2019 is far from ending, yet phone manufacturers keep producing budget smartphones that cater to the needs of most users. If you can still remember, the Honor 8S was announced in the Philippines in July 2019.
In this digital age, a lot of people are looking for smartphones that do not have a hefty price tag. There are consumers who just want a basic phone regardless of the design. Honor went the other way around with the 8S as they did not compromise the overall look of the phone despite its price.
A refreshing design
The design on the back of the Honor 8S is something you barely see on smartphones today. It has dual-texture with a smooth finish on the upper part, while the bottom has the line texture for grip.
There are two color options: Blue and black. I like black in general but not with phones as it looks basic throughout the years. The blue option is also nothing special; kudos though as the layered design makes the color flow in different directions.
Looking at it even felt nostalgic as I remember the Lenovo Vibe Shot and some old Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras that have the same design language.
Long live, headphone jack!
In this country, a lot of people are still using wired earphones (or headphones). No one really likes dongles but people invest on them anyway just to use 3.5mm-powered audio peripherals properly. Unlike Samsung who started ditching the audio jack, Honor giving 8S a headphone jack is a relief.
C’mon guys, it’s 2019!
If I would wish any New Year’s Resolution for phone manufacturers, that would all be about using USB-C for budget smartphones instead of the old-school micro USB. It’s 2019, USB-C is the standard: faster data and charging speeds, less cable clutter.
The front design will not disappoint you
Although notches do not look cool anymore (as if they ever were), budget smartphones with tiny ones still look better than having thick top and bottom bezels.
This budget smartphone is packed with a 5.71″ FullView DewDrop Display. The screen is not as crisp or bright as any other IPS-LCD smartphones out there, but it gets the job done. It’s enough for indoor usage and visible when the sunlight is not too harsh outside. Just remember to untick Auto-Brightness in Settings and maximize the brightness slider to its full potential when you are using it outside.
You can still hide its DewDrop notch
This feature is common among Huawei and Honor devices but I still like how you can hide the notch as it may bother some (or most) people. After all, activating the feature will make the phone look symmetrical in design because of the equal distribution on the screen’s upper and lower part.
It feels basic, but in a good way
Unlike other smartphones with a glass back, the Honor 8S feels lightweight due to its polycarbonate back. For people with small hands, this phone is grippy enough.
One-handed usage, anyone?
If you previously read my Xiaomi Mi 9T review, I told everyone how I like big phones because I have big hands. This time, the Honor 8S is nowhere near that category. Technically, its fullscreen display sounds big on paper but based on my experience, most people would enjoy holding it even with a single hand — more ideal when you watch videos on YouTube or Netflix.
Your Social Media phone on-the-go
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name them. The phone performs just right when it comes to social media apps. Posting, tweeting, sharing Instagram stories, they all work just fine.
Performance is just right for its price
Just a refresher, this phone packs a MT6761 Helio A22 chipset by Mediatek. This is the base model so it is equipped with just 2GB RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. Worrying about more storage for your photos and videos? It still supports microSD expandability of up to 1TB.
Performance-wise, there’s nothing astonishing. To be blatant, I have experienced hiccups while using the phone, from scrolling through home screen pages, dragging down the notification menu, and even playing with games such as the not-so-graphics-intensive Alto’s Odyssey. I was not expecting anything grand. It’s just that, other budget smartphones are still capable of performing well. Too bad the Honor 8S is not one of them.
You have no choice
This phone doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner, but the Face Unlock does the trick. It works well under dark lighting conditions, just like how it was advertised. I guess having this “security” measure is better than just typing your PIN every single time.
The design doesn’t speak for its cameras
The Honor 8S’ camera-centric back design doesn’t speak well for its 13-megapixel rear camera (with a wide aperture of f/1.8).
I understand that this is a budget smartphone, but I think camera quality should not be an exception as several budget phones proved that they can still shoot good photos despite the price range they belong to.
I would not give this phone a hard time as some photos look decent enough, but after much observation, some photos would start looking grainy once you get to shoot indoors, even if natural light is present.
It was also surprising to see a “Pro” camera mode. Too bad trying it does not give justice to the photo itself. Night shots are nothing different. Even the selfie camera is lackluster.
Battery performance is surprisingly good (but not its charging time)
The Honor 8S only packs a 3,020mAh battery. Although the phone’s performance is sluggish because of the chipset, it is power-efficient enough to make the phone last.
Forget the numbers! With normal usage, it survives for a day. In times when you want to detoxify out of social media by not using your phone and just let it standby, it would last you two to three days. With those extra power-saving modes, the phone could even last for almost a week.
Charging time is not in any way fast as it would take two hours (utmost) to fill it up — I mean what should we even expect from a micro USB-equipped phone?
Is the Honor 8S your BudgetMatch?
The Honor 8S currently retails for PhP 5,490 (US$ 105). There are other selections when it comes to budget smartphones, and this phone is a runner-up in that list.
If you are the kind of user who just wants a smartphone that looks good regardless of the overall performance, the Honor 8S is right for you. This is specifically recommendable for parents (or grandparents) and kids alike — basic phone functionality without minding additional bells and whistles.
motorola rizr Hands-On
Hello Moto! from my rollable
If you’re an oldie (but goldie) gadget nerd, you would probably remember the stylish slider Motorola RIZR Z3 from 2006.
Fast forward this 2023, we might actually hear “Hello Moto” in this new form factor.
Originally unveiled at Lenovo Tech World ’22, motorola’s rollable concept made its way through the eyes of many at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain.
Are you excited to see the future of smartphones with rollables?
