Honor View 10

£449 inc VAT from fave.co/2CCl­rCE

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Hot on the heels of the mid-range 7X, Honor has an­nounced the View 10, a flag­ship de­vice that starts 2018 with the 2017’s big­gest smart­phone trend, an 18:9 dis­play.

The phone was ex­pected to be called the Honor 9 Pro as per its usual nam­ing con­ven­tions, but the com­pany have cho­sen View 10 thanks to its sim­i­lar­i­ties to the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

It’s the first time the View brand­ing has been used out­side of Asia.

The de­vice has pre­mium build, and while is not ex­actly the same di­men­sions as ei­ther Huawei’s Mate 10 or Mate 10 Pro shares many of the traits of the two.

For a com­pany try­ing to break into the UK main­stream at the same time as its par­ent com­pany Huawei, this af­ford­able high-end flag­ship makes a de­cent case for it­self so long as you’re look­ing to buy a hand­set out­right – Honor phones are not al­ways eas­ily avail­able from UK op­er­a­tors.

De­sign

The View 10 looks like a lot of other pre­mium phones this year, sport­ing an 18:9 dis­play. First seen on the LG G6 and then the Sam­sung Galaxy S8, the form fac­tor keeps the View 10 slim and man­age­able in the hand while adding some height to the screen.

This is the same as­pect ra­tio as the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, yet there’s a front-placed fin­ger­print sen­sor and head­phone jack like on the Mate 10. Con­fused? It means you get the bet­ter 18:9 dis­play size with the fa­mil­iar fin­ger­print sen­sor and head­phone jack. This means the View 10 has an ex­cel­lent mix of fea­tures from both ver­sions of Huawei’s re­cent flag­ship.

The front of the phone is vis­ually sim­i­lar to the OnePlus 5T, though the View 10 has a more uni­form, straight edged feel to it and has a front fac­ing fin­ger­print sen­sor in a long pill shape not of­ten seen.

The back of the phone is less ex­cit­ing, with iPhone-es­que an­tenna lines at the top and bot­tom, with a soli­tary Honor logo and dual rear cam­eras. Squint, and the View 10 re­sem­bles an iPhone 7 Plus with a taller screen run­ning An­droid.

Two cam­eras are good to see, two ugly cam­era bumps are not, and is a shame when Huawei’s flag­ships man­age to bring de­sign that keeps the lenses flush with the body.

With no glass back, there’s no chance of wire­less charg­ing, though that is still a non-es­sen­tial fea­ture that would have in­creased the price.

The Honor View 10 is alarm­ingly thin at 6.97mm and re­calls the Ap­ple of a few years ago that be­came ob­sessed with this mea­sure­ment, to the detri­ment of build qual­ity and Bendgate. In our time with the phone, though it hasn’t ex­hib­ited much sign of wear at all, even with­out a case.

If you’re on a bud­get, this is as pre­mium a de­vice as you’ll get for the price – the same £449 ask­ing price as the OnePlus 5T while pretty much match­ing that phone’s specs.

We like the matte back in com­par­i­son to smeary glass, and the View 10 has at­trac­tive shiny edges run­ning around the dis­play, sand­wich­ing the matte rim that helps you hold it. It only adds to the pre­mium feel of this de­cid­edly mid-range price phone.

The View 10 is avail­able in navy blue, but isn’t as no­tably stun­ning as other flag­ships this year, or even com­pared to the older glass-backed Honor 9. It looks very sim­i­lar to the 8 Pro that we re­viewed last year.

De­spite its up­sides, the de­sign isn’t par­tic­u­larly in­spir­ing, and reeks of a phone whose fea­tures you’ll have to love way more than the hard­ware to shell out for it. Per­haps the black ver­sion we haven’t used fares bet­ter, but we still aren’t con­vinced many peo­ple ac­tu­ally want a blue phone.

Dis­play

The dis­play on the View 10 is a vi­brant 5.99in LCD with a 2160x1080 res­o­lu­tion. It is pleas­ingly punchy for an LCD, but is not as vi­brant as a Sam­sung or OnePlus OLED panel, even when you have the set­tings on Honor’s ‘vi­brant’ mode.

