Honor keeps itself busy with multiple offerings in almost every price category; we reviewed the Honor 20 Pro’s camera, which is the topmost gadget in their arsenal as of yet. And now we are going to test Honor 8A, an entry-level phone that Chinese phone maker launched recently. Without discussing much of Honor’s strategy, let’s go straight to our test.
Honor 8A specs
- Display: 6.09 inches, IPS LCD
- OS: Android 9.0, EMUI 9.0
- Chipset: Helio P35
- RAM/ROM: 2GB/32GB
- Camera (rear): 13MP
- Camera (front): 8MP
- Battery: 3020 mAh
Design and Display
There would be some other catchy design options in this price range, for example, Tecno Spark Go and, more recently, Spark 4, but Honor 8A’s design is minimally simple. It’s a matte finish on the backside that looks much capable of handling smudges and fingerprint impressions without urging you to rub it clean now and then. We believe it can live without a back silicon cover.
This grainy rear side houses a single camera along with an LED flash placed at the top left corner, a fingerprint scanner in the center of the upper area, and Honor’s logo placed at the bottom aligned vertically with the camera setup.
The rest of the sides are usually occupied with the power button, volume rockers, micro USB slot, two speaker grilles (the only one emits the sound though), audio jack, all locked at their original places. The SIM tray is where it should be, but it lets you insert two SIMs and a microSD card simultaneously of up to 256GB.
The front of the phone is all screen like any other smartphone today, but bezels on the top and the sides are quite prominent; however, the bottom shows an even bigger black stripe.
A waterdrop notch on the top edge houses the 8MP camera for selfies, and right above the notch, there lies the earpiece grille.
The design proportion of the overall body is very balanced, which makes it comfortable to hold the device for longer sessions. At 150g, the weight is ideal, and the grayish frame around the phone provides a very firm grip even without the silicon back case that comes out of the box. The grip, however, improves with the silicon case. It could also be the first line of defense to protect your device against regular bumps.
Honor 8A comes with an IPS LCD of over 6 inches and 720 x 1560 px resolution, which is a usual trait in this price segment. The brightness levels at midway are adequate for indoors, but outdoor sessions are best viewed with value at full. Under the sunlight, the screen is nearly acceptable for some basic operations, but movies and games can be experienced with a little strain on the eyes.
And as with any other Huawei or Honor phone, the setting area offers a good number of tools to tweak your display; the color temperature can change, the notch can be hidden, and eye comfort can be activated.
Performance and battery
Honor 8A has an Helio P35 processor under the hood, which was launched by Mediatek for lower mid-range and entry-level phones back in 2018. The chipset came with some boost in camera performance and day-to-day working, but it can not be compared with the latest family members. There is a 2GB RAM module and a 32GB internal storage on board that can be upgraded further to 256GB through a microSD card. On the software front, it features the EMUI 9.1.0 OS layer on top of Android pie (9.0). Although not the latest combination, the phone did well during our day-to-day use.
We easily performed all the essential functions of the phone; our lighter multi-tasking didn’t show any sign of weak performance. But don’t take our words in the same manner for little aggressive sessions. Although this little chipset wouldn’t disappoint you and play games like PUBG (at lower graphic settings), playing Asphalt 9 and Real Racing 3 show lags. It stutters heavily while handling intense graphics. The ideal way would be to use one heavy app at a time and don’t open multiple in the background or switch between them.
On Geekbench 4, the single-core scored 851, whereas the multicore score reached 3907. Whereas on the Antutu, it scored 77541.
Thirty minutes of gaming session dropped 12% of its battery, but the internals kept the temperature of the phone well within limits. We never required a back silicon cover to avoid the heat.
It may not give you the loudest speaker experience, but with earphones, you can get good results. As usual, with other EMUI based phones, there are standard Huawei Histen sound effects that can get activated only when you insert the 3.5mm audio pin.
Honor seems to have worked on the bloatware that we usually found on Huawei phones. Though there are still a few useless apps inside, Honor Store and AppGallery could be useful for users. AppGallery can not be a replacement for Google’s Play store, at least for years, but it has a variety of apps inside.
In addition to usual settings, we found the Digital Balance tool very useful. You can set for how long in a day you would want to use the phone. Screen time management allows you to keep a balance between the mobile world and real life. It could be a useful reminder for anyone or even the kids if they are too obsessed with time-eating apps like Insta, Vidmate, Tiktok, PUBG, etc.
Face unlock and fingerprint scanning features are available on this device. The in-trend security tools are quick to operate with some extra options to further beef up the security. With face unlock, you can reach the home screen directly, OR put an extra layer in between that wouldn’t let you land on the home unless you swipe. This additional step avoids those unwanted incidents when you don’t want to keep opening the phone every time you look at it.
The fingerprint scanner also provides some additional functioning. For example, touch and hold will shoot the photo if you are in the camera app, and similarly, it can be used to answer the call, stop the alarm, etc. As usual, App lock and Safe are there for keeping things private.
Honor 8A has a 3020 mAh battery inside. In our phone call test, Honor 8A dropped 5% battery after a 30 minutes call while the phone was placed on our desk inside the room. The outdoor call for the same duration caused the battery to eat 7% of energy.
On social media, it lost 83% of its juice during our 3.5 hours test. The test included 30 minutes each of Instagram, Video recording, Audio streaming, YouTube streaming, WhatsApp video call, Tiktok, and gaming. The individual results of each app are available below for better understanding.
Note: Our 3.5 hours test is done on mobile data with both the 4G SIMs inside the phone and active.
Honor 8A has a reasonably simple camera setup onboard displaying a single 13MP lens on the rear side and an 8MP camera on the front for selfies. There is nothing extra, but merely simple doesn’t mean the camera lacks the necessary ingredients. It can take some decent photos with both lenses. The default camera app is just like any other EMUI based module, but without the extra crunch that assuredly comes with a price, I mean the additional features inside mid-range and high-end phones.
The standard mode of Honor 8A can take some decent photos, although it overexposes the pictures in the default settings that can be adjusted with exposure control.
With HDR turned on, the phone captures more detail, but it also adds the white a little more than desired. However, the color saturation and contrast level remain within a reasonable limit.
Its camera can zoom up to 4x, but hope shouldn’t be high as it is merely a digital feature. Nevertheless, it manages to capture reasonable details in a good light.
Low light and night photography depends upon the lighting conditions, like any other low-budget phone; it struggles to perform in the dark with either of the lenses, front or back.
Instead of beauty mode, the front camera takes better photos in standard mode, plus, don’t rely on it to take selfies in pitch dark situations, even with the flash on.
Honor 8A is a low-end performer that gives a sturdier look and comes with a design that can bear some roughness. The phone runs all the Google services, and future updates are also expected. 8A belongs to a really hot price segment, devices from Tecno, Infinix, Realme, and Samsung have started to land with more competitive features. However, this phone could prove to be an all-rounder in almost every area.