Battery Life

Continuing to the battery life benchmarks we should expect the Mate 8 to perform very well, thanks to the high efficiency of the Kirin 950, an LCD screen as well as the 4000mAh / 15.2Wh large battery.

Web Browsing Battery Life (WiFi)

Starting off with our WiFi web-browsing test we see the Mate 8 just get short of 13.5h of battery life. The interesting comparison is here to last year’s Mate 7 as it seems the actually last just as much. This may point out that the screen efficiency measured in our display power testing was maybe correct and the Mate 8 is less efficient. Another aspect is that the Mate 8’s overall platform power consumption hasn’t seen much improvement and thus still represents a large barrier for battery life.

Web Browsing Battery Life (4G LTE)

On the 4G LTE test we see that the Mate 8 loses out its advantage over the competition. Again I’m testing under rather mediocre signal conditions so it’s not a valid apples-to-apples comparison to devices reviewed by Joshua or Brandon, however when comparing it against for example such as the Nexus 6P which was tested under the same conditions we see that the Mate 8 faces a much larger battery life degradation going from the WiFi to the LTE test. The reason for this can only be that the Kirin 950’s modem and RF back-end just aren’t as efficient as Qualcomm or even Samsung’s.

PCMark - Work Battery Life

While the web-browsing tests didn’t represent a large improvement for the Mate 8, we see PCMark put the phablet as the current undisputed leader among high-performance devices. Here the difference to the Mate 7 is almost 4 hours, or around a 65% increase in battery life. The increase is most certainly linked to the new SoC’s power efficiency.

BaseMark OS II Battery Life

BaseMark OS II’s battery test is more of a maximum load type test that depends on the allowed maximum TDP of the phone. With a 15.2Wh battery and a runtime of 4.2h we see an average consumption of 3.6W, roughly the same amount of power that I saw that the device was able to sustain in our CPU thermal test.

GFXBench 3.0 Battery Life

Finally the GFXBench battery test shows that the Mate 8 doesn’t show very good battery life but this is a two-edged sword. As we’ve seen in the GPU section the SoC hardly throttles under heavy GPU load and thus retains its maximum performance for the duration of the test. Considering that the Mate 7 slowed  throttled down to 9-10fps and the Mate 8 does not go under 40fps, it still shows that the Mate 8 is twice as efficient as the Mate 7 even though overall battery life is almost twice as short.

At 200 nits the Mate 8 averages an idle power consumption of 989mW and we saw that system load power for the T-Rex test is 3.64W. 3 hours battery runtime averages 5W of power, near the 4.6W we theorized. The small difference may be due to the overhead of actually running the on-screen test and thus also not able to show the DDIC’s savings thanks to PSR due to continuously changing screen content.

Overall I’ve been extremely impressed by the Mate 8’s battery life. In everyday usage this is the longest-lasting device I’ve had the opportunity to use. The Kirin 950’s efficiency is outstanding and is truly able to earn its place among the top for this generation. It seems the Mate 8’s limiting factors are related to the screen and general platform base power consumption, something that Huawei may be able to improve in future devices and thus get even better value out of the Kirin 950.

All being said, if you’re looking for a long-lasting device, you can’t go wrong with the Mate 8.

Charge Time

The Mate 8 advertises fast charging out of the box so that even considering it having a large 4000mAh battery, it should still be fast to fill up when in need. The stock charger is a 9V/2A (18W) unit. I’m not sure if the charging enumeration protocol is based on Quick Charge or Adaptive Fast Charging, but it was able to enable fast-charging on Samsung phones while the Mate 8 didn’t fast-charge on Samsung’s charger, meaning the Huawei charger is likely a Quick Charge unit and the Mate 8’s PMIC and voltage negotiation IC seems to only accept Quick Charge.

Charge Time

As we see in the charge graph, the Mate 8’s battery cell gets charged at up to 11.5W during the fast-charging phase, being able to reach 80% in 68 minutes around little under 40% charge for each half hour of charging. The last 20% takes up to another 70 minutes as the device switches over to trickle-charging.

While the Mate 8 ends up with total charge time of 2.56 hours, what counts is that the initial 80% of battery capacity can be charged very fast so the Mate 8 is no slouch in this metric.

Display Measurement & Power Camera Still Picture Performance
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  • WiZARDka - Saturday, March 26, 2016 - link

    Any news/update on the camera? Reply
  • doyleconan - Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - link

    I brought the phone and tested the camera. With the latest version frameware the camera focus correctly. Although, the image taken sometimes slightly under exposed, when shot with auto exposure. Reply
  • moh.moh - Sunday, April 10, 2016 - link

    Are you sure? Because every other phone with this sensor, (xiaomi mi5 and the oppo r9 plus) also seems to produce rather blurry shots.; so is the sensor the problem? I therefore really hope that this review can be updated, since you state the camera has improved. Furthermore, have you also seen any inprovements in low light? Reply
  • Moonraker - Thursday, August 25, 2016 - link

    Great review Andrei thank you. 2 points/questions - haven't the battery life tests been superceded now? I wond er too if you're going to update the camera section of the review in the light of firmware updates (assuming these have happened!) Perhaps you could rerun the battery life tests using the new benchmarking and include a report on these at the same time as the camera review? Reply
  • Whocares? - Friday, November 18, 2016 - link

    Not that it matters anymore since the Mate 9 has been released, it would have been nice if you updated the review regarding the camera like you said you were going to do. I hate reviewers who promise to do something and then don't come through! Screw Anandtech! Reply
  • cmvrgr - Thursday, February 23, 2017 - link

    You forgot to mention that this is the last - Dual Sim Full Active - Mate from Huawei and that is a reason that Mate series got many buyers.

    (This is the reason that I ditched Mate 9 because it is Dual Sim Dual Standby and I bought a new Mate 8 and if they will not bring back the DSFA Feature in Mate 10 I will "fly" away to other brand).
    Reply

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