Huawei is one of the few companies that has been slowly and steadily expanding its mobile phone portfolio in the Indian market. The Chinese company started off with an entry-level Android device and has now moved up a ladder to offer a device in the upper-mid-range category. Case in point is the Huawei Honor. We had a chance to play with the device and this is what we think.
Honor’s design may not appeal you the first instance but it grows on you over time. The front side is covered in glass whereas the back is completely plastic with mesh design that ensures a decent grip. Front does not sport any physical buttons but features four touch-sensitive buttons just below a large display and front-facing VGA camera. The top part of the phone hosts a Power/lock button, 3.5mm headphone jack; left features volume rocker buttons and the bottom has the microUSB port. The back features an 8MP camera along with the company’s branding.
Honor boasts a 4-inch display with FWVGA (480×854) pixel support. Now most devices in the same price range feature a WVGA (480×800) display, which effectively makes Honor the winner in the resolution department. Honor’s display achieves pixel density of around 245 ppi that makes the text looks crisp and pictures, sharper. As far as viewing angle goes, it doesn’t boast a wider angle like an AMOLED display but it isn’t bad either. The screen is very much legible under direct sunlight as well.
Huawei Honor runs on Android 2.3 OS and comes with a customized user interface. Although Huawei’s iteration isn’t as heavy as Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense, the touch-up on the UX is worth mentioning. The lock screen has been modified to give a quick access to calls, messages and camera. As we pass the lock screen, the phone gives a 3D-esque effect as we swipe through different home screens. The app drawer has been modified as well, which now allows uninstalling an app directly from the drawer, creating folders and even re-arranging icons. Another positive is Huawei’s commitment to support the device. Huawei will release the Android 4.0 OS update later this month or next.
Huawei has been bundling their Android devices with their set of services and Honor is no different. Honor is pre-loaded with apps like Bollywoodji, DLNA, Backup, Huawei Care, Hispace App Store etc. The DLNA app allows users to stream multimedia content to and from other DLNA-enabled devices whereas the Backup app, understandably, allows to backup user content and apps on the local storage or on the cloud. Huawei Care is a simple app listing contact details of Huawei customer care while Hispace is Huawei’s App Store iteration.
Honor also supports Huawei’s Cloud+ and Message+ service. Cloud+ gives each Honor user 16GB of free online storage that can be used to backup contacts, messages, multimedia content and even remotely locate or wipe the phone. Message+ is Huawei’s messaging service and disappointingly, limited to other Huawei users only. Although Message+ is nice, we don’t see it gaining any traction unless Huawei expands the service to other platforms and competitive Android offerings.
Honor is powered by a 1.4GHz processor and 512MB RAM and frankly the phone seems fast for a single-core device. You can feel the zippiness while playing with the device. The phone handles most operations with ease, including multimedia playback. However, one worry about Honor is that the bottom part of the phone gets heated up even with moderate use of the device. We’re not sure if this issue was specific to our unit but if it isn’t Huawei should look into it more closely.
The phone packs an 8MP camera with LED flash and capable of recording videos at up to 720p, HDR and geo-tag. To cut the long story short, Honor is not the device to look at that will produce top-notch photographs and videos but it gets the job done. In fact, better than its competition. Check out some of the sample shots.
Honor has a 1900mAh battery and is equipped with Huawei’s “patented technology” that further helps to optimize the battery life. Now we’re not sure how much Huawei’s patented technology comes into play but Honor does have an impressive battery life. The phone easily works for 1.5 days with moderate usage and HSPA on all the time.
Honor is a good phone, no doubt but its asking price of Rs. 19,990 seems slightly on the higher side given the fact that a dual-core phone like Sony Xperia U goes for about Rs. 3,000 less. Perhaps, if Huawei lowers the price by couple of thousand, Honor can really penetrate the mid-range market, irrespective of dual-core or not.
Pros: Fast, Intuitive, Battery Life