Honor 10 Review – Premium Looks And Mightiest Performer

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This year’s flagship phone by Honor is the Honor 10 offering high-end specs with a powerful AI dual-camera at an upper mid-range price. In addition, its gorgeous glass body sums up to an overall appealing package. Honor, a sub-brand of HUAWEI, has already launched a series of smartphones in India in a span of one year, now the recently launched Honor 10 competes with the most-talked OnePlus 6. Does Honor 10 have what it takes to be the best smartphone available in its segment? We find out in our Honor 10 review.

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What’s in the Box

  • Honor 10 with built-in battery
  • USB Cable (Type-C)
  • Charger (5V, 2A | 9V, 2A)
  • SIM Tray Ejector
  • User Manual and Warranty Information

We did an unboxing video of Honor 10 in Hindi to show what contents it packs in the box.

Honor 10 Specifications

  • Display: 5.84-inch IPS LCD display, Full HD+ resolution (2280 x 1080 pixels), 19:9 aspect ratio, 432 ppi pixel density, 2.5D curved glass
  • Software: EMUI 8.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, on the front (under-glass ultrasonic scanner)
  • CPU: Up to 2.36 GHz octa-core Cortex-A73 + Cortex-A53 processor, 1x micro core i7, Kirin 970 SoC, 10nm TSMC, 64-bit, AI backed
  • GPU: Mali-G72 MP12
  • Memory: 6 GB, LPDDR4
  • Storage: 128 GB UFS-type, no microSD support
  • Rear Camera: Dual cameras, 16 MP RGB (f/1.8 aperture) + 24 MP Monochrome (f/1.8 aperture) with PDAF, 3D Portrait Lighting, AR Photos, AI Portrait Mode, Multi-Scene Recognition and LED flash
  • Front Camera: 24 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture, 3D Facial Recognition, and AI Portrait Mode
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, dual nano SIM, dual VoLTE-enabled
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C 2.0 port, 3.5 mm headphone jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
  • Audio: AK4376A 32-bit DAC, Huawei Histen, aptX HD Audio, 7.1 Channel Audio
  • Battery: 3,400 mAh, HUAWEI SuperCharge (5V, 2A | 9V, 2A)
  • Dimensions: 149.6 mm x 71.2 mm x 7.7 mm
  • Weight: 153 grams
  • Price: ₹32,999
  • Availability: Flipkart exclusive

Design, Build, & Ergonomics

In terms of design, the Honor 10 relates to the HUAWEI P20 Pro design aesthetics, it shares similar glass body. Honor 10 adopts a so-called aurora glass back that glows in Blue or Purple color when the light hits on it. This is a 15-layer glass surface that allows natural light to be reflected in 36 spectral colors.

The back has tapered edges for ergonomics, the corners are rounded, everything about the design is simply impressive, the Honor 10 is design neatly. The sides bezels are small with high-quality metallic frames. The glass on both sides is extremely glossy prone to smudges and also it might slip from the hands easily.

The front has a notch at the top that carries a camera and a couple of sensors while the bottom bezel has Home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. It’s an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner right under the glass that works even with wet fingers.

The bottom uses a USB Type-C port with loudspeakers and a 3.5 mm port for headphones. You also have the IR blaster on top. The sides carry one power and volume keys (Right) and a dual SIM tray (Left) with no option to expand the storage.

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Display

The display on the Honor 10 has been increased to 5.84-inch as compared to the Honor 8 we saw less than two years back. It now uses the new display standard with an aspect ratio of 19:9 using the Full HD+ IPS panel (2280 x 1080 pixels resolution). More importantly, it uses the bezel-less type design with a notch at the top and 2.5D curves on the front and the back. Overall, the brightness and colors are at a fairly good level, the screen content is visible in the daylight.

Not all apps may support the newer 19:9 aspect ratio, you may encounter black bars on the top and the bottom. Under display settings, you get an option to view the apps in full screen. The notch can be disabled which adds a black bar on the top of the notch area. The rest of the settings are the same offered in the previous Honor flagships.

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Software & User Interface

Honor 10 relies on the EMUI 8.1 software we already saw on the top-of-the-line HUAWEI P20 Pro. It’s based on the Android 8.1 Oreo which is currently the latest Android build and is certainly ahead in terms of software features. Google security patches are up to date.

