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back to article China's best phone yet: Huawei P8 5.2-inch money-saving Android smartie

Huawei’s P8 has finally rolled into UK shops, the latest wave of China’s assault on Tier One Android flagships. Huawei P8 Huawei's P8: set to give South Korean phone makers sleepless nights If you don’t know the Huawei proposition, here it is. You won’t get all the bells and whistles from a phone that arrives on a £40-£50 …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. N13L5

      Re: Sadly it doesn't run iOS.

      Well, iOS would be even worse for doing things the way you want rather than the way the manufacturer wants.

      But Android 4.4 is plenty bad enough.

      The author conveniently forgets to mention that in Android 4.4 you can't write anything to the SD card, making things terribly cumbersome in daily use if you're doing anything more than making phone calls and fumbling around on Facecrook.

      Stability or not, at least Android 5 fixes that major issue.

      1. Morten

        Re: Sadly it doesn't run iOS.

        So the question is if enough people will buy it to make it common enough to have a good xda community with custom firmware. CyanogenMod, SlimROM or some other option would be nice. Then nobody would care about that fuggly interface and android version it comes with. Android 5.1.x is starting to be pretty nice and a lot better than the disastrous 5.0 release.

        This phone and a mainstream custom ROM could be a very good budget option.

      2. Yugguy

        Re: Sadly it doesn't run iOS.

        The ONLY thing lollipop has going for it is the ability to move apps to SD.

        The rest is pointless change and lost functionality.

        I'd love to revert my Xperia to Kitkat. It can be done.

  2. James Cane

    Good hardware

    But sadly it doesn't run iOS.

    1. arnieL
      Trollface

      Re: Good hardware

      So, two things going for it!

  3. Shadow Systems

    Ok, all well & good, but...

    How does it sound? Does it render voices accurately, clearly, & loudly, or does it muddle them, muffle them, & do all but mute itself in shame?

    All the other bits are nice, but if the call quality blows monkey spunk, what's the fekkin' point?

    Seriously, it's a phone. Audio quality should be the Number One item on the review list to determine. If it's shit then the rest of it doesn't matter; if it's top notch than other issues can be dealt with. So let us know if it sounds like something we could hear clearly without having to resort to a pair of headphones crammed into our ears, or have to shout at for the other party to hear us, that sort of thing.

    <Sarcasm>Don't _MAKE_ me reach through this monitor & flick you in the forehead.</Sarcasm>

    *Grin*

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Ok, all well & good, but...

      Fair enough! It sounds fine, no wobblies on the noise cancellation. We'll add this to the review.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ok, all well & good, but...

        > Fair enough! It sounds fine, no wobblies on the noise cancellation.

        And the one I tried has a rather sexy TTS voice ('merkin English though).

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Ok, all well & good, but...

      "Seriously, it's a phone."

      It's a personal computer which happens to make phone calls - and the audio quality is ok (I've briefly tested one), which is one step up on the iphone.

  4. leon clarke
    Stop

    Some comparison with the OnePlus One please

    OK, so it's much better value than South Korean flagships, but people wanting to save some money by getting a Chinese flagship already have a few options. OnePlus are probably creating the most media chatter, and I'd have thought the One is the obvious phone to compare with this.

    I'd suspect the OnePlus One would be a better bet - slightly cheaper, hardware maybe a bit better depending on what metrics and benchmarks matter, and (most importantly) it comes with a more vanilla Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some comparison with the OnePlus One please

      Worth bearing in mind the Huawei will likely be available from normal UK suppliers eg Amazon etc. Warranty will then not be an issue. The OnePlus on the other hand "I'd like to send this recorded delivery to China please Mr post office worker" see you in 6 weeks if I'm lucky.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    Radios.

    These features crank up the rate at which the chipset looks for a Wi-Fi........signal

    So, does it have the Achilles' heel of the P6 in this area? Bluetooth streaming cuts out every time it sees a Wi-Fi signal due to the cheapskate use of one 2.4Ghz transceiver running multiple stacks. Should be even worse with that feature if so.

    A right PITA (and illegal, cough) if you're already on the motorway and have to juggle the bloody thing one-handed to turn off WiFi so the music works without interruption.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Radios.

      You could do without music until you arrive at a safe place to stop and fiddle with your phone rather than endangering everyone else on the road.

      But hey, your music stopped so fuck everyone else, right?

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Re: fuck everyone else, right

        Or the phone could be configured by the manufacturers so that it doesn't inconvenience the user?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Radios.

      > you're already on the motorway and have to juggle the bloody thing one-handed to turn off WiFi so the music works without interruption.

