Honor 6 Plus: Review

You may have heard of Honor, Huawei’s new brand, which focuses to sell devices online. It may seem brave to launch a new mobile brand in such a busy market, but its first phone, the Honor 6 took the market by storm.

In this review we are going to talk about the successor of the Honor 6 which was announced at CES 2015.

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I am dividing this review in seven parts – design, display, user interface + features, performance, camera, battery and finally the conclusion.

So, let’s start off with the design. The phone is available in three colors – black, white and the LTE models come in Gold; and you can see that we’ve got the black one here. The phone is mostly made of glass and metal. The front and back panels are made of glass and a metallic strip runs along the edges of the phone except the bottom, which reminded me of the Sony Xperia Z3.

On the front, you get a notification light, an earpiece and an 8 megapixel front camera, a 5.5-inch display below it and there are no capacitive buttons here so you’ll have to use the on-screen touch buttons.

There is nothing on the left side. On the right side, you can see the volume rockers, the power button, the two SIM card trays and one thing you should take note is that the MicroSD card goes in the SIM 2 slot (Nano SIM slot), which could be a little confusing. The placement of the power button is actually perfect for me as I don’t need to move my hands to turn on the phone.

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On the top there is 3.5mm audio jack, an IR blaster and a secondary noise cancellation microphone. On the bottom, you can see the micro-USB port along with the primary microphone. Now, let’s come to the back. You get a dual 8 megapixel camera setup with a LED flash, the Honor logo in the middle and the loudspeakers at the bottom. As expected, there is no branding of Huawei on the device.

When I held the phone for the first time I understood that it has a uni-body design and it actually feels nice to hold this phone. I used the Honor 6 for some months and if I compare these two phones, the Honor 6 felt a bit childish to hold. While both the phones have a thickness of 7.5 mm, the Honor 6 Plus is a lot heavier than its predecessor, but feels well built.

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Let’s come to the display part. As I said earlier, the Honor 6 Plus comes with a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. One more thing to note is that there is no Gorilla Glass protection on the screen which is a thumbs-down. But you get two screen guards in the box. The bezels are thin and the screen is a bit saturated but you could feel the crispness of the screen just after powering on the phone because of the cool wallpapers, and truly I love the display.

The touch-screen is smooth and responsive; the viewing angles are nice and I didn’t face the issue of fingerprints and smudges too.

I didn’t face any issues with the sunlight legibility too. Overall, the display was one of the best things I like about this phone. The Honor 6 has a good display too.

Talking of the user interface, the Honor 6 Plus runs on Huawei’s custom-made Emotion UI 3.0 on top of Android KitKat 4.4.2. This skin is pretty smooth and clean and as I’ve been using this skin for long and I am getting used it. Huawei includes a lot of customization options in this phone which is good. The on-screen buttons look like the ones found in Android Lollipop. Talking of Lollipop, Huawei’s yet to roll out the Android 5.0 update. We hope it comes soon.

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The phone comes with lot of features which are becoming common in smartphones these days. Like the one-hand UI, the suspend button, multi-screen, tap & pay, NFC, motion gestures and a lot more. There is a trick called TouchPlus by which you can disable the on-screen buttons and apply a film on top of the phone to use the capacitive buttons.

You can also choose between the simple or standard home screen like we’ve seen in some other Huawei devices.

Another interesting thing in this UI is that when you swipe up from the bottom of the lock screen a quick menu pops-up just like in iPhones.

Talking of the performance, the phone does lag a bit. For example when I clean my notifications, the phone does the work slowly and it’s pretty bad. The Honor 6 Plus uses the Hisilicon Kirin 925 octa-core SoC. The Kirin 925 uses ARM’s big. LITTLE architecture with four Cortex A7 cores clocked at 1.3GHz and the other four Cortex A15 cores clocked at 1.8GHz. The integrated GPU is a Mali-T628 MP4. You get 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage space on the Honor 6 Plus. The storage space can be expanded up to 128GB using a MicroSD card.

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We played some high graphics games and checked out the benchmarks on the Honor 6 Plus. The benchmark scores were pretty descent, in the AnTuTu benchmarks the phone lied below the OnePlus One and got more points than the HTC One M8, Xiaomi Mi4 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. In the Geekbench 3, it got more points than the Galaxy S5 and it scored 60.1fps in NenaMark2.

My experience with this phone while gaming was awesome. Trust me, throw any game at the device, it would run flawlessly without any lagging issues. But I faced some frame drops while playing Modern Combat 5 and Nova 3 at the maximum graphics. The phone didn’t heat up much that much, but it gets a bit hot after playing continuously for around 1 hour. The internet browsing experience on Chrome was a bit disappointing because it was very irritating when the phone lagged when I tried to scroll up and down.

We didn’t experience any call quality problems with the Honor 6 Plus, but the volume was a bit low for me.

The speakers are pretty good and they are enough for an average smartphone user.

Now I am going to talk about the special thing about this phone –the camera. As I mentioned earlier, the Honor 6 Plus sports a dual 8 megapixels back camera and an 8 megapixel front camera.

You might have seen this kind of setup before; the HTC One M8. The main function of this dual-camera setup is to get depth information in a scene and provide the ability to set a focal point. When they work together, it results in a number of different exposures for each scene, making it a very fast HDR performer.

All of the standard modes are present, including HDR, Panorama, and even a Super Night mode that really helps out with dark shots. This device doesn’t have optical image stabilization (OIS), so video recording is a little shaky. However, if you have steady hands, you can produce high quality full HD shots.

 

In general, picture quality is quite good. Saturation levels and a good amount of detail were captured by using the main auto mode. The camera is quick to take pictures, so this is a great device for an everyday camera companion.

The main problem we found, however, has to do with the dual camera setup. When in the ‘wide aperture’ mode, you can tap on a focal point and adjust the aperture. Depth of field is done on the software side, which gives you the ability to refocus photos from the gallery. When used on a certain point, you can blur out the rest of the image other than the particular selected area.

The Honor 6 Plus comes with a non-removable 3600 milliamp hour battery and I managed to use the phone for a day in which I texted, used social media, played songs, ran some games like Nova 3 and it works pretty fine. I think that a regular user could use it for another 12 hours. But, I expected more because of its large size.

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So, that’s it guys. This was my full review of the Honor 6 Plus. The device is priced at Rs 26,499 and will be available at Flipkart.com soon. In short, it is a nice and well built phone, has a nice display, a good battery, the performance was good too. What disappointed me is the camera. When the phone came out at CES 2015, I thought that the dual-camera thing would be great. But after checking it out, it doesn’t seem that interesting. Otherwise, it’s an amazing phone but yes, it’s a bit overpriced. However, at a price of Rs 26,499, it’s difficult to recommend the phone over the likes of the OnePlus One. I would recommend this phone to you, if you are really interested in checking out what Huawei is offering in this price segment, and I think it would have been better if this device was priced around the 20,000 price bracket.

Vishal Kawadkar
editor@gizmolead.com