Honor has been busy since last year when they started to create an impression. Unlike many other Chinese brands, they have remained successful in gathering attention for almost all price segments no matter it is inexpensive Honor 7A, high mid-range Honor 10 or Honor V20 which competes with popular flagships.
Now once again, it has a new weapon in its bag, Honor 8C, a budget phone that offers some really cool specs.
The phone is a successor to famous Honor 7C that almost belongs to a similar price tag but surely comes with upgraded features, the prominent among them is the processing power. 8C has a new Qualcomm 632 Snapdragon whereas 7C had an old one, Snapdragon 450.
A bigger battery also accompanies the new chipset. So, the question is, do the specs practically make a difference or not, let’s find out what our in-depth test says about them.
The design of the phone is one step ahead from the predecessor. The blue and red color variants are more flashy and create a certain shiny pattern on the back when the light hits them. Honor calls it a Cat’s Eye design. The black color variant we had for the review is a matt finish dull looking surface that can bear quite a bit of rough handling easily.
It’s an all plastic unibody design made of polycarbonate but doesn’t make you feel deprived of durability. However, you need to toss a case on its back for keeping it smudges and scratch free.
The rear body carries vertically aligned dual camera setup and a fingerprint scanner rightly placed in the middle for accessing it without a problem with your index finger.
You get the usual power key and volume rocker on the right-hand side of the phone which are just perfectly placed for easy handling. The left side carries SIM slot that can cater to two SIMs at the same time, but the more interesting part in the connectivity section is the dedicated slot for the microSD card which was not the part of design even in Honor 10 Lite and Honor Play. So there are no compromises here.
The bottom of the device holds speaker grill, a primary microphone and in between two you can find a micro USB charging port. We really wished it was a type C, but, this seems to be one significant compromise in favor of a budget price.
In contrast, the top side of the phone is not much busy where it only reserves the space for audio jack and the secondary noise cancellation microphone.
Despite its natural ability of easily getting slipped out of hands or catch the greasy smudges, the Honor 8C looks sturdy and durable. Even the flagships of major brands share this common feature. Yes, a back cover is a must-have accessory if you want to maintain a firm grip on your phone all the time.
Honor 8C boasts a 6.26 inches display. The IPS LCD panel provides a 19:9 aspect ratio and packs a 720 x 1520 resolution. Although the phone’s dimension is smaller in height than the predecessor, the screen size has increased against the 5.99 inches of 7C and, so is the screen-to-body ratio which stands at 81.9% this time.
Honor has tightly fitted a bigger screen on an almost similar body.
Another prominent thing the display carries is the notch. Although, we never liked notches being an annoyance to our viewing experience, but the fact is, we have it on the 8C. However, there is no need to curse it much because Honor has optimized it such a way that it doesn’t hinder the view while playing games or watching a movie.
Soon as media content is launched, two black bars appear on each side of the notch along the top of the display making the cut out invisible for an uninterrupted viewing experience.
Honor 8C gives a 720 HD display that does not compromise on colors, contrast or viewing angles. Even under the sunlight, we could comfortably operate it with the brightness turned to full; however, we don’t want you to expect similar thing about the movies or games under the same situation. Nevertheless, it is remarkably well when we compare it with a poor contender Huawei Y7 Prime 2019 which is way behind the 8C in the display while higher in price.
Over the front of the phone is pleasing with left and right sides of the panel more trimmed than top and bottom where the phone displays the Honor logo on the chin.
Honor 8C comes equipped with Oreo 8.1 and an EMUI 8.2 on top of it. Although, 7C is only two updates behind, but the user experience is more refined in 8C.
The bloatware that comes installed with almost every phone today that has a customized skin, 8C is no way different. Inside, there is a blend of Google and Honor apps. For example, the messaging app belongs to Google, but the dialer is Honor’s own. And similarly, the gallery app and the file manager are also installed by the Honor. We think they are well optimized just like the battery optimizer, gesture navigation, face unlock, etc.
There is a customizable theme engine that can completely change the look and feel of your phone’s home screen with its wallpapers and icons. We also used the twin app feature that comes handy for social media lovers.
Honor’s earlier software was more complicated than the newer version which, fortunately, does not keep you stuck with tapping indefinitely for executing a simple task.
Performance & Battery
Honor 8C runs on Snapdragon 632 chipset and supported by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. It may sound a little low on the sheet but no way you should feel it practically while using it considering the fact that it is an entry-level mid-range.
While using it regularly, at no point, I felt it screaming or lagging. And by “normally” I mean calling, texting, social media and browsing. Surprisingly, the device outsmarts Redmi Note 6 Pro in the benchmarking tests which come with Snapdragon 636 and 4GB RAM, slightly better hardware specs.
But there were few instances when heavy usage took a toll on the phone’s processing. Apart from standard usage testing, we always try to put a load on handsets to test their limit which is always in line with the phone’s category.
Opening lots of websites in chrome with heavy flash content and playing games simultaneously did cause some lag, but it was very much expected.
Otherwise, games like Asphalt 9, Deer Hunter, PUBG and Real Racing are fairly playable on the phone.
I am sure the new processor will soon have software updates to tweak the performance further
Light or heavy usage, the best thing Honor 8C has is its optimized battery performance. In our one hour regular testing it consumed 13% of the battery, but with graphics intensive games and browsing, it took away 18% of the battery in one hour that shows it won’t disappoint you either.
Honor 8C carries two lenses on the rear 13MP, and 2 MP along with a single LED flash and similarly, on the front, it has an 8MP lens and a single LED flash. It has f/1.8 aperture on the rear and f/2.0 aperture on the front. A cherry on the top is the AI feature that can recognize 22 different types of objects and the 500 different scenes.
There is also a pro mode which let you play with ISO, exposure and shutter speed. It’s a cool place to hone your photography skills. Just don’t be afraid to use and you will have some amazing photos.
We mostly relied on the auto mode which works perfectly in almost every condition and to further spice up the mood; the AI is there to help for enhancing the subjects in your photo. It adds some drama to the photos and increases the contrast and exposure in your images.
Sometimes they look oversaturated and extra sharpened, but that’s what people like today on social media. Who likes the original colors any more?
At night, it performs reasonably in the well-lit areas, but the fact is we are still far away from getting some ideal results in areas when there is no light. In contrast to DSLRs, smartphones still struggle at night and 8C is no different.
Overall, the camera serves well in almost all conditions with the exception at low lit areas.
The price where Honor 8C falls is a very busy segment, and almost every smartphone manufacturer is expanding its profile here. Among Vivo V91, Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, Honor 8C has come up with excellent battery life.
It comes with a dual SIM slot along with a dedicated microSD slot, fast fingerprint scanner and great display that works for almost every content type.
There are some minor tweaking required on software level which I am sure Honor will consider matching it with a newer processor inside.
All in all, it’s a great deal for Rs. 26,500.