 or around P23,500 when it arrives later this year in select markets.
Specs of the Huawei P8 (Price: $530 or around P23,500):
* Dual SIM (LTE)
* Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 930/935 processor
* 3GB RAM
* 16GB/64GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.2-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 2,680mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0
RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: Just about every manufacturer out there is taking notes from Apple (and HTC) on how to make premium-looking mobile devices that stand out from the crowd, because consumers now value aesthetics more than ever before, particularly when it comes to the higher-end segment.
It’s not enough to shoehorn bleeding-edge specs and intriguing software features into a plastic body anymore. People want their P30,000 phones to look and feel like the expensive pieces of hardware they are. Just ask Samsung. That said, we can’t say we’re surprised that Huawei gave its flagship model a facelift this year. Again. And we get that — the P7, despite being sandwiched between two slabs of Gorilla Glass, is hardly worth talking about.
At some point in the future, Huawei has to create its own design language — and stick to it. We’ll see if the P8 is the phone Huawei needed all along.
But here’s the thing: At some point in the future, Huawei has to create its own design language — it doesn’t have to be entirely original — and stick to it for at least a year or two. It needs a beloved design to build on, which is what Apple has with the iPhone. And iPad. And MacBook. We’ll see if the P8 is the phone Huawei needed all along.
Oh, and another thing: The P9 should include a fingerprint sensor that works just as well, if not better, than the Mate 7’s.