Software - EmotionUI 3.1

One of the aspects I found positive about the Mate 7 and Honor 6 was EmotionUI. In both iterations Huawei was able to impress with their differentiation, even if there were some stumbles in terms of usability. The P8 ships off with the first Android 5.0 Lolipop implementation of EmotionUI, which now sits at version 3.1. To get to the point, it seems that this was only a minor incremental update in terms of UX design and experience.

The P8's default theme and general design language shifts from the extremely bright and minimalistic take that we've seen in EmotionUI 3.0 of the Mate 7 towards a more colourful and contrasted UI. The blindingly white screens and hard to distinguish grey icons of the previous version are now gone in favour of more distinguishable replacements. All that needed to be done was to add colourful backgrounds to the glyphs - and that's exactly what Huawei has done here.

The notification shade is now a translucent black with a gaussian blur effect. It also seems Huawei has made better use of the settings panel, as it drops the lesser used shortcuts and increases the size of the remaining ones. The settings menu is comprehensive and offers a variety of options in the categories you expect them to be.

Huawei continues the choice of not including an application drawer with the EmUI launcher, so all installed apps are placed on the launcher screens. Here again we see the practice of having standardized icon frames for all applications, something I'm personally not a big fan of and see it as the biggest incentive to go the route of an alternative third-party launcher. It would be appreciated if Huawei had at least included the option to disable app-icon framing throughout the OS.

Also with great regret we see the return of the paginated recents menu. Huawei implements their own design of the multi-task button by employing a 2x2 app preview. Swiping left or right navigates to the previous or next page of recent applications. Flicking a thumbnail down will lock the app from being killed by the task-killer, which we'll get back to in a bit, and flicking up will close the app. While this design has the advantages of being able to view the full-screen preview/thumbnail of an application, it's rather tedious to swipe through the app screens to find something which hasn't been recently used.

The system applications are a minor evolution of what we saw on EmotionUI 3.0. The most notable changes are the theme accents such as the black bar colour of the various in-built apps such as the dialer and gallery app.

A rather nagging aspect of the default settings of the device is the power monitoring of background applications. Huawei closely tracks and logs process activity whenever an application is active in the background. This is certainly helpful to track down rogue applications, but it would have been better to have the tool have more lax warning thresholds as it will get triggered by many apps even if their background activity is only minimal.

I've praised Huawei's inclusion of a per-app permission manager in the Honor 6 and Mate 7, and it sadly seems that the P8 drops this practice as it no longer is exposed to the user. While this is a blow to power-users, Huawei still maintains the notification manager which enables to easily control an app's push-notifications.
 
The P8 also continues to employ the security-oriented features which were introduced with the Mate 7. Although the P8 lacks a fingerprint sensor for fast access to private galleries, apps or contacts and has to fall back to a password mechanisms, it's still a very appreciated feature which some of the larger OEMs such as Samsung/LG/HTC still don't offer. 
 
 
The theming engine on EmotionUI 3.1 is as versatile as ever, giving the choice of choosing and combining elements of various themes together by choosing their fonts, icon sets, home screen styles, lock screens and unlock animations. The sample which we received sadly didn't come with a theme store so you're limited to the stock selection until Huawei brings its app store to western markets.
 

Since starting the review on the device's stock firmware of GRA-L09V100R001C900B039 Huawei has already sent out two OTA updates which are supposed to improve system stability and performance. A notable fix which some reviewers didn't get to see was the option to disable "Smart Screenshot", a feature where one would double-tap or draw with a knuckle to capture a screenshot. This was quite annoying as it had quite a lot of false positives detecting normal fingers as a knuckle and making you start drawing an outline for a screenshot when for example you wanted to pull down the notification shade. With this being addressed in the latest OTA, I'm left to find very few outstanding faults with the software.

EmotionUI 3.1 on the P8 didn't bring any larger changes even though this is Huawei's first Android 5.0 Lolipop implementation. The very simply addition of coloured icon backgrounds brings a lot variety to the UI, and it polishes what was for me an already clean and good-looking OEM skin. Considering this device is powered by a weaker A53 SoC, the UI performance was still good although not perfect. At the first glance it seems that the CPU isn't able to match other more powerful flagships with bigger cores, so let's move on to the benchmark section to see what it actually performs like.

