Techs

Honor 10 review

Introduction

Huawei and Honor may be described as two sides of the same coin. Honor, being a Huawei sub-brand, has the benefit of having full access to its parent company technology and R&D. But when it comes to marketing strategy, the two companies couldn’t possibly be looking in more different directions than they are. Honor is dead set on offering affordable high-quality smartphones so, in most markets, sales go through online channels only. At other places, the two brands even use different supply chains and their respective marketing campaigns are independent. And that’s why we find ourselves in the odd position of reviewing the Honor 10 – a device which is substantially cheaper than the Huawei P20, and yet, it’s surprisingly identical to the flagship device in so many ways.

The specs for Honor’s flagships have been quite easy to guess lately – take the most current Huawei P smartphone, leave the Leica branding out of the specs sheet and there you have it. The same applies for the Honor 10 – it’s a P20 sans the fancy branding. But priced at just €399, the flagship costs equal, if not less, to an average mid-ranger and this is where things get interesting.

Honor 10 review

The Honor 10 has the glass body of the P20, the unique paintjobs included. On paper, the two also share the same screen, same processor, same battery with the same SuperCharge support, same software, and rather similar cameras. And yet, the 10 is impressively cheaper.

Once intended for markets outside of Huawei’s reach, now both brands are broadening their reach independently, so it appears the old strategy was abandoned. And that’s a good thing. Huawei is widely advertising the P20 Lite and P20 Pro, while leaving the regular P20 outside of the conversation. And the Honor 10 is making the run for its spot.

Honor 10 specs

  • Body: Aluminum frame, glass back, 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7 mm, 153g
  • Screen: 5.84″ 2280x1080px (19:9) IPS LCD, 432ppi, notched
  • Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 970, Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53), Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 128GB of storage (these may vary by market though), no microSD slot
  • Camera: Dual: 16MP RGB (f/1.8) + 24 MP B/W, phase detection autofocus, 2160p @ 30fps video
  • Selfie cam: 24MP (f/2.0), 1080p video
  • OS: Android 8.1 Oreo with Huawei EMUI 8.1 + AI features
  • Battery: 3,400 mAh non-removable, Huawei Super Charger (5V@4.5A)
  • Connectivity: Dual Nano-SIM; USB-C (USB 2.0), NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS
  • Misc: IR Blaster, front-mounted fingerprint sensor with gesture navigation, single bottom-firing loudspeaker

The dual-camera setup on the back uses the same RGB+B&W combo but relies on different camera sensors. We are yet to see if the image quality would be comparable to P20, but we are quite optimistic based on our experience with previous Honor flagships.

But enough teasing, let’s pop this thing out of the box and get this review started.

Honor 10 unboxing

The Honor 10 is cheaper than the Huawei P20, so we can’t be picky about the retail package. Indeed, there are no headphones inside, but everything else has been carried over. The Huawei Super Charger is here along with the enhanced USB Type-C cable. You need both for the fast charging to work – anything else won’t do it.

Honor 10 review

There is also a transparent silicone case to keep that glossy curvy back safe from scratches.

Design

Looks-wise, the Honor 10 is as trendy as it gets – a glass phone with a screen with minimum bezels. Unfortunately, this also means there is a notch on top of the screen. And while the jury is still out on the appeal of this particular design feature, the makers’ confidence with it seems to be growing stronger.

Honor 10 review

The Honor 10 is an all-glass smartphone by the book – two such panels sandwich a polished metal frame. Apply curves wherever possible, trim the screen bezels, carve out a notch, and there, welcome to 2018.

The Honor 10’s footprint and weight are the same as the Honor 9’s, yet it packs a larger screen and battery, better camera and chipset. Keeping the same footprint was easy because of the notched panels expansion. And while we are comparing phones, the Honor 10 also shares the same measurements with the P20 but the weight – the Honor is 12g lighter at 153g.

The front side is the most interesting part of the Honor 10. The 5.84″ notched screen is the first thing to notice. It’s becoming the popular choice lately. The screen is slightly larger than the one on the P20 and taller in resolution. But more on that later.

Honor 10 review

The notch houses the same 24MP selfie snapper as seen on the P20 and P20 Pro. Next to it is the earpiece and a couple of sensors. A super tiny notification LED is also around.

Below the screen is probably one of the more exciting bits of the Honor 10 – the ultrasonic fingerprint reader, which sits entirely under the glass. Since there is no cutout for this sensor, Honor decided to mark the spot with tiny white dots. Those are visible only upon a closer look, but they are a bit of design spoilers to us.

Honor 10 review

The sensor reading is slower than what we’re used to experience with Huawei’s solutions. It should have the same accuracy and is always-on, but sometimes you just need to press harder for it to register your finger. Well, the looks always have a price, we guess. And if you enable Face Unlock as we did, you’ll rarely resort to fingerprints.

Honor 10 review

But since this fingerprint reader also doubles as a trackpad for navigating the UI, its sluggish performance takes a toll on the OS gestures, too. Don’t worry; it’s nothing that bad – the taps are always recognized, but sometimes we had to press for the swipe gestures (Task Switcher). No big deal, but the overall operation is not as smooth as on the P20s.

