Honor 8C Review
Honor recently launched its first Snapdragon 632-powered smartphone, the Honor 8C, in the Philippines. At under PHP 8K, it’s an affordable phone. But since there are other smartphones in the market in the same price range, can we say that it’s worth the purchase? Find out in our full review below.
Design and Construction
I’ve said this in my hands-on and first impression article before, but I’ll repeat it — I love the design of the Honor 8C. It’s not your usual glossy back with gradient colors. Instead, you’ll get a matte coating with a frosted look and a little hint of glint when moving the phone’s angle. The Aurora Blue variant adds more aesthetic factor given that I am biased to any shades of Blue.
Starting at the front, you’ll get a 6.26-inch screen with a notch design that houses the sensors, call speaker, 8MP camera, and the LED notification light. It’s somewhat weird to see light inside the speaker while charging, but I’m probably just nitpicking here.
On the right, you’ll see the usual volume rocker and power button pairing. The buttons are clicky while its placement is just right for my thumb.
You’ll find the tray that houses the triple card slots (dual-nano and dedicated microSD card slot). A non-hybrid setup is always a plus, and it would be nice if all devices released at this price point is like that.
At the top are the 3.5mm audio port and noise-canceling microphone. The bottom part is where you can see the primary mic, micro USB port, and loudspeaker.
Flipping on its back, you can see the phone’s cat’s eye design by looking at the 13MP + 2MP shooters. You’ll also find the LED flash and the fingerprint scanner beside them. The sensor placement fits the size of my index finger perfectly, so that’s a plus.
The Honor 8C is relatively thin and light. The device also felt premium thanks to its matte coating at the back which made it feel smooth. It’s nice to hold the phone, but it did not escape being a fingerprint mark and smudge magnet to an extent. It’s fine assuming that the retail package will have a free jelly case for the device.
Display and Multimedia
The phone’s IPS screen comes with an HD+ resolution which is a bummer to me. I mean, I would like it better if it comes with a Full HD+ display since this is the standard for my eyes already. It’s a bit weird to see that I can only play YouTube videos at 720p, but I’ll take what I can get. Overall, its quality isn’t impressive at all, but it’s okay for a daily driver. I can also use the phone under direct sunlight at around 90% brightness which is not bad.
In terms of audio quality, it’s a standard setup where the highs and mids are present, but the lows are almost non-existent. Nevertheless, the sound is average in loudness, crisp, and does not get blown out even at max volume which is a plus.
OS, UI, and Apps
The Honor 8C runs on EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo which is understandable given that it launched last October 2018. I somewhat expected a software update by now already, but it seems that it will come at a later time. By default, there will be no app drawer. Instead, all the apps will be laid out on the home screen and the next page. There only a few pre-installed apps which are nice given that I don’t like a bulky phone. The usual Google apps are here along with apps such as Health, Honor, Party Mode, Game Suite, and Tips.
Out of the 32GB of storage, you’ll get a 24.5GB free space which is relatively decent.
Opening the camera app will show you a simple user interface. At the top part, you can activate the QR code scanner, flash, AI mode, and settings. Below the display are shooting options that will vary on which camera you’re using. For the rear, you’ll get the Aperture, Portrait, Photo, Video, and More which contains the HDR, Pro, Filter, Panorama, Watermark, AR lens, and download.
I’ve tested the 13MP + 2MP shooters, and I found that it has a fairly okay in overall quality. Photo details are decent and nice given that your environment has the right lighting conditions. The colors are also accurate, but it’s a different case when I took pictures under low-lighting conditions. The image is muddy and noisy with blown-out lights which does not indicate a good quality picture.
Switching to the front camera will change the Aperture mode into Beauty mode which allows the user to take selfies and get a smoother skin out of it. As for the photo quality, it’s pretty much the same story with the rear camera images. It has an acceptable color accuracy and decent detail on right lighting conditions which are viable for social media posts. However, low-light photos are too noisy. Good thing that the device comes with a front LED flash which should somewhat remedy the lighting problem.
The Honor 8C can record videos up to 1080p, but it doesn’t have any stabilization. I suggest that you should use a tripod or gimbal if you want to shoot using this device.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the device is a Snapdragon 632 chipset, Adreno 506 GPU, and 3GB of RAM. Given that this is the company’s first smartphone to equip the relatively newest mid-range chip, I’m somehow surprised by how it is imbalanced in terms of CPU and GPU. Daily task executions such as web browsing, file transfers, streaming videos, or even multitasking are smooth most of the time and don’t lag. What I noticed, however, is that while the face recognition scans are accurate and relatively fast, it feels like that the fingerprint is slower compared with the devices that I tested in this price range.
Here are their benchmark scores:
- AnTuTu v7 – 101,512
- Geekbench 4 – 1,251 (Single-Core), 4,720 (Multi-Core)
- 3D Mark – 525 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1), 557 (SSE – Vulkan)
- PC Mark – 5,662 (Work 2.0)
- AndroBench – 296.18 MB/s (Sequential Read), 85.38 (Sequential Write)
I played Mobile Legends, PUBG Mobile, and Asphalt 9 in this device and so far, every single game is playable in this device. However, given that this is only an Adreno 506-powered smartphone, the frames are low on heavy graphics games, so I had to tweak the settings down. Low to moderate games can run smoothly, though, but you should watch out as frame drops are imminent from time to time.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Honor 8C has all the usual connectivity features such as WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS. It also has USB OTG which is nice. Call quality is loud, clear, and we’ve encountered no dilemmas when pinning location in navigation apps like Google Maps, Waze, and Grab. My only concern in this aspect is that it does not have Gyroscope which means that it is not viable for AR games like Pokemon Go.
The phone carries a 4,000mAh battery which is above average than the typical smartphones in this segment. I tested the device in the PC Mark battery benchmarking app, and it lasted for 12 Hours and 58 Minutes which is impressive. This result is mainly due to its HD+ resolution, optimized chipset, and operating system used. As for the video loop test (1080p movie, 50% brightness, 50% volume, Airplane mode, w/ earphones), we got a playback time of 17 Hours and 12 Minutes. Charging took around 2 Hours to reach 100% which is standard for devices without any fast charging capability.
The Honor 8C is a beautiful smartphone in terms of design. It has decent performance and camera quality, and long battery life which is good for people who don’t bring power banks with them. Its drawback, however, is that its display is only HD+.
Overall, for the price of PHP 7,999, it’s okay to get this device if you are more into aesthetics, but if you’re looking for something better, there are other options out there.
Honor 8C specs:
- 6.26-inch HD+ TFT LCD IPS display @1520 x 720px
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 1.8GHz octa-core processor
- Adreno 506 GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- expandable up to 256GB via microSD card slot
- 13MP f/1.8 + 2MP f/2.4 dual rear cameras
- 8MP f/2.0 front camera
- Dual-SIM cards
- 4G VoLTE
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.2
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
- USB OTG
- 3.5mm audio port
- Micro USB
- EMUI 8.2 (Android 8.1 Oreo)
- 4,000mAh battery
- 157.22 x 75.94 x 7.98mm
- Magic Night Black, Aurora Blue, Platinum Gold
What I liked:
- Good design
- Decent CPU performance
- Long battery life
- Thin and light
What I didn’t:
- HD+ display
- Standard audio quality (quite bad)
- Camera performance is not impressive
- No Gyroscope