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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei’s online subsidiary Honor on May 15 announced the artificial intelligence-based Honor 10 in India. Priced at Rs 32,999, the smartphone boasts some of the premium design elements and features of the recently launched Huawei P20 Pro — glass-metal-glass sandwich design, notch-based screen, AI camera, etc, which — which make it a cost-effective alternative to premium flagships.

However, being a mid-range device, the Honor 10 cuts down on features like the Leica-tuned camera lenses, vivid AMOLED screen or the dual stereo speakers of the P20 Pro. But, it does sport a 3.5mm audio jack, which is not there in the P20 Pro.

Business Standard reviewed the Honor 10 on several parameters to test its overall performance. Here are the observations:

Honor 10 design

The Honor 10 boasts a glass-metal-glass sandwich design. The front is dominated by a notch-based screen, which leaves negligible bezels on the top and sides. On the bottom, there is a fingerprint sensor placed below the glass, adding to the utility without compromising on the overall design quotient.

The glass back designseems an improvement over aluminium, especially due to its different colour reflection properties. The glass is curved from the edges, something reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy S-series devices. While everything seems to be in place, the glass design attracts fingerprint impressions which make it dirty, requiring regular cleaning.

Honor 10 display

The Honor 10 sports a 5.84-inch fullHD+ 19:9 aspect ratio screen, which is bright enough to stay legible under direct sunlight. The notch is set as enabled by default, but can be disabled from settings. However, the notch is disabled by default for video playback through apps like YouTube and Netflix or native video player, and there is no option to enable it.

Online video streaming apps also fail to fill the 19:9 aspect ratio screen and show content at 16:9 aspect ratio, leaving blacked out areas on each side when viewed in horizontal mode, therefore it fails to utilise complete screen area.

Honor 10 multimedia capabilities

The Honor 10 neither have the HDR compliant screen nor the dual stereo speakers that the premium P20 Pro offers. The phone also lacks Dolby Atmos support and relies on Huawei’s 3D audio technology to boost the audio output.

Yet, for a midrange smartphone, the Honor 10 fairs well to play multimedia content, thanks to 3.5mm audio jack that makes a lot of difference, especially for people who like to use headphones more than speakers for content playback.

Honor 10 performance

The Honor 10 is powered by Kirin 970 system-on-chip (SoC), the same processor that powers the premium Huawei P20 Pro. It is paired with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage. The phone boots EMUI8, which is an Android Oreo-based customised skin developed in-house by Huawei to utilise the potential of AI across different system settings.

Honor 10
Keeping the specifications aside, the phone is sleek and fast and does not slow down even while operating most demanding tasks such as playing power intensive games such as Asphalt 8. The user interface is nowhere close to stock and has its own advantages and disadvantages.

As for the positives, the UI feels smooth and consistent across with no sign of lag or stutter anywhere. While we faced some heating issues in the P20 Pro while using it at low battery levels, the Honor 10 does not show any such problems and performs consistently.

On the down side, the setting menu is cluttered and finding a particular setting such as reorganising the navigation keys is a herculean task. Also, the default UI offers no app drawer and all the apps feature on home screen on different windows. The app drawer can be enabled from setting menu, however, reverting to no drawer setting makes the home screen a mess.

Honor 10 camera

The Honor 10 sports a dual camera set-up on the back, featuring a 24-megapixel monochrome sensor paired with 16MP RGB sensor of f/1.8 aperture size. There is a 24MP front camera for selfie. Both the rear and front camera boasts AI scene selection mode, portrait mode with 3D filters and augmented reality filters.

The rear camera unit works optimally in all lighting conditions. Autofocus is fast and accurate and scene capturing is instant. Even in low light conditions, the autofocus locks up quickly and the AI feature automatically chooses the right settings based on scene.

The front camera is equally impressive and manages to take shots with lots of details, irrespective of lighting conditions. The selfie camera also relies on AI capabilities to enhance the output.

Portrait mode is one feature that does not add up to the otherwise capable camera performance. It shows incorrect segmentation of primary object and background, therefore shows blur around the focused object.

Honor 10 battery

Powered by 3,400 mAh battery, the phone keeps going for almost a day. Video playback, gaming and online music playback drains the battery faster. However, the phone still sails through the day on a regular usage. The battery charges within 2 hours, which is impressive compared to other midrange flagships, except OnePlus devices that charges up even quicker.

Verdict

The Honor 10 seems to be the most balanced midrange smartphone with premium design, capable camera and modern notch-based screen. The non-optimised 19:9 aspect ratio screen for video playback and absence of stereo speakers might not impress multimedia buffs but the sleek and fast performance, coupled with top-notch innards makes it a winner in midrange flagship segment.

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