comscore Honor 10 Review: Beauty meets performance

Honor 10 Review: Beauty meets performance

The Honor 10 is a compact and stylish Android smartphone that closely competes with the OnePlus 6. But does it make for a good alternative?

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Honor 10 4 5
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  • The Honor 10 is exclusively available via Flipkart for Rs 32,999.

  • It comes with AI dual cameras with 16-megapixel and 24-megapixel sensors.

  • The Honor 10 also sports an under-glass ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

Huawei and its sub-brand Honor have been making some good smartphones to cater to the different needs of users. In fact, in the past six months, Honor has seen good success in India with smartphones such as the Honor 7X and the Honor View10. After launching the Huawei P20 Lite and the flagship P20 Pro smartphone in India, Honor 10 is the company s latest upper mid-range smartphone that goes heads on with the OnePlus 6. Also Read - Honor MagicBook 15, 9A and 9S smartphones sold out in first sale

Also Read - Honor 9A to go on sale today on Amazon India: Check offers, price

Priced at Rs 32,999, the Honor 10 is exclusively available to purchase from Flipkart. The key highlights of the Honor 10 include its design, the AI-powered dual-camera setup at the back, an under-glass ultrasonic fingerprint scanner among others. The Honor 10 shares some similarities with the Huawei P20 Pro, right from specifications to design and more. It’s closest competitor in the price range is the OnePlus 6. Does it make for a good OnePlus 6 alternative? Here’s our review of the Honor 10. Also Read - Huawei Mate 40 series leaks: Check out its design and display in full glory

Watch: Huawei P20 Pro Review

Stunning and compact design

I must say, just like the Huawei P20 Pro and P20, the Honor 10 is a looker too. It is compact in size with rounded corners, making it easier to hold the device and use in one had. The curved edges with diamond-cut finish and the glass back with curved design add to its premium look and feel. The smartphone is available in two colors, Black and Phantom Blue. If you want to show off the device, I d recommend you go for the Phantom Blue color variant.

The addition of a glass back does not bring the wireless charging feature, and it is perfectly fine; the technology isn’t critical for now, to be honest. And like all other smartphones with a glass back, the Honor 10 also suffers from fingerprint smudging, and it is quite slippery too.

The front is dominated with a 5.84-inch full HD+ IPS LCD screen with a notch on top, thus giving an aspect ratio of 19:9. If you don t like the notch, you can disable it from the settings, which will add a black strip on both sides. The screen is a treat to look at. It is bright and color reproduction is quite punchy. The whites are adequately bright, whereas blacks are deep, but it s not as good as an AMOLED screen.

Turn to the back and you have the dual-camera setup horizontally placed on the top left corner. There is a bit of a camera bump, so if you keep the phone on a flat surface on its back, it will wobble due to the unevenness. And talking about port placement, the top houses an IR blaster to let you control your TV, AC and other electronic equipment. The 3.5mm audio socket is retained at the bottom, and a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer is also present. The power and volume buttons are on the right, whereas the left houses a dual nano-SIM card tray. Sadly, you don t get expandable storage.

Security: Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor and face unlock

The Honor 10 is one of the few smartphones that comes with an under-glass ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Now, don t confuse an under-glass sensor with an under-display one, they both are different technologies. The under-glass fingerprint sensor sits below the display on the chin. The key difference is that it has a sheet of glass over it, without any cutouts as seen on other smartphones.

Honor is using Qualcomm s technology, and it says that the sensor can detect your fingers even if they are moist, wet or greasy. During my usage, I found the sensor to work well most of the time, but there were some instances where it failed to wake the screen up. I had to repeatedly keep tapping on the sensor for a few times to wake it up and unlock the smartphone. This happened usually when my hands were wet or oily.

The face unlock feature, on the other hand, is pretty quick. The setup process is smooth, and it unlocks the smartphone quickly enough. At times it struggles in the dark, like inside a theater hall where it is completely dark. Other times, it worked flawlessly.

