Honor 8C Smartphone Review: A worthy Mid-Range challenger?

So what’s our rating for the Honor 8C?

Ever since it’s first local launch, Honor has been making waves in the Philippines in its attempt to conquer the Mid-Range User category with hardware configurations that are aimed towards multitaskers and avid smartphone gamers. One of their most recent releases, the Honor 8C, is one of the players in the Mid-Range battleground, as it promises top tier performance, at a sub-PHP 10,000 price point.

So how does it actually compete?

Key Specifications

Note: Listed below are the actual specifications of our review device.

OS Android Oreo 8.1.0
Processor Octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 1.80 Ghz
(4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Gold & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 250 Silver)
Graphics Adreno 506
RAM 3 GB
Storage 32 GB Expandable using microSD
Camera (Rear) 13MP + 2MP Dual Lens
Camera (Front) 8MP
Display Resolution HD+ 720 x 1520 pixels, 19:9 Aspect Ratio IPS LCD
6.26″ Full Notch with 81.9% Screen Ratio
Connectivity Dual Nano Sim
2.4 Ghz & 5Ghz WiFi
Bluetooth 4.2+BLE
Battery Capacity 4000 mAh

Build and Aesthetics

Right out of the box the Honor 8C just screams “premium” with its look and feel. Sticking to nearly a single color, semi matte look gives the body a metallic feel, although tapping on the case does make you realize that it’s made out of plastic. Even so, the overall build feels durable, although even with the matte-like finish, the backside can still be a smudge-magnet, but it’s nothing to really worry about.

At the back you can find the dual-lens Cameras, and as well as the Fingerprint scanner, complete, of course, with the Honor logo and as well as the AI Camera indicator. Both the Power button and  the Volume rocker can be found on the right side of the device, facing the screen, while the main speaker and the charging or the USB port are at the bottom, whereas the audio headphone jack is located on the top left. In contrast to most of its competition though, the Honor 8C does not come with any of those scratch-proof displays so you might greatly consider getting a Screen Protector or Tempered Glass attachments just to add that much-needed protection from accidental scratches.

Software and UI

Being a subsidiary of Smartphone giant, Huawei, the Honor 8C uses EMUI 8.2.0 on top of its Android Oreo 8.1 Operating System. Although smooth, the EMUI experience can be a bit of a hassle especially in how it categorizes common Phone Setting options, although thankfully it also does have a search bar functionality within the Phone Options menu. Security Options include Face Recognition, Fingerprint ID and your standard Android Device security measures, and as well as the App Lock and File Safe options.

Aside from providing its own brand of smartphone experience, the EMUI also allows Smartphone control via PC when connected via USB through the Huawei’s HiSuite software. This device manager allows functions such as managing messages and files via PC, and to some extent, Screen Mirroring.

Performance Benchmarks

As it still only comes with a Qualcomm 632, a chipset that was first introduced mid-2018, the Honor 8C’s performance is quite enough for its hardware configuration. Netting a score of 101,808 on AnTuTu Benchmark, the device falls behind on some of its rivals in the PHP 8,000 – PHP 9,000 range such as the ASUS ZenFone Max M2 (104,300) and the Redmi Note 7 (144,599), although you do have to take note that the said devices run on relatively newer hardware configurations compared to the Honor 8C.

Note: All of the AnTuTu scores from the mentioned devices are available publicly via Kimovil

As for other benchmark scores, PC Mark’s Work 1.0 test gives the Honor 8C a 6434 score, while GeekBench 4 gives a 1250 score on single core performance, while the device’s multi-core performance nets 4962.

With the split screen feature allowing you to run 2 apps at the same time, it’s quite easy to test out how the Honor 8C handles multitasking, such as running a game and browsing the web at the same time, however, you would have to expect additional lag time when loading application resources for games.

In terms of actual gaming performance though, with only the games and your standard background processes running, the Honor 8C easily handles popular smartphone games such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang pretty well even on High Graphics settings with no obvious frame rate fluctuations or resource lags. As for the Battle Royale title, PUBG Mobile, you’d ideally want to play on Mid-settings to help achieve smooth frames, while games that render out a lot of particles such as skill effects, for this instance MU ORIGIN 2, run just fine even when the graphics are maxed out.

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

 

MU ORIGIN

Camera

Although the Honor 8C does implement the now popular Dual Lens technology for its rear camera, photo quality is fairly average on shots with proper or adequate lighting. On natural light, Colors are nearly accurate, however, shots under artificial lighting reveal to have a bit of a darker tonal contrast although still sharp and of fair quality. Turning on AI assist for photos gives a noticeable increase in color saturation, making photos feel more vibrant.

Natural Light on Default (L) vs Natural Light with AI Assist (R)

Artificial Light on Default (L) vs Artificial Light with AI Assist (R)

 

In addition to AI Assistance, the Honor 8C’s camera modes also include Panorama, HDR, AR Lens mode and a PRO mode which includes additional settings for ISO, Shutter Speed, and Light Balance.

Low-light shots are very night and day though, with the details blurred out and visible noise, however, the flash does help improve image quality, especially on close-up shots.

The same quality of photos can be said on the Front Camera output, with near-color accurate images, and fairly sharp details.

Video recording is locked at 30fps with the highest resolution being 1920×1080. The overall recording quality is fair, however, the lack of automatic stabilization is a bit of a letdown.

Battery Life

Heavy users can easily favor the Honor 8C as its 4000 mAh battery delivers on its expected performance, with our average usage which, as outlined in previous reviews, includes a fair mix of playing mobile games, web browsing, accessing communication apps such as E-mail and Social Media tools, and as well as Video and Audio streaming, gave us an average of 10 hours of use. Charging is also relatively fast, with just a little over 2 hours on the phone’s standard charger although sadly, this might be the fastest that it could get as the device does not support Fast Charging.

Overall Verdict

The Honor 8C is in a tough battle against its rivals in the PHP 8,000-price bracket as it is a little behind when it comes to its hardware configuration. However, the device still delivers on its expected performance, and can surprisingly go the extra mile. It may not be on the very top list of our mid-range smartphone recommendations, but if you’re looking for a good balance between key smartphone features, then the Honor 8C would definitely be one of the options that you might just be looking for.

We give the Honor 8C our Shimmering Silver rating.

 

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