The Huawei P8 has a secret nano-coating that makes it splash resistant

Huawei finally launched the successor to last year’s Ascend P7 smartphone, and the Huawei P8 is everything we imagined based on months of rumors. The new flagship looks sleek, is powerful, and comes with many unique features. The company also unveiled the P8 Max, a massive, phablet version of the device.

Updated on 05-08-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news the P8 has a splash-resistant nano-coating. Additionally, you can read our complete review of the Huawei P8 here, and our hands-on report regarding the P8 Max here.

Huawei goes all in for metal with a unibody design

Huawei’s P series of phones have always looked attractive, partially due to how much the company borrows from the iPhone design and Sony’s Xperia phone design. The P8 looks even sleeker than last year’s model with polished, double-chamfered edges just like those found on the iPhone 5. The 5.2-inch IPS screen is almost bezel-free with a resolution of 1,920 x 1080 pixels, and the entire device is encased in an aluminum unibody. The P8 Max has the same look, but packs a massive 6.8-inch 1080p JDL screen for those who what a tablet-sized smartphone.

Huawei Ascend P8

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei managed to cut down the thickness of the P8 to just 6.4mm, making it thinner than the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6. The camera blends seamlessly into the back of the device, so you won’t have the camera module sticking out, either. Around the camera, there’s a rectangle made of glass, which is presumably necessary to allow for a cell signal. The device comes in champagne, gold, grey, and black color options, and Huawei will have a few cases available, including an E Ink back cover for reading ebooks, and displaying the weather, etc.

Camera

Huawei really invested in making a top-notch camera for the P8. The device has a 13-megapixel camera on the back that features a four-color RGBW sensor that aims to improve contrast and reduce noise in low-light conditions. Most cameras only have a tri-color sensor. Huawei also boasted that the P8 can offer up DSLR level imaging processor thanks to an internal Image Signal Processor. which improves exposure, white balance, and natural colors.

Much like most flagship phones, the P8 has optical image stabilization, but it’s anti-shake technology corrects by up to 1.2 degrees, which is double that of the iPhone 6 Plus. In theory, this should make shaky videos look even smoother, while also improving low-light photos. Huawei emphasized that its camera can capture more detail, especially when the lighting isn’t so great.

The camera software also offers auto scene recognition and multi-frame dynamic exposure, which takes four frames simultaneously and stitches them together to capture all aspects of the scene in the best light. There’s a perfect selfie mode, as well, which uses the ISP to detect faces quicker, and then highlight them. Those selfies should be pretty high-quality regardless, though, as the front-facing camera is 8-megapixels.

When it comes to videos, Huawei added a special director mode that allows four P8 phones to shoot video from different angles. The software then creates a video made up of the different angles from each phone’s footage. Another special feature Huawei mentioned is the ability to use your knuckle to take a screenshot, crop a photo, and so on.

The P8 Max has the same 13-megapixel shooter on the back, but the front-facing camera falls down to 5-megapixels for some strange reason.

Splash resistant nano-coating will keep it safe

One feature not mentioned at the launch event, which only came to light in a press release several weeks after the phone made its debut, concerns the phone’s durability. Huawei has teamed up with P2i, a technology firm specializing in protective nano-coverings, and wrapped the P8 in a special liquid repellent layer. Although the phone isn’t actually waterproof, and won’t survive a trip to the bottom of the bath, it will be protected against spills, humidity, splashes, and sweat. It’ll also resist corrosion from any little accidents during its life.

Why it kept this welcome little feature a secret until now isn’t known, but it’s good news regardless.

Huawei’s user interface adds cool extras to Lollipop

Huawei’s P8 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with the company’s own customized Emotion UI on top. You can change the theme to get a different look on your phone at any time. Huawei also created this cool feature to help you find your phone more quickly. It’s called voice wake up, and you can ask your phone “Where are you?” or some other phrase, and your phone will respond, saying, “I’m here,” and play music until you find it.

