Huawei is on a roll. Just weeks after the Chinese smartphone maker made its mark on the U.S. market with the well-received Nexus 6P, Huawei is once again wowing the smartphone industry with a brand, spankin' new flagship phablet to bear the banner for its Android devices.
The Huawei Mate 8 is the hottest new thing to hit the market, and Huawei is so far proving to be the new kid on the block to look out for. Here's a quick look at how the 6-inch Mate 8 compares to its direct competition from the most popular brands, Apple and Samsung.
Huawei's idea of a smartphone is big, literally. The new device measures 6.19 inches in height and 3.17 inches in width, which isn't entirely different from the iPhone 6s Plus' 6.23 x 3.07 inches and the Galaxy Note 5's 6.03 x 3 inches. In terms of thickness, it's a teeny bit thicker than both the iPhone and the Note 5 at 0.31 inches, whereas its competition measure 0.29 inches and 0.3 inches respectively. Despite its size, the phone maintains a light profile at 6.53 ounces, which is lighter than the iPhone's 6.77 ounces, but not as light as the Note 5, which tips the scales at 6 ounces.
The Huawei Mate 8 runs on the Kirin 950, an octa-core custom-made chipset developed using 16 nm technology. In benchmark results, the Kirin 950 proved to be more powerful than the Exynos 7420 running on the Note 5 and Samsung's other high-end smartphones in both single-core and multi-core tests. The Apple A9 running on the latest iPhones scored higher in the single-core test, but gave way to the Kirin 950 in the multi-core test. Keep in mind, however, that real-world tests are more reliable gauges of performance, although benchmark tests generally show what we can expect from a device.
And surely, we can expect the Mate 8 to give its rivals a run for their money as far as performance is concerned. The octa-core Kirin 950 features four 2.3 GHz cores and another four 1.8 GHz cores, with a Mali-T880 graphics chip and 3 GB of RAM for the 32 GB storage option and 4 GB RAM for the 64 GB and 128 GB options.
If you're a nitpicky user who wants top-of-the-line specs in everything, you might be disappointed to know that the bezel-free Mate 8 doesn't have the Quad HD display on the Note 5. It still keeps a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels, which at six inches translates to a pixel density of 368 ppi. It's less than the 401 ppi on the iPhone, which has a smaller 5.5-inch Full HD Retina display. In this case, the Note 5, with its resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 pixels and a whopping 518 ppi is the clear winner. That's not to say the Mate 8 won't deliver sharp graphics for the regular user though. And this could very well work out to Huawei's advantage with a display that doesn't eat up battery life.
The Huawei Mate 8 runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with its custom EmotionUI on top. The Note 5 runs on TouchWiz, currently based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, but the latest leak reveals an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow is imminent for the newest Samsung phones. Meanwhile, the iPhone 6s Plus runs on iOS 9, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system.
The primary camera on the Mate 8 features a 16-megapixel Sony IMX298 sensor, with f/2.0 aperture and 3-axis optical image stabilization. In front, it has an 8-megapixel sensor also from Sony. Not much can be said about how the Mate 8's camera compares to the iPhone 6s Plus' 12-megapixel camera and the 16-megapixel camera on the Note 5. However, if the camera on the Nexus 6P, which is the third best smartphone camera according to DxOMark, is any indication, Huawei may very well have another great shooter in hand.
The Mate 8 is a big phone with a big battery to boot. The 4,000 mAh battery is no doubt a monster that is much bigger than the 3,000 mAh batter on the Note 5 and the iPhone 6s Plus. Apple does not disclose the specs for its phone's battery, although one real-world test shows the smaller iPhone 6s, which lasts eight hours, is much better than the iPhone 6s Plus. Reports say Apple also had to use a smaller battery to make way for the 3D Touch component without compromising on the iPhone's slim profile.
If you're a storage junkie, then you've found a winner in the Mate 8. Aside from offering up to 128 GB of storage, the Mate 8 also has a microSD slot for further expansion. In contrast, the Note 5 can only contain up to 64 GB and has no support for a microSD card. The iPhone, too, doesn't have a microSD slot, and although it offers a 128 GB option, the lowest storage option is only 16 GB.
No official word has been made on the price of the Mate 8 when it arrives in the U.S. at next year's Consumer Electronics Show. The phone's China prices, though, could give us an idea of how much it will cost. The entry-level 32 GB option is 3,199 yuan, which translates to around $470. The 64 GB option is 3,699 yuan, or around $580, and the high-end 128 GB option is 4,399 yuan, or around $690. You should probably expect U.S. prices to be a little bit higher, but the Mate 8 is still likely to be cheaper than the Note 5 and the iPhone 6s Plus. With those possible prices and specs, it is definitely shaping up to be a phablet killer.