In the past few years, flagship smartphones have really become more advanced and powerful. That development extended to midrange devices, and now, low-end smartphones are getting more reliable, too.
If you’ve been following the news, the under-Php10k smartphone segment has become really competitive. With devices like the Redmi Note 7 and Realme 3 offering top-caliber specs that we never thought we’d see on products this cheap.
Today, another contender has joined the game. Here we have the Honor 8C, and in our full review, we shall see if this handset has what it takes to compete in this saturated price segment.
Honor 8C Specs
- Android 8.1 Oreo, EMUI 8.2
- Dual SIM
- 6.26-inch HD+ display, 1520 x 720 pixel resolution, ~269ppi
- 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor
- 3GB RAM
- Adreno 506 GPU
- 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 256GB
- 8-megapixel front camera
- 13-megapixel (f/1.8) + 2-megapixel (f/2.4) dual rear cameras, PDAF, LED flash
- Fingerprint scanner
- HSPA+, 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.2
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
- microUSB 2.0
- Colors: Gold, Blue, Black, Purple
- 4,000mAh non-removable battery
Design and Build Quality
The Honor 8C has a pretty straightforward design with some subtle touches that make it distinctive from everyone else — at least on this blue color option that we have here.
It has — as what Honor calls it — a “Cat’s Eye” design with its reflective look that’s unusual for the matte paint job that it has. I don’t really see how it’s inspired with a cat’s eye, but it does look really neat and clean. The device is also available in Gold, Black, and Purple.
The Honor 8C also feels really compact and light despite its tall 6.26-inch display and large 4,000mAh battery. This thing is only 7.98mm thick and weighs 167.2g, making it one of the sleekest smartphones that we have reviewed in recent months.
In the front of the Honor 8C we have the said HD+ IPS screen with ultra-thin side bezels, but with a relatively larger notch on top that houses the front-facing camera, earpiece, and the light and proximity sensors. The bottom is also slightly chunky and houses Honor’s branding.
On the left side, we have the tray for two nano SIM cards and a microSD card. While on the right there are the physical buttons. Both the lock/power switch and volume controls feel really tactile and satisfying to press.
Moving up top you can spot the noise-canceling microphone and the 3.5mm earphone jack. While down below we have the loudspeakers, microUSB port, and the primary microphone. The use of a microUSB implementation instead of Type-C is disappointing, but I guess it’s too much to ask for a device at this price.
The blueprint on the back is pretty much a standard affair. Just like most Honor smartphones, we have the dual cameras and the LED flash in a vertical orientation on the far left. Below that is the ‘AI Camera’ logo, and far down south is where the second Honor branding is located.
We also have the fingerprint scanner on the middle, which is easily reachable by your index fingers.
Overall, I really like the design and build quality of the Honor 8C. It feels really comfortable in the hands and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to break easily.
A few years ago, a smartphone with a 6-inch screen and above is considered as a ‘phablet’. But by this day and age, it’s starting to become a norm. The Honor 8C features a 6.26-inch HD+ IPS screen, with a 1520 x 720 pixel resolution that has a ~269 pixels-per-inch. It also has ultra-thin bezels, which made it really compact despite the large screen real-estate.
The HD+ resolution is fine for a screen this large. Unless you’re really pixel peeping, you’d barely notice the difference between this and an FHD+ panel.
It offers decent color for watching videos, enough size for productivity and on-screen controls for games, and, as stated earlier, sharpness for reading articles and other content online.
Hardware and Performance
The Honor 8C is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor, with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, and Adreno 506 GPU. It sure is a decent chipset for a low-end device, but it’s been easily upstaged some of the competition.
Honor 8C Benchmark scores:
The overall performance of the Honor 8C was passable. Although, we’ve definitely seen other devices that delivered a snappier experience. Favorite and most-used apps like Facebook, Instagram, and other light tasks ran with no hassle. Although you can definitely feel some hitch when a lot of opened apps are opened simultaneously.
Its performance in gaming is also pretty similar. Top titles like Mobile Legends, PUBG Mobile, and NBA 2K19 are playable at really smooth frame rates, although the visuals are not the best as the graphics settings are set to low/medium to priority the smoothness.
Both a physical rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and face unlock (enabled by its 8-megapixel front camera) biometric features are found on the Honor 8C, and both of them worked really well.
The fingerprint scanner on the back can unlock the device in a jiffy. It’s easily reachable with your index finger, too. The face unlock also worked really fast, although it does struggle a bit in completely dark rooms.
Moreover, Honor and Android included privacy features in the software level such as App lock, and File Safe that lets you secure any sensitive data.
Probably one of the disappointing things about the Honor 8C is its software. Unlike its other brothers and a lot of its cousins in the Huawei camp, the 8C only comes with EMUI 8.2 with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, instead of the newer EMUI 9 with Android 9 Pie.
But knowing Honor’s after-sales support, we shall expect this device to be updated to the latest software version very soon. But for now, we have to settle with what we have.
The entire interface is definitely far from what the stock-Android looks like. The icons look a little different, the fonts are not the same, and more. But if you can look past that, then you’d pretty much have a good time with the Honor 8C.
The lock screen is minimal, with the time, date and other icons placed at the corners to help you appreciate whatever wallpaper you’re rocking. You can swipe from the far left of the home screen to access local and Google search, weather, and relevant news from your interests.
You can also customize the three-navigation buttons, or opt to use gestures. There is also no option to use an app drawer, so you’d have to settle on seeing all your apps scattered in the home screen.
The Honor 8C offers a good set of camera features. But considering how advanced smartphones have gotten, even in this price segment, being ‘good’ isn’t just good enough.
What we’re dealing here is a 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel dual rear cameras. With the help of AI scene detection, it can take images with acceptable colors, detail, and contrast. The device can even take passable images in low-light scenarios. The only problem is, we’ve definitely seen other devices performed better in this department.
The depth-sensor on the Honor 8C also takes images with believable bokeh effect, which provides professional and DSLR-like images.
Moreover, the 8-megapixel front-facing camera can also churn out good selfies. The details are there, which is rare on these type of cameras (although it gets a little softer when you enable its face beauty modes).
One of the key highlights and definitely one of my favorite feature of the Honor 8C is its large 4,000mAh battery. Thanks to its low-resolution screen and power efficient chipset, the device was able to provide really great battery longevity.
We ran the usual PCMark battery test and it got an impressive screen-on-time of 13-hours and 3-minutes before reaching 20%, which is probably the best score that we had on a smartphone that we’ve reviewed so far.
This basically means that the Honor 8C can easily last you for an entire day of light to moderate usage. You can also get at least 6-hours of gaming sessions on this thing with a single charge.
The Honor 8C is clearly a great device on its regard. You’d immediately love this handset the moment you hold it thanks to its unique, compact, and lightweight design.
It also boasts a really capable performance that’s good for gaming and day-to-day task. The front and rear cameras’ capabilities are not too shabby, either. The best part of this device is its battery, which is easily one of the most impressive that we’ve tested so far.
Honor 8C pricing and availability in the Philippines
The Honor 8C is now available in the Philippines for a price of Php7,999. You can get it at Honor stores and kiosks nationwide. It’s also available through Honor’s official store in Lazada and Shopee.
- Great battery life
- Compact design
- Capable performance
- Decent cameras
- Only comes with EMUI 8.2 out-of-the-box
- Outshined by the competition