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Honor Holly 2 Plus Review

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Since the power bank demand has been increased in India, the batteries are getting bigger and better on the budget oriented devices. The Honor Holly 2 carries a big battery pack of 4000 mAh. It is launched in India at an affordable price of ₹8,499. As the battery is doubled, the hardware and camera are also noticeably grown compared to its predecessor ‘Honor Holly’. Let’s find out if the smartphone does it well with the new improvements in our Honor Holly 2 Plus review.

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Honor Holly 2 Plus Specifications and Features

  • Display: 5-inch IPS HD Display (5-point multi-touch)
  • Software: Android 5.1 (Lollipop) with EMUI 3.1
  • CPU: 1.3 GHz quad-core processor (Cortex A-53), MediaTek MT6735P SoC
  • GPU: Mali T-720
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Storage: 16 GB internal, Micro SD expandable up to 128 GB
  • Main Camera: 13 MP autofocus with an LED flash
  • Front Camera: 5 MP
  • Connectivity: Micro USB port, Micro SD slot, 3.5 mm headset jack, Bluetooth v4.0 LE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS/AGPS, GLONASS
  • Sensors: Proximity, Ambient, Accelerometer
  • Network: CDMA, 4G LTE support, Dual SIM card slots (GSM/CDMA + GSM/CDMA)
  • Battery: 4000 mAh (non-removable)
  • Others: Quick Charge, Smart Power 3.0, Reverse charging (can be used as a power bank)
  • Dimensions: 143.1 mm × 71.8 mm × 9.7 mm
  • Weight: 160 grams
  • Color Variant: Grey, White, Gold

Design and Build

The 5-inch handset looks quite different than its predecessor and the build is solid. Weighs around 160 grams and 9.7 mm thick, it feels decent in the hands. The battery has been grown doubled from 2000 mAh on Honor Holly to 4000 mAh on the Honor Holly 2 Plus.

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The removable back has a nice textured design that gives a different look with different lighting conditions yet it’s a plastic material. The back doesn’t pick up fingerprints as well. It gives you a good grip and won’t slip easily from your hands. The 4000 mAh battery isn’t actually user-replaceable. Furthermore, the back camera is of 13 MP with an LED flash and there you can see a small microphone above it.

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The front part has a dotted textured design when you look closely. The Honor Holly 2 Plus is made of plastic materials and hence you will find a plastic frame on the sides that looks like metal from a distance. The big space at the bottom is a waste since there are no touch buttons. You have to end up using the onscreen navigation buttons only. It may not be comfortable for some users.

The top area also comprises of a 5 MP camera with proximity and ambient light sensors. There you have a tiny LED light just before the camera.

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Plastic Frame Looks Metallic
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Dotted Texture Design On The Front
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Touch Keys Below Are Removed

On the top, you have nothing but a 3.5 mm audio jack while the bottom has 2 speaker grills and a Micro USB port. Mind that the loudspeaker is only in the left grill but the other grill holds a microphone.

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Top
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Bottom

The volume rocker and power button on the right are very bold giving you a good feedback. Moving to the other side, there are no buttons.

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Right
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Left

The Honor Holly 2 Plus supports GSM as well as CDMA SIM cards. Please note that each slot can be either used for a GSM SIM card or a CDMA SIM card. A big plus one for its 2 different network connectivity. As the storage is a decent 16 GB, it can be expanded up to 128 GB using the given Micro SD slot.

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Back Cover Is Removable, Battery Isn’t
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Supports GSM And CDMA On Each SIM Slot

Display

The Honor Holly 2 Plus flaunts a 5-inch IPS HD display that doesn’t offer a protective glass hence it is highly vulnerable to scratches and fingerprints. The touch response is weak and you have to press a bit harder on the screen. It is due to the rough surface of the screen. The screen has, of course, 1280 x 720 pixels resolution which seems good for a 5-inchers and great for long battery runtime.

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Missing A Strong Protective Glass

The brightness on the Holly 2 Plus is quite fair for its price. The color reproduction is good giving you less saturation retaining the original colors but it misses the clear blacks. It is likely to be expected since it’s an IPS display, not an AMOLED display. Viewing from different angles is adequate, reading texts and viewing images from different angles are okay.