Honor 10 - Honor 10 review Honor 10 - Honor 10 review Honor 10 - Honor 10 review Honor 10 - Honor 10 review
Honor 10

Huawei was among the first makers to embrace the gradient paint jobs and Honor continues to evolve those. While we have the rather mainstream Midnight Black in for review, there are two stunning color-shifting Phantom options available – Blue or Green. Those are equally as spectacular as the ones on the P20, and we’d have some hard time if we need to justify getting the Boring Glacier Grey or Incognito Midnight Black versions (ours being the latter). The options are there, though, if you’re that person.

Honor 10 reviewHonor 10 and Huawei P20

While the screen has no fancy curves, unless we count the so-called 2.5D edge, the back is noticeably bent towards the aluminum frame. Those curves make the Honor 10 look and feel thinner than it actually is.

Honor 10 review

Another attention grabber at the back is the dual-camera setup with the AI CAMERA lettering on the back. ‘Beauty in AI’ is the Honor 10’s tagline, and yes, AI has a been a mandatory buzzword this past year. And that’s fine, but we’d rather keep those promos for the ads instead of inscribing them on the devices themselves.

Honor 10 review

Finally, the metal frame is all glossy and curvy, and while this is a looks booster, it’s also a grip killer. The Honor 10 is a beauty, that’s for sure, but it’s comes at the expense of poor grip. Keeping it in a case certainly helps in this regard but as usual, it takes away from the overall looks.

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Honor 10

Display

The Honor 10 seems to be sharing the same notched display with the Huawei P20, but looks are often deceiving. Brace yourselves for the technicalities!

Honor 10 reviewHuawei P20 and Honor 10

The unit on the Honor 10 is a 5.84″ IPS LCD of 2,280 x 1,080 pixels – this means 19:9 aspect and 432 ppi. The P20 has a 5.8″ LTPS IPS LCD screen of 2,240 x 1,080 pixels with 18.7:9 aspect and 429 ppi. See? There is a minor difference – the Honor 10 has 40 additional rows of pixels probably accounting for that 0.04″ growth in size.

The Honor 10 has three different color temperature presets for its display – Default, Warm, and Color. Each of those has Normal for accurate and Vivid option for punchy colors. By default the Honor 10 is set at Default + Vivid. This is also where the screen achieves the maximum brightness of 500 nits. Elsewhere the Honor 10 won’t light up north of 450 nits.

The black levels are quite deep no matter the color mode, and thus the contrast is always excellent.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Honor 10 (Normal) 0.32 449 1403
Honor 10 (Vivid) 0.326 508 1558
Honor 9 0.353 522 1479
Honor 8 0.37 460 1243
Honor 8 Pro 0.399 560 1404
Huawei Honor View 10 0.278 453 1629
Huawei Honor View 10 (Max Auto) 0.311 507 1629
Huawei P20 0.328 477 1454
Huawei P20 (Max Auto) 0.481 695 1445
Huawei P10 0.416 592 1423
Oppo R15 Pro 0 410
Oppo F7 0.228 446 1956
Sony Xperia XA2 0.401 532 1327
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) 0 390
Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) (Max Auto) 0 590
Nokia 7 plus 0.254 432 1701