But the size of the screen and its high bright­ness ca­pa­bil­i­ties means video stream­ing and gam­ing on the View 10 is more than ac­cept­able, and eas­ily good enough for long ses­sions.

Honor is lead­ing with the AI fea­tures that Huawei pushed on the Mate 10 Pro and Honor had on its Asiaonly Magic phone, and in the­ory they are im­pres­sive. There’s an ar­gu­ment to be had that it’s not re­ally AI at all and rather a prom­i­nent as­sis­tant-style layer to the soft­ware, but we’ll let them have it for now.

Hard­ware

The Kirin 970 pro­ces­sor al­lows for lan­guage trans­la­tion in the pre­loaded Trans­la­tor app, while the AI smarts also al­low the cam­era to in­tel­li­gently select the right pa­ram­e­ters of a cer­tain shot, with­out you hav­ing to go into a con­fus­ing pro mode.

It’s worth not­ing that you still need a data con­nec­tion to use the trans­la­tion fea­tures, much like Google Trans­late, so if you are plan­ning on go­ing abroad then you will have to down­load the rel­e­vant lan­guage pack.

Re­ally what the NPU (neu­ral pro­cess­ing unit, what Huawei calls its Kirin 970 chip) does is learn your be­hav­iours to bet­ter en­hance the day to day use of your phone. From sleep­ing back­ground pro­cesses of un­used apps to pri­or­i­tiz­ing cer­tain func­tions at cer­tain times, sup­pos­edly the View 10 learns you bet­ter than other phones.

But on use there is no proof of that in the short term, and we doubt there will be in the long term ei­ther. Many An­droid phones are in­tel­li­gent enough to pri­or­i­tize pro­cesses, and face recog­ni­tion func­tions and vague claims like ‘AI en­hanced trans­la­tion’ are fairly vac­u­ous.

Cam­eras

The dual 20- and 16Mp cam­eras are more im­pres­sive, and of­fer por­trait mode for a depth ef­fect on photos, as well as a mono­chrome lens for ex­cel­lent black and white pho­tog­ra­phy. The 20Mp sen­sor is mono­chrome, and gives a nat­u­ral ef­fect com­pared to phones whose soft­ware sim­u­late black and white.

De­tail in land­scape shots such as the one above shows ex­cel­lent de­tail and light bal­ance

An AI fea­ture that proved gen­uinely good is the built-in ob­ject recog­ni­tion in the cam­era app. Point the cam­era at some­thing, and an icon ap­pears. Tap it, and the phone runs a search of what it thinks is in frame. When it works, it works re­ally well, iden­ti­fy­ing land­marks and even spe­cific prod­ucts like a Rough Trade mug. But frus­trat­ingly, the fea­ture of­ten dis­ap­pears from the cam­era app with no way to re­call it. And of course, it doesn’t al­ways work. Honor also claims AI helps re­duce blur in photos of mov­ing ob­jects.

It also says AI helps you get bet­ter self­ies with the 13Mp front cam­era. In re­al­ity, this is not AI at all but post-pro­cess­ing soft­ware. Honor’s in­sis­tence of hav­ing the aw­ful beauty mode on by de­fault is also an­noy­ing, but at least you can turn it off. Self­ies still look fairly washed out to us, even though there are some fun AR masks in the na­tive cam­era app.

Per­for­mance

In its ra­zor thin body, Honor has packed a whop­ping 3,750mAh bat­tery with fast-charge the com­pany claims can get you to 50 per­cent from dead in half an hour. In our test­ing, it proved good on that prom­ise.

