The Honor 6 is a new entrant to the smartphone market that looks to offer exceptional value for money but not at the expense of specifications. Honor comes about as a reaction to Oppo, OnePlus and Xiaomi who have been growing rapidly in select markets of the world.
Developed, financed and supported by Huawei, you can take comfort in knowing that the parent company is hugely experienced in what it is doing. There is a lot of high end power and features packed into the Honor 6. 5” full HD touchscreen display with 441 pixels per inch Octa-core processor 3GB RAM 16GB internal storage MicroSD memory card slot Rear 13 megapixel camera with a front facing 5 megapixel 3100mAh battery Android operating system with Emotion UI interface Amongst other handsets nothing about the Honor particularly shouts at you to pick it up, with the exception of the rear cover which in the light shimmers. Aside from all the usual ports and controls, there is a notification LED and on the top edge there is an IR blaster, but this is currently disabled until an update is rolled out, but this is coming. Whilst I personally find phones with screens of 5” a little too large for me, the rounded edges make this feel more comfortable in hand. At 130g it is not all that heavy. In an era dominated by HD the Honor 6 steps up to the mark with a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920 and a PPI of 441. The screen is not particularly reflective and the viewing angles are pretty good to. Watching back footage was quite enjoyable on this screen and of course the built in light sensors can adjust the backlight to conserve power. There is no Corning Gorilla Glass, but the inclusion of front and rear screen protectors, go some way to assisting with protection. Android 4.4 is running on the device, but it is hardly recognisable as a result of the customisation with Emotion UI 3.0. This is stored on the 16GB of internal memory, of which about 11.5GB is available. Android Lollipop will be coming. There are still many Android esq features but Huawei have reskinned everything to give it a different, almost Apple iOS esq look. There are countless changes, just pay attention to what’s on screen throughout this video to see how it looks and differs from pure Android. The app draw, has been removed, instead apps are found on the home screens. The Honor does have support for many themes and personalisation options, you can even change the transitions between home screens, of which you can have up to 9. Whilst heavily customised graphically, there is little in the way of unnecessary, memory intensive added extras. Within the settings there are a whole host of options, some examples include: Motion Controls including flip to mute Glove mode for those cold days One handed UI Suspend button – A menu button that hovers and gives quick access to certain features. Notification manager – Control what apps provide notifications Startup manager – Control which apps automatically run at startup Do not disturb – Block and allow certain callers or notifications at select times Wireless display – Share your screen wirelessly with another Colour temperature – Control the screens colours Simple Home – A simplified user interface An option to turn the notification light on and off An option to remove the carrier name from the status bar The ability to change the on screen button layout Features missing when compared to the cheaper Honor 3C are Double touch to turn on the screen Slide, which allows quick access to 4 customisable applications by sliding your finger from different points on the screen when powered off. Little apps that opened in new windows on top of what you were doing when accessed from the suspend button. Of the added apps the Honor 6 does have, one is a Phone Manager which allows you to scan the phone for ways in which to optimise the performance and keep it running smoothly. The Honor has too a flashlight, calculator, sound recorder, torch, mirror, magnifier, FM radio and backup tools as well as a file manager, Kingsoft Office and a few games pre-installed. Swype keyboard is also included. As an Android device you can simply add your Google, Facebook, Twitter and corporate exchange accounts and more. You have full access to Google services, including the Play Store for all your favourite free and paid for apps. Slide down from the top of the screen and the notification shade will display, missed calls, messages and more, whilst the shortcuts tab gives you lots of options within just a couple of clicks. Another couple of neat little touches are: When you are on the home screen you can swipe down and you get the ability to search apps, contacts, message and more. If you change the navigation buttons you too have the option for them to disappear with a tap, then swipe up from the bottom and they reappear. There is to a quick option to get to key settings. When playing back videos, you can lock the screen so that all buttons disappear and are disabled unless you press specifically on the unlock button. The octa-core processing power is made up of two quad-core processors, clocked at 1.3GHz and the other 1.7GHz. The system intelligently uses the processors to best effect, so for example if composing a text message it is likely just one core of the processor will be used, but playing an intensive game and all 8 cores could be in use. I did not find the Honor to be struggling with performance, but after some time the back of the device did get a little warm. The honor has 4G/LTE, Bluetooth 4, WiFi, GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, NFC and DLNA. There is support for USB On The Go and video out with an MHL cable The single rear speaker is directional. It sounds like it is recessed in the chassis of the phone and is not producing the best sounds it could. Despite this, the volume from the speaker is good and a generally good sound, but it feels a little strained and vocals sound a bit scratchy at times. When the volume is a little higher you can feel the speaker vibrating through your fingertips as you hold the device. There is a DTS sound enhancement, that makes a noticeable difference and you will generally wish to leave this switched on. I am possibly being a little over critical but with stereo speakers becoming more common, the Honor 6 seems a little behind here. A 13 megapixel rear camera, manufactured by Sony and a 5 megapixel camera available on the front. There are various shooting modes: Normal – Standard photo capture Watermark – Stamp your photos with a date, icons and text of your choice. HDR – Takes shots at different exposures and puts them together for a better result Panorama – Capture a wide area but stitching multiple shots together to make one long photo Audio Note – Take a photo and record up to 10 seconds of audio with the image Best Photo – Take 10 photos in succession and you can choose the best one to save All-focus – Change the focus on a different area of the photo, after it has been taken. You can easily control a variety of settings from flash to GPS location. You can set the camera to activate the shutter based on vocal controls. When taking pictures or video you can have effects or filters active as you are recording which can be handy. Whilst recording video, you can capture stills as well as pause the recording. Of course we all struggle to keep the a phone perfectly still so there is an image stabaliser built in, as well as HDR video and beauty mode. The results from both cameras are really pretty good. Low light shots do result in a bit of noise and low light indoor shots come out a little grainy with quality lost reasonably quickly when zooming in. 4x digital zoom is available and the volume keys can be used as shutter buttons. A quick double tap on the volume down key when the phone is in standby mode will launch the camera app, focus and capture a picture. Overall I felt shots came out well and the balance of colours and tones were good with not too many instances where whites were blown out or darks particularly so. Like many devices today, battery life is being considered more and the internally fixed 3100mAh battery on the Honor 6 will give up to 2 days usage. My average use would give me 1.5 days, whilst a longer and more intensive day out of the office may mean the device needed a charge come late evening, but that is without fiddling with the power settings. There is a ‘screen saving’ option which saves up to 20% power draw, but image result may be affected. The battery can be set on various power plans including normal, smart and ultra. Switching to Ultra is you last ditch option to conserve power, dropping to a simplified black and white user interface it is really designed for calls and messages when battery is at a minimum. The Honor 6 retails for £249 inclusive of VAT when purchased SIM free. £100 more expensive than the Moto G from Motorola, but easily £100-150 cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G3, and Sony Xperia Z3 I do believe the 6 sits well between the two groups. The more expensive handsets do potentially offer some more value for some. I question long term how this low price effects software updates and support, that said, just before review a massive update in Emotion UI 3.0 from 2.3 was provided. Upon reflecting on all of the features of the Honor 6, finding fault with it is really quite difficult. There are small things I would change, however for £250 you get a lot for your money. Things might have been simpler if Huawei just released this as one of their own devices rather than under the Honor brand, but I understand their reasons. If you want high end power and features for a price that does not leave you really having to justify the purchase to yourself then the Honor 6 is a super option and nobody would fault you for making such a decision.