Huawei has been in India for some time now, but has yet to make a dent with a memorable handset. Can it finally achieve that with the Honor Holly, taking on budget options like the Xiaomi Redmi 1s and the Moto E?
Specs: 5-inch IPS HD touchscreen (1280×720 pixels) | 1.3 GHz Quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor | 1GB RAM | 16GB internal memory, microSD card up to 32GB | 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, GPS | Dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) | 8MP rear camera with LED flash and 1080p FullHD video recording | 2MP front camera with 720p HD video recording | 2000mAh battery | Android 4.4 Kit Kat with Emotion UI
Price: Rs 6,569
Design: The Honor Holly looks and feels like “just another smartphone.” While that would have been a complaint in a more expensive phone, it’s just what you want in a budget handset. There’s nothing great, but nothing strikingly negative either. The glossy back can get dirty quickly, but that’s about it. Just like the Redmi 1s, the capacitive touch keys don’t have backlighting, so it’s difficult to use them in the dark—very annoying!
Screen: The 5-inch HD screen is big and sharp enough, and the colours don’t bleed. What’s missing is a scratch-resistant glass, which rivals Xiaomi and Motorola bring to the table. Still, it’s responsive enough and good to use.
Performance: The Honor Holly’s quad-core processor and 1GB RAM handle most things well, whether it’s multi-tasking or playing games. You won’t be able to play games like Asphalt 8 at high quality, but it’s good enough to not look bad and still be smooth.
Camera: Photos in bright daylight are fine, but as soon as the lighting gets dim, you will notice noise in the images. The camera also tends to pump up colours artificially, which can be annoying. The front camera is good enough for a few selfies though.
Storage: With 16GB of internal memory and the further option to expand it with a microSD slot, we have a winner here.
Interface: The Holly runs Android 4.4 Kit Kat, but you won’t know that with the customised Emotion UI. The functionality is the same as the Redmi, in that it tries to mimic the iPhone feel of a grid of app icons with no app drawer. However, the icon choices are garish and the whole thing seems bloated. You’re better off installing something like Nova Launcher to make your phone look like stock Android.
Battery: The battery will take you through a day, but expect it to run out quickly if you do a lot of gaming. On continuous video playback, it lasted for 7 hours.
Special Mention: Like the Xiaomi Redmi 1s and the Motorola Moto E, the Rs. 6,600 price does not include a set of headphones, so you will have to buy those separately, raising the price of this budget phone.
Verdict: The Huawei Honor Holly would have been a great phone a few months ago; but with the Redmi 1s in the market, it pales in comparison. It’s not a bad purchase by any yardstick; and it’s far easier to buy the Holly than sitting patiently through one of Xiaomi’s terrible flash sales. If you can’t get the Redmi 1s, this is a good option.
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