Huawei is one of the newest high quality smartphone manufactures. The GX8 is certainly a mid-range device, lacking NFC, a high-resolution camera, and the latest version of Google’s Android OS; however, the device is very solid and has the weight you’d expect from a high quality device.
- 5.5-inch 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor (8 cores)
- 5.1 Lollipop with Emotion UI (EMUI) 3.1
- 2GB of RAM
- Fingerprint sensor
- 16GB of storage with a microSD slot to expand up to 128GB
- 13-megapixel rear-facing and 5-megapixel front-facing
- 3,000 mAh battery
- dual-sim functionality (either microSD or another SIM)
Starting out with the device’s hardware, you immediately notice how nicely the device fits in your hands. On the bottom you will notice the dual speaker grills and the micro-usb charging port. On the top right, you will find the 3.5mm headphone jack, which is in an extremely convenient location for most types of headphones. On the right, you will notice a sizable volume rocker and power button. Unfortunately, the power button is below the volume rocker, which has taken a significant amount of getting used to for myself. Finally, on the back you will find the super responsive fingerprint sensor. Throughout my daily usage, I have actually found the fingerprint sensor in the GX8 to be faster than that on my iPhone 6S.
The display in the GX8 is one of the better that I have seen. Contrast ratios are spot on and the colors are accurate. The screen uses the IPS technology, which is the same as that of the iPhone. The pixel density is 401ppi (pixels per inch) which is spot on with the iPhone 6s Plus’s Retina Display; this means that the GX8 also has the equivalent of a retina display at only half the price. If you are looking for a great crispy and color accurate screen, this device will not disappoint.
The fingerprint sensor on the GX8 is honestly one of the most impressive features of the device. Every single time I have pulled the device out of my pocket, it has successfully unlocked with my finger near instantly. This is compared to my iPhone 6s with the “new and improved” TouchID, which approximately 8 out of every 10 unlock attempts will succeed. For a $300 device, I find this to be extremely impressive.
This is where the review turns from totally positive, to totally negative. Having used all android skins available (with HTC Sense being my favorite sans vanilla Android), I would rate EMUI as one of the worst experiences that I have come across. The icons are extremely odd to me at first, and the overall use feels much like iOS gone wrong. Don’t get me wrong, the design is beautiful; however, I would not expect something so drastically different on an Android device. This can quickly be fixed by replacing the launcher with a 3rd party alternative, but, system level apps just feel clunky and not entirely intuitive. The device does also ship with some bloat that can not be removed, which is odd for a non-carrier branded device (Amazon and Amazon Kindle).
Performance & Battery
The GX8 doesn’t lack on performance, with its octo core processor and 2gb of RAM. I found myself able to text, use social media, play games, and watch YouTube without any lag or crashes. The 2gb of RAM can be a bit of slow down if you are not accustomed to closing your applications out after use; but, for a mid-range device it is still very worth its price. When it comes to battery, the 3,000 mAh battery will help you get through your day without being stuck connected to the wall. On a typical day of checking email and replying as it comes in, scrolling through social media, doing some schoolwork, and listening to music when able, I made it through almost my entire day (from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed). From empty, the device will charge in about 3 to 5 hours depending on how much it is used while charging.
Overall, the GX8 is a great device if you are looking for a solid mid-range device. The dual speakers on the bottom provide great sound quality, the camera takes amazing pictures, and the battery will get you through the day. The fingerprint sensor is both fast and secure, and the device is extremely comfortable to hold. The EMUI skin can be extremely hard to get used to, however themes are available and you are able to install 3rd party launchers and applications to make the device truly yours. At $300, you can not find a better bang for your buck.