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Huawei Honor 6 review: A budget phone, stuffed with top-end tech

Battery and camera

Honor has stuffed the phone with a 3,100mAh battery, which the company claims can achieve over a whole day of heavy use or over two days with moderate use. That's a serious claim and not one I'm convinced you'll be easily able to hit in everyday use. After 2 hours of streaming video the battery had dropped from full to 68 percent remaining, which is only an average result.

I don't think you'll struggle too much to see a full day of use from the phone, so long as you're not too demanding. If you spend your morning streaming video over Netflix with the screen brightness set to full then you'll need to give it a boost sometime in the afternoon. Keep the brightness down, avoid gaming or streaming and turn off Wi-Fi and GPS when not in use and you'll get much better life from it.

The back of the phone is home to a 13-megapixel camera, which is a healthy portion of megapixels for a phone at this price. I took it for a spin and the results seemed fair. On the below shot of the Shard building in London, the exposure is adequate, although I'd like to see less dark shadows.

Honor 6 camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In the CNET office, there's a decent exposure and not much image noise, which is good considering the low indoor light.

Honor 6 camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

This indoor shot of my colleagues Marc Ganley and Rich Trenholm came out well too.

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Honor 6 camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The colours on this snail were a little cold, but there's plenty of detail at full screen and a sharp focus on the eyes.

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Honor 6 camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I certainly expect the camera to be good enough for some Instagram snaps, although how it stacks up against the competition remains to be seen.

While there's a satisfying sharp focus on this shot of the snail and his gnome friend, the image is extremely dark as the sensor hasn't balanced the brightness from the window to the left with the shadows inside.

honor-6-camera-gnome.jpg
Honor 6 camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I turned the flash on to brighten the scene up a little, but as you can see, it's extremely powerful and has resulted in the figurines looking very washed out.

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Honor 6 camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On the front is a 5-megapixel camera for taking those embarrassing selfies or video calling over Google Hangouts or Skype. It's capable of taking some decent pics, although I found it to be a little hit and miss, at times wildly blowing out the highlights, while underexposing at other times.

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Honor 6 front-facing camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

You can also use digital effects to apparently make yourself more beautiful. What it actually does is soften and lighten your skin and lighten your eyes. You can alter the amount of "beautification" it applies and I suggest not going for the full amount unless you want to look, let's say, a little odd:

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Honor 6 front-facing camera test (click to see full size) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Conclusion

Whether you consider it a Huawei phone or an Honor phone doesn't really matter here -- that's really just a branding exercise. What should matter is that the Honor 6 packs a heap of great tech for a very reasonable price. Its full-HD display is among the best you'll find at this price, its octa-core processor zips along smartly and the camera isn't too bad either.

Sure, it might not be the slimmest, sleekest phone around and the software might have its quirks, but if you want a powerful phone without emptying your bank account, it's a solid phone to go for.

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