I had more than a month to try out the new Honor 10 and here is my honest review on what I think of the phone. Hint – AI camera is awesome!
I got the chance to review the Honor 10 over the period of more than a month recently and there are tons of stuffs that I like about it. Of course there are some misses along the way but I feel those are forgivable. But when it comes to AI features in the camera, the Honor 10 scores high in my books.
So here’s my (long-term) review on the Honor 10.
I did a little unboxing video when I first got the Honor 10. That was my first ever unboxing video ever, with any products for that matter. It was fun and I may do it again in future.
My first impression of the phone when I opened the box was, I think it’s beautiful. I love the colour, a little bluish but the colour name mentioned on the box is Glacier Grey. Well it looks like blue to me. It felt solid in the hand, like I’m holding an all solid metal device. It wasn’t that slippery so I’m ok with it.
The size of the phone is just right in my opinion. The screen is not so edge to edge as some of the other flagship camera such as the Huawei P20. There is a notch sitting at the top which is becoming a norm nowadays. I would say it’s more like a trend and people are liking it.
Well I’m not like other people. I don’t like the notch…at all. So most of the time I would set the phone to not show the notch by displaying a black bar right at the top to make it seems like it doesn’t have a notch. Trend or no trend, I still don’t like the notch.
At the back, the dual camera at the back protrudes a little bit. Placing the phone on a flat surface may scratch the camera lens glass, hence why it is a good idea to smack a solid case on the phone if you’re particular of getting scratches. On the other hand you can also keep the phone in your pocket when you’re not using it rather than placing it on the table.
What’s In The Box
The Honor 10 comes in a nice white coloured box that feels solid and sturdy. Inside the box, you will get the Honor 10 phone, standard 2-pin charger with the USB type-C head, silicon phone case, a SIM slot ejection pin and the user manual. I was expecting more but that was it.
I was kinda disappointed that I don’t find any earphones in the box. At least I get to try the sound quality from its own original hardware. Oh well, that doesn’t matter. But the silicon case is useful especially for me when I’m reviewing this unit. I don’t want to get any scratches on the phone.
Charging up the Honor 10 with the provided charger takes about just under 1 half hours to reach 100%. Not bad.
The design of the phone feels good. As I mentioned earlier, it fits really well in my hand because it felt slim. Slim because the phone is tall and not wide like the older phones.
The side buttons are smooth and easy to press. But I feel that it’s too soft that sometimes I would accidentally hit the power button to turn it off while using or turn it on when I was about to place the phone in my pocket. Also, the sides are nicely rounded and feels comfortable.
There is an IR blaster at the top and a tiny mic hole next to it. I actually had lots of fun playing with the IR blaster on this phone because there is a remote control app that came installed in the phone. Why I had fun? It has the standard Astro remote controller. Now imagine me with the phone and having the Astro remote control app on, at a mamak while people are watching the recent World Cup. I pity the mamak who kena scolding from the football fans. Yeah, I changed the channel during an intense match. Of course, I changed back the channel la. Sorry macha.
Just to note, the TV and Astro decoder was about 15 feet away from me. So the IR blaster on the Honor 10 can go that far.
Back to the Honor 10 design. At the bottom there is the microphone and speaker grille and also the USB type-C port for fast charging and fast data transfer. The headphone jack is also located at the bottom of the phone. I actually prefer to have the headphone jack at the bottom of the phone rather than the top. So good move by Honor here.
OS and Performance
The Honor 10 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box. I got a software update right after I set up the phone for my first use. Since it was the first time I turn on the phone, I don’t know what was updated. That aside, the OS skin on the Honor 10 is nice. Just like MIUI, the Honor’s EMUI OS doesn’t have the app drawer as standard. Every single app is placed in the home screen. I don’t like it but it’s okay.
The Android 8.1 runs smoothly on the Honor 10. The UI and UX is user friendly and comes with neatly designed icons. There are a few themes pre-installed but at the same time you have an option to download new themes from the server. I personally like the UX animation when you plug in the charger. Many other cute UX animation comes in this phone.
The screen size is 5.84″ with IPS LCD display at 1080 x 2280 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~432 ppi density). Screen is very vibrant and crispy clear. I don’t know why I said crispy but it is clear.