      Took me a while to register what you were trying to say. Are you streaming music over Badtooth? Doesn't you car have a hard drive, SD slots, or at least a USB socket? Or WiFi, for that matter? A cassette player? 45 RPM Vinyl? 33⅓? Phonograph? Slave with a sitar?

  6. Aitor 1

    Very nice

    But a Jiayu S3 Advanced is 100 quid cheaper, and has more processing power, same amount of sensors.

    It has also more battery, and a better camera sensor, but no OIS for it.

  7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    How the heck can they sell this in the West...

    ... without getting splattered by the special-forces-ip-lawyer brigades in Cupertino?

    1. Antonymous Coward
      Holmes

      Re: How the heck can they sell this in the West...

      There's rather more to "the west" than the land of the "free"

    2. Youngone
      Black Helicopters

      Re: How the heck can they sell this in the West...

      I was wondering the very same thing, but then I made these assumptions:

      Huawei is a Chinese company, and like all Chinese companies ownership and financial dealings are pretty opaque.

      If the Chinese government has a shareholding in Huawei which seems likely, then Apple may have been warned off. I'm pretty sure that the Chinese government would put it's own interests before rule of law, no matter what they say publicly.

      I may be paranoid, but that doesn't mean they're not out to get me.

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: How the heck can they sell this in the West...

        Huawei is employee owned. These things aren't hard to find out, you know.

      2. oneeye

        Re: How the heck can they sell this in the West...

        Paranoid no,prudent yes! Any Chinese hardware and or software is inherently vulnerable. Why you ask, well Great Cannon is why. All Chinese kit will call home,just like all others,but those others don't have data crossing the Great Firewall of China. The attack on GitHub is all the warning any smart security conscious person needs. Even if those connections are sent over https,(which most are not) the Chinese have the ability to intercept and send back something nasty. So,go ahead and use that cheap stuff,and while you are at it,just send them all your personal stuff in advance to save time.

        Here is the link to the analysis of the "GREAT CANNON" (don't say you weren't warned)

        https://citizenlab.org/2015/04/chinas-great-cannon/

    3. Adam 1

      Re: How the heck can they sell this in the West...

      It is fine. It has sharp corners.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Dont be tempted

    At least, not by the cheaper prices offered by buying directly from China.

    Not only do you risk getting sold a fake, but even if genuine, trying to get a repair if it goes wrong is a nightmare. I picked up an Umi last Christmas, but sent it back because the GPS wasnt working; they only admitted receipt of it last week, and I still have no idea when they replacement will arrive.

    (Yep, that is me looking rather ragged as I limp on with a borrowed old phone ... waiting.............)

  9. cegueira

    I managed to get this phone on a 12 month contract for £21.50/m. It is a good phone, I was slightly worried about the emotionUI as I was used to CM11. I updated to the latest firmware, unlocked the bootloader and rooted. Installed Apex launcher and set it as default launcher, installed SwiftKey, sideloaded a Black theme and then removed the bloat with Root Explorer/Titanium backup.

    The screen really is impressive, as is the camera and I get very good battery life 30+ hours with 5 hours screen time, mostly on Wi-Fi.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      What bloat?

      Just curious.

      1. cegueira

        There were quite a few games and demos, the Huawei highlights app, todoist, WPSOffice. There was also loads of crap in /data/dataapp like vkontakte, there was also WhatsApp and a version of Opera mobile. Their keyboard is unnecessary of you use a different one.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > What bloat?

        The operator's? He said he got it on a contract.

        One of my girlfriends got this phone from Vodafone. I borrowed it for a week and it works just fine--as the person above says, battery life is impressive and the pictures are good.

        But it was loaded to the brim with crap from Vodafone, mind.

        Interesting to know about the SD/dual SIM combination! I wonder if the second IMSI would also be blocked on contract phones?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC1

          >"One of my girlfriends.."

          Eh?

          Got a couple to spare?

        2. cegueira

          There was no operator bloat on mine. I got it on the ID network (MVNO on 3, run by Carphonewarehouse) didn't even have their Android app on which was a pleasant surprise, as well as not being network locked. I wonder if the lack of operator bloat is because they're fairly new and haven't had time to 'develop' it.

  10. Anonymous IV

    @ cegueira

    So not just a matter of taking it out of the box, then!

    1. cegueira

      For most people it probably would be, especially if you were coming from an iPhone. I would do the same with any non-stock android phone. Instead of emotionUI it would be Sense, touchwiz etc. You can just get away with installing a different launcher, but I prefer to set the phone up as I want.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      @ Anon IV

      If you want a decent UI on android it's never a matter of just taking it out of the box, but you don't generally have to root to replace the desktop manager (Running Goo's desktop on my GN4 instead of touchwiz)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    around £380 SIM free

    thanks, saved a couple of minutes!

