Huawei’s new dual-SIM phone

The P8 is a serious smartphone with some amusing extras

Image: Hugh Threlfall

I continue to be impressed by China’s Huawei smartphones. The new P8, like its predecessor, is a ridiculously thin Android (just 6.4mm) with a superb screen. It runs a customised version of the latest Lollipop operating system, which I like a lot, although some find Huawei’s variant a bit pastel‑hued and therefore unmanly.

The P8 is classy from the moment you open it – the packaging almost out-Apples Apple, but in black. It’s a really high-end, out-of-box experience. Silly that it should matter maybe, but it does. However, its main attraction for me, and I would imagine for many business travellers, is that it is available as that hyper-rare thing, a serious smartphone with dual SIMs. You have to hunt for the dual-SIM P8 – mobile providers would really rather you bought two phones – but it does exist. So if you’re travelling outside the EU and don’t want to be exposed to scandalous data-roaming charges, it’s the proverbial no-brainer. (I’m writing this in Hong Kong and am more than a little sore that I have just spent £120 using my UK SIM to read a scant few emails and a handful of WhatsApp messages.)

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Like many a Chinese product, the P8 has some amusingly peculiar abilities. Indeed, I hardly know where to start with the layers of fun and diversion; nobody need ever get bored between meetings with one in hand. It has a feature, for instance, whereby if you lose the phone and call out its name, it shouts, “I’m here” and flashes. Then there’s the Knuckle Sense technology: if you tap the screen with a knuckle, it knows to do different things from when you tap the screen with a finger; double-tap with a knuckle, for example, and you take a screenshot. This is actually surprisingly useful.

Less useful, but utterly brilliant and a talking point to liven up the dullest or most tense business dinner, is a feature called Perfect Selfie. You can set the eight-megapixel front-facing camera and the rear-facing 13-megapixel one to recognise your face (and yours only) and beautify it in photos. It even works with me, which is extraordinary. So if you take a photo of yourself with other people, they get pictured warts and all, while you turn into a veritable Adonis. Well, almost.

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About £485, from www.huawei-p8.com.

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