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

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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.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Camera 6.0
  • Battery 8.0

Huawei wowed me with its hypercolourful flagship P20 Pro ($859 at Amazon.com) phone and now Honor -- Huawei's sub-brand -- is getting in on the vibrant action with the Honor 10.

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.

honor-10-product-hoyle-14

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.

honor-10-product-hoyle

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.

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