Honor 8C Review: Treading in a dangerous territory

 

Honor is making sure it doesn’t let its rivals take the lion’s share in the Indian smartphone market. To that extent, the company launched its affordable Honor 8C smartphone, which went on sale in India exclusively via HiHonor Store and Amazon.in on Monday. If you’re considering placing the order for this new budget entrant, make sure you’ve got all that matters about the phone.

Honor 8C comes in two variants with 32GB and 64GB storage, and priced at Rs 11,999 and Rs 12,999, respectively. For the price, it offers a 6.26-inch HD+ notched display, dual rear cameras, a 4,000mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 chipset and 4GB RAM. Let’s take a look at whether the spec-sheet justify the price tag of Honor 8C.

Design and display

Honor 8C is trying to strike a perfect balance between looks and performance, but the design steals the spotlight. Although there’s a plastic back cover, it’s one of the good-looking phones out there. I received the “Aurora Blue” and it looks really good with that mixture of matte and glossy gradient finish and a cat-eye effect. The looks are certainly not deceiving as the phone feels just as good in the hand, offering a solid non-slippery grip on the phone. But it sure gives in to the smudges but also conceals it pretty well.

Honor 8C design
Honor 8C designIBTimes India/Sami Khan

Honor 8C packs a 6.26-inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio and a notch. Sure, the presence of the notch can be irksome for some people, but it can be hidden with a simple toggle under the settings. Now, for the resolution bit, Honor settled for HD+ by packing 720 x 1520 pixels onboard, which we found underwhelming in certain situations like watching high-def videos or playing high-GPU games.

Surely, using the Honor 8C under harsh sunlight wasn’t ideal for watching videos, but it can get most of the tasks done like chatting or making calls. I surely wished Honor would have pushed the pixels on the 8C to make it more vibrant as its rivals Asus and Xiaomi. But I was impressed by the viewing angles on the Honor 8C and even with 296ppi, the display produced some rich colours.

Honor 8C Display
Honor 8C DisplayIBTimes India/Sami Khan

On the plus side, I was impressed to see the phone come with TuV Rheinland-approved Eye Comfort Mode, which is as good as it sounds. I mainly used the feature during bedtime and I cannot stress how less strain it had on my eyes in a dark room.

Battery

Besides a compelling design, I was overwhelmed by the battery performance of the Honor 8C. On standby, I was able to get the phone to last a week, which is impressive. The 4,000mAh battery outshines every other feature in the Honor 8C.

Using the Honor 8C as a daily driver, I was able to get a full day battery with mixed usage. It involved social media browsing, watching videos online, playing PUBG Mobile (although in disappointing low graphics setting), making regular calls, using messaging apps for primary communications, and all this while 4G LTE was on. I did not use dual SIM cards on the phone, but it should likely have any impact on the battery life.

Honor 8C battery
Honor 8C batteryIBTimes India/Sami Khan

So, if you’re looking for a good battery smartphone, Honor 8C doesn’t disappoint. But my only concern was charging the massive battery, which took me well over 2 hours. But that’s the case with any phone that lacks fast charging, so no complaints there.

Cameras

Honor 8C packs dual rear cameras with 13MP and 2MP sensors. On the front, there’s a decent 8MP sensor for selfies, video calling and face unlock. From my testing, I found out that for Honor 8C’s to perform really well, it requires ideal lighting conditions. Too harsh lights would lose details in the bright areas and too dim areas would cause digital noise. Finding the sweet spot to shoot the Honor 8C could be a daunting task, but when found one, it will justify the setup wisely.

Honor 8C camera
Honor 8C cameraIBTimes India/Sami Khan

Honor 8C cameras are powered by AI and in my case, that seemed to help a lot. The images would get sharper with AI, but the additional feature did little to improve low-light photos. The shots taken with portrait mode seem decent, but not too great to be applauded. I was unimpressed by the low-light photography on this phone, and even in broad daylight, the images could use some detailing. Colour reproduction is surprisingly decent and so is the dynamic range.

Selfies don’t seem too bad on the Honor 8C. In some cases, selfies would turn overexposed and that too with indoor lighting. But getting the position right can fix that and help you get some good-quality selfies. The beautification mode comes in handy but details are lost regardless of which mode you use. The overall image can be used for social media without hesitation.

In my view, Honor 8C is not a camera phone, but a smartphone that has a camera to support the user whenever required. Check out some samples below:

1/10

  • Honor 8C camera samples
    Honor 8C camera samplesIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera samples
    Honor 8C camera samplesIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera samples
    Honor 8C camera samplesIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera samples
    Honor 8C camera samplesIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera samples
    Honor 8C camera samplesIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera samples
    Honor 8C camera samplesIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C portrait mode camera sample
    Honor 8C portrait mode camera sampleIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C portrait mode camera sample
    Honor 8C portrait mode camera sampleIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera sample
    Honor 8C camera sampleIBTimes India/Sami Khan
  • Honor 8C camera sample
    Honor 8C camera sampleIBTimes India/Sami Khan

Performance

Honor 8C is one of the better performing phones out there. In fact, it gave me the chance to test Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 632 chipset for the first time. The phone comes with 4GB RAM, which is quite sufficient for most tasks. I tested the phone’s capability to handle various tasks like streaming videos, browsing through social media, running messaging apps and more – all without closing background apps and felt no lags.

I was happy with the way Honor 8C, despite being a budget phone, pushed the limits on certain tasks like running PUBG Mobile, even if it meant playing in low graphics. Connectivity on this phone also seemed good, both on 4G and Wi-Fi. There were no issues whatsoever with regards to the performance, earning Honor 8C a point here despite losing some in the camera and display departments.

Honor 8C also runs Android Oreo-based EMUI 8.2 software, and as I’ve noted before, the UI isn’t the best out there. Too much bloatware, latency in launching apps and an overall aesthetics of the UI is not pleasing. But these are some setbacks worth enduring if you actually consider features like snappy face unlock, game acceleration mode, uninterrupted gaming, one-hand UI, motion controls, app twinning, and more quite useful. Under normal circumstances, you’d need to download apps to activate certain settings that are integrated into EMUI.

I had the opportunity to test EMUI 9 on Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and I only wish Honor 8C gets updated to the Android Pie software in due time and deliver similar user experience.

Honor 8C has a snappy fingerprint scanner
Honor 8C has a snappy fingerprint scannerIBTimes India/Sami Khan

Finally, there’s a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner that works like a charm, a dedicated microSD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a downward facing stereo.

Verdict

As my headline states, Honor 8C is “treading in a dangerous territory.” With a few hits and misses, Honor 8C is trying hard to earn a place among other choices like Xiaomi Redmi Note 6, Asus Zenfoen Max M2, Realme 2 Pro and the rest.

Honor 8C review
Honor 8C reviewIBTimes India/Sami Khan

Honor 8C’s strongest selling points are the battery, refreshing design and lag-free performance at its price range. For a few more thousand bucks, Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro is out there to bite Honor 8C and with good reasoning. In my opinion, Honor 8C must be considered for its battery and design, while camera enthusiasts can look elsewhere.

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