Our Verdict

It may not sell by the truck load, but early signs are positive for anyone who's tempted to buy the Honor Holly.

For

  • Low cost
  • Decent screen and power
  • Good battery life
  • Dual-SIM and microSD

Against

  • Emotion UI not for everyone
  • No LTE
  • Lacklustre design

At the back end of 2014 Huawei announced plans for its new Honor brand. Huawei launched this new, young and hip line, promising devices that were "not afraid to do things differently". But several months later and the company has yet to show what it's aiming to do that the others aren't. Is the Honor Holly its overdue statement of intent?

The Honor 6 was the first flagship device for the new brand and it's now been followed up by the first affordable option under the Honor moniker. The Holly boasts some all-round impressive specs, but the real highlight is the low price of £89.99.

But this category has some stiff competition, including the, Lumia 535, Moto E and Moto G at similar price points. Does the Honor Holly stand a chance?

Honor Holly review

Huawei's Honor Holly isn't the most premium looking handset available on the market but it's quite well built considering how much it costs.

The phone fits perfectly in the palm, allowing for reasonably easy access to most of the phone's 5-inch display, although it could cause some problems for those with smaller hands. Along the bottom sit three hardware buttons for back, home and list functions.

The buttons are easy to reach, but there's no vibration feedback to tell you when you've pressed correctly. That sometimes left me jabbing at the button repeatedly before I realised I was pressing the wrong part of the screen.

Honor Holly review

The back of the phone is a plastic removable panel with the Honor logo, the camera sitting in the middle at the top, an LED flash to its left and a speaker vent at the bottom left.

I had a white review unit, which has a much more vibrant look than the duller black version. Compared to metal or glass backing, the plastic gives a good level of grip.

Unfortunately it's also a magnet for fingerprints, and the white edition showed those off spectacularly, filling the back with smudges that were a real challenge to remove.

Honor Holly review

The Honor Holly has rounded corners, giving it a Nexus 5-esque shape with plastic edges that allow the back panel to sit flush to the handset and made me almost forget it was removable.

That said, getting the back panel off the phone proved incredibly difficult. If you're regularly switching in SIMs or microSD cards, you'll likely find it a pain (although as the Holly is dual-SIM, you can avoid doing this too much).

Honor Holly review

On the top edge sits the 3.5mm headphone jack while the left hand side is free from any hardware buttons whatsoever. The bottom edge houses the microUSB port for charging and data connections.

Midway down on the right hand edge is a metal power button to toggle the screen on and off, sitting perfectly for your thumb to hit one handed. Sat just above that is the volume rocker, also metal – tiny details that suggest quality in a generally basic handset.

Bezels on the front of the handset are pretty thick, meaning there's quite a bit of wasted space across the front. Along the top on the left you'll also find the front facing camera. The earpiece is in the centre of the top bezel.

The Honor Holly comes with a 5-inch display with a 720 x 1280 pixel resolution and a 294ppi. It's an IPS LCD touchscreen that shows colours well. Brightness is tolerable at 50%, but you'll need to turn it up to full for the best performance.

Honor Holly review

Viewing angles can cause problems, especially in bright sunlight, but it's an impressive display that makes video content look really good and it offers stiff competition for other handsets in this price range.

Huawei's main selling point with the Honor collection is a fashionable set of mid-range spec devices and a nice low price point.

The handset is also dual-SIM, meaning you can have two different numbers on the same phone. However, only one of these can have a data connection.

Honor Holly review

As for storage, there is 16GB onboard, with 12.9GB free after firmware. This is more than most competing handsets offer, and if you additional storage there's also a microSD slot that takes cards up to 32GB.

It's a shame you can't go any higher considering the vast majority of handsets now offer either 64GB or 128GB, but 32GB is likely to suffice unless you're a media heavy user.