$400 flagship Honor 8 announced for US market: First impressions of this dual camera beauty

Honor is Huawei's e-brand targeted towards the younger millennial generation. However, don't be fooled by the Honor 8, it's a full-blown high end Android smartphone launching in the US at an affordable price.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
(Image: Honor)

The continued rise of Huawei took a major step forward last night when Honor, the e-brand of Huawei, announced the Honor 8 for the US market.

I've been using a flagship Huawei P9 for a couple months and expected the new Honor 8 to offer much less at a lower price. I was wrong. The new Honor 8 is very powerful and even offers a bit more than the P9 in a few areas.

The Honor brand was launched in 2014 with a focus on millennials, both in terms of design and availability of products through the internet. The Honor 8 is the first Huawei flagship smartphone announced for US consumers and is available now for pre-order through various online retailers.

Differences between the Honor 8 and Huawei P9

When we first heard of the Honor 8 for other countries, I thought it was just a slightly less expensive Huawei P9 with a slightly less powerful processor. It turns out there are some other differences, beyond just the specs. Here are a few differences:

  • The Honor 8 is powered by a Kirin 950 versus the 955 in the Huawei P9.
  • The Huawei P9 has a Leica-branded dual camera setup while the Honor 8 has similar dual cameras without the branding.
  • Both the 32GB and 64GB versions of the Honor 8 include 4GB of RAM. The 32GB P9 has 3GB of RAM.
  • The Honor 8 has a blue light filter for better night time usage.
  • The Honor 8 rear fingerprint scanner is also a button with three customizable actions. You can launch your favorite apps or enable actions with a single press, double press, or press and hold.

The two devices have the same excellent display, same 3000 mAh battery, same 8 megapixel front facing camera, and launch with EMUI 4.1. As you can see, there are a couple new things the Honor 8 brings to the table and it is definitely a device to consider.


  • Processor: Kirin 950 octa-core
  • Display: 5.2 inch 1920x1080 pixels resolution display
  • Operating system: Android 6.0 Marshmallow with EMUI 4.1
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 32GB internal (64GB option available) with microSD expansion card slot
  • Cameras: Dual rear 12 megapixel cameras, one color and one monochrome with an 8 megapixel front facing camera
  • Battery: 3000 mAh non-removable with fast charging technology
  • Dimensions: 145.5 x 71 x 7.45 mm and 153 grams

Honor 8 initial impressions (in pictures)

We also see the Honor 8 bring back an IR port with the ability to control over 200,000 appliances. It offers an impressive array of wireless technologies, including Band 12 and VoLTE support for US GSM carriers.

Pricing and availability

You can pre-order the Honor 8 starting today for $399.99 for the 32GB model and $449.99 for the 64GB model. Amazon, Best Buy, B&H Photo, Newegg, and the US Honor site have the new Honor 8 available for ordering.

While the Honor 8 will be sold in pearl white, midnight black, and sapphire blue, the sapphire blue model will be a Best Buy exclusive for 60 days. My eval unit is a sapphire blue 32GB model.

Customers who pre-order will also receive a $50 gift card, from participating retailers, with a $50 rebate if you buy it directly from Honor.

Similar to what HTC offers with its Uh Oh protection, those who purchase and register their Honor 8 will be eligible for a one-time repair of any accidental screen or back cover glass damage during the first three months of ownership.

Initial hands-on impressions

I spent about 30 minutes with the three colors at the event and then left with an eval unit in hand. I'll be putting the Honor 8 through its paces, including comparing it to the Huawei P9, but offer these initial impressions.

The Honor 8 is a gorgeous, well-constructed smartphone that feels fantastic in the hand. The front and back glass is 2.5D so it curves on all edges of the front and back into the sides of the phone. The seamless one piece glass back with flush dual cameras and flash is rather unique and stylish.

The chamfered edges, buttons, and openings are all cool design elements. I am already loving the smart key button on the back and think many will find it extremely useful for launching three important apps or functions.

The display is crisp and clear, even though it is 1080p when we have higher res models on other flagships. The 5.2-inch form factor is perfect for the front pocket and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

The knuckle action, also found on the P9, is actually fun and I may end up using it to check the weather.

The camera UI is similar to what you find on the P9, but it seems that Honor forgot to include the monochrome option in the vast list of camera modes. I'm sure that can be fixed with a simple software update and will pass this along. I like the updated pro mode UI though.

The Honor 8 is gorgeous and feels like it would cost a lot more than $400. It's a fingerprint magnet, but phones like this are really going to make people question paying double for the latest Samsung Galaxy or Apple iPhone if the word gets out what a winner we have here with the Honor 8.

Feel free to ask questions on this post and I'll get them answered in my review and in the comments below.

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