Power-saving processor and battery

The P8 and P8 Max are powered by the Kirin 930 and 935 64-bit processors, which offer lower power consumption thanks to the big-little processor setup. This technology ensures that the phone uses the small processor for tiny tasks, and the bigger processor for heavy-duty tasks. The result is a processor that Huawei says is 20-percent more efficient. The processor is paired with 3GB of RAM, and the phone offers up 16GB or 64GB of internal storage, depending on which model you choose.

Huawei also built power-saving software that can stop apps from running in the background when you don’t need them. This should keep the 2,600mAh battery in the regular P8 alive for one day of heavy use or one and a half days of average use. However, if you’ve got the larger P8 max, you shouldn’t be concerned about battery at all, thanks to the 4,360mAh battery inside.

Pricing and availability

Huawei says the P8 will cost $530 for the 16GB models, or $630 for the 64GB versions. The P8 max will cost a tad more at $582 for 16GB and $688 for the 32GB version. The phones will launch in 30 markets first, before expanding to 100 markets shortly thereafter. Initial launch countries include China, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, UAE, and the United Kingdom, among others.

Next page: All the rumors leading up to the launch

This page is an archive of older rumors about the P8 prior to launch.

Updated on 04-13-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in link to livestream from Huawei and teaser trailer.

The teaser trailer is all about capturing light

Get prepared for the new phone with Huawei’s teaser trailer. It’s all very dramatic, and tells the story of a man who captures all the light from the paparazzi’s cameras, the starlet’s dress, the welder’s torch, and the city’s buildings. All the light is drawn straight into the mysterious device he holds in his hands, which we can assume is the upcoming Ascend P8 smartphone.

What does it all mean? Well, it could be a very bold hint that the camera will have an aperture capable of capturing more light, so it can take superb low-light shots. Or it could be something else entirely. Huawei tells us to “embrace two times the beauty by seeing the night,” and invites fans to livestream its April 15 event.

You can livestream the April 15 launch event

Huawei has invited members of the press to an event in London on April 15, where the company is expected to launch the Ascend P8. Huawei could also surprise us with a few other tidbits of news, but that remains to be seen. We should be reporting from the event, so we’ll keep you updated on all the latest news here. Additionally, you can watch Huawei’s livestream of the event on YouTube.

An earlier report erroneously hinted that Huawei might release the Ascend P8 in January around the same time as CES in Las Vegas. The phone’s price is estimated to come in around 2,999 CNY or approximately $490.

Sleek design with a metal frame

Huawei doesn’t always use high-end materials on its smartphones, but it’s Ascend P lineup has always focused on premium design elements. Based on the leak, it sounds like the Ascend P8 won’t be an exception to the rule. The phone will reportedly feature a metal chassis and a ceramic back.

The screen may also be “2.5D,” meaning it could be slightly curved, just like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Huawei is no stranger to mimicking the iPhone’s iconic design language, and the Ascend P7 could easily be mistaken for Apple’s popular smartphone.

Most recently, French leaker Onleaks posted a photo of what’s claimed to be a prototype version of the Ascend P8. The photo only shows a small portion of the phone’s back, but based on what we can see, it has a metal frame and some kind of textured or patterned back. The metal edges appear to be chamfered to reflect light.

Quality specs, but not the best

Like its predecessor, the Ascend P8 is expected to have 1080p screen, rather than the Quad HD panel seen on many of its flagship rivals, such as the Galaxy S6. However, this time around the screen will allegedly measure 5.2-inches, resulting in a pixel density of 424 ppi.  Even though the screen won’t be any sharper than that of the P7, its display looked bright and sharp, so we’re not put off.

The speculation about the Ascend P8’s processor is the only questionable part of the report. A MyDrivers leak claims that the 16nm FinFET Huawei Kirin 930 processor from TSMC will power the device. This claim seems pretty doubtful, as TSMC is expected to start work on the 16nm processor late in 2015.

Previous updates:

Updated on 03-19-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added leaked photo of Ascend P8, possible specs, and launch date rumors.

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