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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.

Double the cameras for double the fun

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These are actually dual 12-megapixel Sony camera sensors that work in conjunction to give you the best picture.

Huawei wants you to think of the Honor 8 as a smartphone for the young and inspired, which is why it bundled two 12-megapixel Sony camera sensors on the back. Developed in conjunction with camera-maker Leica, one of the cameras acts as an RGB sensor and captures color data, while the other is a monochrome sensor that records the details. Huawei uses a similar feature on its P9 flagship overseas. 

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I was impressed with the Honor 8’s shooting abilities.

I got to try to the cameras briefly at the Honor 8 launch event and I liked what I saw. They were fast to focus and the end result was remarkably color accurate, though not particularly sharp. 

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Will Millennials use the light trail feature for their Instagram stories?

There were a few fun camera modes to take advantage of, too, like the light trail mode, which lets you write out love letters to your friends with a flashlight. It’s all very Millennial-esque and the kind of extra feature that only a teenager would find unlimited use for.

Bring the app drawer back

The Honor 8 runs on Huawei’s version of Android called EMUI 4.1, which runs atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow—not even 6.0.1. And like the Honor 5X, it does not utilize an app drawer.

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The Honor 8’s Android interface kills the app drawer.

Just because the iPhone doesn’t use an application drawer, doesn’t mean that Android smartphones should follow suit. I am not a fan of Huawei’s decision to do away entirely with the virtual shelf that keeps the interface in check, and I doubt that Millennials will want to spend their precious time curating their Home screen so that it’s navigable.

I don’t like the look of Huawei's bubbly, teenybopper icons either. They don’t match with the rest of the icons in the Android sphere and they look like iOS knockoffs. I want a phone with an interface that stands out. I’d take that over reductive familiarity.

Do Millennials even want this?

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Do Millennials have room in their hearts for another smartphone brand? 

Here’s the thing: Most of the teenagers I see hanging around in the suburbs and on public transportation carry an Apple iPhone. It’s the smartphone that kids want because everyone else at school has one. I have seen my middle-school cousins beg their fathers for an iPhone for Christmas and their birthdays—they’re not just begging for any smartphone. Apple has marketed its devices particularly well to young techies, and even though the Honor 8 is a stunning smartphone, its online-only offering and trim aesthetic likely won’t be enough to convince teens that this is their next smartphone.

Then again, what do I know? I am, as the kids say these days, just an “old.”

 

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