Honor, Huawei’s sub-brand that happens to have its own CEO, is out with a new Android flagship today, and it’s a lovely, more budget-friendly reinterpretation of the Huawei P20 Pro. The new Honor 10 exhibits the same design philosophy as the P20 Pro: ugly notch on the front, stunning blue-purple iridescence on the back. Its display measures 5.84 inches diagonally, with a 19:9 aspect ratio, making this a quite compact device by modern flagship standards. Honor opts for an LCD rather than OLED, helping it cut costs, though the resolution is still a satisfyingly dense 2280 x 1080 (432ppi).
I tried out the Honor 10 ahead of its announcement today, and this phone gets a bunch of the fundamentals and essentials right.
Its ergonomics are good, with an under-glass ultrasonic fingerprint reader occupying the chin at the bottom of the phone and providing a reliable and consistent method for unlocking. I haven’t had much previous experience with fingerprint sensors of this kind, but the only real difference from the more common optical technology is that you have to press in a little bit more (which is something many people might prefer as it helps reduce accidental unlocks).
The camera bump at the rear is mercifully small, though the absolute star attraction of this phone has to be its Phantom Blue rear case. Honor says that it discards one in every five of these 2.5D glass backs that are manufactured, owing to the difficulty of producing the desired effect. Unlike the P20 Pro, the Honor 10 catches the light in distinct vertical stripes, and the way it shifts from the purple is also different. Just like the P20 Pro, though, this phone exudes the glamorous premium feel that every phone company strives for but most fall short of achieving. That Honor has done this with a phone targeting the upper mid-range of the market is very much commendable.
The dual-camera system employed in the Honor 10 is basically a trickle-down from parent company Huawei, with a 16-megapixel main sensor and a 24-megapixel monochrome sensor working in concert. Both have lenses with an f/1.8 aperture. Honor also borrows some of the AI scene and object recognition that Huawei has made a focal point of its P series, but of course, you shouldn’t expect P20 Pro imaging performance.
Beside the display, which isn’t the best but is still of a high quality, Honor really hasn’t cut any corners at all. The processor inside is the same as in the Huawei P20 Pro, the Kirin 970, and it’s accompanied by 4GB of RAM and a generous 128GB of storage. The battery is also large for the screen size, coming in at 3,400mAh. This phone even has a couple of nice extras that most flagships now neglect: a headphone jack and an IR blaster.
The Honor 10 is going on sale immediately across Europe, with its price set at €449 (roughly $540) for the 128GB version or €399 if you can live with 64GB. In the UK, only the 128GB variant will be available, costing £399.