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A Great Iteration

Huawei Mate 8 vs Mate 7

by Nicole on January 25, 2016

If you love big phones there is no doubt that you’ve either owned or coveted the Mate 7, so now that Huawei has released their latest 6 inch Phablet it’s only natural to wonder what’s changed. I put the Mate 7 up against the Mate 8 and let you know what exactly the difference is between the two handsets.

How does the Mate 8 compare to its predecessor, last year’s Mate 7?

mate 8 vs mate 7 (11)

Both are aluminum phones with a sturdy construction, fingerprint scanner and large batteries, so the big things you’re looking for having changed.

The bezels have become thinner when compared with the Mate 7 and are now 1.5mm. In terms of ergonomics, the rather flat back on the Mate 7 has been tweaked to a very slight curve and thinner edges on the Mate 8. The screen on the new phablet is also of the so called 2.5D variety, meaning that it curves slightly towards the edge, I’m not a fan but 2.5D seems to be the hot new display trend even though I don’t think it makes much of a difference aesthetically.

mate 8 vs mate 7 (1)

Design wise the two devices are pretty similar, the big tell is the back of the device where we’ve got circles instead of squares. the edges are also sharper on the Mate 8 which helps to make it feel very secure in hand.

Hardware

System chip
HiSilicon Kirin 950HiSilicon Kirin 925
Processor
Octa-core, 2300 MHz, ARM Cortex-A72 and ARM Cortex-A53, 64-bitOcta-core, 1800 MHz, ARM Cortex-A15 and ARM Cortex-A7
Graphics processorARM Mali-T880 MP4Mali-T628 MP4
System memory
4096 MB RAM3072 MB RAM
Built-in storage128 GB32 GB
Storage expansionmicroSD, microSDHC, microSDXC up to 128 GBmicroSD, microSDHC, microSDXC up to 128 GB

Under the hood we’ve got a Mate 7 running the Kirin 925 which is a Huawei-made processor while the Kirin 950 in the Mate 8 is their latest. The new SoC is made using dual-sourced 14nm/16nm parts (the most advanced currently available technology), and features an octa-core big.LITTLE setup with four high-performance Cortex A72s running at up to 2.3GHz, and four battery-savvy Cortex A53s clocked at up to 1.8GHz. This is a huge departure from the now decidedly dated Mate 7 chip, which was a 32-bit affair featuring four Cortex A15s running at a max speed of 1.8GHz and four A7s.

Gamers will be more interested in the GPU on the Mate 8: it’s the Mali T880MP4 clocked at up to 900MHz. Combined with the comparatively humble 1080p resolution, the GPU should have no problems dealing with most games, but when you consider the fact that the Mate 8 release date is set for Q1 2016, it will look rather average compared to the upcoming Snapdragon 820 flagships, for instance.

The Mate 8 is now offered in two versions: the base model has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage, while the higher-end version comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Both devices come with dual sim where you can use the second SIM card slot for microSD cards to expand the storage. The Mate 7, in comparison, came with 3GB of RAM and 32GB.

Display

mate 8 vs mate 7 (7)

Physical size6.0 inches6.0 inches
Resolution1080 x 1920 pixels1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density
367 ppi368 ppi
Technology
IPS LCDIPS LCD
Screen-to-body ratio78.39 %78.03 %
Colors16 777 21616 777 216
TouchscreenMulti-touchMulti-touch
FeaturesLight sensor, Proximity sensorLight sensor, Proximity sensor

Camera
mate 8 vs mate 7 (3)

The camera has received a hefty upgrade, seeing a bump from a 13-megapixel sensor on the Mate 7 to a 16-megapixel 1/2.8″ Sony IMX298 sensor for the main camera on the Mate 8, and it comes with an f/2.0 lens on top of the stack. Here we’ve got a bit of side by side video, the aspect ratios don’t line up so i’ve done my best to get the exact same perspective.

Camera16 megapixels13 megapixels
FlashDual LEDLED
Aperture sizeF2.0F2.0
Pixel size1.12 μm
FeaturesOptical image stabilization, Face detection, Autofocus (Phase detection), Touch to focus, Geo taggingFace detection, Digital zoom, Autofocus, Geo tagging
Camcorder1920×1080 (1080p HD) (60 fps)1920×1080 (1080p HD)
FeaturesVideo calling, Video sharing
Front-facing camera8 megapixels5 megapixels

Mate 7 Photos

mate 7 (1)

Mate 8 Photos

mate 8 (5)

The front camera on the Mate 8 now has an 8-megapixel resolution, up from 5 megapixels on its predecessors, which should translate into more detailed selfies.

Mate 7

Mate 7

mate 8 (3)

Mate 8

Battery Life

Interestingly, the battery of the Mate 8 is now lower than what we had on the Mate 7: 4,000mAh versus 4,100mAh. The reason behind such downgrades usually involves more power-efficient displays and processors, so despite the decline in actual size, we don’t expect any significant decrease in actual battery life.

An intensive, 90-minute video with all the bells and whistles (NFC, Bluetooth, screen brightness) turned up/on dropped a fully charged battery to only 91%. With moderate day-to-day usage on conservative settings, I was actually able to eke out just under 36 hours between charging.

Mate 8 got to the end of the test with 80% of its battery leftover, a respectable score but nothing like the Mate 7. In daily use I was also seeing around 36 hours of use between charges.

mate 8 vs mate 7 (9)

The Huawei Mate 8 is the perfect evolution of an already amazing smartphone. The improved camera, sharper edges with equally great battery life make the upgrade a no brainer (If you can afford it). The Huawei Mate 8 will currently run you $630 on Amazon while the Mate 7 will cost you $396 (though check back in a month, I predict we’ll be able to grab it for around $300). Even at $400 this is a pretty decent deal, the 16GB of RAM and crappier camera are my only real concerns.

If you’re looking to pick up a Mate 8 check the links below and of course if you have any questions leave them in the comments.