The interface is smooth, fast and the animations are fast, most often, as usual, you see on the EMUI 8.0 found on the Honor View10. The addition of the bloatware can be removed if not required.

The Home button can be used to navigate the phone just like we saw on the HUAWEI P20 Pro and the Honor View10. You can tap it once to go back or tap and hold to go to the Homescreen. On swiping either left or right on the Home button, you can enter the recent apps menu and on swiping towards the screen will trigger the Google Assistant.

The face unlock on the phone is fast, not the fastest, but reliable, works in the low-light too. We didn’t find any issues with the face unlock unless it’s extremely dark.

EMUI also has the Hi-Fi/Histen sound effects by HUAWEI that give you a 3D audio effect while listening. You can choose from the presets – 3D audio, Hi-Fi, and Standard.

See Honor 10 EMUI 8.1 tips, tricks, and features.

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Hardware, Performance & Gaming

Adding to the performance is the Kirin 970 chip found on the flagship HUAWEI P20 Pro as well as the Honor View10. Kirin 970 is an octa-core SoC having a total of eight cores clocked at 2.36 GHz max. The Kirin 970 that stands against the Snapdragon 835 and is optimized for the AI. It is further patched with a 6 GB LPDDR4 RAM and a 128 GB UFS 2.1 internal storage with no microSD support.

Honor 10 Key Specifications

  • Display: 5.84-inch IPS LCD display, Full HD+ resolution (2280 x 1080 pixels), 19:9 aspect ratio, 432 ppi pixel density, 2.5D curved glass
  • Software: EMUI 8.1 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
  • CPU: Up to 2.36 GHz octa-core Cortex-A73 + Cortex-A53 processor, 1x micro core i7, Kirin 970 SoC, 10nm TSMC, 64-bit, AI backed
  • GPU: Mali-G72 MP12
  • Memory: 6 GB, LPDDR4
  • Storage: 128 GB UFS-type, no microSD support
  • Battery: 3,400 mAh (non-removable)

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Moving to the benchmarks, the Honor 10 is equally strong as the Moto Z2 Force and other similar phones that pack a Snapdragon 835. It’s ahead of the Vivo X21 and slightly better than the last year’s Sony Xperia XZ1 in the benchmark results. It scores 201,361 points on AnTuTu, 1,909 points (single-core CPU), 6,655 points (multi-core CPU), and 9,137 (GPU) on Geekbench 4.

AnTuTu Benchmark

  • 201,361 points

Geekbench 4

  • 1,909 points (single-core CPU)
  • 6,655 points (multi-core CPU)
  • 9,137 (GPU)

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For gamers, the Honor 10 has the most things you need, it’s power-packed with the Mali-G72 MP12 (12-core) coupled with the massive 6 GB RAM. Honor 10 won’t disappoint you by any means while gaming, most games will run fluently and without any lags.

Heating is certainly felt on the phone while charging and camera recording, but it’s sure not too hot to hold. The maximum temperature we recorded is 45 degrees.

Games Tested on Honor 10

  • MARVEL Future Fight
  • Asphalt 8: Airborne
  • Six-Guns Gang Showdown
  • Ire: Blood Memory
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MARVEL Future Fight

Storage & Memory

The storage on the phone is 128 GB just as we saw on the Honor 8 Pro and Honor View10, only one storage variant. You won’t have the option to expand it further using microSD cards, there’s no slot for that. Same goes for the competitor OnePlus 6, however, comes in 64 GB as well as 256 GB variants well.

In our storage test, the 128 GB UFS 2.1 storage has what it takes to sustain in the flagship segment, it takes on the phones that cost similar. The performance of the storage performs just as similar to the metallic Honor View10 is fast enough to compete with the expensive flagships like Samsung Galaxy S9.

Cameras

The dual cameras on the back come with AI features, there’s 16 MP + 24 MP dual-camera that packs with several camera features. The 16 MP f/1.8 is the RGB camera whereas the 24 MP f/1.8 is the Monochrome camera to capture shots in Black and White. The front side offers a 24 MP selfie camera, the one used in the HUAWEI P20 Pro, and it has a f/2.0 aperture, 3D Facial Recognition, and AI Portrait Mode.

