back to article Huawei Honor 10: At £399, plenty of bang for buck – it's a pity about the snaps

Huawei is often accused of slavishly copying Apple a lot of the time – but that’s not entirely fair. Huawei can slavishly copy Samsung too. The comparison is illuminating. In the hand, the £399 Honor 10 feels uncannily like the Samsung Galaxy S9. Huawei really excels at the art of maximising the display as a proportion of the …

  1. Herring`

    Even on a sunny day, Parliament is not orange.

    Arlene Foster might beg to differ

    1. djstardust

      Under glass finger scanner

      Isn't very good from what I'm reading on Twitter

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Under glass finger scanner

        @djstardust

        It's a cheap Chinese phone: compromises have to be made and corners will have to be cut.

        People who buy cheap phones don't mind these niggling problems: price determines their spending, not features. As long as the entire product is functional, is put together fairly decently and without horrid problems (e.g. LG's infamous bootloops and Note 7's exploding battery), it's going to be acceptable.

        People who mind these niggling problems wouldn't consider buying them in the first place.

        Buy what you like, and buy what you need.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      "Arlene Foster might beg to differ"

      I'd say it'd be easier to list the things she does agree with, but I haven't the time to go through all the no's to get to the one yes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £340 buys you a lot of blow.

    <gags>

  3. Sheepykins

    "£340 buys you a lot of blow."

    And a good 6 months in rehab

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phone or camera?

    Is it a phone or is it a camera or some mixed up intermediate object?

    If I want to take photos I use a DSLR with the correct lens, if I want to make a phone call - the main use of a phone - I use a phone. This Honor 10 is supposed to be a phone yet we do not hear anything about its ability to make calls in low signal and or noisy areas. In turn we do hear a lot about taking photos which I assume is supposed to be a secondary function.

    Come on, if you are reviewing a phone at least talk about how it acts as a phone. Some of us have to try to use our phones in places with almost no signal and, I for one, would like to know how well any phone does in those situations - we can't all borrow different phones to try them out, we leave that to the reviewer to do for us.

    1. Richard 22

      Re: Phone or camera?

      The main use of my "phone" is definitely not to make phonecalls. That might have been true before smartphones, but hasn't really been true for getting on for 10 years (for me, and I suspect most others). Connectivity features (including voice) are essentially standard/commoditised these days, and I'd only expect a review to dwell on anything outside the norm for an Android device. The reviewer in this case _does_ mention both SIMs can use LTE, can be split for voice/data if required, and the speaker volume and call quality are all mentioned.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Phone or camera?

        It's only by historical accident that we call things 'phones' and not 'PDAs' or some such.

        An when it comes to personal gadgetry, people have been carrying pocket cameras (not DSLRs) around for far longer than they have phones. Transistor radios and Walkmans ditto.

    2. TheRealRoland
      Meh

      Re: Phone or camera?

      You know, i kinda disagree. I live by this rule: The Best Camera is NOT the One You Have With You.

      When i walk around, on hikes, through town, other places, i'm certainly not always carrying my DSLR with me. But i see stuff where i would say 'damn, that's the money shot',. And try to get as best a shot with the camera i have on me - mostly my phone. But that makes that whole experience even better: you see something worthy of capturing, you have less than optimal gear with you, so then if the result is better than you expected, even better!

      I live nearby a municipal airport where sometimes military planes do flybys. I use my 500mm zoomlens and not my phone for that. Phone would be useless; but then when going for static shots of those planes on the ground - that zoom lens is completely useless. I'm happy I have my phone with me, and that my phone takes pretty good quality photos (or is it the guy behind the camera...)

      So to focus (geddit?) on picture quality in a smartphone review - totally warranted.

    3. juice Bronze badge

      Re: Phone or camera?

      "Is it a phone or is it a camera or some mixed up intermediate object"

      It's a PDA which has a camera, a phone and various other things bolted onto it. And it's been like that for the best part of a decade.

      Be interesting to see if anyone's done any analysis on what people actually use their mobile phones for. Given the way that screen-sizes keep creeping up, it's pretty clear that "visual" activities (e.g. social media and photographs) generally take precedence over "audio-only" activities.

      Mind you, as regards call quality: there was this part of the article...

      "The sound is surprisingly strong, with notifications and ringtones clear and loud

      ...

      Call quality and radio reception, it is customary to report on a Huawei-made device, are first rate. Both SIM slots support LTE, and the Honor offers to keep your internet data going on one SIM while you talk on the other."

      Admittedly, some more detail would be nice, but TBH, does any reviewer cover call quality in any depth these days? Wouldn't be that hard to throw together an app to poll for signal strength/location every X seconds, and then go for a wander through some terrain with various signal-blocking traits.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Phone or camera?

      You will find most people take more photos with their phone than they make phone calls. Also estimates suggest that there are about a trillion photographs taken a year. Only a tiny fractio of these are taken with a DSLR.

      1. jmarked

        Re: Phone or camera?

