Last March, Huawei launched its 4-incher, single-core flagship called the Huawei Honor. First impressions left us with satisfying nods thanks to its 5-second boot-up time, above average battery spec and low price.
Design and Construction
The Huawei Honor is a clean looking piece that is unmistakably Androidish. It is made of durable plastic with the whole bezel having a glossy black finish. On the front are the earpiece, front-facing camera, notification light and four capacitive buttons. The rest of the real estate is occupied by the 4-inch screen.
The volume rocker has the left side of the device to itself. Right on top are the Sleep/Wake/Power button and the headset jack. Down at the bottom are the microUSB port and the microphone.
There’s nothing to see on the right side, leaving the volume rocker and the power button as the only physical buttons you’ll find. I wished Huawei opted to put a dedicated camera button here instead.
Turn the Honor on its curved backside and you’ll find the camera, LED flash, speaker and microphone for video recording. The back also has a textured finish to give you an added grip to prevent slips.
The device feels comfortable to hold; at 140 g it has a decent amount of heft with most of the weight distributed a little above the center so it doesnâ€™t leave a feeling that it’s going to tip over.
The Honor has a 4.0 inch, TFT capacitive display with an output of 16 million colors at 245 ppi pixel density. As a brief comparison, the Samsung Google Nexus S has 233 ppi pixel density. If youâ€™re concerned about pixels, well, this isnâ€™t Retina so pixels are evident if you take a closer look but overall the icons, widgets, texts and wallpapers look crisp, sharp, and smoothened out.
Viewing angles are average although the screen size compensates for it. Sunlight legibility is good though. The images and texts have good visibility even under direct sunlight at noon. But angle it the wrong way and it will throw back a lot of glare. As for vibrancy, it is in good levels that donâ€™t hurt the eyes and with great color range that doesnâ€™t look toyish at all.
OS & UI
The device came with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with slight UI customization. After boot up you’ll be greeted by a â€œdrag to unlockâ€ lock screen but with added shortcut functionality. Drag up to take you directly to Call Logs, drag down for the Camera, drag left for Messages and drag right to take you to the main home screen.
As for appearance, you start off with a relaxing Honor theme called Beyond the Sky but you can revert to stock Android if you want a boring look. You are given 3 home screens as default but you can increase it up to 5 and change the animation as well if you want.
Huawei didnâ€™t scrimp on the aesthetics department of the UI. It looks good but there’s nothing great to be noted but overall the UI experience is quick and fluid with almost zero lag. The only downside though, and a minor one at that, are the text below the icons. If the text is too long it is cut off instead of scaled down or wrapped.
We were told that the ICS update is about to be released soon (they already have it but testing for bugs before making the formal announcement).
The Honor is equipped with an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash. It is capable of shooting HDR photos and record videos of up to 720p. Under normal to very bright conditions the camera can produce pretty decent and clear photos but sometimes the colors appear a bit muted.
Under ambient light, the photos still contain an acceptable amount of detail but with little evidence of noise. Shoot in very low-light conditions and you’ll end up with a photo with a lot of noise. The LED flash helps but only when the subject is 4 to 5 feet away.
Check out the sample photos and video below:
Apps and Multimedia
The Huawei Honor is packed with all the Google goodness. It also has the Streams app which puts your Facebook and Twitter feeds in one stream.
The device is DLNA capable so an app is installed to handle your wireless transfers to other DLNA-enabled devices. There’s the Security Guard app that allows you to Blacklist and Block people you want to ignore. You can also utilize the Backup service which is capable of storing your data locally or over Huawei’s Cloud services.
Speaking of cloud, there’s the Cloud+ Drive providing you with up to 160 GB of storage.
As expected of Android, multimedia playback is a piece of cake. Most file formats are recognized but if youâ€™re not satisfied with the stock multimedia players you can simply download from the Google Play Store. As for the speaker performance, it can produce crisp trebles but is lacking on bass.
Fruit Ninja and Temple Run were played to test touch sensitivity, Gyro and graphics prowess. Both apps are playable but the Temple Run app suffered from minor flickers and buttons becoming invisible. It doesnâ€™t hinder the game play but is really noticeable.
Performance and Benchmarks
Quadrant Standard gave the Honor a score of 1,978, scoring above the HTC Desire HD but left behind by the LG Optimus 2X. AnTuTu Benchmark gave it a score of 3,833, scoring above the Google Nexus S but behind the HTC EVO 3D.
For the graphics department, NenaMark gave it a score of 30.1fps, beating the LG Optimus 2X with its Adreno 205 GPU. This leaves me wondering why Temple Run suffers from flickers.
The Honor has a 1930 mAh battery â€“ a huge one in proportion to its specs. Huawei promises at least 3 days of usage on a single charge. True to their words, with heavy internet browsing, multimedia playback and gaming, added with moderate texting and calling, the Honor lasted 3 and 1/2 days.
The Huawei Honor is a bit on the modest side compared to other smartphones out there but Huawei didnâ€™t make this a flagship for no good reason. It has a wide range of features with some you can find in more powerful smartphones out in the market. It is very capable, fast, looks elegant, and has a good battery life. It suffers from occasional lags that usually occur when launching apps. But this is Android so it is somewhat a livable flaw.
Nevertheless, the Huawei Honor is one smartphone you wonâ€™t regret investing on especially if youâ€™re a bit on a budget. With ICS on the way, expect it to be better.
Huawei Honor U8860 specs:
4.0â€³ TFT capacitive display @ 480Ã—854 pixels, 245ppi
Qualcomm MSM8255T Scorpion Snapdragon S2 1.4GHz processor
Adreno 205 graphics
up to 32GB via microSD card
HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth 2.1 w/ EDR, A2DP
8MP HDR2-enabled autofocus camera w/ LED flash
720p video recording
FM radio tuner
GPS with aGPS support
Li-Ion 1930 mAh battery (promises 3-day usage)
Exclusive Cloud+ services (up to 160GB of storage)
122 x 61 x 10.9mm dimensions
Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread (upgradeable to ICS)
What we liked about the Huawei Honor:
â€¢ 5 second boot up
â€¢ Great display
â€¢ Wide range of apps and feature
â€¢ Amazing battery life
â€¢ Low price
What we didnâ€™t like about it:
â€¢ Android Gingerbread out of the box instead of Ice Cream Sandwich
â€¢ UI still needs some adjustment
â€¢ Camera quality can be improved
The Huawei Honor U8860 has a suggested retail price of Php13,999.