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Huawei Honor review: Huawei Honor

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The Good Decent battery stamina; MicroSD card slot.

The Bad Android Gingerbread not ICS; Sluggish web browsing; Fussy camera; Uninspiring design.

The Bottom Line The Huawei Honor won't impress Android fanboys or design buffs, delivering as it does the older Gingerbread version of Google's operating system on a generic plasticky slab. Battery performance is good, but sadly, web browsing is sluggish and the camera is overly fussy.

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6.5 Overall

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The Huawei Honor doesn't have the honour of being in Huawei's likeable Ascend series of mobile devices. But it does boast a pretty big battery that can apparently keep going for days, provided you're not poking and prodding it excessively.

This fairly standard-looking made-in-China slab also delivers a 4-inch screen and Android Gingerbread, powered by a single-core 1.4GHz engine.

The Honor will set you back £250 SIM-free from Expansys. It isn't being offered by any UK operators on pay as you go or pay-monthly contracts.

Should I buy the Huawei Honor?

If you need a phone with decent stamina, the Honor could be worth a look. Its battery isn't as beefy as that of the Motorola Razr Maxx, but it'll last long enough to watch a few full-length feature films back to back.

Huawei Honor
The Huawei Honor has no shame about running on outdated Android 2.3 Gingerbread software.

If you commute a lot, or you're on the road for work and rely on your phone being juiced up, long battery life may be worth the trade-off for what is otherwise a pretty average Android phone. There are plenty of areas where it struggles to deliver a decent experience though -- web browsing, for instance, is particularly laggy.

If you don't need an especially beefy battery, there are far slicker, more capable and stylish 'droids out there for much the same price.


Huawei has blessed the Honor with an especially roomy tank. Inside is a 1,900mAh battery, which the company says is good for up to 9 hours of chinwagging on the telephone, or up to 27 days left on standby. Handy if you're the sort of person who leaves your phone in a drawer for about a month then suddenly really needs to make an urgent call.

Huawei Honor
Under this boring plasticky hood, Huawei has tucked an especially large 1,900mAh battery.

Huawei has also said the Honor's cell is good for three days when you're actually using the thing. Impressive.

As is often the case with large capacity devices, the Honor is quite slow to charge. Once it had fully powered up, I put its battery through a series of Wi-Fi streaming tests to see how it fared.

After an hour streaming video over Wi-Fi with the screen brightness pumped to the max, the Honor's full charge was depleted by just over 10 per cent. And after 6.5 hours of streaming, 70 per cent of the tank was dry. So in similar conditions, the phone should manage 8+ hours of continuous video playback before needing a charge -- enough time to watch several films on a long haul flight. Not bad at all.

If you're playing processor-intensive 3D games, you might chomp through the Honor's capacious cell quicker, but even very heavy users should be able to eke a day's use (circa 6 hours) out of a full charge before seeking a socket.

Power and performance

The Honor has a 1.4GHz chip powering its engines. More and more mobiles are getting multi-core chips these days, so while this processor doesn't sound like a weakling, its performance can still stutter on certain tasks.

For example, as soon as you've got something working the chip in the background -- say, an update -- you'll notice foreground performance slowing considerably.

Under standard conditions (when the chip isn't being taxed by updates or downloads), swiping around the phone's menus is reasonably quick, although there is noticeable inertia on the app menu. Web browsing is especially laggy, while panning slowly around web pages results in a scrolling movement that's more jittery than smooth.

Huawei Honor
The Honor's 1.4GHz chip sounds beefy but it's actually a web browsing weakling, resulting in stuttery scrolling.

Surfing rich full-fat desktop websites works the Honor's engine very hard and you're left waiting seconds for the phone to catch up with your fingertips. Switching to mobile-optimised sites improves response times but it's a shame to have to browse a bite-sized version of the web with a phone that packs a 4-inch display.

Probing the phone's web performance, I ran the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark. The phone scored 3,259.3ms -- underlining that browsing is not its forte (lower is better in this test as it's a measure of time taken).

I also ran Vellamo's browser benchmark. Here, the phone served up a score of 921, putting it just above mid-table.

In CPU and graphics benchmark tests, the Honor put in a reasonable mid-range performance. In GL Benchmark's Standard Egypt test of 3D graphics, it ran the test at a middling 30 frames per second. While, in Quadrant's test, the phone scored a middle-of-the-road 1,935 -- better, at least, than the HTC Desire HD's score. In Antutu's test, the Honor managed 3,810.

I found Huawei's blower handled most apps fine. It's never blisteringly quick but for basic stuff like Angry Birds, Facebook and Twitter, it's got your back. Even graphically rich games like Blood & Glory are playable, but expect some stutter on faster-paced 3D racers.

The phone has a rear speaker that goes pretty loud but has a tendency to distort at the top of its range.

Call quality is good, with voices sounding clear to my ear, although on one call the sound seemed to cut in and out a little. I didn't experience any dropped calls during testing though.

Huawei Honor
The Honor isn't an Android powerhouse but you'll be able to eyeball YouTube and poke your Facebook mates.

Android Gingerbread and apps

The Honor runs Google's Android operating system, which is a powerful and capable mobile OS that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of apps that can be downloaded from Google's Play store (and elsewhere).

It's only running Android 2.3 Gingerbread -- rather than the newer version, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (the most recent version is 4.1 Jelly Bean). This is a shame as Gingerbread is getting quite old now so it would have been nice to see Huawei stick ICS on the Honor.

Still, if you're not fussed about having the latest software on board, you may not mind. You can still load the phone with your favourite apps -- from popular classics like Angry Birds, Facebook and Spotify, to the BBC's handy iPlayer app.

Atop Android is Huawei's own software. This isn't the slickest OS topper around but it doesn't detract too much from Gingerbread. There's even a neat lock screen, which lets you swipe one of four ways to either simply unlock the phone or dive straight into the camera function, your SMSes or your call log. Sadly, unlock options on this version of Huawei's software can't be customised.

Elsewhere, you get five home screens to swipe around and fill with apps and widgets. You can choose between animations that slide from one home screen to another as you swipe, or pivot with a 3D cube effect, or flip entirely as if spun round.

Pinching in brings up the home screen overview mode, where you can set which of the five screens is the primary home screen -- that is, the one the home button defaults to when tapped.

Huawei Honor
Huawei's Android skin isn't terrible but nor is it super-slick.

There's a choice of home screen launcher bar, depending on the theme you're using. The 'Android standard' theme has a small fiddly grey bar with three options that can't be customised. But the 'Beyond the sky' theme lets you switch to a much larger coloured launcher bar containing four icons -- three of them customisable with apps of your choosing.

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