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Huawei Honor 10 review: Good value, but no match for the OnePlus 6

A lovely blue and purple finish and a reasonable price tag aren't enough to put the Honor 10 over the top.

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Andrew Lanxon
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Andrew Lanxon

Lead Editor, CNET Advice, Europe; Lead Photographer, Europe

Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.

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Huawei wowed me with its hypercolourful flagship P20 Pro phone and now Honor -- Huawei's sub-brand -- is getting in on the vibrant action with the Honor 10.

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7.4

Huawei Honor 10

The Good

The Honor 10 delivers the same fast speeds and stylish colours as its cousin, the Huawei P20 Pro, at half the price. It has a standard headphone jack too.

The Bad

The camera doesn’t begin to approach the excellence of the P20 models or the similarly priced OnePlus 6.

The Bottom Line

The Honor 10 is a stylish midrange Android phone, but the OnePlus 6 offers better performance all round for only a little more money.

The Honor 10 brings the colour without the high price tag however. At only £399 it's half the price of Huawei's top smartphone. International availability hasn't been confirmed yet -- Huawei phones aren't easily available in the US -- but that UK price converts to about $540 or AU$720.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Hue and cry

The phone has an all-glass back that looks vivid blue in some light, but give it a twirl in your fingers and you'll see the hue subtly blend into a deep purple tone. I like it a lot -- as I did the pink and blue Huawei P20 Pro -- as it's much more interesting to look at than the usual grey and black rectangles that pass for phones these days. The new OnePlus 6 has an all-glass design too, and while I like the classy look of the black model, I prefer the Honor's vibrant colours.

Flip it over and you'll see a 5.84-inch screen. Honor has joined the ranks of Huawei, LG, Asus and others in using a cut-out notch that juts into the display at the top and houses the speaker and front-facing camera. You can fill in the gaps either side of the notch to make it look like a solid status bar, if you'd prefer.

The display itself has a 2,280x1,080-pixel resolution and is bright and vibrant, with text easily readable under harsh overhead office lights. There's a fingerprint scanner below the display, although you'd be forgiven for missing it, as it's molded into the bezel. There's no depression where a home button would normally be, which gives the phone a neat, seamless look. The downside is that it makes it a little harder to place your thumb in the right spot in a hurry, but I quickly got used to it. The scanner itself is lightning fast and mostly accurate. It doubles as a touch-sensitive home button when the phone's in use.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Camera doesn't cut the mustard 

There are two camera lenses on the back: a 24-megapixel monochrome sensor and a 16-megapixel colour sensor. Like the Huawei P20 Pro, the camera uses artificial intelligence to analyse the scene being photographed and tweak the image accordingly. 

Also like the P20 Pro, I found those tweaks to be heavy-handed, often boosting saturation -- the blues when it detects a sky, for example -- to unnatural levels. You can turn this setting off altogether and you can also turn off the "boosted" effect after you've taken your shot. I found it best to leave AI mode switched on when shooting, giving me the option to turn it off later if I don't like the tweaks.

Beyond the AI, the Honor 10's camera is no match for the Huawei P20 Pro's. Outdoor shots were hit and miss, with some images looking flat, with little contrast and mushy details. Others were better, with more vibrant colours and more satisfying contrast, but this inconsistency is frustrating.

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Honor 10 outdoor camera test.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Honor 10 outdoor camera test.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Honor 10 outdoor camera test, with AI mode enabled.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Honor 10 front-facing camera test.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Low-light shots come out reasonably bright, but there's evidently a lot of software trying to reduce image noise, which results in fuzzy details when you look close up. It's certainly no match for the incredible low light skills of the P20 Pro.

Selfies from the 24-megapixel front-facing camera were similarly disappointing. An overall lack of contrast and fine details resulted in drab, lifeless images, even when taken outdoors with good light. If photography is your main concern, look towards the P20 Pro.