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Software Features and UI

The Honor Holly 2 Plus runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop with the same EMUI 3.1 skin that is offered in other Honor smartphones yet the software on the Holly has less obvious features comparatively. The interface is customized in every other way to give you more than just Android stock experience.

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The interface doesn’t feature an app drawer and all the apps can be accessible from the homescreen itself.

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The emergency service (SOS) on the Holly 2 Plus alerts the contact that you have specified by sending the SMS alerts and play SOS alarm tones. We added a contact number and set the shortcut key to Volume up + Power button, and it immediately started sending SMS multiple times to the defined contact.

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Emergency SOS

The homescreen style can be however changed from standard to simple mode. The interface on the Holly 2 also supports themes as seen in the honor lineups.

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Furthermore, the Honor Holly 2 Plus supports a few gesture-based features like flip to mute and shake to rearrange the icons on the homescreen. The software interface on Honor 5X and Honor 7 has added gestures which lack in the Holly 2 Plus. The Navigation bar can be used inverted to change the buttons from left to right or vice versa. Other smartphones may not give you such options unless you are on custom ROMs. The only thing that we missed here is the floating dock that was available on the Honor 7 and Honor 5X.

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The apps can be protected from turning off automatically when the phone sleeps under the protected apps setting. Can be a useful trait when you have a lot of apps installed and run in the background. In addition, the apps that use the network to connect to the internet can be controlled just like the iPhones.

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The preinstalled Phone Manager app is the all in one app to control notifications, clean storage, accelerate the phone, save battery on the Holly 2 Plus.

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Preinstalled Phone Manager App

Hardware and Performance

The Honor Holly 2 Plus is powered by a MediaTek MT6735P SoC that includes a 1.3 GHz quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor with 2 GB RAM and a Mali-T720 GPU. The specifications have noticeably changed way better than its predecessor, the Honor Holly which had used a 1 GB RAM module instead and a 32-bit ARMv7 Cortex-A7 from old MediaTek Soc.

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The performance on the Holly was exceptionally good, we face very few lags while multitasking but overall good performer when you use it moderately. We ran several popular apps and there are no crash reports from the tested apps.

The AnTuTu benchmark scored 33787 points. Geekbench scored 615 points (single-core) and 1848 points (multi-core) that appear to be somewhat better than Snapdragon 410 Soc smartphones. Check the full Geekbench 3 benchmark test of the Honor Holly 2 Plus.

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Games Tested on Honor Holly 2 Plus

  • Asphalt Nitro
  • Cut The Rope
  • Duet
  • Traffic Rider

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So Honor Holly 2 does play games but shows entry level performance indulging a bit mainstream gaming but graphic intensive games may lag and perform slower. The Holly 2 Plus is good for casual gaming, not for extreme gaming.

The 2 GB RAM is enough for day to day use. Unlike the Samsung phones that take around half of the memory by its TouchWiz software, the software on the Honor Holly 2 Plus takes less than 300 MB of RAM which is superb. We also achieved a whopping 44 MB of RAM usage by the system in an idle state. We felt that the software is very light on the Holly 2 Plus. The remaining free amount RAM can be used by other apps installed. In our cases, other 250 MB of RAM was used by the only 2 battery gobbling Facebook apps hence, got 1.1 GB of RAM available to use.

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Software Uses Less RAM

The temperature on the Holly 2 Plus remains cool while gaming. The temperature according to the HW Monitor is 35 degrees with moderate use.

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Camera

The camera on the Honor Holly 2 Plus is upgraded to 13 MP F2.0 back and 5 MP F2.2 front compared to its older generation Honor Holly that had 8 MP back and 2 MP front. The camera is good for the price but not the best. You may have noticed that, in terms of megapixels, Holly 2 Plus has the same 13 MP camera that its bigger brother Honor 5X has, but yeah, the performance is not alike.

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13 MP With LED Flash

The camera software is again trimmed down removing most of the useful modes that are found in the Honor 7 and Honor 5X. An HDR and Panorama mode is all you have. Other camera settings are available like White balance, ISO, Image adjustment that deals with the exposure, saturation, brightness, and contrast.

One of the best features we found in the Holly 2 Plus is the Ultra Snapshot. By pressing the Volume down button two times, when the phone is in the locked state, will instantly open the camera and capture the photo from the main camera. How cool is that?

