Huawei started the year strong with the launch of the Mate 8, and it's definitely drawing the attention of many because of the impressive components under its hood.

The smartphone maker unveiled the metal 6-inch phablet at CES 2016, where it made a big splash and left a lasting memory to virtually every attendee of the event.

"The Mate 8 is the ultimate high-end smartphone. It strikes the perfect balance between high performance and long battery life, enabling people to stay connected and be more productive in every facet of their lives," Kevin Ho, president of the handset division at Huawei, says.

Of course, Ho is expected to say something along those lines, but what do the others who got their hands on the flagship have to say?

Processor

It houses the Kirin 950 with an octa-core offering of four Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and four Cortex A53 cores at 1.8 GHz, just as the rumors suggested.

"With help of the new chipset and other improvements we'll see that Mate 8 not only manages to raise the bar for Huawei but also to deal blows to competing devices in several aspects, making the phone a worthy candidate in the upcoming 2016 smartphone generation battle," Andrei Frumusanu of AnandTech says.

Display

The screen measures 6 inches, sporting a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels with a 368 ppi topped with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, making it quite the sturdy device. However, with a screen of that size, it demands more pixels packed in to push out a clear and crisp display.

"When I hold the Mate 8 in my hand, the screen seems bright and wonderful ... until I stream video, view high-res photos or hold it next to any other phone. It's then that I notice its 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution looks dimmer and a little hazier than other phones of its class at any brightness level, especially the impossibly vibrant Nexus 6P," Jessica Dolcourt of CNET writes, noting that its size also makes it difficult to hold with small hands.

Design

The Mate 8 has a gorgeous and classy design with narrow bezels, and on top of that, it's light and fits nicely in the hand because of its curved back.

"The Mate 8 is a beautifully crafted, all-metal design with a subtle curve that employs many of the design characteristics we're familiar seeing in the Mate series. And for something adorned with a 6-inch screen, it doesn't feel oversized at all, as they've kept it pretty svelte and lightweight," Phone Arena's John Velasco remarks.

Software

Out of the box, it runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Huawei's Emotion UI 4.0 on top. The company received some flak because of this setup, but it appears that there's nothing to worry about this time around.

"Huawei's Emotion UI skin running atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow handles absolutely everything you can throw at it like a champ and never flinches while doing it," Nick Sutrich of Android Headlines says.

Battery

One of the most noteworthy specifics of the Mate 8 is arguably its enormous 4,000 mAh battery, which the majority of reviewers commended.

"In my tests, the Huawei Mate 8 regularly lasted for two full days, and sometimes well into day three – and I'm a guy who fiddles with his phone a lot (I don't make a lot of calls, though)," Mashable's Stan Schroeder says.

Memory And SIM

The Mate 8 comes with either 3 GB or 4 GB worth of RAM along with 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage respectively.

The NXT-L09 supports only one nanoSIM, whereas the NXT-L29 supports two. What's interesting about the latter is that the secondary SIM tray can be used as a microSD card slot, providing up to 128 GB of additional storage.

Camera

It's fitted with a 16 MP f/2.0 rear-facing camera with dual-LED flash and an 8 MP f/2.4 front snapper. While it's not the best out there, it's certainly not the worst either. The Mate 8 takes advantage of the Sony Exmor IMX298 sensor, which apparently isn't capable of holding a candle to the IMX240 sensor crammed in the 2015 Samsung flagships.

Other Features

The fingerprint reader remains in the same spot at the back, and it's reportedly very responsive. The smartphone also comes with a 9v/2a charger, which means that it can be juiced up pretty quickly.

Bottom Line

The Huawei Mate 8 is an outstanding phablet, but the price tags of €600 (roughly $650) for the 32 GB model and €700 (roughly $760) for the 64 GB one could be too much.

How does it compare with the iPhone 6s Plus? Well, seeing as the Mate 8 is still relatively cheaper with comparable specs, it may have the potential to be an iPhone killer.

In Apple's defense, though, the iPhone 6s Plus has a nicer UI, as the EMUI isn't exactly a sight for sore eyes. Plus, it's Apple. 

At any rate, they're not really being pitted against each other here. In the end, they are both excellent devices, each with a few minor drawbacks of their own. 

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