So that's that then - Huawei may be trying to run Honor as a separate brand in some regions, but the Chinese company's design philosophy is clearly visible in the 8. A flashier P9 without the Leica branding we can certainly live with. Knowing you save €150 over the original model makes it a very attractive offer.
And there weren't any major corners cut either - outside of the missing film modes and the more limited use of the monochrome sensor the Honor 8 didn't really feel inferior in any way. The glass design might be a bit too flashy for some, but others will certainly prefer it over the metal of the P9.
Honor 8 offers a great camera capable of taking some very creative shots with little to none preparations. And you don't need to wait for some update (iPhone 7 Plus we are looking at you) to shoot those awesome wide aperture photos, as Huawei does this very well for quite some time.
The first competitor to come in mind is the OnePlus 3. It has a bigger and punchier AMOLED display, utilizes the top notch Snapdragon 820 with 6 gigs of RAM, and its build quality and thin profile are great. Its camera is rather uninspiring, while the almost vanilla Android isn't as powerful as the EMUI on the Honor 8, but probably beats it in looks. If performance is more important than camera, then you should check the similarly priced OnePlus 3 for sure.
The Sony Xperia X costs a few bucks more, but its signature design and powerful camera are quite a treat. The GPU is better, there are more connectivity options, and its fingerprint scanner is as unique. Sony fans will grab it in a heartbeat and anyone having some Sony TVs or consoles should try it - the integration is quite good among Sony's lineup.
Xiaomi's Mi 5 is faster and thinner, offers OIS on its camera, but lacks the same creativity level. Its price is very attractive and if available in your region, you should check it out.
The ZTE Axon 7, just like the Mi 5, runs on the top-notch Snapdragon 820 chip with 4GB of RAM. Its screen is bigger and powered by an AMOLED matrix of Quad HD resolution, the 20MP OIS camera is an excellent shooting tool with all necessities, and the Dolby Atoms effect on the stereo speakers is amazing. The Axon 7 isn't as beautiful but is still equally intriguing.
The Honor 8 is a trimmed down model of the P9 mostly because the lack of the Leica collaboration. If this is your biggest concern, then you should refer to the P9 or the AMOLED and PressTouch-enabled P9 Plus. Those are more expensive, but offer the full power of the monochrome camera and some nice Leica film modes. And you can now get the new P9 in Blue or Red if that's your thing.
The 2015 flagships - the Galaxy S6 edge and the Xperia Z5 are still among the best performers on the market, their prices have settled at about the same levels as the Honor 8's, and they may turn out the better choice if video recording or water protection come before the camera quality for you.
By now you can tell we liked the Honor 8 a lot. Even without the Leica tricks, it's a flagship-grade beauty at a very reasonable price (€399). The best part is it isn't just a beautiful shell - it has the power to match too. The marketing may be revolving around the camera experience, but it's a solid smartphone from every angle and one you should definitely have on your shortlist.