TechAndroidReview: Huawei Honor 6

Review: Huawei Honor 6

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With the Honor 6 sees Huawei return to a place it used to thrives on the affordable phones. But the definition of an affordable phone has changed in recent years.

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Where Huawei’s budget classics were about the £100 phones types, the Honor 6 is a budget 4G £250 alternative to top end phones such as the Galaxy S5, Xperia Z3 and even the iPhone 6.

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What do you get inside the box

Handset
Power cable
Front and back screen projectors
USB cable
Manual
Safety information
Quick start guide

Honor 6 – Design
The Huawei Honor 6 looks and feels quite different from the company’s other UK released phones from the past. The Honor brand has been around for a while in other countries, but this is the first we’ve seen it here in the UK, and I’m pretty impressed.

Its hardware offers simplicity and higher-end feel that we don’t often associate with Huawei phones. It’s actually quite similar in looks to the Amazon Fire Phone, but without the nasty complement of cameras on the front.

The Huawei Honor 6 has completely flat front and back panels that look like glass. Only the front is glass, though.

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A layer of Gorilla Glass 3 sits on the screen while the back is shiny ‘faux glass’ plastic.

The sides are plastic, too. the Huawei Honor 6 is a deceptively simple mobile, but one that offers enough class to fit in completely among mid range phones, and even more expensive ones.

You can get the Huawei Honor 6 in black or white, and both versions appear pretty attractive, although we’ve only tried the black first hand.

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Other than appearing to be made of glass in the vein of the Xperia Z3, the Huawei Honor 6 has nice simple sides, with all its sockets bar the micro-USB charge plug hidden under a plastic flap. Under this you’ll find the Micro-SIM and microSD slots.

On occasion among mid-range phones a memory card slot is used as an excuse to scrimp on internal storage, but the Huawei Honor 6 has a decent 16GB memory.

The Huawei Honor 6 knows how to pack in the hardware, and initial impressions that the phone is great value never fade or stop. This phone truly is a bit of a bargain.

Huawei Honor 6 – Screen
One of the clearest signs that the Huawei Honor 6 is a phone to be reckoned with is the spec of its screen. For £250 you get a 5-inch Full HD display. This is one of the first devices we’ve seen to launch at this price with such a high-res screen, and from a big brand, too.

Looking at the Honor 6 next to the 2014 Motorola Moto G, a cheaper 5-inch phone with a lower-res 720p display, the difference is obvious. At this size, you do need 1080p if you want the pristine sharpness we’ve come to associate with higher-end phones

The Honor 6 gets you 440 pixels per inch, which is excellent pixel density that far outstrips the iPhone 6.

It’s has an LTPS LCD screen, designed for low power consumption. There’s no mention of IPS architecture from Huawei’s specs, but I noticed zero contrast shift at any angle.

The viewing angles are reasonably good, but with greater loss of brightness than you get in some rival IPS LCD screens. Top brightness is very good and colours are vivid. Those with particularly picky eyes will note that the Honor 6’s colours are marginally oversaturated, but not as distractingly as the recent Moto X. They’re larger than life, but not offensive to the eye.

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The Huawei Honor 6 lets you tweak the colour temperature of the display, making it warmer or cooler. This doesn’t alter saturation, but warming up the display can make it appear more ‘relaxed’ if you find the colour a bit intense.
Aside from the slight oversaturation, the only other issue is the black level limitation that’s common to all LCDs, but a bit worse than the high-end average here. In lower lighting, the Honor 6’s black areas look quite blueish, which will become obvious if you like watching a bit of TV before bed. Some LCD phones offer better black levels, like the Sony Xperia Z3 and LG G3, but it’s not something you’ll notice in normal day-to-day use.

As long as you don’t mind the approach to colour, we can’t imagine many taking issue with the Huawei Honor 6’s screen. It also has a pretty good auto-brightness feature.

Not only can you make the phone alter backlight intensity depending on ambient light conditions; you can also set the relative level using a simple slider in the drop-down notifications menu. Other phones often revert to manual brightness as soon as you touch the slider.

How does the Honor 6 compare to the OnePlus One? Those are the two main lower cost 1080p phone competition.

The Honor 6 has far more vibrant colour than the OnePlus One, for colour accuracy.

Huawei Honor 6 – Software, Apps and Themes
The Huawei Honor 6 runs Android 4.4.2 with the new version of the custom EmotionUI 3.0 at the time of the review.

The EmotionUI tries to infuse a bit of iOS into Android by getting rid of the apps menu. Everything on your Honor 6 has to have a place on your homescreens, so if you like to keep your phone relatively organised you’ll have to find a place for every app and game you install.

However it does at least support folders, giving you the tools you need to keep your phone in shape.

With EmotionUI 3.0 is also one of the last remaining interfaces to really embrace themes, which were more popular in the days before Android.

