There was a time when choosing a smartphone consisted of deciding between an iPhone or a Samsung. In the last few years we’ve seen the likes of Lumia, Sony, HTC and LG throw their hats into the ring and produce phones that compete with the two gadget giants. In the last few weeks we’ve seen a new Samsung enter the fray, an HTC One M9 launched and in the next few weeks a the rumoured LG G4 will make her appearance.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei has been knocking at the door for some time, releasing phones with similar specs to compete with the bigger brands while beating them on price points (got to love those Chinese imports).
Today in London, Huawei announced their latest flagship, the Huawei Ascend P8. It’s super skinny at 6.4mm. Huawei’s biggest downfall in the past was that the aesthetics of their phones were, well, cheap and plastic. They’ve upped the game a bit with the P8 using premium materials with an aluminium unibody and offering up a very similar look to that of the iPhone 6. However the phone manufacturer says this won’t effect the pricing we’ve come to expect from Huawei. I’m presuming they took a knock in profit margins to try compete with the big boys then? There’s a 5.2″ display with 78.3% screen-to-body ratio… they’d like you to know that that is industry leading, by the way. I’m not sure it matters.
The specs are pretty decent. A 13MP rear camera, 8MP front facing camera and, just for Matty, a host of “selfie” features that include being able to get great architecture shots in low light (for those selfie backgrounds) and a selfie fix that will remove all the things about your face you might not like. The phone brags a 2680 mAh battery (with quick charge!) which should give you a day of heavy usage and if you don’t choose to Instagram all of your food you’ll likely get a day and a half out of it. They’ve added lots of bells and whistles, some fun features and, for the most part, it’s a really impressive phone. This is mainly because Huawei have costed it at around the R7000-R8000 mark.
But in true “we’ll do what those other (Apple) guys did” form, Huawei didn’t only announce the P8 but also the P8 Max. Smartphone manufacturers seem to feel rather strongly that bigger is better. The P8 Max’s biggest selling point is the battery. It’s a 4360 mAh battery and the marketing folk assure me you can actually watch downloaded video for over 10 consecutive hours… but until I’ve done it, the jury’s out. It has a 6.2″ screen so you can toss out your tablet. The screen is an HD JDI screen which makes it the largest in-cell FHD screen in the world. It’s a beast, utilising the same DX19 high thermal conductivity alloy found in some luxury automobiles to avoid overheating. Again, I’m not sure this is a really big deal but it’s a fun fact to throw out at dinner parties while you look ridiculous with your giant phone bulging out your pocket.
For the most part I like what Huawei has done here. Their P8 presentation consisted of a lot of “this is better than the S6 and iPhone 6” graphics and I like their ballsy nature. They had more than 700 media at the P8’s London launch. Clearly they want a slice of the Apple and Samsung Pie.
Expect the phones to land on SA Shores around mid June, just a few weeks after the HTC One M9 becomes available to the local crowd. The true question is, would the Apple loyal leave their beloved brand for this Chinese (not really but sort of) copy?
Last Updated: April 16, 2015