Huawei P8 - Introduction and Design CPU & System Performance
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  • Peichen - Friday, June 5, 2015 - link

    I am an iPhone 6+ user but I have no problem this review uses Galaxy S6 camera for comparison as the S6 have an excellent camera. The SONY RGBW sensor in this camera might be used in the upcoming iPhone 6S in September and it will be interesting to see with SONY and Apple's refinement how it will stack up against Note 5 and G4. Reply
  • serendip - Friday, June 5, 2015 - link

    Huawei should really stop with this Kirin nonsense. The modem sucks power, the SOC's power management is a joke, yet Huawei are crazy enough to charge flagship prices for a midrange phone that struggles to keep up with much cheaper offerings. A Mi Note is a cheaper and better option. Reply
  • TekDemon - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link

    I know this isn't a nexus review but these charts would look rather different if a nexus 5 running 5.1 and a nexus 6 on 5.1 were used since Lollipop 5.1 finally brought a lot of changes into android that were manufacturer dependent. The nexus 5 on 5.1 posts better random writes than any of the phones on this list for example. Reply
  • OOwl - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link

    I do agree with you in terms of 5.1 improvements. I am currently testing a small upcoming Motorola handset and although it's not a monster in terms of power and should be on paper lower powered than the processor in the P8 Lite, it is soo much more responsive. Battery life is also rather underwhelming on these Kirin SoC powered handsets... Reply
  • R3MF - Saturday, June 6, 2015 - link

    just picked this up on contract for £21x12, or looked at another way; ~£250 for a phone with 300m/5000t/1gb.

    for that price its flaws pale into insignificance.
    Reply
  • sunnohh - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - link

    Jelly, 1 year contracts across the pond! Extremely low rates. Don't tell me you get reliable service everywhere. Reply
  • R3MF - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - link

    i live in a rural area, we never get reliable service. :) Reply
  • sunnohh - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - link

    I pay 45$ for unlimited call text and 5gig data through wal mart's plan that uses an AT&T sim. Nexus 5 is about 97% reliable, but it's bring your own phone. Which around here is the exception rather than the rule. The rule being Verizon near 100% reliability and exhorbinate rates and long contracts with obscene break up fees. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Friday, June 12, 2015 - link

    Jeeezus anandatech u made me sweat PROPERLY I finished this mega ,tera hexa .. eem .. NO !
    I will go rather other way ...
    It took me over and hour to finish this mini, micro , nano , piko , errr.. I'll skip rather all metrics and I'll jump directly to deep ATOM review I have EVER seen in my life ..
    ALWAYS when it comes to Huawei devices especially to find EVERY single NEGATIVYTY to their products..
    I will say you are MOST weirdest website in actual WORLD ..
    But that's fine that is your probably style to do autopsy to find weakness..
    To summarize your (in few ways) misleading review to pull people off buying phone bcos of bribed by apple or who knows who doesn't bother me .. but u are cowards anyway ..
    we can start :

    1.introduction and design:

    * ''only supports UE Category 4 LTE speeds, reaching up to 150Mbps downstream and 50Mpbs upstream.''
    -So u claiming that this phone supports LTECat 4 only ?? u liying or u have wrong info as this phone supports LTECat 6 !

    *''We had some very harsh words for Mate 7’s camera performances, as both featured very disappointing photo and video quality.''
    -Ecxuse me ?? I have feeling that u HAS no experience of taking pictures at all I own Mate 7 and everybody says that my pictures on phone are amazing WTF u trying to say weirdos?? liars! isheep!

    *''This is the second kind of implementation RGBW (Or RGBC) after the OmniVision unit found in the original Moto X.''
    -yeah why u higlighting it IT WAAS second?? why nobody been talking about it THEN in crappy fail moto x ? what u trying to protect ? or put itno negativneses ?? so WHAT if it''s second ?seriously!

