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Honor 10 Review: Best Smartphone Of Its Category?

The race to bring the best smartphone is ever-going with a new smartphone launch always around the corner. Huawei's sub-brand Honor has been playing in that category smartly in India. Priced at Rs 32,999, Honor 10 is a new handset in the pool of many smartphones under the affordable high-end smartphones category. Is the new Honor phone the best smartphone of its category? Find out more in the review.

ProsCons
 Value for Money Not Waterproof

 Gorgeous Design        

 Unimpressive Battery life

 Solid Cameras

 Slow fingerprint sensor

 Impressive Display Heating issue
 Great Performance No Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)


The ever-changing smartphone industry witnesses a 'new best smartphone' within every three months, that too under every price category. The race to bring the best smartphone is ever-going with a new smartphone launch always around the corner. 

One such category has been rising significantly, where companies provide features of high-end products at much affordable prices. Huawei's sub-brand Honor has been playing in that category smartly in India. With phones like Honor 8 Pro of last year, Honor View 10 and now the latest flagship Honor 10, the company has been trying hard to dethrone its competitors. 

Honor 10 is very similar to its parent company Huawei's P20 Pro, the similarities between the two phones are discernable. The new Honor phone has many elements which are clearly inspired by the Huawei flagship smartphone like the design, iridescent body, EMUI and Huawei Kirin 970 processor. 

Priced at Rs 32,999, Honor 10 is a new handset in the pool of many smartphones under the affordable high-end smartphones category, which also includes the OnePlus 6. Is the new Honor phone the best smartphone of its category? Find out more in the review. 

Design and Display

Honor 10 is reminiscent of Huawei P20 Pro, which was launched a few weeks before Honor 10’s arrival. We got the Phantom Blue unit which has an iridescent glass body and the unique P20 Pro like tint which shifts color to purple when viewed from a different angle.

The glass body is made with 15 layers of 3D glass on the back, and this design reveals a colorful radiance from every angle, in natural light and shade.

To be honest, this phone is one of the most beautiful phones, from which we couldn’t take our eyes off. The handset is also available in Midnight Black color which doesn’t shift color.

But this phone slips as fast as it fits into our hands; glass body has its own disadvantages. Also, its beautiful glass body will attract a lot of smudges.

Honor 10 has a smart design and a great build quality, thanks to its curved design, glass body, and light weight of 153 grams and compact 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm, it fits perfectly into your hand.

This is because of the 5.84-inches display with 19:9 ratio that larger screen area is available for users even after smaller body size.

Honor 10’s front is all-screen with a notch at the top that houses selfie camera, earpiece, proximity sensor and a tiny pulse LED notification light. Below the screen is a thin chin, in which a capsule-like ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is embedded. The fingerprint sensor doesn’t feel like traditional front-mounted fingerprint sensors as it is embedded under the glass. The sensor also works with wet fingers; it is quite ironical as the phone itself isn’t waterproof.

The bottom bears 3.5mm headphone-jack, USB Type-C ports, and mono speaker. The volume buttons and power button sits on the right, while the dual-SIM tray is on the left side.

Talking about the display, Honor 10 has a 5.84-inches FHD+ (2280x1080) TFT LCD screen display with 19:9 aspect ratio and 86.2 percent screen-to-body ratio.

The display is vivid, crisp and offers great viewing angles. Also, it is bright enough to be used under direct sunlight.

Users also get a lot of options to customize the display like notch can be masked, color temperature can be changed to warmer or cooler colors, and the display quality can also be dropped down at lower resolution to save battery.  

Camera

Honor 10 draws inspiration from Huawei P20 Pro but the Honor phone doesn't have triple camera lens like its sibling. Afterall, P20 Pro is a high-end and much expensive phone.  

Honor 10  features a dual-rear camera setup with a 16-megapixel primary RGB sensor and a secondary 24-megapixels monochrome sensor. On the front is also an AI-powered 24-megapixel selfie snapper with f/2.0 aperture, Portrait mode, and studio lighting effects.

Every other smartphone brand claims to offer AI integrated cameras which do nothing apart from making the photos ugly.

But thanks to Huawei's NPU, Honor 10's camera is backed by Artificial Intelligence which automatically optimizes the photos by recognizing more than 500 different scenarios in 22 categories.

For an example when to point the camera towards a flower or tree, it automatically to a different mode which shows enhanced results. 

Similarly, if you aim at a person, it automatically switches to Portrait mode and blurs the background. Also, the images clicked in the night were clear and had a good amount of detail. 

Now the argument is that photos clicked using this phone aren’t real, they are beatified version of original ones but does it even matter? The photos clicked with Honor 10 are stunning. However, if you don't prefer using the AI mode, it can be turned On/Off through the camera app while taking photos. There is also an option to view original images by disabling the AI in Gallery app. 

