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Hands-on with the Honor 8 Pro: A premium VR-ready Android smartphone

Honor's latest smartphone packs a 5.7-inch display and comes with its own VR viewer.
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1 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro

The Honor 8 Pro is the new top-of-the-range smartphone from Huawei's Honor brand.

It features a 5.7-inch display wrapped in a very solid-feeling metal body with curved edges. It also has a dual-camera setup (although the cameras lack the Leica branding seen on the Huawei P10) and a fingerprint reader on the rear. That may find favour with those who were disappointed to see the fingerprint reader switch to the front on P10.

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2 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro software

The Honor 8 Pro uses predictive memory allocation, startup memory optimisation and other tricks to preload frequently-used apps and keep you from hanging around waiting.

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3 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro rear

One common complaint about Android is that devices slow down over time. Huawei claims to tackle this with its EMUI 5.1 software, which it says will keep the devices running at 80 percent efficiency 'stutter-free' after 500 days of usage. It does this through some behind-the-scenes features, including active run-time RAM defragmentation, advanced memory compression and a faster kernel for memory recycling. As consumers hold onto their devices longer, features like this may become more of a selling point.

The octa-core Kirin 960 chip delivers impressive CPU and graphics performance, while the handset's 4,000mAh battery should provide two days of regular use or 1.5 days under 'heavy' use, the company said.

The Honor 8 Pro has the now-customary dual-lens rear camera system, which is handy for creating those Bokeh-style shots (the two cameras are flush with the back of the device so there's no sensor bump on the back).

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4 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro and VR

The Honor 8 Pro's crisp quad-HD display comes into its own with applications like VR. Cleverly, the box the phone comes in converts into a VR viewer to tempt users into trying out the handset's VR features.

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5 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro and VR viewer

The handset and viewer side-by-side. The Jaunt VR app is loaded on the device to you can try out some VR videos: features in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -- such as the view from the bottom of Newt's suitcase -- are great fun, even if they're not in the same league as the VR offered by something like the Oculus Rift.

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6 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro VR viewer

Here's the VR viewer disassembled to show the Honor 8 Pro inside.

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7 of 7 Image: ZDNet

Honor 8 Pro features

Honor 8 Pro specs

    Display
    5.7 inch 2560 x 1440 Quad HD display at 515ppi

    Dimensions
    157mm x 77.5mm x 6.97mm

    Weight
    184g including the battery

    Operating System
    Android Nougat with Huawei EMUI 5.1

    Processor
    HiSilicon Kirin 960, Octa-Core (4x2.4GHz+4x1.8GHz)

    Battery
    4,000 mAh (Charging duration 1 hour 50 minutes; 3G airtime: 30 hours, standby time: 21 days

    Memory
    64GB ROM, 6GB RAM, storage expandable to 128GB with MicroSD

    Cameras
    2 x12-megapixel dual rear-facing camera, 8-megapixel front-facing camera

    Connectivity
    Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5G, Bluetooth BT4.2, USB 2.0, GPS/AGPS/Glonass/BeiDou Navigation Satellite System

    Sensors

    Hall effect sensor, infrared sensor, fingerprint sensor, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, digital compass, gravity sensor, gyroscope

    Stay tuned for ZDNet's review of the Honor 8 Pro.

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