Yesterday, Huawei made it official: the Honor 8 handset is coming to the United States and it will position itself to compete against the Galaxy S series and the iPhone by giving users a great user experience at an affordable price – at least, that’s the plan.
If you’re not familiar with the Honor brand, it belongs to Huawei and is aimed specifically at millennials and those who are “young at heart” as Huawei would say.
Since its July launch, the Honor 8 is already available in other places, such as China and Huawei has sold as many as 280,000 in 4 hours. It’s fair to say that Honor is one of the lines of products that is propelling the sales of Huawei-made handsets towards the top and its positioning. In many places where budgets are a bit more limited (even by $100-$200), Honor phones have carved a place for themselves that is hard to reach.
Technically, the Honor is very close of the top handset at Huawei: the Huawei P9. It uses a Kirin 950 chip, has a dual-lens camera and a level 4 fingerprint reader (we explain what Level 4 means for fingerprint readers). If you are familiar with the P9, you will notice that there is no Leica branding on the camera.
I think that it’s a smart choice because the Leica license was probably very expensive, and I’m not sure how much quality it brought to the table – if anything at all. We’ll know for sure as soon as we hit the road with both P9 and Honor 8 in hand.
The Honor 8 design marks a departure from the all metal body, for an all-glass one. Both front and rear sides are covered by a thin layer of metal and more than a dozen layers of glass. The many layers provide optical properties that give more “texture” to the glass to make it more interesting-looking. This style was introduced to smartphones by Samsung with the Galaxy S6 line of products, and I’m glad to see other OEMs pick up on this manufacturing technique.
The most interesting part of Honor 8 is the value for the price. Starting at $399, it is very competitive, much more so than the Huawei P9 which retails for ~$520 (note that the P9 isn’t officially available in the U.S, so these are import prices). The Honor 8 should mostly act like a Huawei P9 but is much more affordable and aggressively positioned. This seems like a winning combination to me.