Sharp, responsive four-inch display; impressive battery life; good eight-megapixel snapper
Dated Android Gingerbread; stuttery streaming of HD video, disappointing social networking app
The Huawei Honour may have a low price but it boasts a colourful, sharp display and impressive eight-megapixel snapper. Its single-core processor can cope with most modern games and apps but keen gamers will want to search out a dual-core device for futureproofing.
Very recently we reviewed Huawei’s Ascend P1 smartphone, which offers great performance and neat features despite its plasticky chassis. That device came in at £350, but if you don’t have that kind of spare cash it might be worth taking a look at the Huawei Honour, a mid-range device, with a great camera for around the £200 mark.
One of the first corners cut on budget phones is the OS – and here it means the Honour runs on Gingerbread, a rather dated version of the Android OS, but one that runs well on single-core chip devices. But Huawei has given it such a bright and bold makeover that it is barely recognisable. It features large, bold icons and features 3D transitions between desktops. There aren’t a lot of widgets to choose from, and you can’t change their size, but they are really useful – such as the email widget, which posts up your latest messages for you.
On the lock screen you can gain quick access to texts, snapper and phonebook – all you have to do is drag a digit in one of the pre-set directions to fire them up. The notifications bar lets you toggle juice-draining features such as Bluetooth and GPS, and also shows new alerts and messages.
The camera is impressive for a budget model – it’s eight megapixel and produces sharp, colourful images. It also has the benefit of flash and auto-focus. The shutter fires speedily, although has a pause before it is ready again, so taking a number of pictures in quick succession is not possible. But quality of the images is good – although in low light the snaps were a tad fuzzy.
We don’t know why, but for some reason the digital zoom is not available via the volume buttons as it is on most smartphones – mind you as you can crop and enlarge images after it doesn’t really matter. There is also a front-facing camera for making Skype calls.
The lens has one benefit over that on the Ascend P1 in that it doesn’t stick out of the back of the handset, but instead just appears as a small bump. This is mostly because the Honour’s body is chunkier. It feels good to hold in the hand, and its matt plastic chassis has a decent heft to it.
The four-inch display is a decent size for playing games, surfing the net and playing with apps. Busy web pages loaded quickly and zooming and scrolling was simple as the screen registers each swipe and poke. TV programmes and films look great thanks to the resolution – the screen is really impressive for this price. Mind you, there was a lot of slowing down when we were streaming HD video on apps such as YouTube. It didn’t happen when watching video from the memory though. Onboard storage is a meagre 2GB but that can be expanded thanks to the microSD card slot.
It’s a pity that the social networking offering is not so impressive. There is one app for Facebook and Twitter, which offers one timeline for both or you can just view one if you wish. But it is not easy to use and misses some basic points, such as being able to check Facebook messages and copying in a friend in a tweet. You might as well download the proper Facebook and Twitter apps.
Battery life, however, is a bonus. Our moderate use – emailing, texting, app playing, browsing the web and a few calls, saw the Honour last for 36 hours on a single charge. And we got an immense 10 hours of video playing – nearly double what its rivals can offer.
Playing the game
The single-core chip is capable of running most current apps and games, only starting to stutter with some of the more intensive 3D titles. It also had a little breather when quitting out from the browser or other apps, but it’s nothing to cause any concern. However, keen gamers may want to consider instead the ZTE Grand X, which has a powerful dual-core processor and costs about the same as the Honour.
It’s great to see good-quality smartphones such as the Huawei Honour coming on the market for half the price of the top-end handsets. For a reasonable price you get a single-core chip that copes with most games and apps, unless you’re a really serious gamer, in which case you should opt for the dual-core ZTE Grand X instead. The eight-megapixel snapper is impressive and despite the dated OS, Huawei has given it a fine makeover.
|Type of device||Smartphone|
|Operating System||Android 2.3 Gingerbread|
|Screen size||4 inches|
|Display type||16 million colours|
|Memory card slot|
|Secondary camera||0.3 megapixels|
|Special camera features||Auto-focus, flash|
|FM Radio description||FM radio|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box||Charger|
|Battery life multimedia||Ten hours|
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