A week ago today, I was up in Singapore for the South Pacific region launch of Huawei’s new flagship smartphone, the Huawei P8. There were 15 of us in total in the media group, with a mix of journalists from the main outlets and a few well known identities from NZ’s Twitter tech space.
Huawei aren’t known for their top of the line smartphones, and this phone was designed to change all that. I’ve been using the P8 for a week now, and I’m a fan.
It is a beautiful phone. Manufactured from one piece of aluminium, it has a 5.2” screen (supposedly the biggest screen-to-body ratio in its class at 71.4%), running 1080x1920. It supports two SIM cards, with the second SIM port doubling as the microSD port. On-board storage is 16GB, with 3GB of RAM. Battery is good size at 2680 mAh. The packaging is amazing and is well engineered with the phone placed on its side rather than on its back.
It runs Android Lollipop, with Huawei making modifications to the interface. After being with a Samsung phone for so long, I don’t mind the changes. One big feature is the power consumption warnings which tell you when an app(s) is using too much power, and I’m finding the battery life is incredible because of this. I do miss having the hardware button in the bottom centre, but you can customise the software buttons and their ordering, exactly to your preferences.
The camera is flush with the back of the phone (it makes a big difference) and is a respectable 13MP, with the front facing one being 5MP. The image stabilisation works very well, and it takes great low light photos if you have a steady hand or a tripod at the ready. Director mode allows you to record video from the phone as well as up to three other P8 phones or other Android devices using WiFi direct. It also has a variety of long exposure features which make are a little gimmicky but would be load of fun with the kids.
That’s all the good stuff, but what are the negatives? I find the aluminium slippery to hold and probably need a case to prevent an accidental drop. The second SIM is a nice feature, but with only 16GB on board, I’m using it for my SD card, meaning I can’t use it for overseas for a local SIM. Some will find the lower res screen and lack of 4K support deal breakers, but the resolution of the phone is more than sufficient for me.
At the event, Huawei announced 160 collection points across the six countries in the South Pacific (free pickup/delivery to them) as well as two free protective screen replacements within the first 12 months should you require them. That should keep the social media sphere happy.
Huawei are investing a lot in this region. Their marketing spend in 2015 will be 67% higher than the previous year (aiming for 113% in 2019) – this was shown with their big presences at the major airports, retail and sponsorship of some well-known sports teams, mainly in Australia. To keep up, their workforce is exploding to a massive 1,417 people this year, compared with 155 in just 2013.
Launching here in NZ in July, it’ll be available through Spark, 2Degrees and other various outlets. NZ pricing wasn’t announced, however in Singapore it launched at $699, a steal when compared to the existing incumbents.
On a side note, I also had a chance to get my hands on the new Huawei watch and sports band, which should give the Moto 360 and the LG Watch R some good competition.
3 News presenter Emma Brannam was also on the trip with us, her report is available here.
My thanks to Huawei for their hospitality and inviting me on this trip.
Disclaimer: My flights, accommodation and other travel expenses were all covered by Huawei, as well as I received a Huawei P8 to keep.
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