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Honor 10 Camera Specifications

  • Camera: Dual cameras 16 MP RGB + 24 MP Monochrome, f/1.8 + f/1.8, PDAF
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): N/A
  • Rear Flash: Single LED flash
  • Features: Monochrome, AI Portrait Mode, Multi-Scene Recognition, Depth-of-field, Live Photos,AR Photos, 3D Portrait Lighting, 3D Panorama, Artist Mode, Geo-tagging, Tap to focus, HDR, Pro Photo, Pro video, Beauty Photo, Beauty video, Good food, Panorama, Night shot, Light painting, Time-lapse, Slo-mo, Filter, Burst Shot, Watermark, Audio note, Document Scan
  • Video Recording: Up to 4K video @30fps, 1080p video @60fps, 720p video @120fps, HDR support, Pro video
  • Front Camera: 24 MP
  • Video Recording: 1080p video @30fps
  • Front Flash: Screen flash

A major change in the camera is the interface which is now almost the same offered in the HUAWEI P20 Pro. The camera interface is redesigned with new features added like the AI mode, 3D Portrait Lighting, Monochrome Portrait, AR Lens, Artist mode, and more.

The AI 2.0 is the new addition to the cameras with the Multi-Scene Recognition, then there’s the 3D Portrait Lighting for selfies and portraits. The AI 2.0 camera recognizes over 500 scenarios in 22 categories in real time. It sets the modes automatically according to the scenes such as food, pet, flowers, night and various other scenes.

See Honor 10 Camera features, tips, and tricks.

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Take a look at the camera samples we took from the Honor 10 cameras.

Honor 10 Camera Samples

Battery Runtime

Honor 10 packs a 3,400 mAh with fast charging support with up to 9V and 2A rating while in other countries it’s rated 5V and 4.5A. In general, the battery on the Honor 10 runs easy enough for a day with above moderate usage and with the help of power saving modes, it can be extended additionally.

On average, we used it as a daily driver with several things like GPS, 4G data, camera, video recording, video playback and streaming and it turns out that the battery stays about 1.5 days. You can get a 2-day battery like depending on how much you use the phone and what you do on it.

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The Honor 10 battery test results below should give you an idea of how much the apps and tasks consume the battery.

Honor 10 Battery Test Results

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
4K Video3%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
YouTube (1080p)3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
MARVEL Future Fight6%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Six-Guns Gang Showdown5%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Music (Offline)1%1 HourScreen OffOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music Streaming - SoundCloud2%30 minutesScreen OffOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)

Verdict

From all the Honor flagships, be it the Honor 8 Pro, or the recent Honor View10 we saw a few months back, we have seen great things on it and the Honor 10 is no exception. It’s beautiful aurora glass design, the flagship-level performance, and a camera that takes outstanding still-photos along with AI capabilities, Monochrome shots, and some camera tricks under its sleeves.

There’s no direct comparison to the HUAWEI P20, however, most things come from it except the triple cameras. Honor 10 is no wonder upgraded in many areas, but it’s still far from perfect. There are still a few areas where Honor 10 misses out such as the water-resistant design which its competitors like OnePlus 6 have already moved on it. In addition, a better slow-motion recording would benefit from it (either 240 fps or the 480 fps).

Should you buy the Honor 10? Well, Honor 10 has all that it got that many phones can’t offer at this price, it has a strong pricing of Rs 32,999. If you are looking for a smartphone with a high-end feel, premium look, fast performance, and great cameras, then Honor 10 is ideal.

Rivals

  • OnePlus 6 – Rs 34,999 (6 GB & 64 GB), Rs 39,999 (8 GB & 128 GB)
  • Honor View10 – Rs 29,999 (6 GB & 128 GB)

Strength

  • Reflective Glass Design | Solid Build Quality
  • High Display Brightness | Great Viewing Angles
  • Remarkable Dual Camera Performance | AI-backed and plenty of features (3D Portrait Lighting, AR lens, Monochrome, Depth…)
  • Stunning Selfies & Portraits
  • Powerful Kirin 970 CPU | High-performance 6 GB RAM & 128 GB Storage
  • Fingerprint Gestures
  • Dual 4G VoLTE Support

Weakness

  • No microSD support
  • No water-resistance
  • No OIS in camera