Ever since breaking into the list of top five smartphone sellers in India earlier this year, Chinese giant Huawei's sub-brad Honor has been refreshing its phone line-ups with renewed vigour.
The Honor 8C that hit the market barely six months after its predecessor, Honor 7C, bears stamp of the same spirit.
Available on the company's website and on Amazon India starting December 10, the 4GB + 32GB storage variant of the dual camera phone costs Rs 11,999 and the 4GB + 64GB storage configuration Rs 12,999.
The dual-SIM tray also has a dedicated slot for a microSD card to support expandable storage of up to 256GB. And it comes in two colours -- blue and black -- with gradient finish.
Honor 8C is the world's first device to be powered by Snapdragon 632 platform that Qualcomm introduced in June this year.
The Snapdragon 632 octa-core processor is designed to provide significantly more power over the previous generation Snapdragon 626, with the addition of the Kryo 250 CPU, which boosts performance by up to 40 per cent, besides loading games and videos faster, according to Qualcomm.
Let's see what works for the phone.
The most striking feature of the phone is its design, which is quite deceptive actually. What make the phone attractive is its light weight (less than 170 gms) which makes it a delight to handle with one hand and carry in a pocket.
And this is despite the fact that it houses a large 4,000mAh battery which is very useful for those into gaming and heavy streaming. The FullView display with 19:9 aspect ratio and the efficient processor make these experiences even more delightful.
The 6.26-inch HD+ display comes with a notch and very thin bezels on the sides that give it a premium look. Unlike many other phones in this range, the plastic back of the Honor 8C is designed in a way that it actually looks quite classy.
Minor issues that one may encounter with the back are that it is a bit slippery and easily picks up grease. The dual rear camera set-up and the flash are lined up vertically at the top left corner of the back, while the circular fingerprint sensor, which we found to be very fast and accurate, is centrally located.
For moderate use, the battery easily runs a day once fully charged. It is a big and valuable update from the Honor 7C which was packed with a 3,000 mAh battery. The phone runs on EMUI 8.2 which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo operating system.
The 13MP + 2MP rear camera offers a fully featured Pro mode, besides other features like panaroma, wide aperature, HDR and portrait. The camera also offers an option to sharpen photos with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and can currently recognise over 500 scenarios under 22 categories.
But when put to use, the camera worked better without AI enhancements. Especially in daylight, the rear camera captured adequate details and the colours appeared quite natural. Low-light photography was also not disappointing.
What does not work?
The 8MP front camera clicked pictures that were overexposed and lacked detail. Moreover, the face unlock feature did not work quite fast even in adequate light. In low light, it turned out to be even lazier. Charging the phone is quite a task as it supports USB 2.0.
Conclusion: It is remarkable that the Honor 8C offers the edge of an advanced processor, strong battery and a good design at sub-Rs 15,000. But the Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 segment in India is quite competitive.
In the same price bracket, Xiaomi's Redmi Note 6 Pro offers extra features such as dual front camera and also supports fast charging. The Realme 2, on the other hand, provides the benefits of features similar to what the Honor 8C offers at a slightly lower cost. But overall, the Honor 8C is definitely a value-for-money phone in the budget segment.
(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)