Huawei P8 review: Light in motion

Light in motion

GSMArena team, 12 June 2015.

Pretty good 13MP camera

The Huawei P8 has a 13MP camera for maximum image resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels. There's a dual tone LED flash to go with it. The camera has F/2.0 aperture and makes use of a RGBW sensor, which reportedly delivers improved highlight rendition in high-contrast scenes and lower noise in low light. Pixel size is 1.12um, which is quite small.

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The camera interface is a very clean and simple. On the right side on each side of the virtual shutter button you get swipe controls that will take you into the photo, all focus and video modes. To activate the Burst mode you just need to press the camera shutter longer.

On the left side is an advanced menu where you can choose from more shooting modes such as HDR and Panorama, and adjust things like object tracking, smile shutter, touch to capture switch, geo-tagging on/off, ISO, white balance, and more.

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Camera UI

We do have one small grudge with the camera and the viewfinder in particular. It seems to be slightly smaller than the actual photo, which is hardly a problem, unless you are trying to frame something as precise as possible, like our sample posters, for example.

The all focus mode is similar to Refocus on the Lumia phones - your P8 takes a few pictures, while you are holding your phone steady and you can choose the focus later, including all in focus. It works nice and hiccup-free.

The Huawei P8 camera captures really decent photos, with plenty of resolved detail, accurate colors and edge to edge sharpness. Surprisingly, the digital noise in broad daylight is a bit more than we would have liked but it's nothing major. Shots came out crisp and clear.

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Huawei P8 camera samples

The HDR mode works great too bringing up even more detail in the shadows, without sacrificing the image quality. The effect is nice and subtle.

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HRD mode off • HDR mode on • HRD mode off • HDR mode on • HRD mode off • HDR mode on

Up close, the P8 does a pretty good job of focusing as well. Here is a macro photo to prove it.

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Macro sample

Huawei has been putting a lot of emphasis on the P8's night photography capabilities as well. The RGBW sensor is intended to help in low-light environments and the results are pretty good. We took a few shots after dark and were pleasantly surprised by the level of detail the phone picked up. Noise is also kept at bay quite well.

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Low light samples

To make things even more-interesting, Huawei has bundled a special Light painting mode in the default camera application. It produces stunning results. No matter how long you take to complete your creation, the rest of the scene seems to stay clear and sharp and doesn't change exposure. Here is some light art we made ourselves (we're not terribly good with this as you can tell). Interestingly, it makes a mirrored image so you can write in front of the camera and the words come out readable.

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The original scene • Light painting samples

There is also a Light trails mode, which operates much like the Light Painting but doesn't reverse images. It captures the scene with the correct exposure and from there it keeps adding the light trails of the passing cars for as long as you like without any risk of overexposing the scene.

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Light Trails sample

Huawei P8 takes high-res panorama images, with great stitching, excellent contrast and very good detail levels. It is among the best devices we would pick for panorama purposes, just like the Ascend Mate7 before it, bested only by the Apple iPhone 6 series. Here are samples in both orientations.

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Huawei P8 panorama samples

Photo quality comparison

The Huawei P8 has plenty of smartphones to contend with in our Photo compare tool, which lets you see just how it fares against other 13MP shooters. We've placed it up against its cousin, the Ascend Mate7, to see if there is any noticeable improvement.

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Huawei P8 in our photo compare tool

Decent 1080p video recording

The Huawei P8 offers 1080p videos at 30fps. Sadly, there's no 4K recording, although the hardware seems more than capable to handle it. There is a dedicated viewfinder for clips and, unlike the photo one, it seems to match up with the actual field of view.

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Camcorder UI

Videos are stored as MP4 files and have a bitrate of around 10Mbps for 1080p resolution, 12 Mbps at most. There's stereo sound at 96Kbps, but the framerate varies quite a bit, but generally stays closer to 29fps than to the pivotal 30.

In comparison the Ascend Mate7 put out a solid 25Mbps 1080p video at 30fps form its 13 MP camera.

As a result of the reduced bitrate, videos taken with the Huawei P8 are quite lacking in detail and sharpness. Once again - the dynamic range could have been better and we really expected more resolved detail from such a premium phone.

Here a sample we've uploaded on YouTube for you.


You can also download a 1080p@30fps untouched video (11s ~ 13MB).

And here's another one from the build-in Time-lapse feature.

Video quality comparison

The Huawei P8 might not shoot the best video around, but it still did quite well in our comparison test. Bear in mind, that a future update might very well fix this, as, after all, EMUI 3.1 is Huawei's first go at adopting Android 5.0. Once Lollipop starts spreading to the rest of the product lineup, the camera situation on the P8 will perhaps be revisited. Until then we can hardly recommend it based on video recording qualities alone.

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Huawei P8 in our video compare tool

Reader comments

  • Popcorn

I'm also using the p8, having issues with the 4g network. The 4g is exclusively meant for China Telecom sim cards. Guess you'll have to unlock it to make use of the 4g feature. Great phone and excellent stuff BTW.

  • Khan

My phone is Huawei P8 (B140) (3GB & 16GB) but it doesn't support 4G while in the setting in this phone LTE option is present but its support and shows only 2G... So sir! Please help me out..

  • Anonimous

open adjustments, add google account and search messenger at play store