The Honor 10 doesn’t offer maximum brightness boost for better sunlight legibility, and we got a rather mediocre average score for sunlight contrast. You would need the maximum the screen can offer to see what’s happening on it.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Apple iPhone X
    5.013
  • OnePlus 5T
    4.789
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
    4.768
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
    4.658
  • Samsung Galaxy S9
    4.63
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S9+
    4.537
  • Motorola Moto Z2 Play
    4.459
  • Oppo R11
    4.454
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    4.251
  • Samsung Galaxy Note7
    4.247
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Nokia 8
    4.239
  • Google Pixel 2 XL (pre-update)
    4.234
  • OnePlus 3T
    4.232
  • Google Pixel XL
    4.164
  • ZTE Axon 7
    4.154
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
    4.148
  • Meizu Pro 7 Plus
    4.147
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017)
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Huawei Mate 10 Pro (normal)
    4.096
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei P20 Pro
    4.087
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    4.052
  • Google Pixel 2 (pre-update)
    4.023
  • LG V30
    4.022
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
    3.998
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 7
    3.964
  • Apple iPhone 8 (True Tone)
    3.957
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Meizu Pro 6 Plus
    3.935
  • Lenovo Moto Z
    3.931
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • OnePlus 5
    3.914
  • Samsung Galaxy C5
    3.911
  • Samsung Galaxy C7
    3.896
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    3.865
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    3.842
  • Sony Xperia XZs
    3.818
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017)
    3.812
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
    3.804
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • LG V20 Max auto
    3.798
  • Xiaomi Redmi Pro
    3.798
  • Sony Xperia XZ
    3.795
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Xiaomi Mi 6
    3.767
  • Sony Xperia XZ1
    3.765
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Nokia 8 Sirocco
    3.745
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact
    3.729
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus (True Tone)
    3.725
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)
    3.688
  • Huawei P20
    3.683
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Huawei Mate 9
    3.68
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact
    3.675
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra
    3.597
  • Apple iPhone 7 Plus
    3.588
  • Sony Xperia XZ2
    3.58
  • LG G6
    3.556
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Motorola Moto Z Play
    3.526
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Nokia 7 plus
    3.479
  • nubia Z11
    3.466
  • Huawei P10 Plus
    3.456
  • HTC U Ultra
    3.453
  • Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra
    3.445
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Motorola Moto G6 Play
    3.419
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • LG V20
    3.402
  • Huawei P10
    3.379
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    3.378
  • Oppo R9s
    3.352
  • Honor 8 Pro
    3.341
  • Oppo F7
    3.333
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Lenovo P2
    3.316
  • Archos Diamond Omega
    3.305
  • Honor 9
    3.289
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s
    3.276
  • Nokia 5
    3.261
  • Nokia 6 (Chinese version)
    3.244
  • Nokia 6 (Global version)
    3.238
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    3.228
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Oppo F3 Plus
    3.218
  • Huawei Mate 9 Pro
    3.206
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
    3.19
  • ZTE Nubia Z17
    3.159
  • Oppo R11s
    3.153
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • HTC U11 Life
    3.108
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • HTC U11
    3.089
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Asus Zenfone 4 ZE554KL
    3.019
  • Sony Xperia XA1
    3.012
  • Motorola Moto X4
    3.012
  • Sony Xperia L1
    2.994
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • LG Q6
    2.987
  • Huawei P10 Lite
    2.974
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    2.952
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5
    2.951
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    2.938
  • Oppo Realme 1
    2.932
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4
    2.92
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3S
    2.913
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    2.913
  • Sony Xperia XA Ultra
    2.906
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • Huawei Honor View 10
    2.896
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime
    2.893
  • Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus
    2.884
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium (sRGB)
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium
    2.877
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Nokia 3
    2.871
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Lenovo Moto M
    2.813
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro
    2.803
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • Honor 10
    2.757
  • Nokia 2
    2.752
  • Meizu MX6
    2.751
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Huawei Mate 10 (normal)
    2.742
  • Motorola Moto G5S Plus
    2.737
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Huawei Honor 7X
    2.734
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (S625)
    2.714
  • Meizu M5
    2.71
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    2.689
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4 Prime
    2.679
  • vivo V7+
    2.671
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix
    2.658
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    2.654
  • Oppo F5
    2.653
  • Doogee Mix
    2.642
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Xiaomi Redmi 4a
    2.635
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Standard)
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus (max auto)
    2.582
  • Motorola Moto G4 Plus
    2.582
  • Meizu M5s
    2.58
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Huawei P Smart
    2.563
  • Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
    2.563
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Xiaomi Mi Max 2
    2.561
  • HTC U11+
    2.556
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 5A (Y1)
    2.556
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Lenovo K6 Note
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Huawei Honor 7 Lite / Honor 5c
    2.506
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • BlackBerry Motion
    2.494
  • Oppo F1s
    2.481
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus
    2.473
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Huawei nova
    2.467
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Lenovo Vibe K5
    2.459
  • Meizu m3 max
    2.447
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Xiaomi Mi 5X (Auto)
    2.417
  • HTC 10 evo
    2.407
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Vivo V7
    2.404
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • Oppo F3
    2.376
  • vivo V5 Plus
    2.371
  • Meizu m1 note
    2.362
  • Huawei nova plus
    2.329
  • Razer Phone
    2.328
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Sony Xperia L2
    2.266
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • HTC U11+ (EU)
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Xiaomi Mi Note
    2.234
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Meizu M5 Note
    2.189
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (X20)
    2.145
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Mi 4S
    2.095
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • vivo V5
    2.059
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

Now let’s talk about color accuracy. Having so many different screen modes is probably confusing, so we’d try to keep it short.

Honor sells you the 10 set at Default + Vivid. We measured an average deltaE of 7.1 and maximum deviation of 11.6 at point white, which is more like blue. There is noticeable blue tint on the screen no matter what you are looking at.

Opting for Default + Normal works much better for average deltaE of 3.5 and maximum deviation of 8.3 also at point white. The blue tint is gone, but the whites are still kind of bluish.

Finally, if you are all about color accuracy – then just pick Warm + Normal. With an average deltaE of 0.8 and maximum deviation of 1.8 – the Honor 10 easily became the phone with the best calibrated display in our database, sharing the first place with Galaxy S7 edge. The colors will probably look a bit dull if you are coming from a punchy screen, but it’s better to have that option rather than not, so good job!

Battery life

The Honor 10 has the same sealed 3,400 mAh battery used for the Huawei P20. It offers Huawei’s custom solution SuperCharge that requires using a compatible charger and special cable combo, which is kind of a bummer in 2018. Those two pieces come bundled with the Honor 10, so at least you don’t have to go shopping.

