The Huawei Mate 8's defining feature is its 6-inch display. Arguably, 1080p was already a bit outdated around the time when Mate 7 was unveiled; but the Mate 8's screen comes in this same resolution. Hence, it won't win any pixel density awards, but at 368ppi, it's comfortably above what Apple coined as Retina resolution, and should be less taxing on the battery and processor.
The Huawei Mate 8 uses an IPS-NEO LCD panel by JDI, which delivers deeper blacks. The Huawei P8 was perhaps the first phone we've seen to come with this tech but today, it no longer looks as spectacular as before. Don't get us wrong, it's still noticeably better than any regular IPS LCD.
The maximum brightness level achieved by the screen when displaying white is 471nits, which while not award winning is plenty to go by. The offered contrast ratio is also excellent - 1361:1.
Regarding color reproduction accuracy the Mate 8 screen is less than stellar with an average deviation (DeltaE) of 6.1 a bit higher than what we would ideally like. We've seen worse even in flagship devices, so this one sits somewhere in the middle. For a screen to be considered properly calibrated it needs to have a maximum DeltaE of 4.
Using the built-in Color temperature slider, we managed to get a better color reproduction (Avg. DeltaE 4.4) by going all the way to the Warm setting, but that came at the expense of slightly lower maximum brightness (450nits).
In all cases, the minimum brightness of the screen (10.8) is somewhat too high for comfortable reading in pitch dark if this sort of thing is important to you.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
The Mate 8's solid performance in our display tests continues into sunlight legibility. A score of 2.949 is a very good achievement for an LCD panel and emphasizes another strong point of the IPS NEO tech.
Regarding connectivity, the Huawei Mate 8 is properly equipped. Huawei is very proud, and rightfully so, of the Kirin 950's built-in radio support, which includes up to five 2G bands, ten 3G bands, and eighteen 4G bands. Our variant (NXT-L29) comes with dual nano-SIM slots, and the second one can only tap into 2G networks while the first gets the full cellular connectivity.
The Mate 8 supports dual-band 2.4/5.0GHz Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, with Wi-Fi Direct and hotspot capabilities. Bluetooth is v4.2, where interference issues with LTE networks should be fixed.
There's NFC on board, as well as an FM radio. The satellite receiver GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou, so there isn't a corner in the world where the smartphone won't be able to pinpoint your location.
A 3.5mm jack provides standard connectivity for wired headphones. There is no Type-C connector on the Mate 8 - a regular microUSB 2.0 provides charging and PC connectivity capabilities. Mind you, it defaults to charge-only every single time you connect it to a PC, and you have to select manually from the notification shade that you want to do something else. It does support USB OTG (without additional actions, like enabling it in settings), but it didn't work with the MHL adapter we had lying around the office.
The Mate 8 has one of the largest capacity batteries for a major manufacturer high-end phablet. At 4,000mAh, it's a tiny 100mAh less than the predecessor but is still a lot more than current rivals. Huawei's own Nexus 6P comes closest at 3,450mAh, the Lumia 950 XL packs 90mAh less, while the Galaxy Note5, LG V10, and Moto X Style make do with 3,000mAh.
While not strictly a flagship, the Oppo R7 Plus matches the Mate 8's diagonal and packs 4,000mAh worth of juice. The Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016) equals the Mate 8 in screen size and battery capacity, while also potentially offering much better performance than Oppo's 6-incher.
So, after that quick (ok, rather lengthy) roundup, let's see how the Mate 8 fares in our battery test.
In a single word - splendidly. The smartphone lasted a comfortable 17 hours running our web browsing script over Wi-Fi and is good for 12 and a half hours of video playback. At nearly 29 hours of 3G voice calls, the Mate 8 leaves little to be desired in any aspect of its endurance. We also like seeing triple-digit overall scores, and there aren't many of those.
For a comparison with all of the above (save for the Galaxy A9) be sure to check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your typical use.
We'll just go ahead and mention that the V10, the Nexus 6P, and the Priv die after half the web browsing, time of the Mate 8, and none of the major competitors comes even close in this respect. While well above average, the video playback result of the Mate 8, however, is bested by both the Note 5 and iPhone 6s Plus.
It's also worth noting that the Mate 8 comes bundled with a 9V/2A charger for a theoretical maximum output of 18W. Huawei states that it charges the battery from 0% to 100% in two and a half hours, which is quite remarkable. More importantly, in about an hour the battery reaches a 70% charge, which is great if you're pressed for time. Unfortunately there's no form of inductive charging, which we can rightfully complain about on a smartphone this expensive.
Make note that our proprietary score also includes a standby battery draw test, which is not featured in our test scorecard but is calculated in the total endurance rating. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties.