The year 2018 may have been quite a busy one for smartphone manufacturers, but it’s been particularly eventful for one Android OEM – Honor. The Huawei sub-brand has launched a bevy of smartphones in India this year already, and today, it’s adding another device to that ever-widening portfolio – Honor 8C. The lower mid-range smartphone comes in two configurations – 4GB RAM/32GB storage and 4GB RAM/64GB storage – priced at Rs 11,999 and Rs 12,999, respectively. Honor 8C is an Amazon India exclusive, and will go on sale starting December 10.
Originally unveiled in China last month, Honor 8C succeeds Honor 7C, which launched barely six months ago. As one would expect, it packs quite some improvements over its predecessor, including a better SoC and a bigger battery. All that sounds great, but is this smartphone really any good?
Having spent some time playing around with the 8C already, here are my initial thoughts about the latest addition to the Honor family.
Lightweight yet sturdy construction
Honor 8C has a plastic body, but that doesn’t automatically make it a bad device. Conversely, the smartphone is quite well-built and has a solid in-hand feel. Also, the poly-carbonate shell helps in keeping the 8C’s weight under control, which is great, given the 4,000mAh battery inside this thing.
Our review unit is the ‘Aurora Blue’ color variant, and it’s eye-catching. When moved under light, vertical light blue streaks appear to move across the width of the smartphone. Combined with the rear panel’s matte finish, they make Honor 8C one of the more-interesting looking mid-range smartphones out there. There’s a dual-lens rear camera system, comprised of a 13-megapixel module and a 2-megapixel depth-sensing module, as well as an LED flash. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is easily reachable and worked great during my hands-on time with the smartphone.
The top of the 8C has a 3.5mm audio port, while the bottom is home to a microUSB port and a mono speaker. The tri-slot tray (two SIM slots, one microSD card slot) is on the left, whereas the right is where you’ll find the power button and volume rocker.
Good (enough) display
Up front, Honor 8C features a 6.26-inch HD+ display, complete with a notch. With a resolution of 720×1520 pixels and a 19:9 aspect ratio, the IPS LCD panel looks more than adequate, even though it’s not the brightest out there. The low pixel density (about 269ppi) may seem like a downer, but since visual elements (e.t. text, pictures, videos) look sharp enough, it’ll most likely be a non-issue for most users. Colors and viewing angles are also quite good.
The notch is not really that wide, but it’s still there. In case you don’t like it, you can always ‘hide’ it via a simple toggle under the smartphone’s settings menu.
Under the hood
Honor 8C is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 632 SoC, which makes the smartphone the first in India to use the chipset. It’s definitely an upgrade over the Snapdragon 450 chipset that Honor 7C uses, even if only on paper. There’s also 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, with a dedicated expansion slot that can take up microSD cards of up to 256GB. Add all that up, and it’s hardly a surprise that I found the 8C to be a zippy performer during my time with it. Apps launch fast, and multi-tasking is a breeze. But I will reserve my judgment till I review the smartphone.
Speaking of apps, the 8C comes with a bunch of bloatware and duplicate apps pre-installed. While some of them can be uninstalled, other can’t. There’s Android 8.1 Oreo on-board, with EMUI 8.2 overlay baked on top. The UI layer isn’t the greatest thing out there, but it does come with some features like app cloning and face unlock.
As mentioned above, Honor 8C features a dual-lens camera system (13-megapixel + 2-megapixel) at the back. I shot a bunch of quick photos and found them to be decent. The images look quite sharp and have good amount of detail, but exposure levels are a bit messed up. Apart from the usual photo and video modes, the camera app has an ‘AI’ option that supposedly uses Artificial Intelligence to enhance images. Whether it’s actually any good, is something I’ll only be able to test out once I put the 8C through its paces. Coming to the front, the 8-megapixel selfie lens seems adequate. Of course, the ‘beautification’ mode is there as well.
Honor 8C has a 4,000mAh battery, which is significantly bigger than that of its predecessor. Combined with the Snapdragon 632 chipset, it should make for some really good endurance. However, I’ll be able to comment on the battery performance only after I review the device extensively.
Honor 8C is entering a fiercely-contested market, one that’s getting more crowded every day. Given the pricing, it’ll most likely be going up against the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro, and of course, the recently-launched Realme U1. My initial impressions of the 8C are definitely positive, but I’m yet to put the smartphone through a detailed testing process. So, if you’re eyeing this as your next smartphone, stay tuned for the full review to know whether you should actually buy it or not.