The 4.5V/5A SuperCharge adapter can bring the Honor 10 from 0% to about 65% in around 30 minutes without making the battery hot and thus prolonging its life. And that’s why we can live with the proprietary solution just fine.

The Honor 10 posted a good battery score of 74 hours in our standardized test – in line with the Huawei P20’s 75h achievement (same chipset, same battery, similar screen). The standby endurance is just average, just as it was on the P20.

Honor 10 review

Our endurance rating denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Honor 10 for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We’ve established this usage pattern so our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you’re interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we’ve tested will compare under your own typical use.

Loudspeaker

There is one speaker on the Honor 10, and it’s at the bottom. It scored an Excellent mark in our loudness test. The sound quality is very good, too, almost the same as on the P20 models.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Huawei P8 66.7 66.0 68.5 Average
Huawei P9 72.1 66.6 75.6 Good
Honor 8 67.1 66.2 82.6 Good
Xiaomi Redmi 5 66.1 68.4 82.1 Good
Sony Xperia XA2 68.7 72.7 78.3 Very Good
Oppo R15 Pro 69.7 73.5 76.6 Very Good
Honor 9 68.5 71.7 80.3 Very Good
Huawei P10 67.7 70.0 83.6 Very Good
Huawei P20 66.6 69.8 90.0 Very Good
Oppo F7 68.0 73.8 84.8 Very Good
Honor 10 69.3 72.6 87.3 Excellent
Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus 71.1 72.7 87.7 Excellent
Huawei P20 Pro 71.8 69.2 91.0 Excellent

Audio quality

The Honor 10 delivered flawless accuracy when hooked to an active external amplifier. Its loudness was rather disappointing so we won’t be giving full marks, but you can rest assured that all tracks will sound exactly the way they were meant to.

Volume was equally disappointing with headphones, but we also observed very little quality degradation so it’s mostly good news. Stereo crosstalk was pretty solid for the case and while a tiny bit of intermodulation distortion crept in, that’s impossible to detect outside a lab. A great performance all in all, but lacking in power.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Huawei Honor 10 +0.01, -0.04 -95.6 96.2 0.0040 0.054 -94.6
Huawei Honor 10 (headphones) +0.01, -0.08 -94.6 95.5 0.118 0.138 -74.1
Huawei P20 lite +0.03, -0.03 -87.9 87.8 0.011 0.022 -82.1
Huawei P20 lite (headphones) +0.16, -0.03 -87.6 87.6 0.020 0.102 -77.5
Motorola Moto G6 Plus +0.00, -0.03 -93.6 93.5 0.0050 0.011 -94.6
Motorola Moto G6 Plus (headphones) +0.02, -0.02 -93.5 93.4 0.0067 0.033 -81.0
Oppo F7 +0.01, -0.10 -92.5 92.7 0.0019 0.0077 -91.2
Oppo F7 (headphones) +0.50, -0.20 -91.4 91.8 0.0079 0.402 -51.5
Nokia 6.1 +0.10, -0.20 -37.5 80.4 0.0018 4.735 -93.3
Nokia 6.1 (headphones) +0.05, -0.03 -94.3 90.2 0.0027 0.019 -58.6
Nokia 7 Plus +0.02, -0.31 -38.8 81.7 0.0013 4.690 -95.9
Nokia 7 Plus (headphones) +0.25, -0.23 -93.3 90.4 0.0045 0.227 -53.9
Honor View 10 +0.02, -0.01 -92.6 92.6 0.0021 0.012 -94.4
Honor View 10 (headphones) +0.17, -0.03 -92.0 92.1 0.0023 0.092 -52.8

Huawei Honor 10 frequency response
Huawei Honor 10 frequency response

You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.

Android 8.1 with EMUI 8

Honor 10 runs on the same Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.1 combo found on the Huawei P20. Huawei synchronized the version number of its OS overlay with the release of the Mate 10, and now on the P20 and Honor 10, it’s Android 8.1 Oreo and EMUI 8.1. Not that it’s radically different or anything, but there are some fresh bits.

Honor 10 review

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. You can embrace the notch, or you can opt to mask it with a black status bar that extends all the way down to the bottom edge of the notch. You should know, however, that hiding it doesn’t really work as well with an LCD panel as with it does with an AMOLED.

Nevertheless, if you opt for this, the corners of the active display area will be rounded too, to match the actual corners on the bottom of the display. The size of this software bezel on the top ends up being symmetrical to the physical bottom bezel all while showing your status information white on black. This reminds us of what the LG V10 and V20 did with their extra displays, but this implementation is quite different, of course.

Notch control - Honor 10 review Notch control - Honor 10 review
Notch control

Out of the box, there is no app drawer on the EMUI 8 – it’s a single tier interface like on the iPhone. However, if you miss the Android’s usual layout, you can enable it back in the Display settings. There is also a handy search feature, which can be accessed by flicking down on any empty area of the home screen.

