Honor 10 review

The notch lands in the mid-range

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Interface and reliability

  • Comes running Android 8 Oreo software, but disguised with Emotion UI
  • Looks different to most other modern Android smartphones
  • No app drawer by default, but you can activate one in the Settings

The Honor 10 comes with the latest Android 8.1 Oreo software on board, but it’s hidden behind Huawei’s own custom overlay, Emotion UI 8.1.

That means the interface will look quite different to what you’ve seen on other phones (unless you’ve had a Huawei or Honor in the past) and it may take some getting used to.

For example, by default there isn’t an app drawer on the Honor 10. Instead you have to scroll through the main screens to organize your apps. 

You can tinker with the settings to add an app drawer, but it takes some know-how to find and enable the option.

Emotion UI 8.1 looks much better than it did on Honor devices a few years ago, and there are plenty of customization options, so you can make it look how you want it to by changing your background, theme and more.

Google Pay didn’t work on the device we’ve been using, but the phone does come with NFC so it should be able to support it. We've been told from Honor this is a teething issue and it will be fixed for the final release of the phone, so we'll be sure to check back to see it works later.

Movies, music and gaming

  • Crisp display offers an enjoyable video watching experience
  • 3.5mm headphone jack means you can use wired headphones
  • Impressive gaming performance and load times

The crisp display on the Honor 10 makes watching video an enjoyable experience, but we’ve found that a lot of apps don’t make use of the full display.

The notch doesn’t get in the way of the action, but the areas of screen either side of the notch at the top of the display (or the side, depending on how you’re holding it) are blacked out when you’re watching video, so are effectively wasted.

Video looks good thanks to the bright and clear screen, and the viewing angles are particularly impressive, which is useful if you’re watch a video with someone else.

You can connect a Bluetooth headset to listen to audio, but a welcome feature of the Honor 10 is that there’s still a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the phone. A lot of flagship devices are losing that tech now, but if you have a wired headset you’ll be pleased to know that it’ll work here without an adapter.

There’s a single speaker at the bottom of the phone, and that means it’s quiet easy to cover it when you’re holding the device. The speaker delivers sufficient volume and the audio quality is okay, but if you want a device with kick-ass speakers this isn’t it.

Injustice 2 running on the Honor 10

Injustice 2 running on the Honor 10

We’ve done a little gaming on the phone and found that Injustice 2, which is a very graphically intensive fighting game ran very well. The graphics looked great and levels loaded quickly, so this will suit you if you want to play the odd mobile game.

Performance and benchmarks

  • Uses the Hisilicon Kirin 970 chipset we saw in the Huawei P20
  • Either 4GB or 6GB RAM storage options
  • Choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage

The latest and greatest chipset from Huawei is inside the Honor 10. It’s called the Hisilicon Kirin 970, and it is the powerhouse processor we saw inside the Huawei P20 when that was released earlier this year.

We’ve found that it provides plenty of grunt here too, with the Honor 10 doing everything we’ve asked of it. We haven’t had any noticeable performance issues with the phone and we haven’t had any noticeable performance issues in our time with the phone.

Honor has announced the phone with either 4GB or RAM or 6GB for markets around the world. We’ve used the 4GB version and not experienced any issues, and we don’t expect you’ll find any either if you buy this phone.

Running benchmarks on the Honor 10, we found it scored an average of 6570 multi-core in Geekbench 4. That's worse than what we saw on the Honor 9 last year (that scored 6633) but that was the 6GB of RAM version.

We've yet to test the higher RAM variant of the Honor 10 as it's not available in the UK, but we'd expect that to be significantly higher if you can find the 6GB RAM version.

We particularly like that the standard version of the Honor 10 comes with 128GB of storage onboard. In some markets you’ll also be able to buy it with 64GB, but we recommend opting for the larger capacity, as it’s very unlikely that you’ll fill it up even with all your media and apps onboard.

It’s worth emphasising here that there’s no microSD support, so there’s no way of increasing your phone’s storage if you go for the smaller version.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.