By now I had 2 days with Huawei’s new flagship, the Honor 6. Well, non-technically speaking Huawei’s actual flagship phone is supposed to be the Ascend P7 which was launched with much fanfare just a few months go. But for those of us who look beyond the marketing one will see that the real star of Huawei’s lineup is clearly the Honor 6
This article is not a comprehensive review and no science has been applied in compiling it. These are purely my very subjective views and impression of using the phone. However if you want me to cover a particular aspect of the phone please leave a comment and I will do my best to cover it in another post.
The first thing I did with the device was to unlock the boot loader and root it. Then I removed as many of Huawei’s pre-installed apps that are Chinese as possible. This included the App Center, various Chinese messaging clients and even Huawei’s keyboard. Then I installed the Google Play services and all of my mandatory software. The entire process worked flawlessly.
Look & Feel
One things that very important to me with a phone is the in-hand feel. Is it weighty enough, well-balanced when resting one hand and am I just simply holding the device and swiping with my thumb. The Huawei Honor 6 (HH6) is a bit of a mixed bag in that regard.
- The phone is very slim without feeling fragile.
- It’s a very light phone that can go almost unnoticed in your pocket.
- The bezels have been kept reasonably slim. It’s not as impressive as on the LG G2 or G3 but compared to most other phones on the market the screen-to-size ratio is very good, with the screen making up 71% of the front of the device. (You can find my comprehensive screen-to-body size ranking here). That puts it ahead of the Xperia Z2 or Galaxy S5. But even though I have to point out that Huawei is cheating in their marketing material. If you compare the size of the bezels on either side of the screen on their own website with the real phone, they are more than double the size in real life. I am adding an image for comparison at the end of this article.
- The chassis has zero flex and there are no squeaks or rattling noises.
- The power button and volume rocker have a good pressure point and the surface of the buttons is slightly rough, making it easier to locate.
- The design is very minimalistic and clean. Huawei has gone as far as dropping any manufacturer branding from the phone. All you see is a sliver “honor” printed on the back of the device and very small grey on black device ID information at the back of the bottom next to the loudspeaker. This is the most clean device I have ever seen, with even less writing on it than an iPhone. It’s kind of weird to see Huawei dropping their name from the device while at the same time saying that the company needs to improve their branding and awareness in Western markets. Maybe Huawei figured that the brand name and arguably ugly logo are more of a deterrent than a value add.
- The camera module and flash looks very classy, though almost looks like an exact copy of the iPhone. If you would show the upper 3rd of the device to anyone, most would say that this is an iPhone
The Not So Good:
- The device sounds somewhat hollow when knocking on the screen. The rear feels more dense but the hollow sound makes the glass front feel more like plastic
- The glass panel is not 100% flush with the outer frame. There is a very small but noticeable ridge that makes swiping across the device not as enjoyable. The rim is more noticeable and a bit sharper on the rear than the front which could be to some precision issues in manufacturing. On a positive note, I ordered a front and rear screen protector for the phone (real 9H glass for the front, and film for the back) and the height of the protector should compensate for the small recess and maybe even be beneficial with a protector fitted.
- The small ridge between glass panel and frame will surely be covered with dust and other small dirt particles and should be difficult to clean.
- The front and back being entirely made of glass there is no issue with the materials. The black bottom part also feels good. However I don’t like the greyish-silver rest of the frame which is rather a very slippery and glossy plastic. It would have looked much better in a matte version.
Being a 5″, 1080p screen the HH6 sports 441ppi which is plenty sharp for any normal person’s eyes. I am using the screen with auto-brightness settings at 50% brightness and it’s plenty bright and plenty colourful for me. I am not a geek for color accuracy and vivid vs natural color tones don’t really bother me, as long as the screen is bright and sharp. And on those accounts the HH6 delivers.
This guy is a beast. I have reported on the AnTuTu benchmarks scores on a previous article (see here). And in real life usage the phone is as snappy as they come. I just find that the transition speed of Huawei’s Emotion UI isn’t fast enough. While this isn’t lag or performance issues with the device, it’s just the designed user experience of the skin. I hope that Huawei will improve the transition speed in future updates.
Huawei has bundled the device with some interesting software. The full version of Swype comes pre-installed and called “Swype for Huawei”.
Huawei bundles their phones with a number of permission and power management applications. The Permission Manager allows you to individually set each Apps permission to access and modify contacts, SMS/MMS, call log, calendar, location info, phone ID, contacts, call log entries, camera, make calls, record audio, mobile data, WLAN and Bluetooth. This is a great feature that frankly any phone should be bundled with to ensure that you can take control of your device.
The Startup Manager allows you to control which Apps can run after startup of the device.
The Protected App Manager controls which Apps can continue to run when the screen is turned off.
A Phone Manager is a suite of features from a virus scanner, memory cleanup tool, storage cleaner and more handy features.
I will post some more impressions as time goes by. And if you want to know any specifics of the device just comment below and I will try to cover it in another post.
As mentioned in the article here is a comparison of the real bezels of the device versus the bezels displayed on Huawei’s website Vmall.com.