(Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional information on Honor 8 network compatibility in the United States. Charges are marked in bold.)
Chinese device maker Huawei unveiled the new Honor 8 smartphone Monday evening during a lavish press event at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The Honor 8 is a good-looking, 5.2-inch Android smartphone aimed at the photography-loving millennial modern marketers droll over. Both sides are made of glass, surrounded by a metal bezel. And the screen takes up almost the entire front of the device, so it offers a lot of real estate.
Honor is a subsidiary of Huawai, and it says the Honor 8 is its flagship phone, available at a price you’d expect for a mid-range device. The 32GB version costs $399 unlocked. Another $100 doubles the built-in storage. Honor 8 has 4GB of RAM, and it comes in three colors: black, dark blue and white.
The phone is available now for preorder, and it’s expected to ship by the end of the month. People who order Honor 8 before September 3 will get a $50 gift card. It will be sold on Honor’s website, as well as Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, and B&H Photo Video.
Honor 8 standout features
Honor 8’s 12-megapixel rear camera is one of its most unique features. It uses two lenses, one for color and the other for monochrome. When you take a picture, the camera assembles the image. In my experience, the images look quite sharp, and the built-in camera app makes it easy to switch to a variety of modes. The phone also has an 8-megapixel front camera for selfies.
Honor 8 can charge to nearly half of its battery capacity in just 30 minutes. The phone has an IR port that Honor says can be used to control over 200,000 appliances. And it is sold unlocked, so you can use it on any compatible wireless network. In the United States, for example, the Honor 8 is compatible with both AT&T and T-Mobile networks, but not Verizon Wireless.
I’ve only spent a few hours with the Honor 8, but it’s good looking, feels comfortable in hand, and is mostly fast and responsive. However, I’m a bit disappointed with the audio quality of the phone’s speaker.
San Francisco journalist Bill Snyder writes frequently about business and technology. His work appears regularly in CIO.com and the publications of Stanford's Graduate School of Business and the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. He welcomes your comments and suggestions.