Huawei P8 review

A slick, svelte smartphone that tries to give the big boys a run for their money

Huawei P8 review
Huawei P8 review

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The Huawei P8 was the best smartphone to come out of the Chinese firm at launch, and it showed some very real promise that the company is heading in the right direction, which it's lived up to with the P9 and P10.

It still doesn't quite hit the same heights as the flagships its trying to compete with though, and that becomes apparent after spending some time with the P8.

Huawei P8 review

We liked

The slender, all metal body of the Huawei P8 is certainly premium in look and feel, allowing the handset to stand proudly next to the iPhone 6, HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6.

I wouldn't say it's quite as nice as these handsets, but it's up there and for that Huawei should be commended.

The full HD display is easy on the eye, the camera has a decent range of features - even if some of them are a bit gimmicky - and the price tag attached the Huawei P8 is eye-catching in its own right, and especially so two years later.

We disliked

In an attempt to differentiate itself from the mobile market Huawei has added some slightly left field features in Knuckle Sense and Voice Wakeup.

On the surface you can understand the potential of these features, but I was disappointed to find just how poorly both had been implemented.

Voice wakeup isn't good enough at recognising your alert phrase over normal conversation, but at least you can turn it off. More annoying is Knuckle Sense which can't be disabled and constantly mixes up your finger and knuckle.

Considering there's an octa-core processor and 3GB of RAM stuffed inside the P8's super slim body the performance on screen doesn't make it all that clear, which is a shame.

Huawei P8 review


The Huawei P8 has all the right ingredients for a top of the range smartphone, but something's not quite gone to plan in the baking.

Its screen, power, camera and battery life are just about on par with the high-end competition, but software quirks and interface inefficiencies hamper the overall experience of the Huawei P8.

The original €499 (around £395, $580, AU$760) price tag was not to be sniffed at though, as you're getting a lot of tech for money back then. 

If Huawei can sort out some of the nagging issues with a firmware update than the P8 becomes a really attractive proposition.

As it is though it feels like a second tier device compared to Apple, Samsung, Sony and HTC - a stigma the firm is still struggling to shrug off.

First reviewed: April 2015

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.