Huawei's P8 and P8max get all-metal designs, improved camera


Huawei Technologies is betting its all-metal P8 and the P8max will help the company make further inroads into the high end of the smartphone market.

Following in the footsteps of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge from Samsung Electronics and the HTC One M9 is no easy feat, but Huawei is hoping it has developed a product that can compete with those devices.

The P8 has a 5.2-inch, 1080-by-1920-pixel screen and is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 64-bit processor with eight cores running at 1.5GHz or 2GHz. It has 16GB or 64GB of integrated storage and 3GB of RAM. The integrated storage can be expanded using a microSD card.

Huawei has also worked to make the P8 look more premium. The device has an all-aluminum unibody that’s just 6.4 millimeters thick.

The display size is a slight increase over the 5-inch screen on the Ascend P7. The Ascend name has been dropped for the new model. Like HTC, Huawei has decided to stick with 1080p instead of increasing the resolution to 1440 by 2560 pixels. Competing products like the Galaxy S6, Google’s Nexus 6 and the G3 from LG Electronics all have screens with the higher resolution.

The company has also put effort into the smartphone’s cameras. The P8 has a 13-megapixel camera on the back and an 8-megapixel front camera. Those are the same resolutions as on the P7, but the performance of the main camera has been improved with image optical stabilization and a new image processor.

The P8max shares many of the P8’s specifications but has a 6.8-inch screen and 32GB of integrated storage.

The P8 will cost from €499 (US$530) and the P8max from €549. Upgrading to 64GB of storage on either model costs €100. Both devices will initially go on sale in 30 countries, including China, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and the U.K. The launch date wasn’t immediately available. Nor were plans for the U.S. market.

Year-on-year, Huawei has been improving the performance and design of its smartphones. The challenge is still its brand, which continues to lag behind the top tier in consumer perception. Brand building and marketing will be key activities in deciding which Chinese vendors can secure a foothold in mature markets, according to Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.

For people who aren’t dead set on getting an HTC or Samsung device, the P8 looks to be yet another alternative for buyers who want a high-end Android-based smartphone. But with the launch of the G4 from LG just around the corner, waiting just a bit longer might be the best plan.

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