Update: After Google suspended Huawei's future access to Android Play Store and security updates, there are serious question marks over the future of Huawei and Honor phones.
While Google and Huawei have promised to support phones currently on the market, it's not clear how long they'll receive Android updates or access to the Google Play Store, which would severely curtail their usefulness compared to the competition.
Honor always aims to produce flagship devices that offer top-end specs for a lower price than the competition, and the company succeeded in creating a great phone with the 4.5-star Honor 9 last year.
A lot has happened in smartphone world since last year though. The notch has become a staple of top-end devices, as has the 18:9 aspect ratio display, and that’s not to mention new processors with AI built in, and recent Android upgrades.
Other than having a lower price, the Honor 10 has a lot in common with another recently launched flagship, the Huawei P20. That’s because Huawei is the parent company of Honor, and that means a lot of what you see on the flagship Huawei phones makes its way to the headline Honor devices.
If we had to describe its relationship to the Huawei P20, we’d say the Honor 10 is its cousin rather than a sibling – it looks similar but is missing a few features, and has that lower price to make up for it.
Honor 10 price and release date
- The Honor 10 price is set at £399.99 (about $540, AU$720)
- We don't expect it to be released in Australia or the US
In some markets you're able to buy the Honor 10 now. In the UK it's currently available directly from Honor as well as a variety of third-party retailers and Three UK.
SIM-free the phone costs £399.99 (about $540, AU$720) in the UK, and we don’t expect the phone to launch in either the US or Australia, as previous Honor flagships haven’t always made it to those countries.
The UK price is £20 more than the Honor 9, which launched at £379.99, but you may consider the spec upgrade here worth the markup, and it’s still a lot cheaper than other flagship devices; the Huawei P20, for example, is a third more expensive in the UK at £599.99.
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.
If you don’t want these more exotic color choices there are always the more traditional-looking Black and Glacier Grey options.
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.
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 new VIVO X20 Plus concept device, 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 – it doesn’t appear to be any less accurate as a result of being under the glass.
That said, we didn’t find ourselves using the fingerprint scanner very much, as there’s also face-unlock technology, which identifies you mere seconds after you press the on button.
We found this to work quite well, identifying our face from different angles and it wouldn’t unlock for other people. It didn't always work when wearing sunglasses though, so this isn't as impressive as the scanner on the iPhone X.
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.