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Hands-on with the Honor 8: An affordable flagship aimed at Millennials

Florence Ion | Aug. 18, 2016
Are you young, hip, and cool? If so, Honor would love the honor of being your next smartphone.

Huawei is not a household name in the United States—at least not yet. The third-largest smartphone maker is placing its bet on American youths with its Honor brand, a family of smartphones that seems to exist solely for the benefit of Millennials.

Honor has already launched one Millennial-centric smartphone in the States, but the Honor 8 is its first true flagship. For a starting price of $399, you get an unlocked smartphone with a 5.2-inch Full HD display, an octo-core processor, 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage, and a 3,000 mAh battery.

It might be a tough sell, however, given the glut of competition at this price point, and the fact that U.S. carriers drive the majority of smartphone sales. I’m dubious the Honor 8 offers enough distinguishing features to persuade teens into adopting it as their daily driver.

It sure looks nice

The Honor 8 is, simply put, stunning. At its launch event in San Francisco, the company bandied about plenty of fancy terminology to explain how it managed such a smooth metal and glass construction, including phrases like “multilayer optical filming.” But teenagers don’t care about the jargon. All they care about is whether a smartphone looks cool, and the Honor 8 definitely has that going for it.

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The Honor 8 is pretty to look at and comfortable to hold.

In fact, it’s worth noting that I had difficulty telling the Honor 8 apart from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that I used to cover the event on social media. Regardless, it appears thin is in again in the Android world, and that’s a trend I’m definitely keen on.

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The back is glossy and smooth with a fingerprint scanner that also acts as a shortcut button.

On the back, there's a rear-facing fingerprint scanner. I still love this about the Huawei-made Nexus 6P and I appreciate that the company stuck with the feature for the Honor 8. It’s easy to reach with your index finger and you can program it so when you press it, it launches your favorite app or shortcut. By default, the button brings up the Google Now homepage. You can also program it as a shortcut with a double-press and a long-press of the button.

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I mistook the Honor 8 for the Note 7 at first because of its thinness. 

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The Honor 8 utilizes the new USB Type-C charging standard. 

With all the hubbub about Apple removing the headphone jack, and Motorola opting to remove it on the Moto Z family, you might be happy to hear that Honor is sticking with the port. It resides alongside a USB Type-C port for charging, which is nice to see considering that some low-end and midrange handset makers are still stuck on the antiquated MicroUSB connector.

 

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