Smart AI dual cameras

Cameras have always been the highlight of Huawei and Honor phones, and the Honor 10 is no exception. We have already talked about the camera in detail before, and were really impressed with it. Honor has been promoting AI cameras, which comes with a combination of a 16-megapixel RGB (color sensor) coupled with a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. Together, the cameras capture individual photos and combine them to form one photo with enough details.

The AI can detect 500+ scenarios in 22 different categories, and apply settings based on that. For instance, if you are clicking a photo in a place like Switzerland where there is snow and blue sky in the background, it will detect the scene and make the whites brighter, and blue deeper to give that whole lively effect. Low-light photography is also good, thanks to the monochrome sensor, which helps to keep graininess at low. Below are some camera samples shot on Honor 10.

Up front, you get a 24-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. The AI also enables portrait mode, along with HDR to ensure that you are able to capture good photos in most lighting conditions. Below are a couple of selfie samples one shot against the light, and the other with proper lighting conditions.

Software, performance and battery

The Honor 10 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box with EMUI 8.1 skin on top. Unlike a few years ago, Huawei has made EMUI more functional while getting rid of bloatware. You still get some pre-installed apps such as Quik video editor, Bing Translator, Huawei App Store and Health app. Other apps such as UC Browser, Messenger, Instagram, Truecaller and Netflix come pre-installed, and if you don t want them, you can uninstall them. Some game APKs also come pre-installed, but you need to download additional files to play them. And if you don t want them, you can uninstall them too.

Under the hood, the smartphone is powered by a Kirin 970 octa-core SoC fabricated on the 10nm process, and it also has its dedicated NPU for AI-related tasks. The chipset is backed with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage.

Now, the chipset and RAM combination is good enough to ensure smooth running for day-to-day tasks. Some may argue that it is last year s chipset and a Snapdragon 835 equivalent, whereas the latest smartphones such as OnePlus 6 comes with the Snapdragon 845 SoC that is considered superior. However, the performance difference between the two is not something you will notice unless you run some benchmarking apps or really test the phone’s performance with very heavy usage.

In fact, the Kirin 970 SoC also powers the flagship Huawei P20 Pro smartphone, which is priced at almost double to that of the Honor 10. I had no issues while using the smartphone, and even with a few apps running in the background, it would still use a maximum of 4.5GB RAM, with 1.5GB still free.

Gaming performance was smooth, be it casual games such as Alto s Adventure or Subway Surfers to name a few. Even graphics intense games such as PUBG with maximum settings run smoothly, without showing any frame drops. However, the back of the smartphone did get warm even after playing games for about 5 minutes. After about 15 minutes of continuous play, I had to take a pause as a precautionary measure when the back started to get even warmer.

Battery life on the smartphone has been disappointing. The Honor 10 is armed with a 3,400mAh battery with support for fast charging. To fully charge the smartphone, it takes about an hour and 45 minutes, which is not bad. In terms of battery life, with normal usage, the phone struggles, but lasts the entire working day, with screen-on-time-maximum around 4-hours. Some refinements and optimizations and battery life could be better. I would have expected it to offer a screen-on time of at least 5-hours.

Verdict: Should you buy the Honor 10?

At Rs 32,999, the Honor 10 has a lot going in its favor. It comes with a stunning front and back glass design, compact form factor, and reliable AI-powered dual-camera setup. Color-wise, the Phantom Blue color looks amazing. Even the front camera performs well. Face unlock is quick in unlocking the smartphone too.

However, there are a couple of places where the Honor 10 could have been better. For instance, the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor performance is a hit-or-miss affair, battery life could have been better, and thermal levels while gaming have room for improvement.

Is the Honor 10 a OnePlus 6 killer? No, it is not a OnePlus 6 killer, as that phone comes with faster hardware, a slightly larger display, and better software. If ultimate power is what you need under Rs 40,000 range, the OnePlus 6 would be my default recommendation. However, if you want style, substance and a good camera, the Honor 10 could be the right pick for you.

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  • Published Date: June 14, 2018 1:42 PM IST

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