Apple iPhone 6 vs Huawei P8 – hands on

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For many years, the Apple iPhone has served as a benchmark for the design and style that rival Chinese manufacturers have built their handsets by and often, we’ve seen Chinese manufacturers like Huawei create some of the best looking Android handsets on the market.

Earlier this week, they announced the Huawei P8 (and the Huawei P8 Max), which this continues the trend of the P-Series and marries incredible design with premium specs at a flagship price point. Continuing where the Ascend P7 left off, the Huawei P8 packs a flagship specs list into a body that’s just 6.4 mm thick but how does the best of Huawei compare to the Apple iPhone 6? Let’s find out.

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The Huawei P8 measures 144.9 x 72.1 mm while the iPhone 6 is slightly smaller and narrower at 138.1 x 67 mm. However, the extra size is deemed necessary by the P8’s 6.4mm thickness, which is 0.5mm thinner than the iPhone 6. The Huawei P8 is also slightly heavier at 144 grams – versus 129 grams for the iPhone 6 – but the extra weight feels nicer in the hand with the Huawei P8 feeling reassuringly solid.

Huawei – the biggest manufacturer you’ve probably never heard of

The 4.7 inch display on the iPhone 6 sports 740p resolution (740 x 1334 pixels) and has 326ppi pixel density while the 5.2 inch display on the Huawei P8 offers Full HD resolution and 424ppi pixel density. In actual usage there’s very little difference between the two displays but the 1500:1 contrast ratio of the P8’s JDI-Neo display offers a slightly more immersive experience.

The front of each handset shares a similar candy-bar design aside from one key element: the bezels. The Huawei P8 comes with, what Huawei are describing as, a frameless display and it’s clear that they’ve definitely taken a major step towards having a bezel-less display in the future. The iPhone 6 has the home button, which incorporates the Touch ID fingerprint sensor but this brings with it, a large requirement for bezel. As a result the iPhone 6 has a screen-to-body ratio of just 65.8% which is vastly inferior – at least in design terms – than the 71.4% screen-to-body-ratio of the Huawei P8.

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Above the display, the iPhone 6 has a 1.2MP iSight front facing camera that shoots 720p HD video but as good as the camera is, it pales in comparison to the 8MP wide-angle front snapper on the Huawei P8 which captures rich selfies and can accentuate your facial features through Beauty Level.

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On the back and this is a key area that Huawei took great pleasure in highlighting during the P8 launch; the protruding camera. Before the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, past Apple iPhones had always had a camera that sat completely flush with the body but given the extra screen size on the iPhone 6 (and the 6.9mm thickness), the camera doesn’t quite fit. Yes, it does only protrude a small amount but the fact is, it sticks out. Even the Galaxy S6 Edge has a protruding camera and Huawei picked on both these handsets when revealing – with great pleasure, I might add – that the Huawei P8 camera sits completely flush with the 6.4mm thick body.

Consider that the Huawei P8 has a 13MP sensor with Optical Image Stabilisation – compared to an 8MP sensor sans OIS on the iPhone 6 – and it’s clear that Huawei have definitely pushed the boundaries in the camera design.

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As for the camera output, both handsets produce excellent images. The iPhone is usually recognised as having one of the best mobile smartphone cameras and the iPhone 6 is no different, with the 1.5µm pixel size offering better light in pictures. While the Huawei P8 has standard size pixels, it does have a larger sensor (at 13MP) and also has Optical Image Stabilisation which helps to ensure that low-light (and even day-light) pictures are crisp, clear and accurate.

China Tour 2015 with Huawei

From camera to performance and another area that’s quite contentious. On paper, every iPhone has specs that are dated by at least two to three years but this isn’t a true indication of the performance. As they control both the hardware and software on their devices, Apple has the ability to optimise in ways that Android manufacturers can’t and as a result, a similar level of performance can be achieved from vastly inferior specs.

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With their P8 flagship, Huawei have sought to produce an experience that rivals the iPhone and the octa-core 64-bit HiSilicon Kirin 930 processor and 3GB RAM combine to offer just this. Running on Android 5.0 Lollipop and using Huawei’s own EMUI v3.1, the Huawei P8 can multi-task with the best of them and while the experience isn’t the exact same, the UI does have several elements that would be familiar to iOS users.

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Both companies have also adopted similar marketing strategies, offering different versions of the handset with different storage options. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are available with either 16GB, 64GB or 128GB storage and each of the three colours – Space Gray, Silver and Gold – are available in either storage option.

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In comparison, Huawei have taken a slightly different approach with the same end result: the Huawei P8 is being offered in two versions with different colour and storage options but both versions offer 3GB RAM and microSD card expandable storage. The standard version will offer 16GB storage and be available in Titanium Grey or Mystic Champagne while the premium version will have 64GB storage and be available in either Carbon Black or Prestige Gold.

The price of the two handsets is another area where the two companies differ; Apple have always sought to achieve the highest possible selling price for their handsets and the iPhone 6 is no different, coming with a price tag that’s higher than almost every other smartphone. In comparison, the Huawei P8 starts at just €499 for the standard version – with the premium version costing €100 more – which equates to around £150 GBP (approx. $ 260) cheaper than the iPhone 6 SIM free and unlocked.

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Android manufacturers have often sought to draw iPhone users away from Apple’s ecosystem and the Huawei P8 is one of the closest attempts at offering an Android-based credible alternative to Apple iPhone users. From the build and design to the specs and the interface, it offers an experience that will be inherently familiar to all iPhone users.

 

Will it be enough to make them switch? That much is unclear but with a price tag that undercuts the competition significantly – and the backing of Huawei to make it even cheaper if required – it might have a small chance. Huawei is probably the biggest manufacturer most people have never heard of – although that is changing somewhat now – but with handsets like the Huawei P8, it won’t be long before you start hearing of them regularly.

Let us know your thoughts, guys!