Huawei and Honor may be described as two sides of the same coin. Honor, being a Huawei sub-brand, has the benefit of having full access to its parent company technology and R&D. But when it comes to marketing strategy, the two companies couldn't possibly be looking in more different directions than they are. Honor is dead set on offering affordable high-quality smartphones so, in most markets, sales go through online channels only. At other places, the two brands even use different supply chains and their respective marketing campaigns are independent. And that's why we find ourselves in the odd position of reviewing the Honor 10 - a device which is substantially cheaper than the Huawei P20, and yet, it's surprisingly identical to the flagship device in so many ways.
The specs for Honor's flagships have been quite easy to guess lately - take the most current Huawei P smartphone, leave the Leica branding out of the specs sheet and there you have it. The same applies for the Honor 10 - it's a P20 sans the fancy branding. But priced at just €399, the flagship costs equal, if not less, to an average mid-ranger and this is where things get interesting.
The Honor 10 has the glass body of the P20, the unique paintjobs included. On paper, the two also share the same screen, same processor, same battery with the same SuperCharge support, same software, and rather similar cameras. And yet, the 10 is impressively cheaper.
Once intended for markets outside of Huawei's reach, now both brands are broadening their reach independently, so it appears the old strategy was abandoned. And that's a good thing. Huawei is widely advertising the P20 Lite and P20 Pro, while leaving the regular P20 outside of the conversation. And the Honor 10 is making the run for its spot.
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Honor is putting a lot of focus on the design of the Honor 10, and there’s no denying this is a beautiful-looking device.
It inherits a similar look to the Twilight gradient-effect Huawei P20, but it’s slightly different here, giving you a different shade and look depending on what angle you view the back of the device from.
We’ve found it to be a bold look, which we love, although it's a look that's likely to prove divisive as it's fairly unconventional.
This shade is called Phantom Blue, while there’s also a Phantom Green option that we haven’t seen in real life but which, in press images, looks remarkably similar to the Blue. If you don’t want these more exotic color choices there are always the more traditional-looking Black and Glacier Grey options.
Despite having a much larger screen the Honor 10 isn’t much bigger overall than the Honor 9, and it sits comfortably in the hand. This isn’t a huge phone, and it’s the perfect option for someone who wants a large screen but can’t comfortably get their mitts around a device like the iPhone 8 Plus.
The rear’s glass is the other big highlight design-wise as it uses 15 layers of glass to get a striking effect where light beams bounce across it. According to Honor, it takes twice as long to make as the Honor 9 did. The extra effort is well worth it though, as the rear of the phone looks and feels premium.
There's a metal trim along the edges of the Honor 10, which adds to the premium look and feel, with a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port on the bottom and the volume rocker / power button on the right-hand side.
Honor is going for a minimalist look here, and the device feels good in the hand for that. Contributing to this is the redesigned fingerprint scanner, which, instead of being on the rear or indented on the front of the phone, now sits in the lower bezel but under the glass, so it’s flush with the display.
This isn’t like in-display scanners we’ve seen on some phones, like the new VIVO X20 Plus concept device, but it does mean the sensor doesn’t interrupt the clean lines of the Honor 10.
There’s a subtle lozenge-shaped outline so you know where to place your finger to hit the scanner, and we found it to work accurately and fast – it doesn’t appear to be any less accurate as a result of being under the glass.
That said, we didn’t find ourselves using the fingerprint scanner very much, as there’s also face-unlock technology, which identifies you mere seconds after you press the on button.
Like virtually every Huawei phone that's been released since last October, the Honor 10 is powered by the company's HiSilicon Kirin 970 CPU, an octo-core processor with four small (1.8GHz) and four large (2.4GHz) cores. It's combined with a Mali G72 graphics processor.
As you might expect, benchmark tests yield very similar results to what we've seen with other phones using the same CPU. The Honor 10 showed an AnTuTu score of 203861, putting it roughly on the same level as the Huawei P20 Pro (209,089) in terms of overall performance. It lags a bit behind the iPhone X (233,592) and the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (267,233), but not by much considering the difference in price.
Geekbench scores returned 1,886 for single core and 6,530 for multi-core, which is comparable with the results we got with the Mate 10 Pro (1,898 and 6,670) and the P20 Pro (1,924 and 6,750). PCMark showed an overall score of 6949 for the Honor 10, with 6733 for browsing, 12828 for photo editing, and 5327 for video editing. Again, this is more or less on par for the course with current high-end Android phones.
3D graphics results were a mixed bag. On the one hand, the Honor 10 mustered 22fps in the GFXBench Car Crash test with the car both on and off the screen, but at times it visibly struggled to convincingly render the speeding cars. On the other hand, it managed 59fps (on screen) and 110fps (off screen) when playing the more action-packed T-Rex Chase test. Those are excellent scores, comparable with the Samsung Galaxy S9+ in the same test (60fps and 151fps).
The Honor 10 has a 24/16-megapixel dual-lens main camera, which allows for "hybrid zoom." When zooming in, the camera dials the resolution down to 16 megapixels, using the bigger sensor to get closer to subjects without losing too much detail. This setup is becoming increasingly common in flagship phones, generally improving picture quality, and for some phones (not the Honor 10), enabling advanced augmented reality features. In theory, this also promises lossless 2x magnification. While the Honor 10's photos at 2x are very good, however, they aren't quite as crisp as unzoomed photos.
The f/1.8 aperture improves low-light performance, though noise still occurs in really dark rooms; you'll want to turn the flash on most of the time. The Honor 10 doesn't feature a dedicated Night Mode like the P20 range has, so you can't take decent long exposures without the aid of a tripod.
Beyond 2x optical zoom, you can push all the way up to 10x with standard digital zoom. This results in shaky shots and a noticeable drop in detail, especially when you inspect those snaps up close.
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Excellent New Honor 10 phone. Our friendly staff will take care of you right away. We will help you on anything you need including any questions you have concerning our warranty policy to give you extra peace of mind.
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