Honor 70 assessment: no deal-breakers, no showstoppers


It’s been virtually two years since Honor cut up from dad or mum firm Huawei. That signifies that — in contrast to Huawei — it could actually promote telephones with Google apps and companies preinstalled, which implies they’re truly value contemplating in case you dwell in a rustic the place Honor sells telephones. That consists of a number of European markets however not the US, no less than not but.

But whereas the change has allowed Honor’s current telephones, like final 12 months’s Honor 50 and the Magic4 Pro, to compete within the crowded Android smartphone market, the model hasn’t but discovered its distinctive promoting level. Its telephones haven’t exceeded expectations in anybody space, whether or not it’s digicam or display high quality, efficiency, or size of software program assist.

That doesn’t change with Honor’s newest worldwide cellphone, the Honor 70. In the previous week I’ve been utilizing the cellphone, I haven’t discovered something I’d think about a deal-breaker. It’s all simply high-quality: battery life is nice, efficiency and digicam high quality are ok, and efficiency is stable general. But there’s additionally nothing right here that’s distinctive sufficient for me to advocate the Honor 70 over any variety of different cheaper midrange telephones which were launched this 12 months. The Honor 70 wants a showstopping characteristic to face out, and it doesn’t fairly have one.

The Honor 70 begins at £480 (roughly $566 USD) for a mannequin with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Stepping as much as £530 (roughly $625 USD) will get you 256GB of storage. I’ve been utilizing the latter mannequin.

With its 6.67-inch curved OLED show and hole-punch entrance digicam cutout, the entrance of the Honor 70 appears similar to final 12 months’s Honor 50. It’s an always-on show with a 1080p decision, dynamic 120Hz refresh charge, and it has an in-display fingerprint sensor that was speedy and dependable sufficient that I barely seen utilizing it.

What I did have a problem with is the truth that it’s curved, with the perimeters of the show disappearing across the left and proper sides of the cellphone. Yes, it offers the cellphone a premium look just like flagships just like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Pixel 6 Pro and makes the bezels on the left and proper sides of the display seem smaller than they really are. But it means the perimeters of the show have a slight shadowy tint to them since you’re at all times viewing them off-axis, and the curved edges have a behavior of concentrating mild reflections into brilliant strains on the perimeters of the show. I’ve been extra forgiving of curved shows up to now, however within the case of the Honor 70, it makes the cellphone’s display much less practical, decreasing usable house for little or no profit.


The rear design is good and clear.


Curved display haters beware.

Around again, the Honor 70’s design is a bit more elegant than the Honor 50. The two distinct round digicam bumps are now not linked by a raised part, which provides the rear of the cellphone an easier, cleaner look. In the UK, the cellphone is accessible in three colours: silver, black, and the inexperienced model that I’ve been utilizing. There’s no official IP score for mud and water resistance, no headphone jack, and no expandable storage.

Out of the field, the Honor 70 runs Android 12, with Honor’s personal Magic UI 6.1 software program working atop it. I preferred Magic UI ultimately, nevertheless it took slightly work to get there — swapping the ugly and cluttered SwiftKey software program keyboard (which stored attempting to capitalize my all-lowercase username) for Gboard, uninstalling half a dozen bloatware apps (sorry, TrainPal, Booking.com, Lords Mobile, Game of Sultans, et al.), and reenabling the app drawer.

Once I had it arrange the best way I like, I discovered Magic UI to be a pleasant, clear Android launcher that doesn’t get in the best way an excessive amount of. Yes, it has a few built-in ecosystem options that I doubt many individuals will discover a use for, like Honor Share, which is designed to shortly switch recordsdata to different Honor units. However, these are made up for by inclusions like a small shortcuts menu that’s accessible by swiping up from the underside of the lock display. Just word that the swiping gesture used to entry this menu is similar because the one used to entry the homescreen in case you’re utilizing face unlock, which will be irritating. I’d advocate sticking to fingerprint unlock.


I had no issues with the fingerprint sensor.

The Honor 70’s Snapdragon 778G Plus processor simply retains up with day by day duties. Scrolling via visually dense apps like Twitter is gorgeous and clean on the cellphone’s 120Hz show, and I didn’t discover any notable hitches as I swiped between apps. One sore spot is the cellphone’s haptics, which will be overly aggressive and cheap-feeling in comparison with the refined clicks you’re feeling with different handsets.

Speaker high quality is middling, with audio produced by the cellphone’s single set of downward-firing audio system. They get loud sufficient that I used to be capable of take heed to a podcast out loud whereas doing the washing up, however general they sound tinny and hole, and I discovered it more durable than regular to pick dialogue in some YouTube movies with extreme background noise.

Honor says that the Honor 70 will get two years of Android updates and three years of safety updates. That’s a reasonably typical software program assist interval for Android handsets and matches what OnePlus gives with its midrange Nord 2T, for instance. But elsewhere within the Android ecosystem, Google and Samsung are pushing issues lots additional. The Pixel 6A will get 5 years of safety updates and it’s extra inexpensive at £399 (round $466) although oddly Google is declining to element what number of OS updates it’ll get, whereas Samsung guarantees 4 years of OS updates and 5 years of safety patches for its current £399 Galaxy A53. Even the £399 Nothing Phone 1 is because of (ultimately) obtain three years of Android updates and 4 years of safety updates. I don’t assume we’re fairly on the level the place solely providing three years of safety updates ought to be thought-about a deal-breaker, however we’re getting shut.


