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HONOR 90 5G Review

Honor’s been making a lot of noise this year. It started with the Honor Magic series, and now we have the new Honor 90. It’s been on the market outside of the Philippines for quite some time now, and we finally got our hands on it.

The Honor 90 is powered by a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, comes with 12GB RAM, and has one of the best cameras available in the segment. But perhaps the more surprising thing about this phone? The price. The Honor 90 retails for just PHP 24,990, making it very affordable given all the specs it has.

But it’s one thing to look at the specs on paper. In this review, we’ll take a closer look at the Honor 90, and whether it’s a phone you should consider buying.

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Design and Construction

Starting with the design, the Honor 90 is a great-looking phone featuring a minimalist design. The backplate is made out of plastic despite looking like glass, and it feels quite sturdy. Although there are times when it feels a bit cheap, the Our review unit is finished in Diamond Silver, which we think is the best-looking color available.

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There’s also a textured lower portion which reflects light beautifully especially. At the same time, the textured area makes it easier to hold with one hand. Although we did notice the back case isn’t that smudge resistant, and you can easily leave fingerprints.

It might be big, featuring a 6.7-inch screen but is it by no means bulky. The smartphone only measures 7.8mm thick, making it quite thin and easy to fit in your pocket. It’s relatively lightweight too, weighing only 183g. Despite its size, the Honor 90 is relatively easy to use with one hand.

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The power and volume buttons, which are found on the right side, are easily accessible. Not to mention they have a nice tactile feel too. At the bottom, you’ll find the USB-C port, a loudspeaker, and a dual-sim card slot.

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Display and Multimedia

The Honor 90 features a 6.7-inch HDR10+ OLED display which features beautiful vivid colors and deep blacks. And even though it is curved, your hands won’t accidentally touch some of the buttons on the display. It also comes with a 120Hz refresh rate, making it a lot nicer to use.

With that in mind, the Honor 90 is great for watching videos and playing games. Going through the menus alone is already nice and smooth with no lags whatsoever. The same can be said when binge-watching your favorite series or shows on this phone.

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The colors on the display are rather accurate too, making it perfect if you want to edit photos captured using the camera. And even if you are using it under the sun, there’s no need to worry about that either thanks to the really bright screen rated at 1600 nits.

Interestingly, Honor says this phone also packs 3840Hz PWM dimming. Essentially, it’s a lot less harmful to your eyes as compared to other phones. Together with the phone’s eye-comfort mode, your eyes won’t be as tired when using this phone for long periods of time.

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Although I’m not too fond of curved screens on smartphones, the one on the Honor 90 was relatively nice to use. However, I was disappointed to find out the phone only had mono audio output. It’s loud and clear, but having stereo audio would have made it even better. Still, I recommended using Bluetooth headphones or earphones to have a better listening experience.

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Cameras

Perhaps one of the best features of the Honor 90 is the camera. It has one of the best cameras in the segment that we’ve tried so far. The highlight of the triple rear camera is the 200MP main shooter.

Yep, you read that right. We didn’t mistakenly add an extra zero. 200MP is an insane amount for a phone in this segment. The main shooter is joined by a 12MP Ultrawide lens and a 2MP lens, allowing you to capture images in all kinds of scenarios.

You might be thinking this is all a gimmick, but it didn’t seem like it. We tried out using eh Honor 90’s cameras, and the photos are great. Even at night, you can capture high-resolution photos without having to worry about graining or noise.

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We did notice, however, that the image is digitally enhanced significantly when shooting in low light. When shooting at night, you do lose a bit of sharpness and detail in exchange for better lighting. This is rather obvious when you zoom in on the photos. As such, I’m not too keen on how the phone processes night images, especially if you want to have a more natural look in your photos.

In daytime or brightly lit areas, the images turn out great though. The colors are a bit vivid ad you get great contrast too. Not to mention, they’re sharp all throughout. If you turn on AI, it even sharpens the photos even further.

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Do note that it doesn’t shoot at 200MP natively. Instead, you do have to click a button to get the camera to shoot at 200MP. Once turned on though, you can capture very high-resolution images to your desire. With 200MP, it also allows you to zoom in and re-crop images without affecting the photo resolution too much.

If that’s not impressive enough, you can even capture video up to 4K@30 FPS maximum. There’s even built-in image stabilization software to help you shoot more cinematic video footage.