Home screen 1 - Honor 10 review Home screen 2 - Honor 10 review Home options - Honor 10 review Search - Honor 10 review Enable drawer - Honor 10 review
Home screen 1 • Home screen 2 • Home options • Search • Enable drawer

EMUI has something called Magazine lock screen, which rotates through a bunch of wallpapers, so you see a different one every time you fire up the display.

The lockscreen - Honor 10 review The lockscreen - Honor 10 review The lockscreen - Honor 10 review The lockscreen - Honor 10 review
The lockscreen

Just like the most recent Huawei smartphones, the Honor 10 has the so-called off-screen navigation set by default. It uses the surface of the fingerprint sensor for everything – tap to go back, tap and hold for Home, and swipe in either direction for Recents. But you can opt for the regular onscreen navigation key, among other options.

EMUI offers plenty of customization and features like face unlock, smart rotation, and lift to wake. Themes are supported, too, and there is a lot to choose from. There are a few themes to choose from with the option to change the icons, the skin, and wallpaper.

From the Phone Manager app, you can access shortcuts to storage cleanup, battery settings, blocked numbers, Virus scan powered by Avast, and mobile data usage.

Theme chooser - Honor 10 review Theme - Honor 10 review Theme - Honor 10 review Theme - Honor 10 review Phone Manager - Honor 10 review
Theme chooser • Theme • Theme • Theme • Phone Manager

The notification shade is pretty much a standard affair. There’s a brightness bar with an Auto toggle – pull down again for more toggles.

Multitasking is pretty standard as well. Tap-holding the Recents key will let you activate split screen.

Notification area - Honor 10 review Toggles - Honor 10 review Recent apps - Honor 10 review Split screen - Honor 10 review
Notification area • Toggles • Recent apps • Split screen

Huawei’s own Music app is here and offers a way to listen to stored MP3s. Huawei’s Health app is also pre-installed. It offers Google Fit syncing and step counting. There’s a file manager app and a note-taking app. There is an abundance of replacements for these in the Play Store, however.

Finally, there is a proprietary app called Smart Controller, which will allow you to use the IR blaster as universal remote for your compatible appliances.

Music Player - Honor 10 review Gallery - Honor 10 review Huawei Health - Honor 10 review Files - Honor 10 review Smart Remote - Honor 10 review
Music Player • Gallery • Huawei Health • Files • Smart Remote

Performance and benchmarks

The Honor 10 is powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 970 chipset, one we’re very familiar with from the P20 and Mate 10 series. It’s packing 4 Cortex-A73 cores clocked at up to 2.4GHz and another 4 Cortex-A53 cores capped at 1.8GHz. The GPU is a twelve-core Mali-G72 MP12. There’s either 4 or 6 GB of RAM depending on the model you get.

Honor 10 review

Unsurprisingly, the Honor 10 scores on par with Huawei P20 in benchmarks. Single-core performance in Geekbench is right there with the Snapdragon 835 (OnePlus 5T), but the latest Qualcomm chip is superior (OnePlus 6). All of the above applies equally well to the Honor 10’s multi-core CPU performance.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    2450
  • OnePlus 5T
    1960
  • Huawei P20
    1897
  • Honor 10
    1894
  • Honor 9
    1876
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    1612
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    1532
  • Oppo F7
    1531
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    938
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    882
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    874

Let’s not forget the Honor 10 is cheaper than the Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6, so we can’t demand cutting-edge performance. Yet, its CPU scores are close to that.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    9011
  • Huawei P20
    6722
  • OnePlus 5T
    6701
  • Honor 10
    6591
  • Honor 9
    6457
  • Oppo F7
    5901
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    5809
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    4418
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    4309
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    4160
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    3756

Raw graphics power is also a notch down from the best players. The Adreno 630 in the Snapdragon-powered OnePlus 6 is a proven beast, but the Mali-G72 in Honor 10 does pretty alright for the class, if not beyond the expectations.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    59
  • Honor 10
    53
  • OnePlus 5T
    52
  • Huawei P20
    46
  • Honor 9
    40
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    19
  • Oppo F7
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    14
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    13
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    9.4
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    8.1

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    55
  • Huawei P20
    39
  • Honor 10
    37
  • OnePlus 5T
    35
  • Honor 9
    33
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    12
  • Oppo F7
    11
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    9.3
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    8.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    6.2
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    4.9

AnTuTu and BaseMark benchmarks got us some pretty big and impressive numbers, bested only by the most current Snapdragon 845 chip in the OnePlus 6.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    264200
  • Huawei P20
    206906
  • Honor 10
    200440
  • Honor 9
    156984
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    146526
  • Oppo F7
    139414
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    90263
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    87431

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    4440
  • OnePlus 5T
    3632
  • Huawei P20
    3338
  • Honor 10
    3337
  • Honor 9
    3072
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    2438
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    2007
  • Oppo F7
    1953
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    1525
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    1455
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    1226

The Honor 10 may not be the fastest smartphone on the planet, but nobody really hoped for that. We had to manage our expectations for the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, which cost €650+, but that’s not the case with the €390 Honor 10. It’s bested only by the latest Snapdragon chip but is still among the best performers on the market – both CPU and GPU-wise.