USB-C, no headphone jack, no IP score.


There are three rear cameras this time round.

That’s a whole lot of complaining, so let’s discuss one thing I genuinely preferred concerning the Honor 70 — its battery life. I averaged slightly beneath 6.5 hours of screen-on time per day from the cellphone and persistently put it on to cost with upward of fifty % cost left within the night. On in the future of heavy use, which concerned having the cellphone’s display turned on for 90 minutes whereas I used it for biking instructions whereas additionally streaming music to Bluetooth headphones, I ended the day with 35 % cost left.

Honor features a 66W quick charger within the field. It helps Honor’s TremendousCharge commonplace in addition to Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, however there’s no point out of assist for Power Delivery (PD), which could clarify why it wasn’t capable of cost my MacBook. I discovered that it might get the cellphone from empty to 52 % in 20 minutes, to 72 % in 30, and that it was absolutely charged in slightly beneath 50 minutes. That’s not fairly as speedy because the inexpensive £369 OnePlus Nord 2T (round $431) which might cost to one hundred pc in beneath half an hour, nevertheless it’ll nonetheless be greater than quick sufficient for most individuals. There’s no wi-fi charging, which remains to be a relative rarity at this value level exterior of units just like the £419 ($429) iPhone SE 5G or Nothing Phone 1.

The Honor 70 has a 32-megapixel selfie digicam, and round again, there’s a trio of rear cameras: a 54-megapixel essential digicam, a 50-megapixel ultrawide, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. That’s one lower than the Honor 50 as a result of Honor now consists of macrophotography capabilities within the ultrawide. The firm deserves some credit score for together with a fairly high-resolution sensor for the cellphone’s secondary ultrawide digicam, when a whole lot of different corporations under-spec it. But at this value level, the Honor 70 faces stiff competitors from the extra inexpensive Pixel 6A, and it struggles to compete with Google’s low-light pictures smarts.

With good lighting, the Honor 70’s digicam is on par with most fashionable smartphones. Images are properly detailed, and Honor’s software program tends to lead to properly saturated photos which might be colourful with out trying unnatural, just like what we are inclined to see with Samsung’s smartphone cameras. Honor particularly advertises that it’s tuned its cameras to deal higher with strongly backlit topics, and certain sufficient, once I took a photograph of myself in entrance of a brightly lit window, Honor’s software program stored me nicely lit with out ruining the remainder of the shot. But the flip aspect of that is that photos can typically seem slightly flat as a result of the cellphone’s software program doesn’t let shadows get too darkish. Switch to the ultrawide, and due to the 50-megapixel sensor, the extent of element stays broadly constant, though I feel the colours within the pictures it takes aren’t fairly as correct as the principle digicam.

For movies, the cellphone helps filming at as much as 4K 30fps. Video high quality is ok however not nice, and making an attempt to movie in 4K produces some noticeable judder. There are additionally a number of fascinating video software program options together with one Honor is asking “Solo Cut Mode” which is ready to movie a panorama video whereas concurrently filming a zoomed-in video in portrait that tracks a given topic throughout the body. It nearly works, however I didn’t discover it tremendous dependable, and it typically misplaced monitor of me in a given scene. I wrestle to consider many conditions the place I’d use the characteristic, nevertheless it’s an fascinating sufficient novelty.

I’ve famous in earlier critiques of Honor’s telephones that its software program tends to over-brighten pictures of faces, and that continues to be the case right here, even with all its software-processing magnificence modes turned off. The impact is much more pronounced in pictures taken with the cellphone’s selfie digicam, which all look as if you’re utilizing a filter.

If you’re cautious, you may get some okay low-light pictures out of the Honor 70. By default, in its major pictures mode, its digicam will demand that you simply maintain a shot nonetheless for a few beats so it could actually collect some further mild information. That’s high-quality with static scenes, however the second you attempt to take a photograph of a transferring topic, like an individual, it turns into troublesome to carry a shot regular for so long as the Honor 70 asks. And that signifies that loads of my makes an attempt to take handheld pictures of myself in low mild ended up a blurry mess.



It’s a pleasant, slim gadget.

Most of the Honor 70’s options are ok. Its cameras are ok, its software program is sweet sufficient, and its size of software program assist is sweet sufficient. There are even some facets of the cellphone which might be higher than ok, like battery life, charging speeds, and the responsiveness of its show. (Although I want it weren’t curved.)

But with a beginning value of £480, £80 dearer than a number of different very succesful midrange handsets which were launched this 12 months, “good enough” isn’t actually ok to justify a purchase order. Google’s Pixel 6A is extra inexpensive, with higher cameras, longer software program assist, and an official IP score for mud and water resistance. Samsung’s Galaxy A53 is extra inexpensive and gives a equally prolonged software program assist interval and a incredible, flat show. The iPhone SE 5G is extra inexpensive and gives entry to the iOS app ecosystem and wi-fi charging. The Nothing Phone 1 has enjoyable flashing lights.

Unless you positively want an IP score, I don’t assume the Honor 70 has any severe flaws or deal-breakers. But nor does it have any showstopping options to justify its value premium.

Photography by Jon Porter / The Verge



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