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And if you want to take selfies, it’s got a very capable front camera too rated at 50MP. This means even if you’re with a large group, the people at the back won’t just be pixels when you zoom in on them. Like the rear camera, the front camera can also shoot at 4K.

Check out some of the sample images we were able to capture using the Honor 90 below.

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Performance and Benchmarks

Powering the Honor 90 is a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition chipset paired with 12GB RAM. The “Accelerated Edition” is an overclocked version of the year-old chipset, making it a bit more powerful than the standard Snapdragon 7. Our review unit came with 512GB of internal storage, but there’s no way to expand it further.

The standard Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 is a very capable chipset already, and as such the Honor 90 can run most of the apps and modern mobile games you can think of without any issues. Together with the beautiful 120Hz screen, you’re bound to enjoy playing games on this phone.

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We mainly played Genshin Impact on this phone, and it was able to run the game on medium settings with minimal lag or slowing down. Even when playing for an extended period of time, the phone did not slow down or run hot as well. It can run Genshin on 60 FPS, but you do need to tone down the graphics settings.

To give you a better idea, we ran our usual benchmarking apps on the Honor 90, and here are the scores.

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OS, Apps, and UI

The Honor 90 runs on Android 13 skinned with MagicOS 7.1. If you’ve ever used an Honor smartphone before, you’ll feel right at home. As expected, you get the usual host of Google apps, but you also get a lot of bloatware once you boot it up.

Aside from the usual host of Honor apps, there is also bloatware from other companies, which is quite a hassle to get rid of. At the same time, the OS itself could benefit from some upgrades like what Samsung has done. After some time of use, you do get used to MagicOS though, but it could be easier.

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Battery and Connectivity

The battery on the Honor 90 is typical of what you would find in the segment, rated at 5,000 mAh. But despite that, it does last a rather long time compared to other phones we’ve tried featuring a similarly sized battery.

From our time using the phone, it lasted us an entire day without needing to recharge. From 100% in the morning, the phone was still at around 20% when I got back home late in the evening. Mind you that’s using it to shoot photos, videos, and even play games to test for our review.

Honor does claim it can play local video continuously from 100% for around 20 hours. There are also various power-saving modes in order to extend battery life even more. Based on the PCMark battery test, the phone was able to last 10 hours and 37 minutes.

When you do need to recharge the Honor 90, it won’t take long either thanks to 66W Honor Supercharge. Charging from 3%, Honor claims it only takes 5 minutes to recharge to 20% when using the supplied cable and charger. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging for this phone.

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Conclusion

For everything the Honor 90 has to offer, it’s a great smartphone in its segment. You have a very powerful camera paired with a capable chipset and a beautiful display. At the same time, the battery can last a long time.

It’s not perfect by any means. For starters, you have a bunch of bloatware pre-installed with the OS. Then, there’s the lack of a stereo loudspeaker as well as no wireless charging, which are features you would expect on a phone of this price.

But if you’re looking for a smartphone that can capture great images the Honor 90 can do that extremely well. At the same time, you can play some of your favorite games too. This phone is very capable but at the same time, it does face some serious competition.

Honor 90 specs:
6.7-inch AMOLED @ 1200×2664 pixels
120Hz, HDR, Dolby Vision, 1600 nits (peak)
Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition chipset
Octa-core (1×2.5 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.36 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A510)
Adreno 644 GPU
12GB/16GB RAM
256GB/512GB storage, no card slot
200MP f/1.9 (wide), PDAF
12MP f/2.2 (ultrawide), AF
2MP f/2.4 (depth) rear camera
50MP f/2.4 (ultrawide) front camera
4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps video recording (rear and front)
GSM / CDMA / HSPA / CDMA2000 / LTE / 5G, nano-SIM or dual SIM
WiFi-6, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS
Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, compass, ultrasound proximity sensors
USB Type-C 2.0 port, OTG
Android 13, MagicOS 7.1 OS
5000 mAh Li-Po battery, non-removable, 66W wired charging
Black, Silver, Blue, Green
Dimensions: 161.9 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 183 g

What we liked:
Long battery life
Powerful camera
Beautiful display

What we didn’t like:
Mono loudspeaker
Lots of bloatware
No wireless charging

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