Huawei used to be a major seller in the low end device market in years gone by, mainly our Asia way more than in the EU and US. However the Honor 6 marks a return to the low end for them, but not in terms of specifications. For you see while the Honor 6 might only cost £250 which is a fraction of the price of an iPhone 6, it contains internals that would rival any flagship device on the market today.
There are a few small issues to do with the Emotion UI and some oddities in the camera but these are minor enough, read on for more and check out the full video review below.
I was very impressed with the Honor 6 design, on first appearance it is very similar to the Sony Xperia 3. From it’s faux glass rear which really will catch you out and have you thinking its glass, but its not and sadly the plastic will be prone to scratches, so get a case.
In terms of buttons on the bottom there is a single micro USB charging port, on the right is the volume rockers, power key and ports for Micro SD and Sim card. There is no dedicated camera button but as a nice touch if you push volume down twice quickly the phone will awake and instantly snap a picture. On the top of the Honor 6 there is also an IR blaster but sadly and for some odd reason Huawei decided not to included any software to allow for its use.
The side and top of the device again feature a faux brushed metal effect that oddly doesn’t continue to the bottom side which for me would have been much more pleasing on the eye.
The screen on the Honor 6 is a 5″ display with full HD 1080p featuring Gorilla Glass 3. It has 440 pixels per inch which is better than an iPhone 6 and it just looks superb to the eye if a little saturated in terms of colour production. Thankfully if the out of the box colour tone does not suit you, you can tweak it in the settings and most people should find something they are happy with.
While this is not an IPS display the viewing angles are good and contrast rarely changes as you adjust your viewing angle. Blacks are not incredibly deep like on the Xperia Z3 but are certainly nothing to be sniffed at.
Again for a phone that costs only £250 this display is top notch and is easily comparable to top flagships.
Performance and Software
This is an aspect where most affordable smartphones fall down, not so with the Honor 6. It has an Huawei made HiSilicon Kirin 920 CPU and while not quite as good as say a Snapdragon 801 it certainly is no slouch and can handle anything you can throw at it. Games all load and play quickly and they look fantastic on this pin sharp screen. In terms of benchmarks it does fall a little bit behind its primary competition the OnePlus One but not by much. Further more at this price point it will be going up against many smartphones running Snapdragon 400’s and it will completely blow them out of the water.
The operating system is Android 4.4.2 KitKat and features Huawei’s Emotion UI which is a bit of a mixed bag. For me while it is nice and features themes that let you tweak how things look and sound its the over all garishness, dare I say cartoon-ish manga look that I just don’t like. This being said if you install a launcher or learn to live with the look there is no issue and it certainly would not put me off buying this. There is no app drawer like on most Android phones, so apps and games that you install will just appear on your homescreen, get ready to perform daily housekeeping on your icons.
Camera and Battery Life
The Honor 6 features a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera, the rear 13MP produces quite good images in perfect conditions but sadly the auto focus and night shots really do let it down. Annoyingly you cannot get a 16:9 aspect in the full 13MP mode either, something in common with the OnePlus One. Night shots suffer from blur simple on account of the auto focus not locking on, in some cases to nothing. This is something that I hope can be fixed with a software update and also perhaps with an update that 4K recording could be added as right now it maxes out at 1080P.
The battery on board is a 3,100mAh unit that should see you good for a solid day or day and a half, if you are super careful you may get the full two days. Sadly the HiSilicon Kirin 920 CPU is not quite as efficient as Qualcomm processors and drain is much higher when ideal than the competition. Overall though most people will find battery life to be very good and should not have any issues.
The Honor 6 is a true return to form for Huawei, from its build to its internals and especially its pricing. Other than the OnePlus One (if you can get it) it is very hard to find a phone as good as the Honor 6.