The rear camera is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30fps and 1080p videos at 60fps. However, the major camera feature Honor 10's camera misses is Optical Image Stabilization which prevents jerk and shakiness while recording. Take a look at the video sample, the quality is crisp and clear but OIS is a major feature missing in the new Honor phone. 

The camera app is full of features like Pro Mode- where you can tweak ISO, Shutter Speed, White Balance, and Aperture. Also, there are AR stickers, Panorama, Monochrome mode, HDR, and slow-motion video. To be honest, the photos clicked from the front camera are good but this studio lighting effect wasn’t required at all. Also, it is a pure copy of iPhone X’s Portrait lighting.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

Software and Performance

Honor 10 runs on EMUI 8.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. Huawei’s EMUI is pretty cool with lots of useful features. First thing is gestures, with the promise to provide extra screen space, Honor 10 comes with an option to navigate the phone through gestures where the fingerprint sensor doubles as the navigation button for Back, Home Screen, Recent Apps and Google App.

But EMUI isn’t anywhere near to the stock Android, it is stuffed with much bloatware for example duplicate apps like Gallery, Video, App Store, UC Browser and Music which Google has made apps for. Other pre-installed apps included Health app, Honor app, Asphalt Nitro, Dragon Mania and many more. Thankfully the majority of these apps can be uninstalled if you don’t find them useful.

Also Read: OnePlus 6 vs Honor 10: Design, Specifications and Camera Comparison

It is powered by an Octa-core Huawei Kirin 970 coupled with Mali G72 GPU, Neural Processing Unit (NPU) and 6GB RAM. The handset has 128GB of internal storage but due to the absence of MicroSD card slot, there is no option for expandable storage.

The Kirin 970 also powers the Huawei’s P20 Pro. So with 6 gigs of RAM and Huawei’s high-end processor, how well did it perform? The overall performance of Honor 10 is solid, it handles multitasking, heavy apps very smoothly. Gamers too will be satisfied with Honor 10’s snappy performance. However, when compared to other flagship smartphones, its Geekbench score was much lesser. 

One issue I found with this phone is overheating, this phone gets hot while using continuously or using RAM extensive apps.  It is backed by a 3,400mAh battery which supports fast charging, it reaches from zero to hundred percent in 1 hour and 40 minutes. The battery backup isn't as good as its competition and we would advise you to carry your charger. 

Talking about its facial recognition feature, you can unlock the phone by looking at the front camera but it isn’t as fast as OnePlus 6’s face unlock feature. Whenever a phone’s facial recognition is slow and laggy, the user switches to fingerprint sensor for unlocking, which is not so fast as well.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB Type-C (2.0), NFC, 4G VoLTE, and Location. Also, both SIM slots can support 4G networks.

Bottomline

Well to sum it up, there are two ways to look at the Honor 10, the pros and cons. This Honor phone is arguably one of the best smartphone (in its category) present in the market right now. 

Honor 10 has a stunning design, impressive display, snappy performance and arguably one of the best cameras in this price category. However, there are downsides too. The lack of official IP rating for water and dust resistance, OIS, overheating issue, slow charging (touted as quick charging), and unique but crappy fingerprint sensor can disappoint many users.

But its great overall performance at Rs 32,999 out shadows these minor downsides, which makes Honor 10 one of the best option to go for in this price segment. If you can manage a few more grands than OnePlus 6 is also an option to consider. 

Also Read: OnePlus 6 Detailed Review


 Honor 10 OnePlus 6 
 Software EMUI 8.1 based on Android 8.0 Oreo OxygenOS based on Android 8.1 Oreo
 Processor Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon Octa-core
 RAM 6GB 6GB/8GB
 Storage 128GB, not-expandable
 64GB/128GB, not expandable
 Display5.84-inches FHD+ (2280x1080) TFT LCD with 19:9 ratio
 6.28-inches FHD+ (2280x1080) super AMOLED with 19:9 ratio
 Battery 3,400mAh 3,300mAh
 Rear Camera 16-MP+24-MP (RGB+monochrome)
 16-MP+20-MP (standard+telephoto)
 Front Camera 24-MP 16-MP
 IP Rating No No
 Weight 153 grams 177 grams 
 Dimensions149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.75mm
Ports 3.5mm headphone jack
 USB Type-C (2.0)
 3.5mm headphone jack
 USB Type-C (2.0)
 Colours Phantom Blue and Midnight Black Midnight Black, Mirror Black and Silk White
 Price Rs 32,999 Rs 35,999 (6GB) and Rs 39,999 (8GB)
 Fingerprint Sensor Below dislpay (front-mounted) Rear mounted



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