        It really seems the trend. Manufacturers mostly focus on features for entertainment and gaming capabilities of their phones.

    5. handleoclast

      Re: Phone or camera?

      Is it a phone or is it a camera or some mixed up intermediate object?

      You must be new here. The reviewer is Andrew Orlowski. He only reviews cameras. Often cameras with unnecessary bells and whistles, such as the ability to make phone calls, but he's a camera reviewer.

      Well, that's how it often seems.

      1. Jan 0

        Re: Phone or camera?

        Come back Catherine Monfils, there's nothing to forgive!

  5. James 51 Silver badge

    How does it compare to a S8?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      No much difference in appearance of S8 and S9 save for the location of the finger print sensor

  6. Chz

    "The problem is it makes the phone as slippery as a bar of soap."

    When I got my Honor 8, I was dead certain that Huawei had somehow found a bin full of the PLA's research into frictionless materials. On almost any surface, with even the slightest divergence from the horizontal, it will eventually slide off and onto the floor.

    On the plus side, despite being an all-glass design, it's handled being bashed about incredibly well.

    1. Friendly Neighbourhood Coder Dan

      @Chz Re: "The problem is it makes the phone as slippery as a bar of soap."

      Reminds me of my Nexus 4 - I thought whoever made it ( LG? ) had invented a material with a negative coefficient of friction

      1. DarkwavePunk

        Re: @Chz "The problem is it makes the phone as slippery as a bar of soap."

        Ahh, the Nexus 4. Had one of those. I swear the bloody thing actually levitated if put on a glass table. Entertaining games of phone air hockey anyway.

        1. jmarked

          Re: @Chz "The problem is it makes the phone as slippery as a bar of soap."

          My brother got one and it really seems to levitate on glass.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fail ?

    Following other commentards points, I think we've got as far as we are going to get with any "camera" functionality in a smartphone.

    Just for anecdata, my lad has an older Samsung (S3 ?), and is a massive skateboarding nut.

    Every time we see each other, he'll show me a clip taken of his latest skating exploits.

    With the fact that he's always liked his art, and so has a good eye anyway, I am blown away every time by the sheer quality of what a "phone" can do in terms of video. First off it's HD (naturally). Then it's quite capable of handling 24fps, so the whizzy bits look good. But not only that. It can apply filters in real time - so he can press a button to enter a "slow-mo" mode, catching jumps, loops, and acrobatics. Something which even 10 years ago would have needed specialist - eye wateringly expensive - kit.

    I really can't see what more can be done camera-wise.

    Now battery life, scrunched screens and fiddly UIs on the other hand ....

    1. juice Bronze badge

      Re: Fail ?

      Things are pretty impressive these days when it comes to mobile phone cameras - I've seen friends making professional-looking music videos on an iPhone, and I had a fairly friendly discussion with someone on here a few weeks ago, about the fact that mobile phone camera-quality is generally Good Enough to occasionally obviate the need for a DSLR camera.

      Mind you, there's still plenty which can be done to improve things. The lens is small, the sensor is small, and for all the software tricks that people are throwing at the problem, there's limits to how much more you can enhance the output and compensate for low-light conditions - when it comes to the latter, I don't count things like the P20's "stand still for X seconds" approach to be a valid solution at all!

      You can see this in the way that most of the manufacturers are throwing a second lens onto the back, either to provide optical zoom (Apple), wide-angle views (LG), and the variable-aperture mechanism on the Samsung S9.

      Or in the extreme case, the 16(!) lenses on the back of the Light L16 (https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/4/10/17218758/light-l16-review-camera-photos)

      Still, barring some breakthrough in physics, I'm guessing we're likely to only see incremental physical camera improvements in the next few - it's why Huawei, LG and others are starting to big up their post-processing "AI" software!

  8. GreggS

    But what about all the data going back and forth to China? Trump obviously knows something we don't.

    1. storner
      Holmes

      Just leveling the power balance. Trump gets my data from Google, Xi gets it from Huawei. Let them fight over it ...

  9. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    Pre installed

    How much preinstalled c£AP is on it ? Samsung are bad enough... I just want a bare android phone with zero crud or click here to use a Samsung account etc.

    1. GIRZiM

      Re: Pre installed

      I just want a bare android phone with zero crud or click here to use a Samsung account etc

      If you're not looking for flagship and don't need a top of the line camera then the Motorola Moto G phones might be what you're after. And, having said that, the G4 had a surprisingly good camera for the money. They come with pretty much stock Android with a handful of completely ignorable apps like Docs/Sheets/Outlook and a couple of genuinely useful (but eminently ignorable, if you prefer) extra features.

      If you don't mind 'budget', you might find them worth a look.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pre installed

      My last phone was an Honor 6X and it came with about the same amount as HTC, but less overall than Samsung. It also has MIUI which I think is actually nicer than HTC and Samsung Touchwiz, but these are personal preferences.

  10. Jon 84

    Are you sure face smoothing is something you're "stuck with"?

    It's an option on the Honor 9 too but can be disabled.