Here’s our brief hands-on with motorola’s rollable concept A.K.A the moto rizr.
HONOR Magic5 Pro Hands-On
A closer look at the hardware
The HONOR Magic5 Pro opened to much fanfare at MWC 2023 in Barcelona, Spain and for good reason. This is HONOR’s first major release in front of a massive audience and is a follow up to the really solid Magic4 Pro smartphone. The Magic5 Pro doubles down on what made its predecessor great, and after a few days of Hands-On, we’re fans of its potential.
Box inclusions are par for the course: You get the Magic5 Pro, a jelly case, the usual documentation, a UBC-Cable, and the 66W SuperCharge adapter.
Unboxing the Power of Magic #HONORMagic5Pro #MWC2023 pic.twitter.com/rc5kTVSyRP
— GadgetMatch (@gadgetmatch) March 1, 2023
Specs and button placements
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Here’s what the Magic5 Pro is like on paper:
- Processor — Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
- OS — MagicOS 7.1 based on Android 13
- Graphics — Adreno 740 GPU
- Memory — 12GB DDR5X
- Storage — 512GB UFS4.0
- Display — 6.81-inch LTPO quad-curved floating screen, 2848 x 1312, 120Hz, 100% DCI-P3, 1800 nits peak brightness, HDR10+, TÜV Rheinland certified Low Blue Light
- Audio — Stereo system with dual speakers, DTS:X Ultra
- Security — Dual-TEE security system, NFC support, 3D face recognition, AI Privacy Call 2.0, fingerprint sensor
- Connectivity — USB Type-C, dual-SIM slots
- Wireless — Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.2
- Battery — 5,100mAh, 66W wired and 50W wireless SuperCharge
There’s no denying, that’s a 2023 flagship right there. But we’re gonna hold off on any real testing. HONOR told us that the unit we have still needs to receive a software update to fully have the device optimized. So, wait we shall.
Button placements are your usual affair.
At the bottom you’ll find: SIM Tray, USB-C port, speaker grilles.
On the right hand side are the volume rockers with the power button right below it.
Up front, you’ll see the pill-shaped cut-out on the left housing the 12MP (f/2.4) front camera and 3D depth camera.
Design and hand feel
The unit we got is the Classic Black one. The finish is glossy, it’s pretty slippery, and will definitely be home to fingerprints and smudges. Definitely use the included jelly case or buy one if you end up with this unit.
The Cyan variant has more of a frosted matte finish, but it isn’t that much better in the being-slippery department.
Despite measuring a massive 6.81 inches, the device is pretty easy to hold because the display and the back panel curves to the side. It’s also not significantly heavier than most other flagships in this form. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, in 2023 at least, still holds that heavyweight title.
Overall, it’s pretty comfortable to hold and use either with one hand or two hands. Recommendation is to use/buy a case. Our hope that the device becomes popular enough that many case-makers consider creating really good ones for it.
50MP Triple Camera
Prominently featured at the back is the camera module. It houses the crowning glory of the Magic5 Pro – its trifecta of 50MP cameras.
It’s an interesting look. The camera module protrudes but how the back panel goes up, curves, and blends with the camera module is reminiscent of the OPPO Find X3 Pro. But the camera placement is dead center instead of flushed to the left.
100X is also clearly visible in the middle of the camera module, showcasing its digital zoom capability. Here’s what those three cameras are packing:
- 50MP wide camera (f/1.6, 1/1.12-inch sensor)
- 50MP ultra-wide camera (f/2.0, 122 degrees field of view)
- 50MP Sony IMX858 telephoto camera (f/3.0, 3.5x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom)
HONOR is also bucking the trend of smartphone companies partnering with known camera brands (i.e. Xiaomi x Leica, OPPO/OnePlus x Hasselblad). HONOR Global CEO George Zhao spoke about this at a media interview during MWC 2023 in Barcelona.
HONOR Flip coming? @Honorglobal CEO George Zhao says it may come but can’t disclose when. #HONORMWC2023 #MWC2023 pic.twitter.com/fJCS1gjXD1
— rodneil (@rodneilquiteles) February 28, 2023
And it looks like, for now, they’re doing more than okay without any such partnership. DXOMARK has them at first place in camera rankings as of this writing.
The HONOR Magic5 Pro is with an all-new image engine called Millisecond Falcon Capture. It gives users the luxury to capture even the most complex scenes with remarkable clarity and ease.
Along with this algorithm are shooting modes like Super Night Capture and AI Motion Sensing Capture. For video shooters, the phone is capable of recording up to 4K videos at 60fps.
As mentioned earlier, the unit we have is still awaiting the official retail version of the software. Thus, we were advised to not extensively test the camera. But we couldn’t resist taking a few snaps while in Barcelona.
Here are a few sample photos, which already look pretty good, despite the software not being final yet.
Plenty of potential
If its predecessor is any indication, we’re pretty excited to fully test the HONOR Magic5 Pro. It’s undeniably a 2023 flagship on paper and is looking like a phone that can contend against the best of the best.
Its cameras, in particular, will be one to watch out for. HONOR packed some major features here that we can’t wait to try.
Price and availability details in Europe are here. Such details in other markets should be available soon.
Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra Hands-On
Samsung has finally Unpacked the newest Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra in San Francisco.
This is actually Samsung’s first in-person event during the pandemic.
With all the design and hardware improvements, do you actually need to upgrade?
Watch our Samsung Galaxy S23 Series Hands-on video to help yourself decide.
SHOP S23 Ultra
SHOP S23 & S23+
DISCLOSURE: GadgetMatch earns a commission from qualifying purchases from any of these links.
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