In a surprising turn of events the Honor 10 turned out better at heat dispersion than the worrisome Huawei P20. Sure, it does build some heat once we start running the benchmarks, even some throttling eventually occurs, but it takes a lot more time to get to the P20’s hot and throttled situation and that’s commendable.

A familiar, yet different dual-camera setup

The Honor 10 has a dual-camera setup similar to what we saw on the Huawei P20. Or that’s what we thought at first. It turned out Honor opted for completely different camera sensors even if they remind the setup on the Huawei – there is a regular RGB camera alongside a high-res monochrome camera. So, for the Honor 10, we’re looking at a 16MP color and a 24MP monochrome imager, both sitting behind f/1.8 lenses each.

Honor 10 review

Unlike the Huawei P20, the Honor 10 doesn’t come with OIS. There is no EIS for the videos either. The Honor 10 doesn’t make use of the 4-way autofocus available on the Huawei P20 series, phase-detection is the only option for the Honor. There is no dual-LED flash either; just a single LED to light up the dark scenes.

Huawei’s 2x hybrid zoom is available on the Honor 10, but that’s as far as you can go.

Of course, it’s all about the AI with this new handset and promo materials state that its camera recognizes in real time 22 different categories of subjects and shooting scenarios and adjusts shooting parameters accordingly. If the Master AI in the P20 and P20 Pro wasn’t all that great, we wonder just how good this ‘apprentice’ AI is going to be. And you bet we’ll explore that in detail.

The camera interface has been reworked since the Mate 10, but we wouldn’t go as far as calling it more intuitive. First off, you have a mode selector on the bottom that you swipe left and right to change modes, but you can’t swipe on the viewfinder, just on the selector itself.

Swiping up and down doesn’t switch between front and rear camera either, you have a button for that (admittedly, on the bottom within easy reach). Basically, you’re wasting the viewfinder by not having gestures enabled on it, except for pinch to zoom.

Camera app - Honor 10 review AI on - Honor 10 review Modes - Honor 10 review Monochrome camera - Honor 10 review Settings - Honor 10 review
Camera app • AI on • Modes • Monochrome camera • Settings

Hidden as usual is the access to the monochrome camera. You now need to swipe the mode selector all the way to the ‘More’ position, where the extra modes are: Monochrome, Panorama, and HDR, among others. And while we’re at it, it’s really odd to have a manual HDR mode separately when the Master AI takes care of that – it’s like a dynamic range enhancement is On all the time.

The Monochrome mode has its own modes right there on its viewfinder – Normal, Aperture, and Portrait. That’s something we liked even though this extra menu moves the viewfinder to the left. There is no Pro mode available for the Monochrome camera on the Honor 10 though.

You get manual (Pro) mode only for the color camera. There you can adjust parameters yourself – ISO (50 to 6400), shutter speed (1/4000s to 30s), exposure compensation (-4 to +4EV in 1/3 stop increments), and white balance (presets and light temperature). You can also choose the metering mode (matrix, center-weighted and spot), and the focus mode (single, continuous and manual). If the phone thinks you messed up the exposure, an icon will pop up to warn you.

Pro mode - Honor 10 review Pro mode - Honor 10 review Variable Aperture - Honor 10 review Portrait and Lightning - Honor 10 review Art shot - Honor 10 review
Pro mode • Pro mode • Variable Aperture • Portrait and Lightning • Art shot

Since artificially defocused backgrounds became all the rage, Huawei and Honor phones have had both a Portrait mode and an Aperture mode. In Aperture, you can choose the simulated aperture in the range from f/0.95 to f/16. Post shot, you can change the aperture and the focus point within the Gallery.

In Portrait mode you can enable and disable the background blur (why disable it, though), you can change the simulated lighting, and you can also add some beautification on a scale from 0 to 10.

Daylight image quality

Honor’s implementation of the Master AI is enabled by default. The AI toggle is now accessible from the viewfinder, while the P20 phones have it hidden in settings. But we have even more good news – the Honor’s AI is not as aggressive as Huawei’s was even though it pretty much works the same way and operates under the same scene presumptions. The camera recognizes the scene properly and turns on the right mode accordingly, its defaults for each scene do saturate the colors more than usual, but not as excessive as it was on the P20 and P20 Pro.

So, the AI pictures have more than enough detail, obviously saturated, yet very pleasant colors, very low noise levels, and superb contrast. Multi-frame stacking is often used with the AI scenes, so if HDR was required, it’s applied in real time, and you will always get the most from both shadows and lights.

There is obvious over-sharpening on most of the images, but not that extreme to ruin the pictures.

One thing we noticed is that the AI often tries to use Portrait mode for pets, and that’s just not the right option for this occasion more often than not.

Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1664s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1684s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1577s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1876s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1406s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1517s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1776s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1783s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/900s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/707s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/244s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/25s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP AI camera samples

The regular samples without AI are quite good, too. They have plenty of detail, very accurate colors, high contrast and almost non-existent noise. The dynamic range isn’t as impressive as on the AI samples, as the phone won’t do auto HDR when needed – not that we expected it to do so.

