Imagine a smartphone with a screamingly fast processor, a superb dual camera system and stacks of storage. Now imagine the price tag. You're thinking big numbers, aren't you? Think again. The brilliant Honor 8 is just £369.99. The official hashtag is #forthebrave, but a more appropriate one might be #runtotheshops.
If you haven't heard of Honor, you'll know its parent company: it's Huawei, the world's leading smartphone brand. Honor is its younger, cooler offshoot, its phones designed to delight digital natives. It's for instagrammers and gamers, selfie snappers and serious photographers, people who love great design and people who have designs on the future.
Let's talk specs, because the Honor 8 is a seriously powerful phone. The processor is a Kirin octa-core CPU with an i5 co-processor, and it goes up to 2.3GHz on its high-power cores and up to 1.8GHz on the energy saving cores. Its networking is just as fast, with dual Wi-Fi on both 2.4 and 5GHz bands, and there's 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a microSD slot. A 3,000mAh battery ensures that you won't run out of power on your most action-packed days, and the fast charging gets you back to 47% power in just 30 minutes. The OS is Android 6.0 with the latest version of the excellent Emotion UI, and the USB-C port means an end to cable chaos, proprietary connectors and always getting the plug the wrong way around.
It's clever, too. The 3D fingerprint sensor doesn't just improve security and authentication, although of course it does that too. But in addition to its scanning it's also a multi-purpose button that you can use to launch your favourite apps, whether they're WhatsApp, Uber or Pokemon Go. The Honor also has knuckle gestures, where you draw a letter with your knuckles on the screen: M brings up maps, C the camera and so on. And the screen you're knocking on is big and bright: it's 5.2 inches with full HD resolution.
Why two cameras are better than one
Our favourite thing about the Honor 8 is its camera, or rather cameras. Its twin cameras have 12 megapixels each. One of the 12MP sensors captures colours and the other one captures monochrome detail, capturing three times more light than a normal sensor. The dual sensors also deliver super-fast autofocus, ensuring you get crisp photos even when the lighting is poor or the subject is in motion.
The big benefit of having twin sensors is that they deliver incredible dynamic range, very low noise, superb low-light performance and some really useful tools. Do you fancy changing the focus post-shot or getting some of the creamy bokeh that makes portraits really pop? The Honor does both of those effortlessly, and if you go into Pro mode you can adjust individual settings for complete control over every aspect of your shot. When you consider that you also get HDR, slow-mo, food mode, watermarking and super night mode it's clear that you've got one of the best camera setups ever seen in a smartphone.
Honor hasn't forgotten about selfies, either. The front facing camera has 8MP to play with, and there's a Perfect Selfie mode to enhance every smile, pout or pose.
A look you'll love
It's a pity the Honor can't photograph itself, because it's as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. That glass case has 15 layers on the back with patterns invisible to the naked eye, but those patterns produce bright colours for a stunning, shimmering effect. The glass fits seamlessly into the diamond-cut metal frame, making it tough enough to withstand lumps and bumps while feeling just right in your hand. Whether you go for the Sapphire Blue, Pearl White or Midnight Black edition, every Honor 8 looks a million dollars - and costs a lot less.
Where to bag your bargain
The Honor 8 is out now, and if you buy it from Honor's own vMall the £369.99 price also includes an Anniversary Package of goodies worth £69.99. Amazon will be bundling it with a Fire TV Stick while stocks last, and selected online retailers such as Clove, Ebuyer and Expansys will be selling the Honor 8 SIM-free. Prefer a contract? Three has the honour of being the Honor 8's network partner in the UK.
The Honor 8 at a glance:
- Processor: Kirin 950 with 4 x 2.3GHz high performance cores and 4 x 1.8GHz high efficiency cores
- RAM and storage: 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage, expandable to 128GB via MicroSD
- Camera: 2 x 12MP with separate RGB and monochrome sensors. 8MP front-facing camera.
- Display: 5.2-inch full HD
- Battery: 3,000mAh