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OnePlus 3 vs Honor 8: affordable flagships pitted in the ring

|October 13, 2016 |Android Phones, Android, OnePlus, Mobile, Comparisons, Honor

“We pit the Honor 8 against the OnePlus 3 to see which device comes out on top”

Of all the budget flagships that were launched this year, the OnePlus 3 (review) was predominantly the fan favourite, beating the likes of the Xiaomi Mi 5 (review) and LeEco Le Max 2 (review). However, the scenery has changed quite a bit with brands like Honor just coming up with its own affordable flagship in the form of Honor 8 (review). The device has been priced to compete with the OnePlus 3 directly, which is why, we decided to pitch the two Chinese rivals against each other and compare their latest smartphones. Can the Honor 8 take the pie from the OnePlus 3? Well, let’s find out.

Design and Display

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Taking a look at the two phones, the design differences are impossible to overlook with the OnePlus 3 packing a unibody metal design which chamfers around the edges. Meanwhile, the Honor 8 has hopped on the two-toned finish trend which features glass at the front and the back with metal sandwiched in between. Owing to the metal finish, users who opt for the OnePlus 3 will have to be extra careful as the device tends to slip quite a bit. Buyers going for the Honor 8 will definitely get a better grip but will have to constantly wipe the smudgy fingerprint-magnet back of the device. While both the design styles come with their own set of pros and cons, the stark similarity between these two devices is that they both look great.

Talking about the displays, the OnePlus 3 sports a 5.5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display where as the Honor 8 sports a relatively smaller 5.2-inch full HD TFT display. The smaller screen real estate gives the Honor 8 a slight bump in the screen sharpness, though the AMOLED panel on the OnePlus 3 reproduces more vivid colours and has much better contrast levels.

Performance, Storage and Software

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The OnePlus 3 and the Honor 8 derive their power from vastly different chipsets with the OnePlus 3 opting for Qualcomm’s proven Snapdragon 820 while the Honor 8 uses the company’s proprietary HiSilicon Kirin chipset. The Snapdragon 820 processor on the OnePlus 3 comprises four Kryo cores in two separate clusters clocked at 2.2GHz and 1.6GHz respectively. The HiSilicon chip on the Honor 8 is an octa-core SoC featuring two quad core clusters clocked at 2.3GHz and 1.8GHz. The OnePlus 3 ships with 6GB of RAM compared to the 4GB RAM found on the Honor 8. Rest assured, both the smartphones will be able to handle whatever you throw at them and we expect the two phones to compete neck and neck with each other in terms of performance. For storage, the OnePlus 3 offers users 64GB with no room for further expansion. The Honor 8 on the other hand, comes with 32GB of internal storage but does give users an option to expand the storage up to 128GB using a microSD card.

Software is another category where the two devices diverge. While both run Android Marshmallow out-of-the-box, the user interface offered by OnePlus 3 is fairly minimal and Nexus-esque (or Pixel-esque from now on) compared to the heavily themed EMUI or Emotion UI found on the Honor 8. If you are not a fan of all your apps laid out on the home screen, the OnePlus 3 is your guy. However, if you are heavily into customising the look of your phone, then you will feel more at home with the Honor 8.

Camera, Battery and Connectivity

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The Honor 8 fills the dual camera void in the budget flagship segment by offering a pair of 12MP sensors on the back, similar to the ones found on its loaded cousin, the Huawei P9 (review). One of the sensors is an RGB where as the other is monochrome, and both the sensors work together to form the final image. To know more about the Honor 8’s camera capabilities, make sure to check out our camera review of the device. Up front, the Honor 8 comes furnished with an 8MP sensor. Taking a look at the OnePlus 3, users will find a 16MP sensor on the back which makes use of PDAF along with a combination of OIS (optical image stabilisation) and EIS (Electronic image stabilisation) to shoot pictures. Buyers will be smiling at an 8MP sensor for selfies on the OnePlus 3. While the OnePlus 3 is a very capable shooter, the presence of dual-cameras at the back of the Honor 8 might sway shutterbugs towards it over the OnePlus 3.

For battery, both the phones rely on 3,000mAh units which supports rapid charging. On the connectivity front, users will find the standard connectivity options along with support for dual-SIMs as well as 4G LTE.

While both the phones seem comparable on paper, users should find the OnePlus 3 to perform slightly better owing to its near stock vanilla skin. The extra Rs 2K buyers will have to shell out for the Honor 8 for similar or even slower performance won’t bode well with spec-heads. Also, since its release almost four months, OnePlus has already pushed out several updates to improve its flagship. On the other hand, if photography is what you will use your smartphone primarily for, then Honor 8 could possibly serve you better.

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