  12. Fotis_Greece

    Wrong battery specs

    Hello, the battery is mentioned here as 3450Mah capacity. This is wrong, it's 2680.

    Thanks

    1. drand
      Headmaster

      Re: Wrong battery specs

      3450 is a reference to a Blackberry the author is comparing the P8 to.

      "

      Note that the P8 doesn’t support either Fast Charging or any kind of wireless charging. In fact, the phone was the slowest charger of any I’ve tried, bar the BlackBerry Passport.

      But that beast has a stonking 3450mAh battery, and you’d expect that to take a lot longer to power up.

      "

  13. Frederick Tennant

    Its about time...

    Its about time someone did this, for years we have had overpriced phones using an unfinished OS this is what we need to take on Apple a cheap phone which hits almost all the spots lets hope they bring out a Google edition soon. At this price its worth a look.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Its about time...

      "for years we have had overpriced phones using an unfinished OS"

      You may like the IoS launcher. Many don't.

  14. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Need moar reviews

    It's nice to have dual SIM but with this phone you sacrifice your SD card when you go abroad.

    Perhaps it might be a good idea to review phones by European-based rebranders like bq and Wiko. They don't add much to Android itself but they do throw in a lot of features for the price, including proper dual SIM.

    Also El Reg still hasn't managed to review the Jolla phone.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Need moar reviews

      If Jolla send us one, we'll review it. Maybe they don't think it's ready?

      1. CRConrad

        Re: Need moar reviews

        Your operation is too tiny to actually BUY a dang fone to review? Or just too snotty?

  15. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Overpriced

    For comparison the THL 2015 4G phone is available for £160 (octa core 2GB/16GB + up to 32GB microSD) and the TECA N52W is at £166 (octa core 4GB/16GB +up to 64GB microSD).

    (Both from commercial UK sellers on eBay).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overpriced

      And are they like the cheap Android tablet I had that became useless after about 12 months (a common issue on the cheap kit)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overpriced

      > For comparison the THL 2015 4G phone is available for £160

      Are they still using that hideous Mediatek chipset though? The GPS used to be all but unusable on those, and the camera left rather a lot to be desired. On the other hand, it was pretty much stock Android and easily rootable. And cheap for the features.

      I've no idea what kind of idiot would downvote useful information, btw.

  16. DrXym Silver badge

    Does it still have that hateful front end

    I bought a Huawei and discovered it had combined the all apps view with the desktop view. It made it impossible to customise properly because new app icons got plonked in the next available space rather than having a separate All Apps view like a sane handset. Is this still the case? That one feature alone would drive me nuts, and even if I could swap out the launcher I'd still resent that it was there at all.

    1. David Paul Morgan

      Re: Does it still have that hateful front end

      agreed.

      I've always hated that ios/copycat look of all the programme icons spewed over the home screen.

      that's where the widgets are supposed to be.

      It's also how they displayed the samsung devices in the apple vs samsung court cases, to make sure that the supposed copycat device looked like the apple interface.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "demand far more privacy and security features "

    Perhaps Western buyers should do that too?

    Do you want a valuable comms device or a spy-in-your-pocket.

    I know which I prefer.

  18. Geoff Campbell
    Linux

    No, I don't think so

    I just bought a Galaxy S6 for £430. I don't see that all the compromises in this phone justify a price tag only £50 less than that.

    GJC

  19. sawatts

    Three times the price I paid for my 6" device - which seems perfectly adequate for calls, text, browsing, and watching films without eye strain.

  20. Jon Massey
    Meh

    £200 more than a OnePlus One?

    Seems a bit pricey to me!

  21. gv

    No ac WiFi?

    Considering that most of the time my phone is on a WiFi network, it seems strange it does not support 802.11ac.

    Also, you can pick up an LG G3 with a QHD display for about £150 less than this.

  22. CaptainBanjax

    Still using...

    My Galaxy Note 3. With Lollipop. Had it over 3 years now I think.

    Its fast and solid. Never had any problems, battery is still going strong.

    It has bo cover, ive dropped it loads of times and there isnt a scratch on it.

    Im starting tobturn intonthat dude in the Nick Cage movie that keeps trying to smash up his own ambulance.

    This phone is a warrior, it wont die.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Still using...

      Seems to have some keyboard problems, though.

  23. Cuddles Silver badge

    Money saving?

    You can get a Galaxy S6 on Amazon for £400. If this thing actually was £200 cheaper than a big name flagship phone then maybe it would be worth a look, but since it's actually only £20 cheaper I can't imagine why anyone would even consider it.

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