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We captured some photos in different lighting conditions to check the performance of the camera and here are the results.

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HDR

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HDR

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HDR
HDR
HDR

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With Flash
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5 MP Front Camera

In daylight conditions, the normal mode did not over expose the images while the HDR mode aids the images to look brighter in dark areas. In low light, the noise can be seen yet creates a sharper image. It doesn’t catches too many details but can be a good one if you aren’t too worried about the details. The colors are accurate but with low contrast. However, it can be tweaked from the camera settings. The camera doesn’t record 1080p videos rather 720p. The front has a 5 MP camera that is only good for taking selfies. The front camera doesn’t support autofocus. It doesn’t support many modes as well. The performance of the front camera is mediocre.

The bottom line is while the camera performance is decent for the price, it is not the best in its segment. There are other smartphones that have better camera package like the ASUS Zenfone Max.

Call Quality and Audio

Calling on the Honor Holly 2 Plus is acceptable, we tested the call quality and found to be pretty good but not great. In silent environments, you can hear the voice clearly but in noisy places, it is not great. Nevertheless, using the earphones will help you out.

The loudspeakers performance is excellent, the mono speaker located on the left grill sounds loud and clear with no distortion.

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Storage and Connectivity

The Honor Holly 2 Plus comes with 16 GB of internal storage which can be expanded additionally up to 128 GB using Micro SD. The 10.74 GB internal storage is usable for the users, the rest is taken by the system.

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It features Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.0, GPS, USB OTG but missing the NFC connectivity. Well, in most cases, the NFC isn’t actually required unless you use any accessory, hence, can be ignored. There are 3 sensors available on the handset – Accelerometer, Proximity, and Ambient Light.

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Battery Life

The Honor Holly 2 Plus houses a large 4000 mAh non-removable battery. Because it has a big battery, we have done some battery tests to see how the battery performs. To make it simple for you, it can last more than 3 days on mix usage on a single charge. The Holly 2 Plus uses a battery-friendly hardware giving you ample of battery juice when you use it on a daily basis. On a light usage, you can expect it to run 4 days without a charging.

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For extending the battery life, the Holly 2 Plus gives you a power saving option under the settings. There are 3 power plans you can choose from – Performance, Smart, and Ultra.

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We installed apps and games to see how much they eat the battery. Some of them are Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, SoundCloud, Asphalt Nitro, Cut The Rope, Duet, and many. The battery results were quite great. Here’s our Honor Holly 2 Plus battery test table that gives you an overview of how much the apps consume the battery.

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video3%20 minutesAutoAirplane Mode
Cut The Rope2%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Asphalt Nitro5%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
YouTube3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
SoundCloud1%30 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Music (Offline)2%1 Hour 15 MinutesMaxAirplane Mode

Additionally, the battery can be used as a power bank. Yes! It supports reverse charging giving power to the other smartphones. It also supports fast charging, 10 minutes of battery charge gets you 3 hours of talk time.

Pricing, Variants, and Support

The Honor Holly 2 Plus is available for a price ₹8,499. There are three color variants:

  • Honor Holly 2 Plus Grey
  • Honor Holly 2 Plus White
  • Honor Holly 2 Plus Gold

As per Huawei, the Honor lineup will also get Marshmallow update. You can expect a marshmallow update on Honor Holly 2 Plus soon.

Verdict

We have seen most of the smartphones support GSM network but there are very few, in fact, rarely any smartphone available that support both CDMA and GSM network on the same SIM slot. We highly recommend Holly 2 Plus for the people who wants a CMDA support.

What the big highlight is the 4000 mAh battery that keeps the device awake longer while you are on the go. It could be better if there would be a strong scratch-proof glass over the display. Adding fingerprint scanner could make it an overall package for a budget device considering that the Honor 5X and Honor 7 have it. But as the price is kept low, the same cannot be achieved unless it’s a Coolpad Note 3.

As for the competition, cheaper smartphones like Coolpad Note 3 Lite gives a close call. Here are the competitors:

Competitors

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Added CDMA network is a plus
  • Good build
  • Decent loudspeakers
  • Light-weight software
  • Micro SD support

Cons

  • Weak display protection, Prone to fingerprints and scratches
  • Navigation buttons changed to on-screen
  • 720p video recording

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