Honor 8C Review: Fantastic Battery Meets Average Camera

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Honor has been very aggressive in its phone launching strategy and has been unleashing new devices to cover almost all segments lately without compromising its innovative ability. Devices like Honor V20 are still the hallmark of excellence in the industry. Now the company has launched the Honor 8C, a budget phone with some serious tweaks and specs.

It comes almost 7 months after the launch of Honor 7C in Pakistan and is every bit of the upgrade over its predecessor as it was expected. The phone sells in Pakistan for PKR 26,500 (launching price), and it is also the first device in Pakistan to come with Snapdragon 632 Processor.

So how good the Honor 8C is? Are the huge claims about this phone’s battery true? Should you buy it? Let’s dive into the detailed review to provide you with an expert’s perspective.

Design and Display

While the device may not be as flashy and blingy as the Honor 8X owing to the price difference, it features an exciting and durable unibody design with a plastic build.

The phone looks graceful in matt black finish while the aurora blue variant, however, is a design statement and forms a certain shape when the light hits it; Honor calls it “Cat’s Eye” design. On the back, you can find a fingerprint scanner in the middle of the device and a vertically placed dual camera in the top left corner of the phone.

Since its a unibody design, the curved edges on the back of the phone make it easier to hold and handle it with one hand. Polycarbonate body of the handset, however, might be prone to scratches and smudges, so its highly advised to slap a case on the device to protect it.

The usual right-hand side of the device contains a power key that is well within reach, and just above the power key is a volume rocker. Both the keys are quite reachable even for the people with smaller hands thanks to the modern aspect ratio of the phone, which makes it taller and more comfortable to handle.

On the left side of the device, you get a SIM tray where you can insert two SIM cards at the same time. What’s more interesting is that it also sports a dedicated memory card slot, something that was missing in the most famous mid-rangers like the Honor 10 Lite and the Honor Play.

On the bottom, you can spot a speaker along with a micro USB charging port and the primary microphone. While many of the upper midrange phones are getting the Type C charging port and boast fast charging, the technology has not made its way into the budget category yet.

On the upper end of the phone, you’ll find the beloved headphone jack and a secondary noise cancellation microphone. While the absence of Type C port is somewhat frustrating, thankfully, the headphone jack eliminating trend has not reached in this category quite yet.

The overall build quality of the phone is sturdy, but it can prove to be quite slippery for someone with sweaty hands. Other than that, honor 8C is an excellently built phone for this price range.

Honor 8C boasts a 6.26 inches display. It’s an IPS LCD panel that stretches with a 19:9 aspect ratio and packs a 720 x 1520 resolution. Thanks to the notch, a bigger display is fitted into a comparatively smaller body that gives it a screen to body ratio of 81.9%.

Though the chin on the device is slightly bigger, the bezels on the side of the phone are shredded. However, it is quite strange to see why Honor went with the traditional notch approach even though it didn’t pack any extra sensors in the device like the FaceID or IR blaster.

Phones from other brands in this price category have almost entirely abandoned the wide notch in favor of the smaller waterdrop-like notch. Vivo Y91 is a great and the most recent example of this.

Honor 8C Display

The notch optimization, however, is superb in the phone, and unlike many other phones, the notch does not hinder your view while watching movies or playing games. Whenever any media content is launched, a black bar aligns with the length of the notch on the upper portion of the display, which completely hides it gives an uninterrupted viewing experience.

As for the quality of the display, a FullHD+ display would have been beautiful, but the price point won’t let you complain about it. Even with a 720p display, the Honor 8C offers great color and contrast.

The display is quite vibrant, and the viewing angles are also great. However, in bright sunlight, you have to crank up the brightness to the full, and unlike the poor outdoor display of Huawei Y7 Prime 2019, the honor 8C keeps its vibrancy and can be operated in bright sunlight. However, don’t expect to watch movies on the phone in sunlight.

OS

The Honor 8C runs the EMUI 8.2, which is layered on the Android Oreo 8.1. The smartphone’s OS comes with some nifty features like the Simple Mode, battery optimizer, gesture navigation, face unlock and many more

System Navigations in Honor 8C

Though the software has some useful features, it is filled with bloatware and some of the apps that you’ll probably never use. Also, there is an odd mixture of Google apps and Honor apps on the phone. I noticed that the messaging app is the one that comes from Google, while the dialer app is Honor’s custom version. Similarly, there is a chrome browser that is from Google, and then the File Manager and Gallery are the Honor’s customized ones.

However, not everything is doom and gloom. Honor 8C comes with a very customizable theme engine that lets you change from wallpaper to the icons of the phone. The twin app feature comes in handy when you want to use two accounts of the same social media app.

Theme Customization in Honor 8C

As compared to the earlier version of the EMUI, like in Honor 7C, the company has improved the software and gave a new look with many optimizations. The system settings are much more organized, and you don’t need to click hundreds of times to find your way to a specific option. Everything is laid down pretty smoothly.

Performance and Battery

Honor 8C packs a Snapdragon 632 chipset, which is backed by a 3GB RAM and a 32GB internal storage. While this may not seem sufficient, the device gives out a smooth performance except for some specific instances.