The Honor 10 is powered by Hisilicon Kirin 970 Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53) CPU and Mali-G72 MP12 GPU. That means the affordable Honor 10 can churn more than enough power to run any high-end power hungry and heavy graphic games such as the PUBG Mobile.
I’m been using PUBG Mobile as my benchmark for graphics performance for any phones recently and to me, if it runs the game really well means it’s good. The Honor 10 ran the PUBG game smoothly without any stutter or jitter or lags at the highest graphic settings. So for those who loves gaming, the Honor 10 is a good choice.
The Honor 10 also scored some good points in Antutu 3D Benchmark tests of 201731. The phone runs cool even when it’s on full CPU power. The 3D rendering in Antutu is not as choppy as I predicted, which is good. I am amazed at the smoothness of the graphics rendering on this phone. Like I said, if it’s good in PUBG, means it’s good.
I love the phone clone feature made by Huawei. What it does is that you can easily transfer everything from your old phone to any new Huawei/Honor devices without losing any important documents or photos. Easy and quick.
Sound quality from the speakers are loud and clear although it only comes from a single sound source at the bottom. The loudness is good enough for gaming and music.
Imaging and AI Camera
Now the dual camera at the back comes with AI this time. AI is a feature made to capture true to life photos with enhancement by the AI itself to optimise the photo, making it clear in dark areas and balanced in the highlights. I’d say it is similar to HDR. It’s not that easy to explain how the algorithm works but my photo samples later on will give you a rough idea how it optimises the photos.
If you’re wondering what each camera does, let me briefly tell you. The main 16MP f/1.8 camera is the “normal” camera while the 24MP f/1.8 secondary rear camera only shoots black and white because it is using a B&W sensor. Therefore you can capture a true B&W tone with the secondary camera.
I took the photo above with the secondary rear camera, the one with the dedicated B&W sensor. The photo from the Honor 10 camera turns out more natural than an edited photo. Of course, it comes with the “bokeh” effect as well.
The main camera’s ability to capture clear photos in low light is also commendable. I did a few tests in low light areas and it turns out above average. What we as photographers dislike most is noise. The Honor 10 managed to keep the noise at a very minimum, non visible if you’re not looking for it. This is a big advantage especially if you’re going for prints. And I believe that most photos from today’s high-end phones can be used for large prints, Honor 10 included.
Now what I don’t like about the AI camera is that sometimes, only sometimes, the resulting photos can be over saturated. It is as though someone just bump the saturation to high while editing in Photoshop. This is a little frustrating for me because the photo will turns out unnatural. But having said that, it’s a plus point that you can turn off the AI effect AFTER you’ve taken the photo making it normal again. Nice save Honor, nice save.
I have nothing much to say about the camera so I’m just gonna share the results. A picture can describe a thousand words they say. Have a look at the sample photos that was taken with the Honor 10 below.
All I can say it that the Honor 10 did not fail in the photography department. Photos that were produced from the phone’s camera are above par. Noise is almost non-existent, except in very low light but that is normal. Colours are just right and vibrant.
So hats off to Honor for creating a wonderful camera feature such as the AI.
What I think about the Honor 10 is that it has more than enough processing power for heavy graphic games while keeping the price low. That is not what I’m expecting. Usually any mid-range phones can just barely cope with the graphic demand especially during 3D benchmarking by Antutu. This is not the case with the Honor 10.
The Hisilicon Kirin 970 octa-core SoC really did a good job here. The phone also doesn’t run hot while doing so. Supported by Mali-G72 MP12, everything runs really smooth. RAM is very sufficient, coming in 4GB, 6GB and 8GB depending on the specs that you choose.
The camera does well, thanks to the AI feature. Without using AI, the camera still able to capture above average quality photos that I think is very reliable and able to produce Instagram worthy images.
You probably need a phone casing with this one. The shiny back is a little fingerprint magnet plus the camera module protrudes a little too much at the back. Using a case will at least keep the back even when placing the phone on a table. Other than that, it’s worth the purchase.
Doesn’t matter if you’re into photography or not, having the Honor 10 with AI camera will always comes in handy. You’ll never know when you need a cheap(er) high quality camera in your pocket.
The Honor 10 is retailing at RM1,599.00 at the moment. Go ahead and check out their official Honor page on Lazada.