It’s also great to see the octa-core Kirin 970 pro­ces­sor car­ried over, as it is Huawei’s lat­est chip and a pow­er­ful al­ter­na­tive to the Qual­comm Snap­dragon 835 in most other high-end An­droid phones this year. The pure pro­cess­ing power and speed of this chip is a bet­ter sell for Honor than the half-baked, half­func­tional ‘AI’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Un­lock­ing the de­vice

The View 10 has what the com­pany de­scribes as ‘fast and se­cure fa­cial recog­ni­tion’, but its only func­tion­al­ity is to re­veal lock screen no­ti­fi­ca­tions when you look at the screen. The phone still falls back on its fin­ger­print sen­sor for se­cure app ac­tiv­ity like bank­ing, and it’s odd that the fa­cial recog­ni­tion is re­served for no­ti­fi­ca­tions only and not even un­lock­ing the screen.

The phone is dual SIM ac­tive (the best kind) and has a head­phone jack, mer­ci­fully, though no head­phones in the box. If you didn’t like the omis­sion of the jack on

the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, here’s a way to get the same ba­sic specs, a head­phone jack, and save over £200.

Soft­ware

Soft­ware could be what lets this phone down if you’re not a fan of Honor (and Huawei’s) EMUI skin. Granted, EMUI 8.0 is a lot bet­ter than pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tions, but the changes it makes to stock An­droid don’t al­ways make a lot of sense. In­tu­itive ac­tions from stock An­droid are over­layed with dif­fer­ent ac­tions and icons, while the no­ti­fi­ca­tion shade is still a bit of a mess.

Huawei and Honor’s changes to the ba­sic look and func­tion of An­droid is off-putting if you are used to

Google’s ver­sion. OnePlus’ Oxy­genOS is a much bet­ter ex­am­ple of re­fined change to An­droid, where EMUI is the def­i­ni­tion of change for change sake. Hav­ing said this, it doesn’t re­strict use, it’s just a lot to ad­just to if you’re com­ing from an­other An­droid de­vice.

Yet the View 10 ships on An­droid Oreo 8.0, still one of the first hand­sets world­wide to do so, and re­mains an ex­cel­lently af­ford­able way to get your hands on an OS run­ning Google’s lat­est soft­ware – even if it is masked by the mas­sive changes EMUI brings.

You can add the prefer­able app drawer where EMUI by de­fault dis­plays all app on the home screens iOS style, or you could just add the Google or Nova launch­ers from the Play Store to change the vibe.

In fact, Honor in­cludes prob­a­bly the most gran­u­lar cus­tomiza­tion set­tings of any widely avail­able An­droid man­u­fac­turer, from screen res­o­lu­tion to ac­ces­si­bil­ity fea­tures, se­cure en­claves and file en­cryp­tion. If you are look­ing for a phone you can make your own, this is a great op­tion. But if you want a clean, straight for­ward An­droid ex­pe­ri­ence out of the box, you are best off look­ing at a OnePlus 5T or Pixel 2.

Ver­dict

The Honor View 10 is an­other flag­ship de­vice from a com­pany that prom­ises a lot with high specs and low prices. The phone is much more sim­i­lar in look and feel to the Honor 8 Pro than the re­cent Honor 9, and loses the at­trac­tive glass back in favour of AI soft­ware perks and An­droid Oreo. At £449 you could opt for the same-price OnePlus 5T which has more at­trac­tive soft­ware de­sign, but it could turn out that the Honor

View 10 is an in­tel­li­gent choice with An­droid Oreo out the box, promis­ing if un­re­fined AI fea­tures and strong dual cam­eras. Henry Bur­rell

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 5.99in (2160x1080, 403ppi) dis­play • An­droid 8.0 Oreo • Hisil­i­con Kirin 970 pro­ces­sor • Octa-core (4x 2.4GHz Cor­tex-A73, 4x 1.8GHz

Cor­tex-A53) CPU • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU • 4/6GB RAM • 64/128GB stor­age, up to 256GB via mi­croSD • Fin­ger­print scan­ner • Dual rear-fac­ing cam­eras:16Mp (f/1.8) and 20Mp,

phase de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus, LED flash • 13Mp front-fac­ing cam­era (f/2.0) • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 4.2 • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS • NFC • USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 • Non-re­mov­able lithium-poly­mer 3,750mAh bat­tery • 157x75x7mm • 172g

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