Huawei’s surprise package may well be one of the best budget Android flagships around right now
Standing out is a difficult thing, especially when its in a crowded marketplace like Android smartphones. Many companies have tried and failed to take on the likes of Apple and Samsung, and most have gone away empty-handed.
Honor, the Western-facing consumer brand from Chinese manufacturer Huawei, is looking to change all this however. Since its initial launch last year, it has released a series of low-cost, reliable Android devices – but so far nothing truly exciting.
However this could all be about to change, thanks to its first truly premium device – the Honor 6+
Apple-esque naming aside, this is a truly nice device to have and to hold.
Much like its fruit competitor, the Honor 6+ features a glass back with metal sides – and from a distance, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference without turning the screen on. The rear panel also features a grid pattern underneath that the company calls “a 3D diamond effect”, definitely marking it as a device after the eye-catching market.
The Honor 6+ marks a significant step up from the company’s past devices, doing away with the cheap and cheerful plastic backing for a more premium feel – and it definitely pays off.
The 5.0in HD 1080×1920 IPS-Neo screen is bright and colourful, and Honor says it will display a high quality image, no matter what angle you look at it – but there are some very noticeable bezels against the display, particularly along the sides of the screen.
At just 130g and 7.5mm across, however, the Honor 6+ is light and easy to carry around, and unlike some of the other high-end devices on the market, never feels too bulky or cumbersome, whether in your hand or in your pocket.
Under the hood, there’s also some impressive hardware, although to be fair this is where the Honor 6+ starts to fall behind some of its rivals.
Powering the device is an octa-core 1.8GHz Kirin 925 processor, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. However this is backed up by a rather impressive 3100mAh battery, which Honor says can provide up to 2 days battery life.
There’s also LTE connectivity, with the Honor 6+ able to dial in to LTE Cat 4 networks and above, meaning speed of up to 300Mbps, although here again it lacks behind some of its more presitguous rivals, which can offer LTE Cat 6 speeds.
Running Android 4.4 KitKat alongside Huawei’s own Emotion UI makes the Honor 6+ a very colourful and interactive device to use. Emotion does away with the typical Android look for a slightly more iPhone-esque selection of icons and notifications, which could prove crucial for those customers looking for a user experience mixed between iOS and Android.
There’s also a selection of themed designs, made up of different icons, wallpapers and lock screens, all of which can offer you a bit more individuality on your phone, along with the option to design your own.
Honor have also made a big deal about the camera on the 6+, saying it is the biggest step up in power on any of its devices yet.
This takes the form of a dual-lens 13MP rear camera which feature bionic parallel dual lens technology which allows for twice the light of a single lens, providing what Honor says are ‘professional quality’ photos, alongside an 8MP front camera targeted at selfie fans.
In practice, it does hold up to scrutiny, taking bright, detailed photos that do translate well to the big screen. As shown by the example shown here, the camera is able to deal with low lighting well, and was also successful in a range of action and nightlife shots.
There’s also a couple of nifty little tricks that the camera can perform – for example, taking a photo without needing to unlock the phone by clicking the volume down button, all of which helps to make this a very handy device to use.
It’s not hard to be impressed by the Honor 6+. It looks great, is light and bright, and features everything you should need to have a great all-round Android experience. And at just £242 SIM-free at the time of going to press (or from £24 a month with Three), it’s pretty difficult not to recommend it if you’re looking for a lower-cost device that still packs a punch.
Granted, it may not have the grunt or the high-definition of LG or Samsung’s flagships, but for what it does, and the price point it occupies, one thing the Honor 6+ definitely does is stand out.
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