Huawei Honor 3C review

5 inches of HD, quad-core Android phone for just £110

Honor 3C
A well specced budget blower

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At the 'cheap as chips' end of the smartphone spectrum, there are honestly not many worthwhile phones to consider beyond the recent incredibly successful budget models from Motorola.

With the Honor 3C, Huawei has managed to pack an impressive list of specifications into a phone that'll cost you less than half the price of anything similar from the more highly-regarded Android brands such as Samsung or HTC.

A quad-core processor, good quality HD screen and 8MP snapper are enough to meet the demands of most casual users, while the dual micro-SIM capability might be genuinely appealing for travellers on a budget, or tight-fisted business types.

The build quality is also better than I had anticipated - feeling solid in the hand without feeling either too heavy or so light as to make it feel overly cheap. If you're looking for an alternative to highly-acclaimed Motorola Moto G, and don't mind the quirkiness of Huawei's Emotion UI, then the Honor 3C might just be one to consider.

We liked

The decent-sized screen has punchy colours and a high enough resolution to make the interface, apps and photos appear crisp and clear.

The solid build, responsive buttons and a removable - but not poorly fitted - back plate that gives access to the good capacity battery, microSD and dual microSIMs, are all features that are worthy of a big thumbs up.

Though the Emotion UI isn't for everyone, the added features of the 'Gloves mode', easy-to-use power saving options and variety of themes make it more tolerable than you might think.

We disliked

The inclusion of such an old version of Android is almost unforgiveable. We'd have expected Android 4.4 as an absolute minimum - even if Huawei have been cutting corners to keep the Honor 3C in budget.

Rear camera quality is nothing to write home about, neither is the audio fidelity from the single rear speaker or lack of 4G support. A quad-core processor might sound good in the marketing blurb, but at 1.3GHz it's not exactly any kind of powerhouse. Overall the components feel like they've probably been rescued from a bin of 3 year-old phone parts.

Using the phone at night and in a darker room, the lack of back-lighting for the capacitive buttons became an increasing frustration. Sure you'll learn their order eventually, but even cheapy handsets like the Huawei Ascend G330 include backlit buttons.

Final verdict

When you're looking at a smartphone costing merely £110, you simply can't knock the Honor 3C's quality and specification. As I've mentioned previously, beyond the Motorola Moto G there's little else worth considering in this price bracket.

Of course, you can spend a little closer to £200 and get something nicer looking or from a more well known brand, but if all you seek is a smartphone with a reasonable sized HD screen and enough oomph to watch video, play the odd game or browse the internet, then the Honor 3C ticks enough boxes to be worth a punt.

First reviewed: December 2014