Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has always been pitched as a value for money smartphone brand. The new Honor 10 flagship tries to further this vision. Pitched as an alternative to the OnePlus 6, Honor 10 is not just pretty looking, it also undercuts the competition with an able camera and aggressive price. I have been testing the Honor 10 for a while now, and here’s my verdict.
Honor 10 specifications: 5.84-inch IPS LCD display (2280 x 1080) 19:9 aspect ratio | HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor | 6GB RAM | 128GB non-expandable storage | 16MP + 24MP dual camera setup | 24MP front camera | Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.1 | 3400mAh battery | 3.5mm headphone jack
Honor 10 price in India: Rs 32,999
Honor 10 review: Design, aesthetics
Honor 10 is heavily inspired by the Honor 8 and Honor 9, yet it feels so different. The handset looks premium and it will be hard for you to find another device in the similar price range with an exceptional built. Honor 10 is mostly made of metal and glass, and the rear gets an eye-catching Aurora effect that looks great in Phantom Blue. The phone is also available in Midnight Black. My only complaint with the Honor 10’s design is the same as any other glass-backed phone: it can be slippery to hold and is also a fingerprint magnet. A case is must to protect the smartphone from regular wear and tear.
On the front, the Honor 10 has an edge-to-edge display with minimal bezels and a notch to the top and an oval shape fingerprint scanner at the bottom. On the right side of the device, you will find the volume rocker and below that the power button. On the left side is the nano-SIM slot. Unfortunately, microSD support is missing from the Honor 10. At the bottom is a USB Type-C port for charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a speaker grill. Plus, Honor 10 also comes with an infrared port which isn’t a popular feature among the premium smartphones.
Flip the phone, and you will find a horizontally-arranged dual-camera setup in the top left corner. The Honor logo is positioned towards the bottom of the device. Honor 10 measures 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm and weighs 153g.
Also read: OnePlus 6 review: A no-nonsense flagship
Honor 10 review: Display, notch
Many smartphones these days come with a notch above the screen (a feature popularised by the iPhone X), and the Honor 10 is no different. Even though I am not fond of the concept of a notch in the first place, I am happy to say you can hide a notch by using the phone’s software.
The display is 5.84-inches with a 2,280 x 1,080-pixel resolution in 19:9 aspect ratio. The display is beautiful, despite the fact that it uses an LCD panel and not an OLED display. I don’t have a problem with LCDs; in fact, I found the Honor 10’s display is actually bright and colourful. The display looks great for watching videos, viewing photos, or browsing the web.
Honor 10 review: Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, speakers
Like any smartphone, Honor 10 does come with the fingerprint scanner to unlock the device. However, the phone uses something called an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. It is a new solution that sits in the lower bezel but under the glass. This isn’t identical to an in-display fingerprint scanner seen on the Vivo X21 and Huawei’s Porsche Mate RS. The company says the advantage of such fingerprint scanner is that it is not only fast but works fine in recognising wet fingers.
In my tests, I found it to be fast and accurate in unlocking the device. And frankly, it doesn’t appear to be less accurate than a normal fingerprint scanner present on the rear or embedded right into the home button on the front of the phone. But I do like to mention that the initial process of setting up the fingerprint scanner is still a pain. That being said, I didn’t use the fingerprint scanner every time to unlock the device. For that, there’s a facial recognition feature that takes mere seconds to unlock the phone.
There’s a single mono speaker at the bottom of the device, and that means it won’t be loud enough. Even the audio quality is average in my opinion.
Honor 10 review: Performance, software, and battery
The smartphone is fast; the Kirin 970 performs just well above my expectations. This is the same chipset that can be seen in the P20 Pro and Honor View 10. Huawei’s in-house Kirin 970 processor includes four 2.4GHz ARM Cortex-A73 cores and four 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores. The Kirin 970 chipset is Huawei’s first mobile AI computing platform featuring a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU).
While many say the Kirin 970 should be compared to the Snapdragon 835 processor and not the latest Snapdragon 845 chipset. Well, I haven’t seen any performance issues throughout my testing. The phone feels snappy and fast; I was able to run most graphic-intensive games I can think of such as Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3. Honor 10 is available with 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage, and that is the only model available in India. It is worth noting that a microSD card slot is missing from the Honor 10.
The Honor 10 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with Huawei’s custom, EMUI 8.1 atop. So, in reality, the interface looks exactly the same as seen on the other Huawei and Honor devices, including the Honor P20 Pro and Honor 9 Lite. Sure, the phone is not slow but the interface still needs a lot of improvements. Honor hasn’t yet indicated when Android P is coming to the Honor 10, so assume it will be rolled out at a later date.
As far as battery life is concerned, the 3,400mAh battery performs as you would expect it to. It can comfortably last a day on a single charge with normal use, which is not a bad sign. And if you are a heavy user like myself, the battery will struggle to last a day. The Honor 10 does come with fast-charging support though, and this could charge the phone from zero to 100 per cent in about two hours. There is no support for wireless charging, but that is okay.
Honor 10 review: Camera
Honor 10 has a dual-camera setup on the back. It has a 16MP RGB camera and a 24MP monochrome sensor with dual LED flash and f/1.8 aperture. Personally speaking, I love the results here. The quality is great; it excels in daylight, low light, or any kind of light. The bokeh-effects also works well in my testing. Also, the Honor 10’s monochrome sensor is excellent for taking black and white photos.
And like any Huawei-branded smartphone, Honor 10 comes with an AI camera. Thanks to the Kirin 970 processor, the camera software uses algorithms to adjust the settings accordingly. The company says the handset can identify 22 different scenes, including greenery, blue sky or texture. Below is a camera sample with AI turned on and off.
On the front, there’s a 24MP selfie camera capable of taking good quality self-portraits. Trust me, the front-facing camera will capture a pout perfectly. Also, an iPhone X-like 3D Portrait lighting feature is also available for your selfies.
Honor 10 review: Conclusion
I do like reviewing Honor devices for two reasons: design and camera. And honestly, Honor 10 does come with a great design and a superior camera. These two features easily make me recommend the Honor 10. Also, the Honor 10 is more affordable compared to the OnePlus 6 which starts at Rs 34,999 and the new Vivo X21 priced at Rs 35,999.