    *''It should be noted that the black frame surrounding the actual screen makes it seem as if the device’s size-bezels are much smaller than what they really are, something which is very visible on the lighter coloured models.''
    -yeah u picked white version so what u been expecting ?? so stupid every phone which is in withe color must have black borders jesus christ u are unbelieveable .. did u mention this in crapple iphone 6 review? you need more knowledge that if u have black screen version u don't notice any borders! mentals..

    *''Huawei called the design a “single audio chamber speaker system”, but in practice the right grill is essentially just for aesthetics and only serves as a housing for the bottom microphone. Covering up the left grill will completely dampen the audio output of the device.''
    -eem excuse me and what is the problem that phone has simetrical grills which gives better look ?!?
    on your crapple phone wht is there 5 holes on right side and 2 on the left how rubbish crap looking !
    dampen audio ?? oh yeah even iphone 5 or 6 or s6 or edge has dampen audio bcos everybody covers holes so obviously sound will be dampen WTF u mentiong this SHT??1?!!? ar u nuts?

    * camera module seems to be still 1.5mm underneath the glass.
    -ar u serious with this mention ?? jeezus christ .. u are total weirdos FOR REAL ! ATOM REVIEW!

    *''he only gripe I’ve had with it is that it seems to have some empty space underneath the back of the phone as if you try to squeeze it will flex inwards by up to 1mm''
    - Whaaaaa??? OMG what THE HELL are you doing with smartphones seriously u need HELP !

    2.Software - EmotionUI 3.1

    *''Huawei continues the choice of not including an application drawer with the EmUI launcher, so all installed apps are placed on the launcher screens.''
    -So what? BETTER NOT complain here as u wud have to complain to your beloved iphone so u rather stayed quiet right ?

    *''It would be appreciated if Huawei had at least included the option to disable app-icon framing throughout the OS''
    -I NEVER EVER heard in my life that SOMEBODY wud comes up with this NON-SENSE sht called ''app-icon framing throughout '' trully u are word inventors ! ... app icon framing .. jeezus christ ..

    *''I've praised Huawei's inclusion of a per-app permission manager in the Honor 6 and Mate 7, and it sadly seems that the P8 drops this practice as it no longer is exposed to the user''
    -the reason why they didn't include this feature anymore was because all constant annoying remind to close all important apps and services which needs to be running and users been complaining by not receiving notifications , locations not found ! in other phones never been why it bothers you now???

    *Although the P8 lacks a fingerprint sensor ''
    -trully who uses it?? nobody .. only gay geeks with their glasses 200 bioptries

    *''a feature where one would double-tap or draw with a knuckle to capture a screenshot''
    -I believe if u root the phone which is easy to do so .. u can nicely disable this feature in file systems (eg build prop)

    3.CPU & System Performance

    I really NOT going to break down this section as there are 1000 negativeness I would be here till next christmas..
    Simply your bars, graphs and compares ARE TOTAL POINTLESS/USELESS t
    Completely obsolete as I browse or edit on my mate 7 or on P7 perfectly no problems as any other phone.
    I noticed that If iphone or any other phone you adore has less or shame/laughable results u simply not include it in your graphs .. u cowards ..!

    4.GPU Performance

    Same as above no comment on useless completely not REAL world results as everybody plays games on the phone without any issues .. or play films.. on P7 we normally watch youtube vids in 1080p or 720p without problem ..
    yeah your pathetic iphone can be on top but good luck it its even crappier battery which will stay last half a day or less !

    5.WiFi Performance and nand

    I really don't understand another pointless tests of wifi performance ..
    it is clearly USELESS /POINTLESS to have strong wifi another battery drain ??
    Wake up, u measuring NETWORK speed instead of INTERNET speed ! What u wanna tell me now u playing multiplayer over smartphones behind desks like idiots like onPC where wifi network speed is inevitable
    Pleease DON'T be naive, Huawei instead of you THINK and don't implment stupidly highest wifi module tuner radio JUST for pointless network speed which nobody will NEVER use it for every day use ! Everybody needs fast internet download speed for quick loading pages or downloading files don't you think ? And this P8 managing at best ! Yu fkin thanks god u didn't unsolder wifi chip to check if it's OK or what.. myyy gooosh ..

