Huawei P8

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 – Field Report

To use foreign local Prepaid-SIM cards without resigning your normal SIM I was looking for an inexpensive smartphone for e.g. holidays outside the European Union.

Due to an article in a German computer magazine I was pointed to the Huawei P8 Lite 2017. I checked its features with my list of requirements and bought this device. This field paper is about my experience with the P8 Lite on a business trip and holiday.

Till now I used Blackberry and iPhones as my business phones for years. A software comparison with the latter is also mentioned in this article.

IMPORTANT: Do not mix up the new Huawei P8 Lite 2017 with the two years older Huawei P8 Lite.

Requirements

Before I spend money for a technical device I prepare a list of MUST-HAVEs and NICE-TO-HAVEs. If a candidate do not match all MUST-HAVEs it fails.

MUST-HAVE NICE-TO-HAVE
 Dual-SIM  Fingerprint Sensor
 Long Battery Life  SD-Card slot
 Price << 300,– EUR  Exchangeable Battery
Well Engineered  Latest Android Version
Good Voice Quality  

Except the exchangeable battery even all NICE-TO-HAVEs are fulfilled by the Huawei. The article will address these requirements only.

Hardware

Despite the inexpensive price the phone has a premium-quality look and feel. It fits well in my hand and the back made of glass looks high-grade. But it collects fingerprints and dust quickly and slips from flat surfaces and dry hands too easily.

The fingerprint sensor is mounted on the backside which was new to me but it is more convenient and works better as expected. It recognizes my prints really quick and in all positions, faster and more reliable as the one in my business iPhone 6s.

Huawei’s smartphone do not have a mechanic home button. The home, net and back button are displayed on the bottom part of the display and their order are configurable.

The display is really bright and easy readable.

I did not pay much attention to the camera because as a hobby photographer I have high-class cameras with me when I want to take pictures. But for simple snapshots in a bright environment the quality of the pictures are OK. But in fainter environments the noise filter makes the photos too fuzzy. Maybe I have to strong requirements. Some colors looks a bit too strong sometimes.

Huawai ships this phone with acceleration, gyroscope, magnetometer, proximity and light sensors.

Dual-SIM

For me this functionality was the most important of all. The P8 Lite 2017 supports Dual-SIM Standby. That means both SIMs are booked in the mobile network and are reachable but the phone has just one sending and receiving unit. When you make a call with one SIM the other is deactivated and not reachable till you finished the call with the first one. You will be informed of missed calls via SMS.

But the phone has an optional and very flexible call forwarding capability. This function – if activated – forwards calls “received” by the deactivated SIM to the activated SIM when the latter is calling at this moment. The call-waiting function is activated automatically. Therefore the caller do not hear the mailbox.

A nice thing is assigning the SIM cards with meaningful names for easy recognition in the settings.

If you do not preset a default SIM-Card for calling you can choose the SIM card each time you make a call easily by pressing the desired button. It is always possible to call with one SIM and surf on the other simultaneously.

Unfortunately the Huawei P8 Lite 2017 has a combi slot for the expansion SD card and the second SIM. If you use two SIMs you just have the internal storage of 16GB available for all data, apps and firmware.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 SIM-Slot

SIM-Slot – Huawei P8 Lite 2017

This will be addressed later in detail.

The input of SIM’s PIN numbers is not engineered very well. You will be asked for the PINs of “SIM1” and “SIM2”. The meaningful names are not used. So you have to remember which provider/PIN is behind which SIM number.

Battery Life

The battery of the Huawei is quite big (3,000mAh). I made the experience that this lasts for much more than a day when used normally. Even with frequently usage: calling, GPS, surfing almost the whole day it lasts a day and I had a small remaining battery life left in the evening.

The standby life is also enormous, approx. 5 (five) days. More than two days. But charging last quite long, 2 hours and a bit more (power supply charging).

Memory Storage

This is the mayor drawback of this phone. The internal storage is very small, just 16GB. You can extent the storage with a micro SD card (up to 128GB) but only when you use a single SIM only. In Dual SIM mode you have to get along with the internal memory for the apps, data, music, photos, videos and firmware. The firmware alone covers 6.5GB. The apps an so additional 2GB. After all 7.5GB internal memory was remaining (approx. 47%).

If you use this phone in Dual SIM mode you have to be very very disciplined. In my eyes it is not applicable for people who want to carry their music, photos/Videos etc. with them offline. It is applicable when store your data in the cloud.

In Single SIM mode with an extension SD card this is not a problem at all but be advised that you are allowed to store apps in the internal memory only – even then.

I have installed – in my eyes – a lot of apps, I manage two e-mail and calendar accounts and it consumes approx. 70% of the internal storage (Dual-SIM mode). But I stored rarely photos, no videos and music on it.

Performance

This was not a big topic for me. I do not want to play sophisticated games. It should operate fluently only. And it does. No big difference to my business iPhone 6s in normal operations. I like to use it.

Software

The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 was shipped with the latest Android (version 7 Nugat) and EMUI 5 pre-installed. EMUI is quite similar to iOS of the iPhone.

The default apps (e-mail, calendar, contacts and settings) are also similar to the ones on the iPhone – in operation and functionality. The default browser is Chrome. As iOS EMUI has a flashlight-app in-build. You do not need a separate app for this. It is available from the lock-screen as the pocket calculator and some other tools, too – handy.

The installed app suite is very descent. For every task there is just one app installed. I did not find any trial and bloat software – commendable.

Calling

The voice quality (sending/receiving) is without any complaints. The calling app has all functions I need.

Experience in the field

I used the Huawei during a 1-week business trip even for business purposes in a simulated Dual SIM mode. I have not any complaints but the small internal memory is a problem definitely.

In a 1-week holiday abroad I used a local SIM card together with my business SIM. Because I do not need music and many photos/videos on my phone offline I was not bothered by the small memory. It works fine. It should be even enough for an car GPS app with maps.

One day I used a tour guide app and some other apps with an active GPS-map frequently the whole day and the battery last the whole day. At dinner I had approx. 10% battery life left.

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
+ Dual-SIM – Less memory in Dual-SIM mode
+ Good voice quality – Apps have to be stored in the internal memory only
+ Latest Android version – Not very well applicable for sophisticated games
+ Well engineered – Slippery backside because of glass
+ Premium-scale look – No exchangeable battery
+ Long battery life  
+ Memory extension possible  
+ Quite inexpensive  
+ Very good value for money  

Conclusion

For my Dual-SIM-purpose at holidays the Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is very applicable. It is quite inexpensive, premium-scale looking and well-engineered. The software is quite similar to iOS and easy to use. iPhone users will love it.

As an all-day smartphone with just one SIM card and with an extension SD-card this phone has my recommendation as long as you do not want to play blockbuster games.

But for an all-day Dual-SIM smartphone the small internal memory will be a burden sooner or later.

Nevertheless I like to use this phone and I love it to take the phone in my hand.

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