Get flagship hardware and design at mid-range price.
Considering how smartphones are almost perpetually in our hands, it only makes sense to make it a beautiful device. And boy is the Honor 10 a looker.
Whenever I place it face down or pass it to someone, it would draw compliments without fail. The review unit is a Phantom Blue model with a glass back that shifts from blue to purple depending on the viewing angle.
It’s not often that a smartphone gets more attention for its back rather than the screen, and some even joked that it’s worth foregoing the casing so the back is not obstructed.
The screen is almost bezel-free with a fingerprint sensor at the bottom and a notch on top for the front facing camera.
Though the notch is much smaller than the iPhone X’s, users who find it annoying can opt to hide it by turning the whole upper section black.
Also, the overall build quality feels premium thanks to how the metal frame merges seamlessly with the glass back.
However, the phone is slippery and a fingerprint magnet, an unfortunate trade off for the beautiful glass back.
One of the highlights of the Honor 10 is the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that’s hidden under the glass and it works even when your fingers are wet.
However, I prefer the fingerprint sensor to be on the back as it makes it easier to unlock the phone.
It’s not a big issue as the facial recognition is fast and the phone even gives an angry alert if you accidentally cover the front facing camera.
The cameras on the Honor can harness the power of AI to take better photos. The AI is claimed to be able to recognise over 500 scenarios in 22 categories in real-time and an upgrade is in the works so that it can identify even more.
The phone features dual camera on the back – 24 megapixels and 16 megapixels – that allows users to use the popular Bokeh effect.
On top of that it also features five 3D lighting modes and a beauty scale to help improve portrait shots.
During the review I mostly used it for food photos – the camera did a good job at making food look tantalising and vivid, as even the oil on Char Kway Teow looked a little shinier.
Depending on how much processing is needed, the AI could take some time, especially in low light or high contrast situations but it’s worth the wait as the AI consistently produces better photos.
The front-facing camera is 24 megapixels and when you are not using it for selfies, there is an app for you to use it as a mirror.
As it doesn’t have OIS (optical image stabilisation), the camera sometimes takes a bit longer to capture an image in low light situations because it tries to sharpen and brighten the image digitally.
Video is decent with the microphone recording fairly clearly while filtering ambient noise. I tested it out at a choir and the singers’ voices played back clearly, with only slight rustling sounds from balancing the phone on my lap.
The phone’s 4G RAM handles most apps smoothly, and it will even tell users how much memory is being used.
However, even if you close all the apps and optimise the phone, it tells you only about 2GB out of the 4GB RAM is unused.
The on-board 128GB storage should be enough for most users. Heavy video takers or people who never clear their phones might find the lack of expandable memory annoying.
The Honor 10’s 3400mAh battery should last you an entire day unless you play lots of games or have power hungry apps.
Using several GPS apps like Google Maps, Foursquare and Pokemon Go, I managed to drain the battery in under eight hours. Turning on power saving added about an hour of use.
Also, I had some issues with the GPS.
Perhaps it was just the review unit but when I was in dense urban areas with lots of tall buildings, it had more trouble getting my location right than most phones.
The Honor 10 may be a flagship model but it retails for just RM1,699 – that’s about half the price of most other flagship brands, making it an attractive choice.
Plus, the phone functions well and looks great, and the camera performed wonderfully thanks to its AI.
So if you are on a tight budget but want a flagship model, check out the Honor 10.
Pros: Affordable flagship; beautiful design; AI camera does improve photos.
Cons: AI camera can be slow at times; GPS not very accurate under certain conditions; memory not expandable.
Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI
5.84in (1,080 x 2280 pixels)
16 megapixels RBG + 24 megapixels monochrome (rear); 24 megapixels (front)
Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, USB-C
Hisilicon Kirin 970
128GB internal storage, 4GB RAM
NFC, fast wired charging
DIMENSIONS (H x W x D):
149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm
Review unit courtesy of Huawei Technologies Malaysia, 1800-22-3366