  11. 89724105116719271590214I9405670349743096734346773478647852349863592355648544996313855148583659264921 Bronze badge

    Banana GBH

    It looks like it fell down the stairs.... Does the reviewer purchase fruit as validation? Items ultimately forgotten about immediately after checkout? Or maybe El Reg should be paying you more?

  12. Barry Rueger

    Stuff that matters

    It strikes me that two things come to mind when reading these reviews, both of which tend to be ignored.

    1) How close is the UI to stock Android (especially the locations for various settings!), or have they "improved" it in new and inexplicable ways?

    2) What's the record for continued and timely software updates?

  13. cmaurand

    Yawn

    Is there anything new on the market? This is so meh.

    1. jmarked

      Re: Yawn

      There are probably no new ones coming up these days but the upgraded ones.

  14. Benjamin 4

    Too Much

    £399 still feels like £200 too expensive to me. Traditionally I have always bought flagships, but phones are so stupidly expensive for what I want these days.

    1. jmarked

      Re: Too Much

      Definitely expensive for a device that will become outdated after a year or two.

  15. dajames Silver badge

    Overspecified

    The phone makers all seem to me to have taken leave of their senses. They concentrate on high-end phones that are too big, ludicrously over-specified, and coated with bling, and stuffed full of bloatware. They (perhaps understandably) charge extortionate prices for them -- and then fail to support them for any appreciable length of time.

    There are some more modestly sized and priced phones available, that omit most of the unnecessary junk -- but they invariably also compromise in some area that I do actually care about.

    Offer me a phone with no more than a 5" normal FHD screen, with a μSD-card slot* and a removable battery, and I'll pay attention. If it's also waterproof and takes two SIMs (as well as the μSD, not instead) then I'm interested. If it's also free of bloatware (Bixby, Samsung? No thanks!) and is guaranteed to receive timely updates for a few years I may actually be prepared to pay the asking price.

    Offer me a phone that won't fit in my pocket and has a screen with more pixels than I can see, but which needs a discrete GPU to drive and gobbles the battery then I'm less impressed. Glue the battery in and fill the ROM with non-removable software that I'll never use (but which will pester me to updates it every few days) and I'll be sure you've lost the plot.

    Camera? Yes, I find it handy to have a camera on a phone. It won't replace my pocket camera or my DSLR, but it'll be useful at times. All I ask is that the rear-facing camera be good enough to make a readable copy of an A4 page (around 6-8MPix). I don't feel the need to pay for more ...

    * Actually, now that Android makes you choose between internal storage and removable storage when setting up a μSD card I think Android phones need TWO slots, one for each format. If a phone has sufficient (64GB+) internal flash it may be enough just to have removable storage, but the cheaper phones seem to have standardized on 16GB, and definitely need two slots.

  16. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Maybe because i don't use my phones camera a lot i think the photos from this Honor 10 are perfectly acceptable. If i were a professional photographer then probably the photos wouldn't be good enough to use in a project but for a large percentage of people who will just take 'selfies' to post on social media they look fine.

    On the other hand the removal of the SD card slot is a major fail, On a recent London trip my girlfriend spent ages deleting stuff from her iPhone so she could take some more photos and videos. Where as if my phone was full I could walk into 100s of local shops and pick up a Micro SD card for a few quid and give me another 8/16/32/64GB of storage in my phone. I wouldn't purchase another phone unless it had an SD card slot, it can't be more than a few pennies to have one included and they don't take up a huge amount of space.

  17. RFC822
    FAIL

    Wireless charging...

    ... is only a "nice to have"????

    Are you one of those antediluvian people who actually feel the need to stick a piece of wire into their phone in order to charge its battery? Do you also use wired headphones, an external aerial, etc?

    In this day and age, wireless charging is an essential, not a "nice to have", and its omission from this (or any other handset) is a terminal fail in my book.

  18. Cuddles Silver badge

    What did the Roman's ever do for us?

    "it's probably easier to explain what you don't get, that a top-end flagship offers. Compared to Huawei's own much more expensive £599 Huawei P20, the Honor 10 lacks optical image stabilisation – but that's about it. Samsung offers a superior OLED display panel, super slow mo at 960fps, waterproofing, and wireless charging for £300 more."

    So apart from a better screen (both resolution and quality), better camera, faster processor, expandable storage, waterproofing, wireless charging, Bluetooth 5, ANT+, Galileo support, iris scanning, and the aqueduct, what did the Galaxy S9 ever do for us?

    Sure, you can argue about whether you really need or want those things, but that's quite a decent list of things you don't get that a flagship offers, and I doubt I've covered everything there even having added a few the "review" missed. And this rather highlights the issue that mid-range phones always tend to have - if you don't actually want any of those extras, why would you buy this instead of something like a Moto G5 at less than half the price?

    1. Glenturret Single Malt

      Re: What did the Roman's ever do for us?

      The Roman's. That's Chelsea FC isn't it?

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: What did the Roman's ever do for us?

        Balls. What did greengrocer's ever do for us?

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