The Huawei Honour is a smartphone that has been talked about for some time, but very few factual details have come to light. When I received it, I knew absolutely nothing about it- I had no idea of the price, the version of Android or even what it looked like so I will write this review on the basis of ignorance and then put it all into context later on.
This is an unusual phone in the most usual of ways. It looks like many Android phones from a year back and appears, at first glance, to have very little emphasis placed on the design. The front is merely a screen with four virtual buttons at the bottom and that’s about it. Angular edges and rounded corner curves make it look completely standard in every way. The power button is on the top left which is useful for left-handed people and the volume buttons are also on the left with no dedicated camera button on the right.
The back has large Google sticker near the bottom, a large Huawei sticker near the top and the lens, flash and speaker grill which all come together to make it look a little bit busy compared to the sleek look of many modern smartphones. However, the back cover is incredibly stiff and with a slight pattern which makes the entire phone feel solid in every respect. I don’t think I have help a smartphone that feels as solid as this one and that is an impressive achievement in what I presume is a budget phone. The lens glass could be better protected, but aside from that I am left with the feeling that this looks like a budget phone, but with a high-end build. It is an unusual marriage and one that feels quite positive in many respects.
It comes with Android 2.3.6 which is obviously not the latest version and from what I can gather, 1GB of internal memory. Besides this, it has been hard to see what processor etc. are included in this phone, but flying blind can sometime be a good thing because it means I am judging it purely on what it is and not what I am expecting it to be.
This phone is quite snappy in terms of performance and I found it capable of coping with quite a few open apps at any one time. It did slow down when I pushed it hard, but not to a level that I would view it negatively. I would say that it will cope with the requirements of 70% of people with power users maybe expecting more to keep everything flowing for weeks at a time. The interface is quite cartoony as well which leads me to believe that this is a consumer targeted phone- it is not dissimilar to Samsung’s implementation of Android, however, and is logical to use and easy to understand. A few extra apps have been included such as Traffic manager, All Backup and Streams, but the vast majority is dominated by what we consider to be Android standards. The extras make sense and are not simply attempts to leverage more money from the user and overall the Android setup on the Honour is quite subtle.
The screen is somewhat prone to glare in very bright conditions, but does seem to have a high resolution. The size is decent for most tasks and will serve you well for your media requirements. At the very least, a matt or anti-glare screen protector will be required for it to be usable in the summer months. The sensitivity, however, is spot on and at no point did I struggle to hit the icons or areas that I was aiming for. This is actually symptomatic of this phone because it is very easy to use and just works which is sadly not true of all Android phones.
I was surprised to see an 8 megapixel camera on board and even more so when I realised that it could take some decent snaps. This goes against the look of the phone, but I won’t be complaining. The video capture seemed somewhat subdued, but is passable. Unfortunately, passable may not be good enough in a time when smartphones tend to also be people’s main cameras as well.
Battery performance was a little light and a day’s usage is about the maximum I could get from the Honour. To be fair I was pushing the phone, which is something most Honour users will not do, but the more batter life I can get the better and so I would rate this one as adequate.
Everything above has been written with zero factual knowledge of this phone. I don’t know the specs, the price or the expected performance, but am left with the impression that it is a budget device that will prove to be an adequate workhorse and with some unexpected high-end features. The screen could be better and so could the battery life, but these are only just below what I rate as very good and so I could get by with this phone for most of my mobile needs.
Update: I have now been told that the approximate price for this phone will be £250 which is not bad value, but does not compare that well against the Sony Xperia U (£204), HTC One V (£246) and the Galaxy W (£246). Despite not having any many problems, this phone just doesn’t do enough to compete with the better known brands at the same price point.