Inside, the phone runs the same top-end Kirin 970 chip found in Huawei's flagship (the company makes the chip itself) so it's no surprise the phones gave almost identical performances on our benchmark tests. That's impressive when you bear in mind that the P20 Pro costs twice as much. It's not quite a match for the OnePlus 6, however, which achieved better scores on all of our tests. In everyday use, the Honor 10 is speedy. Apps load quickly, photo editing is hassle-free and demanding games such as Riptide GP: Renegade play smoothly.

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The phone has an all-glass back which looks vivid blue in some light.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone charges with USB-C. There's no waterproofing to keep it safe from spilled beer, but there is at least a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom. The 3,400 mAh battery kept going for a little under 16 hours on our tests, putting it right alongside the OnePlus 6. You'll comfortably get a day of use from it, but you'll want to give it a full charge each night.

Overall the Honor 10 looks great and has plenty of power for its reasonable asking price, so it's a shame the camera doesn't shine. Its biggest competition comes from the brand-new OnePlus 6. The OnePlus also has a glossy design, its processor is more powerful and its dual camera captures much better shots. It's only £70 more here in the UK, and for my money it's definitely worth ponying up that extra cash. 

Honor 10 specs comparison chart


Huawei Honor 10OnePlus 6Samsung Galaxy S9Huawei P20 ProGoogle Pixel 2
Display size, resolution 5.84-inch; 1,080x2,280-pixels6.28-inch OLED; 2,280x1,080 pixels5.8-inch OLED; 2,960x1,440 pixels6.1-inch; 2,240x1,080 pixels (OLED)5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 432 ppi402 ppi570 ppi408 ppi441 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.89x2.8x0.3 inches6.13x2.97x0.31 in5.81x2.70x0.33 in6.1x2.9x0.31 in5.7x2.7x0.3 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 149.6x71.2x7.7 mm155.7x75.4x7.75 mm147.7x68.7x8.5 mm155x73.9x7.8mm145.7x69.7x7.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.4 oz; 153 g6.2 oz; 177 g5.75 oz; 163 g6.3 oz; 180 g5.04 oz; 143 g
Mobile software Android 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.0 OreoAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8 Oreo
Camera (megapixels) 24MP mono, 16MP colour16MP standard, 20MP telephoto12MP40MP colour, 20MP monochrome, 8MP telephoto 12MP
Front-facing camera (megapixels) 24MP16MP8MP24MP8MP
Video capture 4K4K4K4K4K
Processor 2.3GHz Kirin 9702.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.8GHz + 1.7GHz), or Samsung Exynos 9810 (2.7 GHz + 1.7 GHz)2.3GHz Kirin 970Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Storage 128GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB64GB, 128GB
RAM 4GB6GB, 8GB4GB6GB4GB
Expandable storage NoneNone400GBNoneNone
Battery 3,400mAh3,300mAh3,000mAh4,000mAh2,700mAh
Fingerprint sensor Below screenBack of phoneBackBelow screenBack cover
Connector USB-CUSB-CUSB-CUSB-CUSB-C
Headphone jack YesYesYesNoNo
Special features Blue-purple shimmering colour, notch at top of screen, affordablePortrait mode, notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash ChargingDual-aperture camera, water-resistant (IP68); super slo-mo video; wireless charging; iris scanningThree rear cameras, super slow-mo video (960fps), 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom, water-resistant (IP67)Google Assistant; unlimited cloud storage; Daydream VR-ready
Price off-contract (USD) $540 (converted)$529 (64GB), $579 (128GB), $629 (256GB)Varies: $720-$800 (64GB)Converts to $1,140$649 (64GB), $749 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £399£469 (64GB), £519 (128GB), £569 (256GB)£739£799£629 (64GB), £729 (128GB)
Price (AUD) AU$720 (converted)AU$702 (64GB), AU$769 (128GB), AU$835 (256GB)AU$1,199 (64GB), AU$1,349 (256GB)AU$1,099AU$1,079 (64GB), AU$1,229 (128GB)
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7.4

Huawei Honor 10

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8Camera 6Battery 8