Words: Brent Spilkin

I started my cell phone addiction with a Siemens brick almost 20 years ago and quickly progressed through many a Nokia, BLQ_CrackPanasonic and Blackberry to eventually land up with a love affair of the iPhones. Nothing could tear me away from Apple. Well, nothing besides the exorbitant cost of replacing the glass after dropping and literally smashing the phones face to pieces.

After much deliberation, I drew up a “spreadsheet of fun” that covered the pros and cons of leaving Apple for another brand. The overriding issue was clear; I don’t use any native Apple apps (besides iMessage) and my life and business live in independent apps and the Google ecosystem, not the Apple ecosystem.

I made the leap. My friends squirmed and squished their faces when they saw what I was carrying. The Huawei Mate 8 is a door to my business ecosystem and I love the way it all works seamlessly. Granted, the device is much bigger than my iPhone 6 but because I’m getting older and my eyesight isn’t what it was 20 years ago, I rather like that it’s easier to read and give me more info before needing to scroll to infinity.

The Mate 8 itself is a light, solid and beautiful device that I have already started customising. The whole phone is a single piece of satin finished aluminium that is great to hold, and unlike the rounded opposition devices, never slips out my hand. If you have smaller hands this may be too much to grasp but it’s perfect for me and once I’d learned how to minimise the screen, I could lie in bed with one hand and reach all four corners of the screen with ease. The fingerprint sensor is on the back which really threw me at first but then after a few days made complete sense. I have scanned fingers on both hands and now find it more intuitive than the iPhone’s front sensor.

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Getting used to the phone is actually an Android learning curve and not a device issue. Some of the native apps are forced into a round edged box leaving a weird black edge but that was quickly changed with a custom theme bought off the Play Store.

Now let’s talk about the clincher for me. I don’t know where they found the battery for the Mate 8 but it’s like they have a mini nuclear reactor built inside and the battery NEVER DIES. I have gone three days (two nights) on a single charge during a normal work week and was left with 16%. How is it that other brands haven’t hacked the device and stolen the battery? It’s epic.

The camera is great too but does take a little long to launch especially off the locked screen. Once open, though, it responds quickly and takes high-quality images even in poor light. Huawei have built some gimmicky filters into the standard camera but I look bloody marvelous on the “Beauty” filter. I have also noticed that quite a few “cool kids” are carrying the phone around which makes the argument that the Chinese can build a cool product that matches the desirability of the Apple stable.

Besides the few buggy software issues and its larger than normal size, I’m slowly falling in love with my Mate 8 and have forgotten that I once took a bite of a forbidden fruit.

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Brent Spilkin | Twitter

Huawei South Africa

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