The Honor Holly 4 is priced at Rs 11,999.
The phone comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and the Snapdragon 430 SoC.
It's available both online and offline through Huawei and Honor's sales partners.
Huawei may have a limited presence in the Indian smartphone space under its own brand name, but the company’s Honor sub-brand does a lot better. As an online-first brand focused on offering value for money, Honor has launched some interesting products that are generating a fair amount of buzz. From the premium Honor 8 Pro to the newly launched Honor 7X, the brand is slowly building its presence in India.
Apart from the products that stand out, Honor also has the affordable Holly range. These are affordable products that offer competence rather than the glamour and sparkle of the fancy features you’ll see in the higher-end products. One of the recent launches in this range is the Honor Holly 4. Priced at Rs 11,999, but available now for about Rs 11,000, the Honor Holly 4 is designed to take on the critical Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 price segment. But can any phone go face to face against the sheer dominance of Xiaomi’s offerings in this budget? We find out in our review.
The Honor Holly 4 isn’t a fancy phone with fancy features, or indeed even above average specifications. While competing devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 have superior specifications to boast of for the price, the Honor Holly 4 goes for a more simplified approach. You get 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and a hybrid dual-SIM slot that allows either two SIM cards or storage expansion. Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC. At Rs 11,999, the choice of SoC is surprising, considering the similarly priced Redmi Note 4 sports the more powerful Snapdragon 625 SoC. You also get a fingerprint sensor at the back, which works as expected.
While it appears that the Honor Holly 4 is under-specced when compared to the competition, it’s important to remember that the phone is available offline through Huawei and Honor’s dealer network as well, in addition to online. The offline sales model does drive up the price, as distribution costs and dealer margins have to be worked into the equation. With that in consideration, the Honor Holly 4 is significantly easier to buy for the average consumer, and represents a good mid-range option in the price category.
The device has a 5-inch 720p IPS-LCD screen, a 3,020mAh battery and a partly aluminum body, which helps give it a bit of durability and style. The phone does, however, face its toughest competition from within its own stable. The recently launched Honor 7X is priced from Rs 12,999 and features a larger 6-inch 18:9 aspect ratio full-HD+ screen and a dual-camera setup at the rear, making it a better option straight away. It will also be available offline, making the Honor Holly 4 attractive only if you’re looking for a more compact form factor.
The Honor Holly 4 runs on EMUI 5.1, on top of Android 7.0. To be fair, EMUI isn’t a bad user interface at all, offering a fair amount of customisation, controls and services. The system apps are fair as well, and the phone is built to work well with other Huawei ecosystem products, including wearables such as the Honor Band 3. You do also notably get the ability to switch between a single-layered UI or one with an app drawer, which is among the newer additions to EMUI.
However, I do believe that EMUI is a bit further behind the competition, and other manufacturer’s user interfaces are notably better. Xiaomi’s MIUI, and Lenovo and Motorola’s near-stock interface are both easier to use and offer either more features or a more efficient layout and appearance. Additionally, you’re also likely to get software updates and fixes more often on the others. However, it certainly isn’t a deal breaker.
The Honor Holly 4 comes with a 13-megapixel primary camera that can shoot video at up to full-HD resolution, as well as a 5-megapixel front camera which also does 1080p recordings. The rear camera comes with single-tone LED flash. The camera app is efficiently laid out, but does suffer a bit of sluggishness and lag. There’s also a faint shutter lag when clicking pictures. The ordinary specifications of the camera also mean that it doesn’t do anything special beyond regular photo, video, time lapse and panorama.
(Camera samples shot on the Honor Holly 4)
The camera takes pictures that are – you guessed it – basic. In good light, the images get the colors right but the lack of detail and composure is visible if you zoom in close. There’s also a hazy character to the images, specifically in the non-focus area of pictures taken. In low-light conditions, there’s a fair amount of grain, and videos are also a bit too shaky and unstable to be truly considered good. Other phones in this price range sport better cameras with more features, so this is another area where the Honor Holly 4 takes a hit.
I’m going to refrain from using the same word again and this time use a different adjective to describe the Honor Holly 4: ordinary. The phone isn’t bad by any means, but neither is it any good. In this day and age, particularly if you have access to the internet and are reading this review, you want a smartphone that is extra-ordinary. For the price, or for even less, there are many phones that are significantly better than the Honor Holly 4.
For around the same price, the Honor 7X is straight away a better purchase, and if you’re willing to look at other brands, the Xiaomi Mi A1 is also worth considering. It’s hard for us to recommend the Honor Holly 4 – there’s nothing standing out in this device.