Third handset release this year from Huawei’s online sub-brand as it aims to top 2015’s sales record of 40 million
Huawei sub-brand Honor has unveiled its third handset this year, the “stunning” and “state of the art” Honor 8 during a European launch event held in Paris this afternoon (August 24).
The new smartphone, a direct follow up to its most successful selling handset to date the Honor 7 (more than eight million sales since July 2015) was unveiled by the firms president of global George Zhao and European president Eva Wimmers in front of around 1,000 gathered media inside the Piscine Molitor venue, just a stones throw from the iconic Parc De Princess stadium.
The Honor 8, is due to go on sale in the “coming weeks” for £369, continues the firms strategy of building high-end specification phones at “affordable” prices. This is enabled by it utilising the innovation, patents and manufacturing of its more established parent Huawei, as well as adopting an almost exclusive online approach (sales and marketing) to cut costs and overheads.
The strategy has seen it sell more than 60 million units since its inception in late 2013, including more than 40 million last year with revenues of $2.63 billion. The firm is aiming to continue its sales drive outside of its home market, with international numbers up from 1.5 million in 2014 to above six million last year as it reach extended beyond 74 markets.
“We want to keep leading innovation,” said Zhao at the event. “We can help young people differentiate themselves and a flagship smartphone doesn’t have to equal high price.
He continued: “Honor 8 perfectly represents the evolution of our overall product view. It goes against established industry norms and market conventions with a higher aesthetic standard. At the same time, it balances looks with the smarts, speed, and connectivity that today’s young millennial consumers demand. Honor 8 reflects our understanding of and commitment to their needs and goals.”
The Honor 8 measures in at 5.7 inches (5.2 inch full HD screen), 2.8 inches (across) and is 0.3 inches thick, weighing just 5.2 ounces – the lightest Honor to date.
It is made using double sided, 15 layer rounded off glass material which it claims offers greater protection from drops, as well as greater comfort and grip in the users hand.
Design wise, the Honor 8 closely resembles that of the Huawei P9 flagship device (released April), with the volume control, power button, speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack laid out and positioned identically. It is also the first Honor handset released in Europe to include the USB C charging point.
Internally, the Honor 8 runs on on the latest Android Marshmallow 6.0 OS, and features a 12 megapixel dual lens primary camera, one RGB sensor to capture colours and one monochrome sensor for detail.
Honor claims is ideal for “aspiring photographers” thanks to a number of “extensive” manual control options to adjust light and colour settings. Other features on the camera/video include slow motion, wide aperture mode, HDR, and the now standard ‘beauty mode’.
“With the Honor 8, everyone can become a professional photographer,” said Wimmers. “The phone does all the work and all the thinking for you. It’s like a professional camera.”
It also features an eight megapixel front facing camera for “superior selfies”, again, including a host of editing tools.
“Selfies are some of the biggest pictures we take now and share them with our friends and family we have added a low light sensor on the Honor 8, allowing you to go back and light it up at a later date.”
As is now commonplace with Honor and Huawei handsets, the Honor 8 features dual purpose small circular fingerprint scanner placed just below the rear camera. The “self leaning” feature can be used for a number of different functions such as unlocking the device, taking pictures, accepting calls and switching off any alarms. Pressing down on the scanner can also be used to capture screen shots or a double click will activate the torch.
‘Honor has made sure you can access a full set of functions in the blink of an eye with its unique Smart Key function,’ said Honor in a statement. ‘The fingerprint sensor acts as a multi-purpose button, where you tap, double tap or tap and hold to start apps like WhatsApp or Pokémon Go. Everything you need to keep your daily routine ticking is at your fingertips. Honor 8’s fingerprint sensor has a self-learning capability, meaning the more it is used the faster it will perform, reaching less than 0.4 seconds.”
Need for speed
Other features include 2.3Ghz Kirin octa-core lCPU chipset containing an i5 co-processor, which work in tandem to increase processing speeds, response times and power.
The device comes with an inbuilt non removable 3000 mAh battery which can be charged to 50 per cent capacity within half an hour, using ‘fast charging’ technology. Memory is 32GB internal (4GB RAM) expandable to 128GB with MicroSD card, whilst dual SIM connectivity (Nano-SIM, Micro-SIM) is also included.
“You get a much better experience,” added Wimmers.
The SIM free device will be available to buy via the Honor V Mall website, with a free ‘anniversary package’ worth £69.99 (contents undisclosed) Other partners include online retailers Clove, Expansys, Ebuyer and Amazon who will bundle the device with an Amazon Fire TV Stick free of charge (while stocks last).
Customers looking to get the device on contract can do so through operator Three, it’s exclusive network partner, in the “coming weeks.”
Three colour variants will be available also, including Pearl White, Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black.
“Every generation has its own idols, its own point of view on the world and its own rules. The Honor 8 has been specifically designed for digital natives, to meet the ambitious, fast-paced lifestyles of this generation. It combines breakthrough design with supreme speed, high-quality camera capabilities and smart functions, making it the perfect match.”
The release marks the third handset released by Honor this year, having release the “state of the art” Honor 5C in June and the “world class” 5X in February.
The Honor 8 sold 280,000 devices in just four hours following its announcement in China earlier this month on pre order