Over-sharpening is noticeable on the regular samples, too, but once again – not so extreme that it gets in the way. Pixel-peepers like us might not be fans of that, though.

If you are viewing this page on a computer, you can easily compare the AI and the regular samples by using the compare icon on any of the sample segments.

Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1916s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1355s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1751s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1570s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1876s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1355s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1484s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1689s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1792s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/898s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1504s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/900s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/677s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/235s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP daylight images - f/1.8, ISO 640, 1/25s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP daylight images

The Honor 10 can do the 2x hybrid zoom, but it’s not lossless and nowhere near the P20 2x options. Sure, it’s better than any regular 2x digital zoom, but you’ll have to lower your expectations. We tried some shots, and those indeed turned out, well, zoomed. While the images have more detail than a digital zoom could deliver, it’s still easy to tell they’ve been zoomed in artificially.

Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/251s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/703s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1443s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1157s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1406s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1008s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP 2x zoomed samples

The monochrome images have wider dynamic range than the regular daylight samples, but as usual, taking black&white photos is more of an artistic endeavor rather than a mainstream thing. The monochrome 24MP images came out with a great amount of resolved detail – we noticed much better-defined foliage and other high-intricacy detail when compared to the color images. The noise is kept low, while the contrast is simply amazing.

The B&W shots are not over-sharpened, exactly the opposite – they lack any kind of sharpening and sometimes are softer than we would expect. Then again, we’d probably prefer them this way than over-sharpened – if we had to choose, that is.

Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1890s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1274s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/15625s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/47619s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/47619s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/47619s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3968s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2088s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2075s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1789s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/47619s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1842s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP monochrome samples

Low-light image quality

The low-light images are nothing special on the Honor 10. They are often quite soft, sometimes noisy, while other times the noise reduction smears the fine detail. The colors are true to reality, but the contrast is rather low. But the occasional low-light snaps will do fine for the social networks. And frankly – we’ve seen a lot worse, especially lacking in detail, blurry and unusable. So, the regular snaps are nothing special, as we said, just alright.

Honor 10 16MP low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/13s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 3200, 1/13s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 3200, 1/13s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/33s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1250, 1/13s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/13s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP low-light samples

The AI works for some magic on the low-light shots to improve the contrast and colors, but that’s about it. It’s not as smart and as capable as on the P20 and there is no tripod-free Night Mode available for the Honor 10. The samples are a little bit noisier, but with brighter exposure and warmer colors, which worked for improved contrast and overall better look. The images are still quite soft, so don’t expect improved detail here.

Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/13s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 3200, 1/13s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 3200, 1/13s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/13s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/17s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 16MP AI low-light samples

We also snapped a few monochrome samples at night. Those turned out better than the color ones for sure, sharper, with slightly more detail and less noise. Yet, we experienced the same issue with the autofocus with the monochrome camera that we saw on the P20 and Mate 10 – its operation is quite hit and miss. So, if you want to use the monochrome camera – just be sure to tap on the subject – better safe than sorry, right?

Honor 10 24MP monochrome low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/17s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/17s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP monochrome low-light samples - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/20s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP monochrome low-light samples

There is a Night mode on the Honor 10 – this shot requires a tripod and up to 20s of waiting and in the end will give you one very dark photo, so we advise against using it – it’s a complete waste of time.

When using the manual mode, you can select a shutter speed up to 32s with ISO up to 6400. The viewfinder image will change as the exposure develops, so if you figure you’ve gathered enough light you can stop at any time.

And with this freedom, you just need a small tripod to get wonderful images. If you lock the ISO to 50 and use the longer shutter speeds, you can get some stunning long exposure shots come night-time.

Then there’s the Light painting mode, which includes four sub-modes: Car light trails, Light graffiti, Silky Water and Star track. You’d need to have the phone perched on stable support for shooting in these modes (a tripod or a beanbag) as these extremely long exposures can’t be done handheld without camera shake. These are nothing new so that we won’t go into too much detail here.

Night mode - f/1.8, ISO 100, 1/-0s - Honor 10 review Light Paitning (30s) - f/1.8, ISO 64, 1/-0s - Honor 10 review Manual mode (4s) - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/-3s - Honor 10 review Manual mode (4s) - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/-3s - Honor 10 review
Night mode • Light Paitning (30s) • Manual mode (4s) • Manual mode (4s)

Picture Compare Tool

Ycan head over to our Photo compare tool to see how the Honor 10 handles the controlled environment of our studio. We’ve pre-selected the Oppo R15 Pro and Galaxy A8 (2018), but you can replace those with any other two phones you feel like. You can also compare the monochrome snappers via this tool.

Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool Photo Compare Tool
Honor 10 (16MP) vs. Oppo R15 Pro (16MP) vs. Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) (16MP) in our Photo compare tool

Portraits and Variable Aperture

The Honor 10, just like other multi-camera Huawei phones, has a couple of faux bokeh modes – Portrait and Aperture. The Portrait mode is the one meant for people, complete with bokeh toggle, beautification, and simulated lighting. You can shoot with both color and monochrome camera in wide or regular (telephoto) portrait views.

