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Honor Pad 8 review: An affordable and capable 12-inch Android tablet

The Honor Pad 8 provides a big screen, great speakers and long battery life for an attractive price.
Written by Sandra Vogel, Contributing Writer on
Pros
  • Large screen with good resolution
  • Slim and comfortable to hold
  • Superb speakers
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Basic camera setup
  • Very slow battery charging
  • No MicroSD card slot

Honor made a clutch of announcements at the IFA event in Berlin in September. I've already reviewed the Honor 70 smartphone, but the company also announced its first tablet to arrive in the UK, the 12-inch Pad 8. An attractive price of £269.99 might suggest below-par specifications and performance, but on the other hand the large screen might be alluring. With fewer Android tablets around these days, does the Honor Pad 8 offer enough functionality, or would your money be better spent elsewhere? 

While Honor likes to offer a range of different colour choices for its smartphones, the Honor Pad 8 is only available in one colour – the oddly named Blue Hour. It is a slate blue shade, with a matte finish that picks up fingerprints quite readily and is a little slippery. The Honor marque sits unobtrusively in the centre of the backplate, with the camera lozenge in the top right corner (viewed in landscape mode). The camera area does not protrude significantly. 

Honor Pad 8

Honor Pad 8: 12-inch IPS screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of (non-expandable) storage.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNET
Honor Pad 8

The colour scheme is 'Blue Hour'.

Image: Honor

The corners of the Honor Pad 8 are neatly rounded. One long edge is entirely clear, while the other houses the power button and volume rocker. One short edge contains the USB-C charge cable and two speaker grilles, with two more on the other side. The design is tidy and ergonomic. 

The Honor Pad 8 is a comfortable hold for a 12-inch tablet. It's just 6.9mm thick and weighs 520g, while the 278.54mm by 174.06mm footprint is not unwieldy – my backpack easily accommodated it, for example. A sleeve will add a little size and weight, but that's recommended to protect the screen from scratches. 

The screen actually measures 11.97 inches from corner to corner, and it sits in bezels that are sized to allow a comfy hold without fingers falling onto the screen. Honor quotes an 87% screen-to-body ratio, although we measured it at 84.6%. The 2,000-by-1,200-pixel IPS panel is nice and sharp: video looks great, and text is clear. 

If you like to adjust a tablet screen's colour setting, you can tweak the colour temperature, while Eye Comfort mode can reduce blue light and is either manually toggled or set to switch on and off at scheduled times. You can set the blue light filter level to your own preference. I'm pleased to see an e-book mode, which sets the screen into greyscale; I found this very useful on the Honor 70 and here, reading e-books in wide-screen format with two pages in view simultaneously, it was a delight. 

The Honor Pad 8 runs on Android 12 overlain with the Honor Magic UI 6.1. A number of third-party applications are pre-installed including social, streaming and selling apps. These can be removed if they are surplus to requirements, freeing up a little internal storage. Honor provides 128GB, of which 112GB remains free to use. There's no way to expand storage via a MicroSD card, so you'll need to be certain that 128GB is adequate. 

Honor Pad 8: Multi-window

An enlarged folder (above, right) and the Multi-Window application picker (left).

Screenshot: Sandra Vogel / ZDNET

Honor's Multi-Window tweak, which is part of its Android overlay, is available on the Pad 8. I mentioned this in my review of the Honor 70, and it has far greater potential on the larger screen here. Indeed, the Honor Pad 8 can have up to four windows open at once, mixing a 50/50 divided screen or floating windows as required. You call up a Multi-Window application picker by sweeping in from either side edge, and then select the apps you want to view. Having a working document and a web page side-by-side was productive for me.  

Honor also allows folders containing apps to be enlarged, so that all apps are visible. Tap and hold on an app, select 'enlarge' and the job is done. To revert to standard-sized folder icons, tap and hold and select 'shrink'. 

Honor Pad 8: portrait mode

The Pad 8 weighs 520g (1.15lbs).

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNET

The Honor Pad 8 is designed for video calls, gaming and media consumption, and to that end there are no fewer than eight speakers – four treble and four bass. I was impressed with sound quality: there is no distortion at top volume, which is quite loud, and there's plenty of bass. Rock and classical music both sounded good, and both live and catchup TV were fine. Spoken word, including video calls, was also good. 

The front-facing 5MP camera is fine for video calls. The rear camera is also a 5MP unit that pales beside smartphone cameras, although Honor provides a few shooting modes, including document scanning, portrait, photo and video as well as a time lapse mode. Digital zoom up to 8x creates somewhat grainy images, but the camera AI can enhance colours in some image types to improve quality. There's no macro shooting, and photography is fairly basic, but adequate. 

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chipset with 4GB of RAM put in a decent showing under Geekbench 5, delivering scores of 375 (single core) and 1533 (multi core). In real-world use I never felt I was pushing the Honor Pad 8 too hard, although anyone into gaming might be better off looking elsewhere. 

The 7250mAh battery kept the Honor Pad 8 going for an impressive 16 hours 46 minutes under the PC Mark for Android Work 3.0 battery life test, and lost just 29% from a full charge when playing YouTube video for three hours. These are good numbers.  

It's a different story when it comes to charging. With just a 22.5W charger, replenishing the battery is painfully slow. I started charging on one occasion with the battery at 10% and after 105 minutes it still wasn't full, having reached 94%. 

Conclusions 

Android tablets aren't as common as they once were, and choices are limited. The Honor Pad 8 provides a big screen, great speakers and long battery life for an attractive price. As long as MicroSD card storage and fast charging are not required, it is definitely one to consider. 


Honor Pad 8 specifications

Operating systemAndroid 12 + MagicUI 6.1
ChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 680
RAM4GB, 6GB
Storage128GB
- MicroSD card slotno
Display12-inch IPS LCD, 2000 x 1200 (5:3, 194ppi)
Cameras5MP front • 5MP rear
Wi-FiWi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Bluetooth5.1
PortsUSB-C (USB OTG)
Audio8x speakers, 1x mic
Sensorsaccelerometer, ambient light
Battery capacity7250mAh
Battery charging22.5W
Dimensions278.54mm x 174.06mm x 6.9mm (10.96in. x 6.85in. x 0.27in.)
Weight520g (1.15lbs)
ColourBlue Hour
In the boxtablet, quick guide, charger, Type-C data cable, service warranty card, CPE bag
Price£269.99

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