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Honor View10 First Impressions: Bigger, faster, better

Following in the footsteps of the Honor 8 Pro, the Honor View10 is the latest feature-filled flagship smartphone from Chinese smartphone maker Huawei. But does it have what it takes to challenge the OnePlus 5T?

honor v10 first impressions front

Highlights

  • The Honor View10 comes with a dual-camera setup at the rear, with a 16MP primary and 20MP secondary sensor.

  • The phone runs Android Oreo out of the box.

  • While the price isn't known yet, it will likely be priced at around Rs 30,000.

The concept of a flagship smartphone was fairly narrow just a few years ago. There was the high-end, dominated by Samsung, LG, Sony and Apple, while the mid and lower-end were made up by devices from Nokia, BlackBerry and others. Fragmentation within any of these segments was non-existent, simply because the smartphone segment wasn’t the uncontrollable, diverse market it is today. Today, even within the flagship segment, you have the concepts of true flagship, second-tier flagship and flagship killer. We agree – it’s all incredibly confusing.

Today, let’s talk about the ‘flagship killer’ segment. Coined by the folks at OnePlus a few years ago to set it apart from typical flagship devices, it’s now become a way to denote a phone that has everything you’d expect from a top-end phone sans the high price. While OnePlus has typically been the fan favorite in this segment, Huawei-owned Honor has offered some serious competition over the past couple of years. The latest launch from Honor is the View10, which is positioned to take on the OnePlus 5T. Although we don’t know what it will be priced at yet, we have had a chance to play with the device. Here are our first impressions of the new Honor View10.

Pretty in blue

Huawei and Honor’s smartphones have a distinct design philosophy, and the Honor View10 adheres to this. With its unique blue color, matte finish, all-metal design and oddly-protruding dual-camera setup, the Honor View10 definitely looks great. The front of the phone has a 6-inch 18:9 full-HD+ screen, which is a step down from the Honor 8 Pro which comes with a QHD screen. I’ll admit though, the lower resolution doesn’t really show, and the larger aspect ratio and screen size make all the difference here.

A big difference between the Honor View10 and other smartphones with wide aspect ratio screens is the presence of the fingerprint sensor at the front. The larger screen in the standard form factor means that most phones with an 18:9 or higher display have fingerprint sensors at the back (or not at all, as is the case with the Apple iPhone X). The Honor View10 manages to squeeze in the fingerprint sensor at the front itself, which I feel is a more convenient place for the sensor. Unlocking is certainly quicker with a front sensor than one at the back, and the Honor View10’s sensor is particularly quick.

There’s also some form of face unlock on the Honor View10, but it isn’t what you’d typically expect. Once you’ve fed in your face details into the phone, you can select if you want the phone to display lock-screen content only if it gets a positive match from the face detection. This essentially means that content will remain hidden until the phone detects that the owner is looking at it, which is useful when just glancing at your phone for notifications. It doesn’t unlock the phone; you’ll still need to use the fingerprint sensor or security PIN to do that. The OnePlus 5T, in comparison, can be set to go straight to the home screen on identifying a positive face match, and that would have definitely been a good touch on the View10.

Specification beast

A top-end smartphone from Honor can’t be a slouch when it comes to specifications, particularly if it wants to take on the OnePlus 5T. And on point, the Honor View10 is absolutely up to the mark when it comes to specifications. With 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage under the hood, you won’t find yourself falling short in either of the memory departments. You also get a hybrid dual-SIM slot, so you can choose to add extra storage at the expense of a second SIM card. The phone runs EMUI 8.0, based on Android Oreo 8.0.

At the heart of the phone is the HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC, which is being touted by the company for being the first ‘artificial intelligence ready’ smartphone chipset. Fabricated on a 10nm process, the Kirin 970 can be considered on par with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 in most ways, including performance and battery life. However, the company states that its AI capabilities set it apart. The phone is said to learn from your usage over time, suggesting settings, apps and hints according to your usage, and improving performance over time based on what you need. I haven’t used the phone for long enough to comment on this, though.

One key feature that does help the Kirin 970 set itself apart is the dual-4G standby capability. This means that you can have active 4G connectivity on both SIM cards simultaneously, which is something that no other smartphone available today offers. With most dual-SIM smartphones today, you can only set one of the slots of connect over 4G, while the other must drop to 3G connectivity. With most networks in India, this isn’t a problem.

However, with the 4G-exclusive Jio network, this is a particularly relevant feature. Effectively, you can have 4G connectivity even on your second SIM, without forcing the phone to shut off connectivity on the Jio connection. You do still have to prioritize a data network, which means that the phone will only be able to connect to one data network at a time.

Camera skills

The Honor View10 has a dual-camera setup at the rear, with a 16-megapixel primary sensor and 20-megapixel secondary sensor, along with a 13-megapixel camera at the front. Apart from being an RGB + Monochrome setup, the rear-camera system also allows for depth-of-field shots and 2X lossless zoom. At first glance, the camera does look excellent.

We took a few shots in various conditions, including zoom, depth-of-field and more. Results are decent, particularly what we saw with the portrait mode. Additionally, the combination of monochrome and RGB makes for excellent light capture and colors. Take a look at some of the sample shots I’ve captured on the Honor View10.

Final thoughts

The Honor View10 is a promising new smartphone, and has everything it will take to be a true flagship killer. One key advantage that it possesses is the capability of its dual-camera setup, and this helps it stand out against the competition. With a good screen, decent design and build, and promising performance, there’s very little to complain of here.

While Huawei’s software hasn’t typically been the best around, EMUI 8.0 does come with a fair amount of improvements, and on the whole, we’re impressed with the Honor View10 at first glance. We’ll be going into the details on this phone in our full review, so stay tuned.

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Honor View10

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Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0
Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-Core Processor
16 MP + 20 MP with f/1.8 aperture
  • Published Date: December 26, 2017 5:04 PM IST