Huawei Mate 8 review: A big phone that’s almost brilliant

Price when reviewed

Huawei Mate 8 review: Cameras

The Huawei Mate 8 is a capable smartphone from a performance point of view. However, the cameras are a touch less impressive. There’s nothing missing in terms of raw capability. On the rear, you get a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/2 aperture, optical image stabilisation, phase-detect autofocus and a dual-LED flash. The front camera is an almost-as-impressive eight megapixels.

Despite the specifications, however, the resulting photographs and videos aren’t the best I’ve seen, with still images looking very soft and lacking in detail compared with the best mobile phone cameras on the market.

This is one area where the Nexus 6P stands head and shoulders above the Huawei Mate 8. Google’s phone produces shots that are crammed with far more detail, in both good light and poor, and have richer colours and generally better all-around exposure. Just look at the quick comparisons I’ve made below to see how dramatic the differences are.

Huawei Mate 8 vs Google Nexus 6P camera samples

Huawei Mate 8 review: Verdict

In all, I like the Huawei Mate 8. It’s a little too large for my pockets, but I love the design and, generally, it’s been a pleasure to use. The sluggish performance of past Huawei flagships has been banished thanks to the shiny new Kirin 950 chipset, and battery life isn’t half bad either.

Couple that with a tempting SIM-free price of £429, and you have a smartphone that holds a good deal of appeal. If you’re looking for that big-screen smartphone experience with few of the drawbacks, it should be on your shortlist.

There are, however, a couple of critical things that undermine its bid for smartphone greatness. First, the proprietary EMUI software, which, given the choice, I’d replace in an instant. The second is the slightly iffy camera, which produces soft images, despite impressive specifications.

In short, unless you’re entirely wedded to the idea of carrying around a 6in smartphone, you can do better than this. It may not have a 6in screen, but I’d recommend the Google Nexus 6P instead.

See also: The best smartphones of 2016 – your ultimate UK guide

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