Astonishingly, the device performs excellently in benchmarks too and produces a score at par with the Redmi Note 6 Pro, which comes with  Snapdragon 636 and 4GB RAM and comes.

Benchmark Results of Honor 8C
Geekbench (L) and Antutu Benchmark (R) of Honor 8C

The performance in the Honor 8C is a mixed bag. It handles day to day tasks immaculately. However, it started to show some hiccups when we pushed it harder. While typical tasks like calling, texting, social media browsing shouldn’t be a problem, the device showed a very slight lag when browsing through heavy websites in the Chrome browser.

Since it is the first Honor phone with the Snapdragon 632, we think that this lag might be because of the lack of software optimization and not because of the hardware.

As far as performance goes, Honor 8C is a bang for the buck

The fingerprint scanner on the phone was pretty quick and accurate. Honor 8C also comes with a Face Unlock, but we won’t suggest you rely on it that much as it may not be as secure as the pin code or a pattern lock. Other than that, it’s pretty fast and recognizes your face even in low light conditions.

Heavy games like Asphalt 9, Deer Hunter, PUBG, and Real Racing are somewhat playable on the phone. Though you might experience some frame drops here and there, the overall gaming experience is wholly immersive on the phone.

3 Hours Battery Test of Honor 8C

A certain heating issue might be a turn off for you. We noticed that the upper portion on the back of the device starts to heat pretty quickly after a 10 min gaming session, and the heat grows if you keep playing, but that hardly shadows the performance of the phone.

The best thing about the device is undoubtedly its battery. In our real-life usage battery tests, the phone lost 13% battery in continuous light usage, calling, texting, and internet browsing of 1 hour while the brightness was full, and the screen never turned off. Similarly, heavy gaming, rapid multitasking, and heavy usage drained out 18% of battery in one hour. This points to the optimum battery performance of the phone.

Camera

Honor 8C Camera

On the imaging front, Honor 8C comes with a 13MP primary lens with f/1.8 aperture. At the front, Honor 8C has an 8MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture. Both the rear and the front cameras have single-LED flashes.

The camera on the device is stuffed with AI features, so recognizing scenes and altering its settings won’t be a problem for the camera. At the moment, the smartphone can detect 22 different types of objects and over 500 types of scenes

Camera Modes in Honor 8C

It also packs a fully featured Pro mode, which allows you to alter the ISO, exposure, shutter speed, and white balance. While the pictures with the Auto mode are quite good, we are not too pleased with the AI enhancements of the camera. The shots taken in AI mode are mostly over saturated and over sharpened.

Picture with Auto Mode on Honor 8C
Auto Mode

Picture with AI Mode on Honor 8C
AI Mode

The HDR Mode works fine, but in some cases, it drenches out the color from the picture and makes it appear quite dull sometimes while the AI consistently blows out the colors in the image.

Building Picture with Auto mode on Honor 8C
Auto Mode

Building Picture with HDR mode on Honor 8C
HDR Mode

Building Picture with AI Mode on Honor 8C
AI Mode

No matter how advanced the camera technology has gotten in the smartphone industry, you cannot expect a budget phone to perform immaculately in low light conditions. So we never expected much from the Honor 8C camera in low light, and as it turns out, we were right. It was, however, not so bad considering the price of the phone.

Picture at night with Auto Mode on Honor 8C
Auto Mode

As we said, the HDR Mode disappointed us, so it also did not make any difference at the night shot, just like we were expecting it. The AI mode tried to pull some light in the scene but then got compromised due to over-saturation. The post-capture processing can be seen on the AI picture.

Picture at night with hdr mode on Honor 8C
HDR Mode

Picture at night with AI mode on Honor 8C
AI Mode

With Auto mode on Honor 8C
Auto Mode

Building Picture at night with Auto Mode on Honor 8C
Auto Mode

Building Picture at night with HDR Mode on Honor 8C
HDR Mode

There is also an aperture mode that takes advantage of the secondary rear camera and produces pictures with the depth of field effect. These pictures come out above average with decent edge detection but with a poor spread of blur that leaves some unwanted patches.

Flower Picture with Aperture mode on Honor 8C

The camera is an odd mix of some pretty off-putting pics and some great snaps. So it’s safe to say the overall quality of the camera is average, at its best.

Verdict

In a highly populated segment with phones like the Vivo Y91 and the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, the Honor 8C stands out tall in terms of a fantastic battery and excellent build quality. Sadly the same cannot be said for the camera as it needs much more improvement.

Being the first Snapdragon 632 phone, it also needs some software optimization to make it work better and provide better performance. There are a few things to highlight, though. It packs a fast fingerprint sensor, and a great face Unlock feature along with a dedicated microSD card.

However, it’s high time for Honor to optimize the EMUI as the phone comes with a ton of bloatware and refrains the phone from getting the advantage of good hardware. So should you buy it? Considering that it sells only for Rs. 26,500, we think that its a great deal. However, if you are easily irritated by minor lags, we suggest you look at the Nokia 6.1 Plus or the Huawei Nova 3i, which comes with a higher price tag but can guarantee a smooth performance.

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