Honor 8C Review


Huawei’s Honor brand launched the  Honor 8C, successor of the Honor 7C  in India recently. It was the first smartphone to be announced powering Snapdragon 632 SoC, has up to 4GB of RAM and comes with dual rear cameras with AI scene recognition. Is this good for the starting price of Rs. 11999? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Unboxing

We already unboxed the phone. Check out the video below.

Box Contents

  • Honor 8C smartphone in Aurora Blue color
  • 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • SIM Ejector tool
  • Clear protective case
  • Quick start guide and warranty information

Display, Design, and Hardware

The Honor 8c comes with a 6.26-inch Full HD+ LCD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1520  x 720 pixels, pixel density of 268 PPI, 19:9 aspect ratio with a notch and a screen-to-body ratio of about 82%. The display is bright, offers good color reproduction, good viewing angles and the sunlight legibility is good as well, but it is low in resolution compared to FHD+ screen that are available in several phones in the price range.

Like the other phones with a notch, this has an option to hide the notch at the top of the display that darkens the surrounding areas. Since this has a 19:9 aspect ratio screen, you can pinch to zoom to fill the screen when you use apps like YouTube, but the content gets cropped. You can also select apps to enable full screen display, but it might not work for all apps.

It has smart resolution that automatically lowers the screen resolution to help save power. You can also change the color temperature from Default to Warm or Cold. You can also set your preferred color temperate using the color circle. The Eye comfort mode filters the blue light so the screen has a yellowish tint when the mode is enabled. This is more useful when you are reading at night as it avoids eye strain.

On the top, inside the notch, there is an earpiece, notification LED, 8-megapixel camera and the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors. It has magnetic sensor otherwise known as magnetometer.

Even though the phone uses on-screen navigation, it has a small bezel below the screen with Honor branding.

Coming to hardware buttons and the ports, the phone has a volume rocker and the power button on the right side, dedicated dual SIM slots on the left, secondary microphone on the top, and the 3.5mm audio jack, Micro USB port, primary microphone and the loudspeaker grill on the bottom.

It is a good thing that the company has provided dedicated slots for the phone since the microSD accepts cards up to 256GB.

The phone has an eye-catching 3D nano-level texture design that combines the gradient color and glare, offering a unique light and shadow circulation effect. There is also a fingerprint sensor on the back. It packs a 4000mAh battery. The phone has a plastic body, measures 158.72×75.94×7.98mm and weighs 167.2 grams. Even though the phone is huge, it is good for single-handed usage. It is recommended to use the bundled clear cover to protect the back. Overall the build quality of the phone is decent in terms of the look, but it doesn’t feel premium since it has a plastic build.

Camera

Coming to the camera, the phone a has a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture, PDAF along with a 2-megapixel secondary camera with f/2.4 aperture for portrait shots. On the front there is an 8-megapixel camera with f/2.0 aperture.

The Camera UI is similar to most other Honor phones. It has smart shopping feature that lets you just scan the object to identify that item on Amazon, toggle for flash, AI, moving picture mode on the top, while the bottom bar houses mini-gallery, shutter button, and video mode. It has Pro mode, Slow-mo, Panorama, AR lens, HDR, Filters and Watermark.

When AI mode is enabled, the phone can recognize 22 categories of 500+ scenes and provides optimized shooting result. Some of them include, Flower, Ancient building, Group Photo, Food, Panda, Beach, Snow, Waterfall, Text, Portrait, Night, Sunrise/ Sunset. Blue sky, Plant, Fireworks, Autumn leaves, Overcast, Auto, Bike, Cat, Dog and Stage performance. AI looks artificial since it boosts colors, but some might like it.

Coming to the image quality, daylight images are good and macro shots are good as well. Portrait shots were decent, but it doesn’t detect the edges well. Low-light shots have a lot of noise, and it doesn’t have a separate night mode like the 8X.  The front camera is just average since it only uses an 8-megapixel sensor. It has an LED flash that helps in low lighting conditions, but it doesn’t have a portrait mode. Overall the camera is decent, but the quality of the images are not sharp compared to other phones in the price range.

