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September 25, 2018

Huawei Mate 8 is a sleek, impressive monster tablet

Huawei Mate 8 front
Huawei Mate 8 front
The fundamentals of operating system architects is shifting from PCs to smartphones and tablets. In most organisations, the PC economy is slowly fading away, making organisations to seek better ways of enhancing IT with the current digitisation. What better way than bringing in mobility to the centre of its operations?

This is where Huawei Mate 8 comes in. I have had the device, which was recently launched into the Kenyan market, for over a week now and one of my favourite features is the interaction interface. The phone allows users to interact with the device's security system, for instance, wiping it clean in case of an information breach. Although most devices are difficult to secure, the Mate 8 access controls to enterprise resources are amazing. Using an advanced fingerprint ID, the smartphone unlocks in the shortest time, to not only reveal the screen, answer a call or silence an alarm, but also provide instant access to the camera, enabling users to take a quick shot.

Huawei's all-metal, six-inch Mate 8 has a lot going for it, especially its long lasting battery and high camera quality. These are two things that almost anyone would look for in a phone. The device is available in two types — the 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage and the other 4GB RAM and 64GB. Both are powered by a 1.8GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 950 processor.

The 'phablet' is a dual SIM (GSM) smartphone that accepts two Nano-SIM cards. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, FM, 3G and 4G. Sensors on the phone include Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer and Gyroscope.

The device runs on android 6.0 and is powered by a 4000mAh non removable battery. The battery life lasted an average of 22 hours in my maximum usage battery drain test. The device always seemed to have enough battery reserves after continually using it throughout the day. Some of that can be attributed to the dimmer screen, though if your battery ever does get close to flat lining, you can always turn on the the phone's power saving settings to reduce amount of power used. The battery supports fast-charging and the capacity is one of the highest in the market. With the cutting-edge 9V/2A fast-charging technology, you can fully charge your Mate 8 in just two and a half hours. You can get a full day's use out of a 30-minute charge, perfect for when time is precious and power outlets are scarce.

At 7.9mm thick, Mate 8 is not the slimmest smartphone in the market but the symmetrical design and slightly curved rear means it feels much slimmer in the hand. The in-hand experience is further enhanced by the 185-gramme weight. The phone has a smooth back that looks like it could be slippery, but I had no issues at all. At 157 x 80 x 7.9mm, it's not a small phone. It has to fit in a six-inch display, but the bezels have been trimmed down so far that the phone isn't that much larger than the screen itself, making it have a more classy look.

As for cameras, the Mate 8 comes with a 16MP rear lens featuring a Sony IMX298 camera sensor with optical image stabilisation and f/2.0 aperture, as well as a 8MP front-facing camera. There is the addition of a professional shooting mode and some extras features — you can swipe left/right for video/beauty/time lapse modes. But if you want manual focus on granular control over all settings, then this is the place to make such things happen, which can come in handy. In the standard photo mode, the camera is operationally easy to use, with a tap on the screen acquiring focus. At times, however, the sheer size of the handset makes taking photos a little taxing, although you can use the finger print scanner to fire the shutter if you want.

The Mate 8 is one of just a handful of smartphones to ship running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, beating the likes of the soon to be launched Galaxy S7 and LG G5 to it.

Huawei has completely rebuilt the software, redesigning everything from app icons to the notifications menu which. It has its own Emotion UI, which is one of the worst aspects of the phone. It loses the app drawer and instead follows iOS, with all your apps on different pages.

The hone also has a "knuckle" function which is activated by using a knuckle rather than a fingertip on the screen. This has been improved in EMUI 4.0, so it shouldn't randomly activate as we've found with earlier versions of the operating system.

Huawei decided to stick to a 1920x1080 Full HD resolution, as opposed to QHD or even the 4K resolution. Full HD may not provide a great experience on paper but the Mate 8 screen is certainly more than satisfactory in real world usage and if you’re someone who prefers a bigger screen so you can see things more clearly.

Mate 8 is a fantastic phone. Going at about Sh 70,000, it has managed to undercut heavy hitters like Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 and the iPhone 6S Plus but still offers a similar level of functionality to go alongside it.

It's one of the best big phones you can buy right now and if you're looking at a phablet, but don't want anything all that expensive, then this is a great choice.

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