A little less than a year after the very successful Honor 9, the brand champion of the quality-price ratio is back with the Honor 10. In appearance as in the characteristics, the smartphone and its cousin the Huawei P20 are like two drops water (Logic, Honor is a subsidiary of Huawei). They share the same screen with 5.84 inch notch and the same Kirin 970 processor. On the back, there is a double camera module of 16 and 24 Mpix, the second being dedicated to taking monochrome photos. The Honor 10 has 4 GB of RAM, and its owner can choose between 64 and 128 GB of internal storage.
A very successful design
Front and rear, the Honor 10 is beautiful. So certainly, tastes and colors are not universal, but it is difficult to blame anything on the device. An LCD panel occupies the vast majority of the screen, and is of very good quality. The rounded edges of the screen reinforce the sophisticated design of the device. We feel that Honor has paid particular attention to the design. With a Full HD + definition (for a comfortable resolution of 432 ppi), the Honor 10 panel offers a very good contrast ratio of 1796: 1, and a good brightness of 503 cd / m2. The screen should therefore be perfectly readable outdoors, including in the sun.
Impossible not to notice it: the notch. Like the Huawei P20, the Honor 10 yields to the trend initiated by the Essential Phone and the iPhone X, and in turn adopts this feature on its screen. With it comes a 19: 9 screen, full length, for maximum display area. Note that, as with Huawei or LG, you can hide the notch by integrating it within a black band. LCD screen forces with blacks less deep than those of OLED, it does not quite manage to be forgotten.
The Honor 10 is available in four colors, three of which should appeal to lovers of sparkling colors. We had at our disposal the version Phantom Blue, whose reflections which alternate between blue and purple are as attractive as brilliant. Not everyone will appreciate it, but we can applaud the originality of Honor which is distinguished from the too serious colors of the competitors. A model Midnight Black is also available for those looking for a more sober design.
Powerful, fluid and fairly enduring
Equipped with a Kirin 970, 4 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of internal storage (unfortunately not expandable), the Honor 10 is a powerful smartphone, as confirmed by our reviews. The smartphone presents – not surprisingly – as good benchmarks as the Huawei P20. Note, however, that its Kirin 970 processor does not reach the power of the A11 Bionic from Apple or the Snapdragon 845 from Qualcomm. Anyway, that does not prevent it from responding to all uses.
On a daily basis, the Honor 10 is a joy in terms of comfort of use. Navigation is fast, fluid … Honor has sufficiently optimized EMUI, the overlay based on Android 8.1 developed by Huawei, for the smartphone to take full advantage of it. Whether it’s watching videos, browsing social media, or playing resource-hungry video games, the Honor 10 does it hands down and proves it’s up to par with a high-end smartphone.
If the Honor 9 had disappointed us last year with its autonomy, the Honor 10 has improved considerably. In our review of versatile autonomy, which mixes various uses more or less greedy in resources, the last flagship of Honor held 11 hours and 28 minutes, which remains lower than the result of the P20, but close to excellence. In video playback, the Honor 10 lasted 11.39 hours, and almost a day on call. In short, with the Honor 10, we should largely pass the course of the day without needing to recharge it.
A fingerprint sensor under the glass
Special feature of the Honor 10 compared to the Huawei P20: the fingerprint sensor is not included in a real physical button but in a sensitive button housed under the glass of the panel. In fact, it can still be used as a virtual button to navigate in Android, even if in the absence of relief, it is impossible to feel it under your finger.
Behind this new technology, there is however a downside: the sensor is slower than those of previous generations (Huawei included). Let’s be honest, in use, the difference is only a few hundredths of a second … But sometimes, the fingerprint sensor requires doing it several times where Honor had accustomed us to real instantaneousness. To register your fingerprint, the procedure is also much longer as the sensor has trouble detecting your finger.
Fortunately, the facial recognition technology added by Honor is up to the task. We lift the smartphone towards you and it is automatically unlocked. It’s almost magical. Combined, these two biometric authentication technologies form a perfect duo and make us forget the relative slowness of the new fingerprint sensor.
The photo: problems in low light
The Huawei P20 had a double camera module arranged vertically, that of the Honor 10 is horizontal. No partnership with Leica for the Honor 10, Huawei reserves it for its own products. On the other hand, the Honor 10 climbs in pixels in front of its cousin. We thus find a main sensor of 16 Mpix and a second of 24 Mpix (both opening at f / 1.8), dedicated to taking monochrome photos.
Hard not to notice, Honor is banking on artificial intelligence to improve her camera. For proof: the mention “AI CAMERA” is squarely engraved on the back of the smartphone, just next to the double camera module. As on the Huawei P20, the Honor 10 can recognize up to 22 different scenes like “car” or “portrait” for example, supposed to improve the shots.
Note that photos recorded with AI are also without AI and this, automatically. We can therefore only advise to keep the mode active.
In general, apart from our reflections on AI, the photos in high lights are very well detailed. On the other hand, we have experienced very big problems in low light, quite unusual for a device that claims to be one of the best. Out of twenty photos, only three are considered really suitable. And again, they lack a little detail and sharpness. It’s even more frustrating that the Honor 9 and Huawei P20 do a lot better, and the problem is clearly software.
Asked by EntertainmentBox, Honor promised that corrective firmware updates would improve the camera. We will of course update this review in case of better results, but for now: hard to really recommend the camera of the Honor 10.
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