Featuring a decent display, premium design and above average camera, the Huawei P8 is one of the best mid-range smartphones currently available for the money. However, it's let down by heavy handed software additions to the phone's Android Lollipop operating sytem.
Premium design, decent display, good camera, moderate price
Emotion UI makes needless and confusing changes to Android
Screen: 5.2in, FHD, 1920x1080, 424ppi
Processor: 2GHz, octa-core, 64-bit, Hisilicon Kirin 930
Storage: 16GB, 64GB, microSD card slot
Camera: 13MP with OIS, RBGW sensor, digital SLR-level image signal processor, F2.0, dual-tone colour temperature flash rear, 8MP front
Chinese technology heavyweight Huawei has been attempting to replicate its success in telecoms hardware in the smartphone market for several years.
The firm started this offensive by releasing a wave of ultra-affordable smartphones with specifications traditionally seen only on handsets close to £100 more expensive.
However, more recently the firm has altered its strategy to break into the top-end segment of the market using the "design focused" P series of smartphones.
The Huawei P8 is the latest example and features custom hardware and "industry firsts" that the firm claims will let it match, or outperform, competing handsets such as the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, despite costing a mere €499 (£367).
Design and build
Huawei has made a big deal about the focus on original design with the P series, and we've found that past handsets, such as the 2014 Ascend P7, have borrowed heavily from competitors such as Apple.
So when Huawei described the P8 as having a stripped-down single-piece metal body we were concerned that the firm may have continued this trend and borrowed design elements from the iPhone 6, as Samsung did with the Galaxy S6.
However, testing the Ascend P8 we found it has an innovative design. Unlike the iPhone 6 or HTC One M9, which both also feature metal unibody designs, the P8 has flat sides and a textured, as opposed to smooth, finish.
It's also noticeably thinner than competing metal smartphones at 145x72x6.4mm, and weighs 144g.
The metal chassis and thin dimensions mean that it feels more solidly built than past P series phones and is reasonably comfortable to hold. This was aided by the power and volume control placement on the right-hand side, which made them reachable even when using the handset one handed.
The P8 is also pretty well endowed when it comes to port and connectivity options, and features two nano SIM card slots on its right-hand side, both of which can also take a microSD card thanks to Huawei's custom port technology.
Breaking the 500 pixel per inch density is a trend in the top-end handset market. This started in 2014 with the LG G3 and continued in 2015 with the Samsung Galaxy S6.
The P8 forgoes this trend and comes with a 5.2in, FHD, 1920x1080, 424ppi touchscreen. Smartphone aficionados may bemoan the P8's sub-500ppi screen, but we didn't find it much of a problem.
Spotting differences in sharpness between screens that break the 400ppi mark is always tricky and we found that text and icons displayed on the P8 were universally crisp.
We were also fairly impressed with the colour balance and contrast levels on the Huawei P8. Colours were vibrant and well balanced, contrast levels were decent and Huawei appears to have done a reasonable job calibrating the display.
Viewing angles were also reasonable, although we did notice that whites began to distort at wider viewpoints.
The display's levels can be modified using a colour temperature feature that offers a sliding spectrum for 'cold' or 'warm' settings. The 'cold' setting appears to increase the blue spectrum being displayed, while the 'warm' setting gives the screen a yellow tinge.
Next: Operating system and performance