    * While the new eMMC doesn't break any records, it's now among the "average" performing devices out there, as opposed to the horrendous performances of the Mate 7 and Honor 6
    -horrendous .. wow so dramatic? I never noticed any horrendous like u oddly describing - bitching !

    6.Display Measurement and power

    *''together with a NovaTek NT35695 display controller IC''
    -jez so u mentioning controller wt-hell and u can tell us brands of capacitors and resistors too ? i think that is important too n ?

    *''I noticed a very weird behaviour of the display's brightness that cannot be explained by usual mechanisms such as CABC. The OS clearly alters brightness depending on the application - for example using a browser such as the stock one or Chrome, along with other random applications such as Dropbox or FX Explorer will cause a dimming in the display, if one opens up the recents menu or goes back to the home-screen then one can see how the backlight brightens up. One would think this can be explained with by assuming the default launcher and OS elements are allowed a higher luminosity than other apps, but I've discovered that many other apps don't dim the display.''
    - Right here is ONLY first thing right now I can agree with this issue ... yes I have noticed dimming in chrome but u didn't consider it is caused by app ? the chrome app causing this and some others because when u open chrome it auto changes resolution don't thik that you surfing in 1080p ...
    this happens to me with my mate 7 so i just increase brightnes a bit and volia .. problem solved..

    *''Huawei P8 backlight bleed''
    Every phone with ips screen has bleed it is caused by stress which is put by phone frame where screen glass lies .. i means that you will NEVER craft housing middle frame bezel 100% straight by machine .. it would have to be laser machine NOT CnC .. so when screen is placed into frame there is significant bend , squeeze of glass ass glass is slightly bendable elastic

    Huawei's GREAT feature which NO ONE phone has it is white Color temperature
    In this case , I will call it ; this new case (new and new IPS technologies comes across) this neo-ips screen it seems that is not playing together with color temperature feature..
    As it perfectly works with M7(mate7) P7 I have color temperature set nearly to max about 85% !
    Looks like due to new IPS technology and that RGBW or RGBC feature in LCD has conflict !
    In this case (as been this explained in warm results and cold results) It is necessary that once user will be watching films or photos will have to change color temp to warm and WHEN will be surfing on internet and reading text definately slide it to the cooler side ... (not max as it result bluish distortion)

    7.Battery life and charging

    Again your beloved iphone has to be on top.. aaahh well ...
    I truly doubt it is better than mate 7 .. rubbish .. ppl saying it has not great battery at all ..
    I won't comment this
    In my real world battery life on my mate 7 is nearly two days and on my GF's P7 is whole day ..
    I don't genuinely believe your iphone or others has better battery .. NO chance !
    For charge I don't mind as I charge phone over night so in morning all is ready ...

    8./9.Camera and video

    Only to say that seen couple vids on youtub or pics on parena or Garena and ppl managed to make nice, great photos so don't really understand your AGAIN so much hatress to this phone
    I agree video recording is not good part but pictures are very good and even at night ..

    10.
    DISASTER ... ANANDATECH ....YOU are ICON of the internet
    I will name you KINGS of WEIRDO-GEEKS ... :DDDDD
    Huawei haters from unknown reason ... bribed by apple ? to keep your site above water..? as everybody corrupted smartphone sites..
    Remember Huawei phones ARE NOT for any performance .. you are brainwashed by your fixed bug in head that all in the world HAS to be highest, fastest, best... you are all wrong..
    Huawei manuf. they DID described it what they phones are for.. for what use
    Firstly for elegance , then smart look, for smart ppl not for kids like you type; aah that is sloow that is crap I don't want it gpu and cpuu is sloow..
    This smartphone is for grown ppl grown man in suits , for managers, for social women in beautiful dress they love nice and sleek and slim light design, which they will stick this review into your ass and we will say ''WE SIMPLY DO NOT CARE'' if it's not highest specs. GTFOOO
    |You GLASS-GEEKS

    CIAO

    Reply
  • hmdqyg - Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - link

    The "T-Rex Offscreen Power Efficiency" is pretty useful. Could you perform the same test on Tegra X1, Tegra K1, A8x, Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 801? Reply

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