You get three pretty attractive, simple themes pre-installed, and you can download dozens more directly from the phone. Some are a bit ridiculous there’s even a US pop-art themed one but we’re pretty confident most tastes will be catered for. Additional themes are free to download, too.

EmotionUI is a pretty feature-complete, inoffensive interface. It doesn’t bombard you with features, and offers favourites such as brightness and feature toggles in the drop-down notifications menu.

Huawei Honor 6 – Apps
Aside from offering the Themes app and a few basic utilities like a file manager, a Huawei customer service app, FM radio and a torch, there aren’t all that many Huawei apps added to the phone as standard. That’s a very good thing given the way the Honor 6 arranges its apps.

Huawei Honor 6 – Games and Performance
The Honor 6 has no real issues, there’s barely any lag and we didn’t experience a single crash during our fairly extended test period.

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Asphalt 8

Our guess is that Huawei took on board complaints about the performance of some of its old phones, because it’s packed a whopping 3GB of RAM into the Honor 6. That’s unheard of in a £250 phone and probably has a lot to do with the handset’s great performance.

The CPU is the HiSilicon Kirin 920 CPU, this is a Huawei-made chipset if you wanted to know.

In previous high-end Huawei phones we’ve found that the Kirin chips don’t quite match up to the Qualcomm alternatives, but at £250 the Honor 6 even goes head to head with some Snapdragon 400 devices. And let’s be clear the Kirin 920 decimates the Snapdragon 400.

The processor uses four 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 cores.

This architecture uses the lesser cores for low-intensity tasks, with the others kicking in when needed.

In the Quadrant benchmarking tool, the Honor 6 scores 11800 points. That is frankly an amazing score for a phone that’s so cheap.

quadrant benchmarks for Honor 6

This kind of performance makes the Honor 6 among the best affordable gaming phones in the world. A 1080p screen with enough juice to avoid problems with textures and lighting effects for half the price of the competition? It’s an incredibly attractive combo.

The GPU used by the phone is the Mali-T628 MP4, whose performance is just a little less than the Adreno 330 seen in the most popular top-end phones of the moment.

The Huawei Honor 6 offers a 13-megapixel camera on its back and a 5-megapixel one on the front. With a dual-LED flash alongside the main rear camera.

Huawei Honor 6 – Camera
First, the autofocus is not bad at all, the speed issue isn’t constant, though. When you’re shooting normal daylight photos, there’s very little shutter lag at all. You can even take a photo from standby, just by double-tapping the volume-down button. It takes 1-1.5 seconds in total.

The Honor 6’s image quality varies a lot depending on the lighting conditions. In daylight, you’ll get very good detail, with the f/2.0 lens able to have a reasonable stab at making the most of the fairly high 13-megapixel resolution.

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The Honor 6’s camera app is very similar to that of the Huawei Ascend P7, which is the more expensive cousin. The layout is fairly simple, but you get plenty of extras in a separate modes menu.

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Digital Zoom

As well as filters, panorama and HDR, you get a wrinkle-busting Beauty mode, a best photo burst-mode, watermark and All-focus. The latter takes shots at a bunch of different focus points, then lets you pick which part of the photo is in focus afterwards. It’s mercifully quick, but we can’t imagine many people using it all that frequently.

Honor 6 Night time shot with flash

Night time shot with flash

The front camera has a very high-resolution 5-megapixel sensor, you can certainly take very good selfies with the Honor 6, and it handily offers a little box you’re meant to look into to avoid looking like you’re staring into the middle-distance.

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Evening skyline shot without flash

The Huawei Honor 6 has a huge 3100mAh battery, this is the same size used by the Sony Xperia Z3

Huawei Honor 6 – Call and Sound Quality

I had no problems with the Call and Sound Quality, when playing back music and videos the speakers. The main speaker is a mono unit that sits on the back of the Honor 6. had no problems with the quality of them.

The Huawei Honor 6 is a high-value, aggressive phone of the kind we thought had disappeared from Huawei’s ranks. It beats all the big-name competition.

The Honor 6 offers benefits other than just price, the Battery life is significantly better than the One Plus One, and it has the microSD card support that the One Plus One.

The Verdict

The Huawei Honor 6 doesn’t do an awful lot wrong. But its sleek design, decent cameras, high-quality display and acceptable all-round performance tick all the right boxes.

If you want an attractive, slim 5 inch smartphone and don’t want to pay the earth, it’s well worth a look.

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Chris Hare
Chris Hare
A True Tech Geek at Heart, I Started my life of being a Tech Geek at the age of 5 with the BBC Micro. Went on through most of Nintendo stuff and now a Xbox and PlayStation fan. I also leaked the information about the leaked Hotmail passwords story from October 2009 that went World Wide. I Started writing tech articles at the beginning of 2011, most of my articles are about Android phones and Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and other gaming news. When Chris has free time its with the family.

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