Huawei Mate 8 review: A big phone that’s almost brilliant
Huawei Mate 8 review: Software
There’s no argument that it’s a great-looking handset, but as with so many other Huawei devices, the Huawei Mate 8 is a smartphone of extremes and, as soon as you switch on the phone, you’ll see why. It runs Huawei’s proprietary Android skin – EMUI 4 – so although there’s Android 6 underneath, you won’t see much evidence of its elegant lines and thoughtful features.
The key point of difference between Huawei’s version and stock Android is that there’s no App Drawer. As with iOS, all of your apps are shown on the desktop, which adds unnecessary clutter.
Huawei hasn’t stopped there, though. It’s also fiddled with the appearance of icons, awkwardly squeezing them into a round-cornered box so they all have exactly the same shape. This may not sound offensive, but many Android apps have circular or irregularly shaped icons and these look absolutely horrible.
Elsewhere, the pull-down notifications menu is inelegantly presented on two tabs, with the brightness slider and shortcut toggles rather irritatingly on the second one. And EMUI is stuffed with preloaded apps that you may or may not want.
On the positive side, there are some features I do like here. The clock app is very neat indeed, and the power-management tools – which can be set to notify you whenever they spot an app using too much power in the background – are undeniably useful. But surely these could be implemented without the fussy, overbearing redesign. Android 6 Marshmallow looks great on its own – please leave it alone, Huawei.