Looks like the iPhone. Acts like an Android.
The Huawei Honor U8860 Smartphone landed in our offices a few weeks back. For those who are wondering what a Huawei is and how do you pronounce it, I can try and answer the first one as the debate on the pronunciation is still on in our office. Although not very well known in the Middle East consumer space, Huawei is a huge company with offices in more than 140 countries and deals mostly on the Government/Corporate side providing high-end information and communications technology (ICT) solutions. Recently, they decided to enter the consumer space and that they made some notice at the MWC show in Barcelona last month by showcasing the fastest quad core smartphone based on their own chip. Sadly, that is not what we have with us today for reviewing but fear not as the U8860 does have a few tricks up its sleeve.
Packaging and Design
Packaged in a grey box that is slightly bigger than your standard Smartphone packages from HTC and Apple, the U8860 comes with the usual suspects- a USB cable, a plug and a headset. A quick start guide is also included to get the novice user up and running.
The Huawei Honor U8860 gets no points in the design department and let me show you why before we talk about it.
As you can see, the design of the unit is heavily inspired by a small unknown device from a not-so-well-known company based in Cupertino. It is so much alike that my aunt who already owns a white iPhone got confused when she saw it sitting on a table a few feet from her. So although Huawei will not win any awards for design, at least the construction quality of the U8860 is fairly decent. Although there is a bit of a creak on the back cover- common amongst devices with removable back covers, overall the device feels pretty solid in your hand and should be able to survive a small fall or two.
Specs and Performance
The Huawei Honor U8860 has specs that can be found on a mid to high-end Android based Smartphone of today. Based on a single core Qualcomm 1.4GHz SnapDragon CPU and Adreno 205 GPU, the U8860 should be able to handle everyday tasks without much issues. The following table compares the U8860 to some of the recent Android devices we have reviewed along with how well it did on the SunSpider benchmark (remember, lower scores are better as this is a time based benchmark)
||Samsung Galaxy Nexus
||ARM 1.2GHz Dual Core
||802.11a/b/g/b BT 3.0
UI and Apps
Like Samsung and HTC, Huawei has also chosen to implement a custom UI on their Android based U8860 and it’s pretty good actually. If you have ever used a custom ROM based on MiUi on your Android device, then the U8860 will be somewhat familiar to you. You can define four icons on your dock and also create folders and place widgets on your screens. Huawei adds colorful icons and adds a custom keyboard that supports Arabic- something that is not a part of stock Android pre 4.0. The following video shows you the user interface for the device.
As you can see from the video, the device is fairly quick at launching and moving between applications and home screens. I found the keyboard to be not as good as the stock one found on the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich) but nevertheless, it supports Arabic.
The Huawei Honor U8860 features two cameras like most modern Smartphones. The front one is a 2MP shooter while the back one is 8MP with autofocus and an LED flash. Sadly video recording is restricted to 720p @ 30fps. The following shot is a sample taken from the back camera of the U8860. The image has been resized but quality is kept at 100%
As you can see, the shots are decent in quality. The camera captures a good amount of detail but the colors appear a bit dull. You can go to digital zoom upto 4x but the quality of pictures degrades quite a bit.
Overall Usage & Conclusion
For everyday usage the Huawei U8860 works well. The call quality is just fine and so are the volume levels. I didn’t have anyone complaining on the other side of the line and I could hear everyone as clear as any other phone. The unit operates at a fairly cool temperature most of the times as well- although I did notice it getting a bit on the hotter side while charging and using- but that is true for many phones.
One of the best things about the U8860 is the battery life. With a massive 1930mAh battery, expect the U8860 to provide you with the best battery life on an Android device. It certainly proved to be one of the longest lasting Android device that I have tested on late by giving me almost two full days with my usual usage of having push email enabled, listening to some music, taking a few pictures.
Oveall, the U8860 is a pretty decent Smartphone. It is well constructed, has a nice display, performs quite well and lasts you quite a long time between charges. Its priced at AED 1,500 making it extremely well worth for what you’re getting and thus earns our recommended product award.