A lot of people are now familiar with Huawei, but have they heard of HONOR? It’s Huawei’s sub-brand that’s starting to make a name of its own. Their latest device is the HONOR 10 and it’s a pretty big release for the company. The phone first launched in China then made its way internationally with the London launch.
Is the HONOR 10 the cheaper flagship phone people should buy? Here’s my review.
I can’t stress this enough: The HONOR 10 is basically a Huawei P20 in disguise. You’ve probably heard that before because it’s very true. If you place an HONOR 10 and a Huawei P20 side by side, there’s not much difference. Both have similarly sized 5.8-inch Full HD+ displays with a small notch to house the front camera, sensors, and earpiece and a chin at the bottom.
The implementation of the fingerprint scanner is a bit different with the HONOR 10’s sensor flushed behind the front glass and surrounded by tiny dots. It’s a neat design choice and also pretty unique. But, that’s not the only design or feature that makes the HONOR 10 different.
Lo and behold, the HONOR 10 has a headphone jack! That’s right, a 3.5mm audio port is located at the bottom edge of the phone along with the reversible USB-C port and loudspeaker. Speaking of, the sides of the device (or basically the whole chassis) is made of aluminum and it screams premium quality. It has a few antenna bands to keep your signal bar as full as possible and tactile metal buttons for power and volume.
It’s worth noting that the HONOR 10 doesn’t have expandable storage, but the 128GB space inside the phone is already enough for most users. Your microSD is useless here and cloud storage is your best friend to store or back up files.
The main highlight of the HONOR 10’s body is its back. Again, just like the Huawei P20, the HONOR 10 sports a striking rear glass body. The model I have is the Phantom Green, but there’s also Phantom Blue, Glacier Gray, and Midnight Black. If you like bold colors, I personally suggest the Phantom Green or Blue. It can become the center of attention thanks to its shifting colors. I get confused at times when people ask me what color my phone is since it sometimes looks blue or violet.
Before I forget, there are two cameras at the back and a single LED flash. HONOR is way too proud about the phone’s AI features, they even printed “AI Camera” at the back to tell you they’re not just ordinary cameras.
The unit is lighter than I first thought, considering that it has a large 3400mAh battery inside which is able to last me the whole day and supports fast charging. It’s well-built, feels sturdy, and easy to use with one hand, as well, thanks to the display’s tall aspect ratio. Overall, the HONOR 10 is one of the prettiest (if not the prettiest) phones around.
Another similarity of the HONOR 10 and Huawei P20 is their processing power. In the helm is the NPU processor coupled with a dedicated neural chip for AI and 4GB of memory. This processor is also found on the Mate 10 Pro from last year making it a tried and tested chipset directly from Huawei’s own factory. The result is a smooth-performing handset with no hiccups whatsoever.
Unlike Snapdragon processors which have their own Adreno graphics, NPU processors are paired with a third-party graphics unit. With the NPU, it’s the Mali-G71 which is also the same as the one in the Exynos variant of the Samsung Galaxy S9, but with fewer cores: 12 versus 18. Gaming-wise, there are no major issues aside from a few frame drops with intensive titles like NBA 2K18.
This is probably due to the lack of optimization of apps and games for NPU chips, but it’s not a major drawback — at least in my opinion — since NPU processors are known for smooth day-to-day performance. Also, since the introduction of the Huawei P10, I’ve learned to appreciate NPU’s feature to adapt to everyday usage.
AI-powered camera is a thing
AI or artificial intelligence is a big part of the HONOR 10, especially in the cameras. With a 16-megapixel f/1.8 main color sensor and a 24-megapixel secondary monochrome sensor, the HONOR 10 is more than capable of taking breathtaking images. I am not exaggerating; the HONOR 10 can shoot amazing photos — sometimes so much so that it doesn’t look natural anymore.
Here are a few samples using the rear cameras of the phone with AI turned on:
You can also check out our photo comparison using the HONOR 10 here to see more samples with and without AI switched on.
Then there’s the front camera for selfies: a high-resolution 24-megapixel f/2.0 sensor hiding in the notch of the phone. The HONOR 10 is pretty much on board the selfie game with beautification features and 3D lighting effects similar to the likes of the iPhone X.
Should you get the HONOR 10 if you want crisp and vibrant photos? The results speak for themselves. You can always turn off AI to take natural-looking photos, and there’s always the option to revert the AI photo to “normal” in the gallery.
The HONOR 10 is an easy pick if you want a phone that practically has everything except for a steep price tag and maybe water resistance. If you find the Huawei P20 to be expensive (even though it’s already well priced in some markets), the HONOR 10 should be your next choice. It’s basically the Huawei P20 with slight differences, anyway.