Honor 8 review: Shining Knight

GSMArena team, 08 September 2016.

Performance

The Honor 8 is powered by an in-house Kirin 950 chipset. The model number doesn't suggest a big change compared to the Kirin 955 inside the P9. In fact, it's the same chip to power the Mate 8, and the difference is almost insignificant.

Honor 8 review

The Kirin 950 SoC features an octa-core CPU with four Cortex-A72 cores clocked at up to 2.3GHz (compared to the 2.5GHz of the Kirin 955's), and four Cortex-A53 cores ticking at up to 1.8GHz (same as Kirin 955). The GPU is again a quad-core Mali-T880 MP4. The Honor 8 comes with 4GB of RAM on both the 32GB and 64GB models, unlike the 3GB-powered 32GB Huawei P9 model.

The performance of a single Cortex-A72 core is rather uninspiring compared to the Snapdragon 820's Kryo within the OnePlus 3 and the Galaxy S7. It's on par with the same core inside the P9 and P9 Plus albeit the lower frequency.

GeekBench 3 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    2383
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2170
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    1892
  • Huawei Honor 8
    1831
  • Huawei P9
    1819
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    1543
  • Sony Xperia X
    1367
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    898

The multi-core test is where the Kirin 950's CPU shines - it slides just below the P9 duo, and yet it bested every other smartphone in its price range.

GeekBench 3 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Huawei P9 Plus
    6660
  • Huawei P9
    6558
  • Huawei Honor 8
    6380
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    6360
  • OnePlus 3
    5520
  • Meizu MX5
    5110
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    3933
  • Sony Xperia X
    3796
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    3695
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3061

The compound AnTuTu 6 test gives the Honor 8 a pretty close score to the P9 duet, the minor difference accounts for the lesser CPU frequency. The score trails behind the current crop of flagships though, probably due to the lower-grade GPU.

AnTuTu 6

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    141764
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    132084
  • Huawei P9
    98069
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    97392
  • Huawei Honor 8
    94892
  • Sony Xperia X
    77537
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    76186
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    51220
  • Sony Xperia XA
    47170
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    35689

The BaseMark OS 2.0 test paints a lot more positive, because in addition to CPU, GPU, RAM, and UX, it also gauges web and storage performance, plus overall OS behavior. Here the Honor 8 scored an excellent mark and is on par with the P9 duo and the Galaxy S7. The OnePlus 3 has an advantage of a high-end GPU running on a 1080p resolution.

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    2365
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    2128
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    2099
  • Huawei Honor 8
    2099
  • Huawei P9
    2068
  • Sony Xperia X
    1714
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    1426
  • Meizu MX5
    1252
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    1221
  • Sony Xperia XA
    1013
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    833

It's the graphics department where Kirins are often not quite up to par. While the Kirin 950 and 955 use Mali-T880 MP4 (quad-core) graphics, the flagship Galaxy S7's Exynos utilizes Mali-T880 MP12 (12 cores), hence the big difference. Qualcomm's Adreno 530 within the OnePlus is the best, though.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    31
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    28
  • Huawei Honor 8
    10
  • Huawei P9
    10
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    10
  • Sony Xperia X
    9.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    9
  • Huawei Honor 7
    4.9
  • Meizu MX5
    4.8
  • Sony Xperia XA
    4.8
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    4.5

GFX 3.1 Car scene (offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    15
  • Huawei P9
    6.5
  • Huawei Honor 8
    6.3
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    6.2
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    5.3
  • Sony Xperia X
    5.3
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    2.7
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.5

Unlike the Galaxy S7 the Honor 8 runs on 1080p resolution, which gives it an edge over the Quad HD Korean flagship and thus real-life performance is closer. The OnePlus 3 is once again ahead of the curve because of its S820 GPU and 1080p screen. The Kirin's GPU is on par with S650's Adreno 510 GPU inside the Xperia X.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    30
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    15
  • Huawei Honor 8
    11
  • Huawei P9
    11
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    11
  • Sony Xperia XA
    11
  • Sony Xperia X
    10
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    9
  • Huawei Honor 7
    5.2
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    4.8
  • Meizu MX5
    4.7

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    7.9
  • Huawei P9
    7.1
  • Huawei Honor 8
    6.9
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    6.8
  • Sony Xperia X
    5.9
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    5.5
  • Sony Xperia XA
    5.4
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    3

BaseMark X GPU test clearly shows the superiority of Galaxy S7, and OnePlus 3 and it puts the Honor 8's GPU on par with the Adreno 510 inside the Xperia X and Redmi Note 3.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 3
    32715
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    32345
  • Huawei P9
    16942
  • Huawei Honor 8
    16592
  • Sony Xperia X
    15087
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    15058
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (S650)
    14717
  • Meizu MX5
    10403
  • Huawei Honor 7
    9377
  • Huawei Honor 5c
    7735
  • Sony Xperia XA
    6420
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    4947

As expected, the Honor 8 packs top-notch CPU punch and just enough GPU power for its 1080p display. While its GPU performance may not be the best in class, there isn't a single game the Honor 8 can't handle right now. And it offers a ROG power-saving mode that lowers the screen resolution down to 720p, which will not only save you some battery, but allow for higher framerates if needed.