Categories: MobilitySmartphones

Reviewed – Honor Holly

European smartphone manufacturer Honor has been receiving a lot of attention in recent months, as the Huawei-owned brand makes an attempt to break into the competitive Western market.

In a year since its launch, the brand has released five devices in all, with the most recent, the Honor 4X, being unveiled at Mobile World Congress last week. But the company recently hit the headlines thanks to its entry-level Holly smartphone, the price of which was decided by fans online.

So at just £74.99, the Holly comes in far below many equivalent smartphones, but is it actually any good? TechWeekEurope finds out…

First impressions

At first glance, the Honor Holly is a nice-looking device.  At just 9.4mm thick and 72.3mm across, the Holly fits nicely in your hand, and thanks to its plastic build, it is light (weighing in at just 156g) but doesn’t feel cheap or fragile. We were also big fans of the two-tone design, with a black front and white back quite different from many other devices out today.

Sporting a 5in 1280x720px HD display capable of displaying over 16 million colours, the screen is bright and vibrant, and responds quickly to touch. Switching between menus is quick and responsive, with our test laying out a number of different apps for the device to deal with which proved no problem.

The experience

So what does the Holly offer in terms of a user experience? For starters, it will run Android 4.4.2 out of the box, meaning all Google’s usual features are there for you to enjoy, alongside Huawei’s custom-made Emotion UI, which offers an approach more like Apple’s iOS than actual Android, with users encouraged to use folders to group apps together.

Getting online is quick and easy, with the Holly quick to respond to a range of sites, but there’s no NFC or HDMI connectivity, which could prove a game-changer against similarly-ranked devices. GPS and Bluetooth are included though, so you will still be able to find yourself if lost in the wilderness.

The camera is responsive enough for a budget device, with photos coming out bright and clear, but obviously still some way behind the likes of an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. The F2.0 BSI rear lens was able to pick up subjects in bright or low light, but if you’re in the market for a highly-detailed camera, you’re probably in the wrong place.

The specs

One of Honor’s main USPs is providing powerful specifications at lower prices, and the Holly certainly seems to keep to this.

The dual-SIM device is powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Mediatek MT6582 processor, and comes with 16GB of storage, which can be expanded via microSD. It will run Android 4.4.2, putting it into direct competition with other mid-range devices such as the Lumia 735 and Moto G, and also sport a2000mAh battery which Honor says will provide 48 hours of life.

Alongside the 5in display, the device also packs in an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front lens for selfie fans, with the former coming with features including panoramic mode, beauty mode, HDR mode, continuous shot, scene mode and video stabiliser.


In the face of such large competition, it was always going to take a lot for the Holly to stand out, but its fair to say Honor have made a very decent stab at it.

The Holly is a very nice little device, running smoothly and offering some decent specifications for what is to be honest a rock-bottom price. At just £74.99, you’ll be hard pressed to find much better on the market today, but for just a little more, you could get a Moto G. However that’s not to say there is little to recommend the Holly, which is a very good entry-level device and will hopefully go some way towards helping Honor grow and become a bigger brand.

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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