Honor 10 review

Making excellent and affordable phones has become a time-honored tradition.

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Our Verdict

Honor continues to push the boundaries of what a mid-priced phone is capable of with the Honor 10. It has a great design, fast performance and a camera that screams flagship.

For

  • Bold, new, reflective back
  • High-end performance
  • Great Value

Against

  • No microSD support
  • Not waterproof
  • Average battery life

Although expensive flagship phones will continue to steal the headlines, it's the mainstream segment that's going to be extremely competitive this year. 

With the Honor 10, Honor continues the tradition of bringing top hardware and cutting-edge design into an affordable product. But with the likes of the Nokia 7 Plus and the Moto G6, this space is getting harder to compete in.

We've been testing the Honor 10 for the past couple of weeks and have been impressed. Powered by the Kirin 970 processor and AI cameras, you can look at it as a super beefed up version of the Huawei Nova 3e or a lighter version of the Huawei P20 which isn't surprising considering that Honor is a sub-brand of Huawei. And yes, it has a notch.

Honor 10 price and release date

  • The Honor 10 price is set at AED 1,699
  • Available in the UAE on May 22

The Honor 10 is priced at AED 1,699 (around US$460) and is going to be available on the 22nd of May. 

The Middle East variant of the phone will come with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, though different parts of the world may get a 6GB RAM option as well as a 64GB storage option.

Design and display

  • Unconventional shiny effect on the rear
  • Beautiful Full HD+ display with notch at the top
  • 3.5mm headphone jack and infrared sensor

Honor is putting a lot of focus on the design of the Honor 10, and there’s no denying this is a beautiful-looking device.

It inherits a similar look to the Twilight gradient-effect Huawei P20, but it’s slightly different here, giving you a different shade and look depending on what angle you view the back of the device from.

We’ve found it to be a bold look, which we love, although it's a look that's likely to prove divisive as it's fairly unconventional.

This shade is called Phantom Blue, while there’s also a Phantom Green option that we haven’t seen in real life but which, in press images, looks remarkably similar to the Blue.

Despite having a much larger screen the Honor 10 isn’t much bigger overall than the Honor 9, and it sits comfortably in the hand. This isn’t a huge phone, and it’s the perfect option for someone who wants a large screen but can’t comfortably get their mitts around a device like the iPhone 8 Plus.

The rear’s glass is the other big highlight design-wise as it uses 15 layers of glass to get a striking effect where light beams bounce across it. According to Honor, it takes twice as long to make as the Honor 9 did. The extra effort is well worth it though, as the rear of the phone looks and feels premium.

There's a metal trim along the edges of the Honor 10, which adds to the premium look and feel, with a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port on the bottom and the volume rocker / power button on the right-hand side.

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Honor is going for a minimalist look here, and the device feels good in the hand for that. Contributing to this is the redesigned fingerprint scanner, which, instead of being on the rear or indented on the front of the phone, now sits in the lower bezel but under the glass, so it’s flush with the display.

This isn’t like in-display scanners we’ve seen on some phones, like the Porsche Design Mate RS, but it does mean the sensor doesn’t interrupt the clean lines of the Honor 10.

There’s a subtle lozenge-shaped outline so you know where to place your finger to hit the scanner, and we found it to work accurately and fast, though it does require a bit more pressure than conventional sensors. 

The Honor 10 also has face-unlock technology, which identifies you quickly after you press the power button. We found this to work reasonably well, identifying our face from different angles and it wouldn’t unlock for other people. 

It didn't always work when wearing sunglasses or in lower lit conditions though, so this isn't as impressive as the scanner on the iPhone X or as fast the Huawei P20 Pro.

The display itself is very different to the one on the Honor 9, instead it's similar to phones we’ve seen this year and to last year’s iPhone X. It’s a 5.84-inch 19:9 display, with a notch at the top to house the front-facing camera and face-scanning tech.

The resolution of the screen is Full HD+, which essentially means you’ll get a Full HD resolution plus a few bonus pixels, as the screen is longer than previous Honor devices.

Honor’s screen here is bright, clear, and nice and vibrant, and the maximum resolution is particularly impressive.

There’s relatively little bezel around the device (apart from at the bottom, but that’s still trim) and the notch is small considering what we’ve seen on some other flagship devices. If you don’t like the notch look, you can hide it by having a black bar on either side, which will slightly reduce your screen real estate.

You won’t waste the space if you do this, as those bars still house the clock, notifications and more. There’s a lot to like about the screen.