Huawei has announced its intentions to become the number one smartphone maker in the world and with phones like the Huawei Mate 8 you could almost believe it will happen. This stylish, premium handset has the power and features to compete with established brands, but it also looks a lot like the Huawei Mate S.
If you’re struggling to choose between them we’ve got you covered, with an in-depth comparison of all the key specs and features.
Huawei Mate 8 (157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9mm 185g metal) vs Huawei Mate S (149.8 x 75.3 x 7.2mm 156g metal)
The Huawei Mate 8 and Huawei Mate S both have a metal unibody with minimal bezels, so it’s almost like you’re holding a screen and nothing else.
They’re stylish, premium handsets and look quite similar, but there are some differences. The Huawei Mate S is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Mate 8, coming in at 149.8 x 75.3 x 7.2mm and 156g, while the Mate 8 is 157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9mm and 185g.
Both phones also have a fairly plain back, with just a fingerprint scanner and camera visible. They’re square on the Mate S and round on the Mate 8.
We’re inclined to say the rounded design looks better, but that’s subjective. The Mate S also has slightly more visible antenna lines on the back. Overall we’d say the design of the Mate 8 is slightly more refined, but they’re very similar.
Huawei Mate 8 (6.0-inch 1080*1920 368ppi) vs Huawei Mate S (5.5-inch 1080*1920 401ppi)
The Huawei Mate 8 has a phablet-sized 6.0-inch 1080 x 1920 screen, while the Huawei Mate S has a smaller but still large 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 display. As they’re both 1080p the Mate S has a higher pixel density of 401 pixels per inch, to the Mate 8’s 368 pixels per inch.
So the Mate S is a little sharper and being smaller it’s also a little easier to use one-handed, though these are both phones you’ll likely want to use two hands for much of the time.
Other than that they’re very similar, sporting accurate colours and pumping out a lot of brightness, so it’s really down to whether you want a bigger or sharper screen.
Huawei Mate 8 (2.3GHz octa-core processor 3GB/4GB RAM) vs Huawei Mate S (2.2GHz octa-core processor 3GB RAM)
The Huawei Mate 8 has a powerful octa-core Kirin 950 processor, with four cores running at 2.3GHz and four clocked at 1.8GHz.
The Huawei Mate S isn’t far behind though, with an octa-core Kirin 935 processor, which has four cores running at 2.2GHz and the rest going at 1.5GHz.
That leaves it a little slower and it has less RAM too, though a still substantial 3GB. The Huawei Mate 8 can come with either 3GB or 4GB. Ultimately the Mate S stands up to most 2015 flagships, while the Mate 8 tops them, though expect the first crop of 2016’s big hitters to take the lead again.
Huawei Mate 8 (16MP rear 8MP front-facing) vs Huawei Mate S (13MP rear 8MP front-facing)
Like most smartphone manufacturers Huawei has put a lot of work into its flagships cameras. The Mate 8 has a 16MP rear sensor and an 8MP front-facing one, so it’s great for both selfies and regular shots. It also sports optical image stabilisation and a phase detection autofocus.
The Huawei Mate S is almost but not quite as impressive, with a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing one. It too has optical image stabilisation but just a standard autofocus.
Huawei Mate 8 (4000 mAh 32/64GB 4G) vs Huawei Mate S (2700 mAh 32/64/128GB 4G)
The Huawei Mate 8 has a massive 4000 mAh juice pack, which should keep it going well beyond a day of use, despite the big screen it has to power. The Huawei Mate S has a far smaller 2700 mAh battery which should last around a day, but not much more.
The Mate S has more storage though, with a choice of 32, 64 or 128GB, while the Huawei Mate 8 tops out at 64GB. However, both phones also have microSD card slots.
For connectivity options you get Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.2 and a fingerprint scanner on the Huawei Mate 8, while the Huawei Mate S has the same, but just Bluetooth 4.0.
The Huawei Mate 8 and Huawei Mate S are superficially very similar phones, with a near identical design, octa-core processors, fingerprint scanners and 1080p screens.
However, Huawei has refined and improved many aspects of the phone for the Mate 8. The design is slightly better, the fingerprint scanner is faster, the camera has been improved, the processor is faster, the screen is bigger and the battery is too. The Mate S does have a sharper display though, so that’s one thing in its favour.
The Huawei Mate 8 will presumably also be pricier than the Huawei Mate S, though the exact cost hasn’t yet been confirmed. But in short the Mate 8 is one of the first real flagship phones of 2016, while the Mate S is suited more to 2015. But if you're not sold on either you might want to check out the brilliant Huawei Honor 7.
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