Check out the camera samples below (Click the image to view the full-resolution samples).

It is powered by 4000mAh battery under the hood that can last for the whole day even with heavy use, thanks to the optimization and HD+ screen, and it should last more than a day with casual use. It also has power saving mode and ultra-power saving mode to increase the battery life. Sadly, the phone doesn’t have fast charging and uses micro USB.

Dual Camera Portrait
Dual Camera
AI
Low-light
Low-light
Flash
Front Camera

The phone can record 1080p videos at up to 30fps. Video quality is good, and the audio is crisp since it has a secondary microphone. It doesn’t have a Slow Motion mode. Check out the sample below.

Software, UI and Apps

The phone runs on Android 8.1 (Oreo) with Android security update for December 2018 after the recent update. It runs EMUI 8.2 out of the box. The UI gives users an option to choose the home screen style — Standard (shows all apps on the home screen) and Drawer (shows all app on drawer screen).

It has one-handed mode, scheduled power on and off option, Flip to mute, pickup to reduce ring and three-finger screenshot gestures. There is also ride mode. Once enabled, callers will be notified that the user is currently riding, and cannot answer calls. The feature essentially functions as a Do-Not-Disturb option that sends a message to the caller saying that the user will not be able to attend the call since they are riding. However, the caller will also get an option to call the rider in case of an emergency. App Twin feature that allows users to log-in and use two different accounts at the same time on the same phone.

Out of 64GB storage, you get 54.4GB free storage, out of 4GB RAM, 3.69GB is usable, out of which 1.8GB is free on boot, when default apps are running in the background.

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, the phone comes with Facebook, Netflix, Facebook Messenger and some games preinstalled, however these can be uninstalled.

Fingerprint Sensor and Face Unlock

The phone comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner on the back, which is comfortable to unlock when you are holding the phone. It unlocks the phone quickly. In this phone, you can add up to 5 fingerprints. And then there is a Fingerprint recognition option, which helps users to find out which fingerprint belongs which ID. You can also take photos or video, answer call, stop alarm, bring down the notification panel and browse photos with it.

There is also Face unlock the can unlock the phone quickly, but it requires a good amount of lighting to work, and is less secure compared to fingerprint. The direct unlock option automatically unlocks the phone when your face is recognised when the screen turns on. This is useful when you enable wake up the phone when you pick up.

Music Player and FM Radio

It has a separate music player with support for Huawei Histen sound effects when you use headphones. Audio through third-party headset is good, but could be better. The loudspeaker is good and is loud enough. It also has FM Radio support.

Connectivity, Calling and Messaging

It supports 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio and Airtel as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time.  Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE and GPS. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.

Performance and Benchmarks

It is powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 632 14nm Mobile Platform with Adreno 506 GPU and AI photo features under the hood. 4GB RAM compliments the hardware in making multi-tasking easier than ever. Talking about the real world experience, the performance is smooth, but the gaming performance is just fine and not exceptional since this has an Adreno 506 GPU. Check out the synthetic benchmark score below.

Battery life

The 4000mAh battery offers brilliant battery life that lasts the whole day even with heavy use. With average use it lasted for two days, which is good.

In our One Charge rating, the Honor 8C scored 17 hours 48 minutes, which is good. Since doesn’t have support for fast charging it takes over 2 hours to charge the phone from 0 to 100% with the bundled charger, and 0 to 50% took about 50 minutes.

Conclusion

At a starting price of Rs. 11,999, the Honor 8C is just a normal smartphone with a notch and an attractive design. The performance is good, battery life is brilliant, but the  cameras and HD+ screen is just average for the price and the plastic body is not impressive. The Honor 8C is available  exclusively from Amazon.in. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Pros

  • Good design
  • Brilliant battery life
  • Dedicated SIM and microSD slots

Cons

  • Average cameras
  • Low-resolution display

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram and on Google+