Getting there - Samsung had better watch out
So they're where Samsung was a few years ago - fantastic hardware, meh software. The software side has been a long, slow battle for Samsung, so it's going to be interesting to see how Huawei gets on.
A few comments on the company's efforts, as I own an Honor 8:
Patches have been... patchy. They've put out what is probably their final Oreo update, but it is more than 2 years after the phone's release. So +1 there. -1 for how long Oreo took in the first place (I think it was August it was released), but that's been common from most manufacturers for phones that launched on Marshmallow. I can see their beta channel, and they've consistently produced monthly patch updates. But as to who they're releasing these to, it's a total mystery. You'll get an OTA update every 4-5 months.
The hardware is fairly bulletproof. The H8 is a double-glass phone and I've dropped mine repeatedly (partly because the back surface is some sort of zero-friction prototype) and banged it up but good. No cracks. Performance is much the same as on Day One. Some of that is specific to my H8, but it does sum up Huawei hardware in general.
The software. Step one is to turn off the power-saving option for everything and only re-enable it for apps that you know are a bit thuggish in the background. Step two is to install launcher of your choice. Neither is difficult, and it makes life a lot easier on you. Once you've done that, there are some Huawei quirks (control panel especially, as noted) but it's over all quite usable and if you use the Google Launcher, you'd think it was a fairly stock Android 95% of the time.
As someone's already said, if you want a Kirin 980 for a lot less, just wait for the Honor (Magic 2, I think?) launch. Though the camera will certainly not be quite as nice.