Camera Still Picture Performance

The Mate 8 is equipped with a new camera module sporting a new sensor from Sony. The IMX298 is a 1/2.8” sensor with a 1.12µm pixel pitch offering resolutions of up to 16MP in 4:3 format. This marks a departure from the RGBW design that Huawei had adopted last year with the IMX258 in the P8 and Mate S. While the RGBW sensor definitely was able to demonstrate advantages in low-light photography it lacked detail compared to traditional Bayer RGBG sensors in well-lit scenarios.

Camera Setup
  Main (Rear) Front
Sensor Sony IMX 298
1/2.8" 1.12µm pixel pitch
Sony IMX179
1/3.2" 1.4µm pixel pitch
Resolution 4608 × 3456
16MP 4:3
3264 × 2448
8MP 4:3
Optics F/2.0 aperture
27mm eq. focal length
F/2.4 aperture
26mm eq. focal length
Stabilization 3-axis 1.5° OIS -

For the first time we see Huawei push the sensor’s resolution up to 16MP which should theoretically allow the new module to resolve more detail compared to last year’s models as well as the Mate 7. Huawei continues to maintain a F/2.0 lens aperture with a 35mm equivalent focal length of up to 27mm, enabling a wide field-of-view.

Early software issues: A case of severe near-sightedness

When I received my Mate 8 review unit I was curious to test out Huawei’s promised improvements in camera quality, but I what I was met with were some very concerning samples that were worse than what a cheap budget smartphone could produce.


Mate S - Mate 8 B116 - Galaxy S6

The phone consistently was producing extremely blurred pictures that were far inferior to any other smartphone. At first I didn’t know what was causing this as the Mate 8 introduces both a new sensor, module as well as ISP in the Kirin 950.

 
 
 
Mate 8 vs Mate S

After further testing and investigation it seems that the focus mechanism of the camera is malfunctioning. A good way to demonstrate this is to launch the camera in the phone’s “Professional” manual mode and to open up the manual focus slider UI. While focusing on objects via manual selection on the screen, one can see the focus slider adjust between its minimal and maximal focal length. 

The issue seems to be that the Mate 8 in its early software isn’t able to focus correctly on objects further away than ~75cm-1m away and tries to focus to infinity in basically any shot that is not a close-up frame of an object.

Reaching out to Huawei they confirmed that this is currently a software issue and that we’ll be seeing an update pushed out in the “near future”. Unfortunately this means that I wasn’t able to complete a proper camera evaluation of the Mate 8 as basically all pictures suffer from severe blurriness and chromatic aberrations due to the out-of-focus lens. 

We’ll be updating the article with a revisited camera evaluation and comparison tests against competing devices once Huawei pushes out the firmware update to resolve the focus issue.

Day-Time Photography

As such, the following samples aren’t representative of the end product but at least we’ll be able to get an idea of Huawei’s processing and exposure handling in the Mate 8.


Ignoring the lack of detailed due to the focus issue, the Mate 8’s daylight camera samples seemed to lack vibrancy, colour saturation and contrast. This was mostly caused by the HDR mode that tended to cause shots to become washed out as the SDR shots were better in terms of colour reproduction in bright light. The issue with the SDR shots however were that they consistently weren’t exposed enough.

Night-Time Photography

In night-time shots the Mate 8 fared much better and seems to offer good exposure and colour reproduction with low noise levels. Unfortunately again because of the focus issue it’s hard to give a more detailed evaluation as we continue to see blurred out photography. 

Overall it’s just impossible to rate the Mate 8’s camera so we’ll have to delay the full verdict to more in-depth follow-up once Huawei updates the device’s firmware.

Battery Life & Charge Time Camera Video, NAND & WiFi Performance
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  • s.yu - Saturday, January 16, 2016 - link

    You're the real pathetic one. Falling for the Huawei crap. Just watch, Kirin 950 will end up among the slowest of all SoCs using a72, just watch. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Sunday, January 24, 2016 - link

    Jesus just go away weirdo..where am falling ? And u talking bullshit..it is fastest phone.. Reply
  • tuxRoller - Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - link

    How is the n6p's color calibration "iffy"? Just toggle srgb and it's one of the best calibrated screens available. Also, dxomark ranked the n6p camera as better than the new iPhone. Yes, post processing takes awhile BUT it's in the background and you can capture photos in the meantime. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - link

    You stupidly and naively went for ''tacky'' boring iphone JUST because it has highest bars on pictures right .. OOh man I hope you will grow up within few years and realize how naive you were yesterday .. Saying that android phones are bad is just stupidity of person.. And media and internet pushed you to buy ancient same iphone with boring icons only on home screen.. Reply
  • osxandwindows - Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - link

    If you are a nerd, its boring.
    From a normal users perspective, its just a phone.
    What if he went with an iPhone?
    Thats his own problem.
    Reply
  • phexac - Thursday, January 7, 2016 - link

    It was like 3 days before the Android police showed up. I was getting worried all of you on this site had grown up! Reply
  • ummduh - Friday, January 8, 2016 - link

    I almost went there myself. Every single 2015 phone has some kind of fairly major compromise. Not a single one did/does everything. Great phone, no OIS. Great phone, no SD card. Great phone, no nfc. Great phone, 32GB max storage and no SD. Etc, etc.. 2015 phones need to just go away already. I ended up giving the 64GB S6 a go, just because my Note 4 was getting to be too big and getting in the way. I regret that, and will be dumping it as soon as something else viable comes along that isn't making me compromise.. It may end up being apple, unfortunately. Reply
  • s.yu - Saturday, January 16, 2016 - link

    lol wrong. S6 crapware?? Blame your vendor! Or get it TOTALLY CLEAN like I did in Europe! The memory leak was fixed months ago, 3-4 firmware updates ago!
    "Samsung Edges? Looks GREAT but the edge is a useless gimmick and makes the phone harder to hold."
    ?? At least it looks great unlike any other of those on your list! And I don't think it's hard to hold at all, how it feels in the hand also has to do with what case/frame you get to go with the phone.
    Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - link

    Looks like they decided to pair decent CPU performance with ho-hum GPU performance. I'm curious if this visibly affects the performance of any high end games at present, or if they're all still tailoring to the average market performance where far lower end phones can still run every game fine. Reply
  • syxbit - Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - link

    decent CPU? It's the best CPU available that isn't shipped by Apple Reply

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