All the samples turned out rather good and unless you have really curly or messy hair, the camera would do just fine.

Portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/50s - Honor 10 review Portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/178s - Honor 10 review Portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/50s - Honor 10 review Portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/50s - Honor 10 review
Portrait samples

Telephoto portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/50s - Honor 10 review Telephoto portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/50s - Honor 10 review Telephoto portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 80, 1/100s - Honor 10 review Telephoto portrait samples - f/1.8, ISO 250, 1/50s - Honor 10 review
Telephoto portrait samples

B&W Portrait - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/100s - Honor 10 review B&W Portrait Telephoto - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/102s - Honor 10 review B&W Portrait - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/50s - Honor 10 review B&W Portrait - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/50s - Honor 10 review
B&W Portrait • B&W Portrait Telephoto • B&W Portrait • B&W Portrait

Portrait Lighting effects are available for when shooting with the color camera. The samples won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but we guess those effects will find some fans.

Portrait Lightning samples - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/50s - Honor 10 review Portrait Lightning samples - f/1.8, ISO 160, 1/50s - Honor 10 review Portrait Lightning samples - f/1.8, ISO 200, 1/50s - Honor 10 review
Portrait Lightning samples

The Aperture Mode, on the other hand, lets you do post-shot re-focusing and simulates apertures in the f/0.95-f/16 range. You can use it with both the regular and monochrome camera.

F/1.0 - f/0.9, ISO 500, 1/100s - Honor 10 review F/2.8 - f/2.8, ISO 250, 1/50s - Honor 10 review F/4.5 - f/4.5, ISO 250, 1/50s - Honor 10 review F/8.0 - f/8.0, ISO 250, 1/50s - Honor 10 review
F/1.0 • F/2.8 • F/4.5 • F/8.0

F/1.0 - f/0.9, ISO 100, 1/50s - Honor 10 review F/3.5 - f/3.5, ISO 100, 1/50s - Honor 10 review F/6.3 - f/6.3, ISO 100, 1/50s - Honor 10 review F/16.0 - f/16.0, ISO 100, 1/50s - Honor 10 review
F/1.0 • F/3.5 • F/6.3 • F/16.0

Subject separation is similarly non-perfect in both modes, but given the right subject and background you can have some usable and convincing portraits.

Finally, there are some artistic modes resulting in 1MP samples, which some of you might find interesting.

Artistic samples - Honor 10 review Artistic samples - Honor 10 review Artistic samples - Honor 10 review
Artistic samples

Panorama

The Honor 10 captures great panoramic shots with a vertical resolution around 3,200px. Stitching is flawless, and there are no issues with varying exposure. The dynamic range is quite impressive, as is the resolved detail.

Honor 10 panorama - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 panorama

Selfies

Honor 10 has one of the highest resolution selfie cameras on a smartphone – a 24MP snapper with a fixed-focus lens. This is the same camera we saw on the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro. We’d gladly trade half those megapixels for autofocus, or at least a focus plane further from the phone, because as things stand, you need to shoot your face from pretty close to be in sharp focus. But even if you miss, the high resolution would probably compensate for the slight blurriness.

Once you get the distance right, the level of detail is quite amazing. Colors are faithfully represented, and dynamic range is good for a selfie camera.

Honor 10 24MP selfies - f/2.0, ISO 200, 1/33s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP selfies - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/354s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP selfies - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/103s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP selfies - f/2.0, ISO 64, 1/100s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP selfies

There’s also a portrait mode. In fact, it’s the mode the selfie camera defaults to when you switch from the main cam – a bit weird. You can turn the blur on and off, there’s also beautification (a 0-10 setting).

Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/206s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/158s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/741s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies

Various Simulated Lighting effects are available for the portraits because that’s a thing now.

Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies with Lightning effects - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/163s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies with Lightning effects - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/163s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies with Lightning effects - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/163s - Honor 10 review Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies with Lightning effects - f/2.0, ISO 50, 1/176s - Honor 10 review
Honor 10 24MP Portrait selfies with Lightning effects

Video recording

The Honor 10 offers you a choice between the h.264 and h.265 codecs. We were surprised to find a very the small difference in bit rate for 4K videos – it’s 22Mbps vs. 20Mbps so h.265 doesn’t really give us the huge file size reduction benefit we’re used to seeing elsewhere. So unless you have specific reasons to go for h.265, we’d recommend using the h.264 codec for its inherent compatibility with all platforms and devices.

There is no OIS or EIS for the Honor 10 videos.

The 4K and 1080p footage at 30fps is nice and detailed, with pleasing colors, plenty of contrast, and steady framerate. The dynamic range is a turned out great, as are the colors. Notable is also the high-quality stereo sound captured with 192 kbps bitrate.

The 1080p samples shot at 60fps are always blurry and look out of focus. We tried more than 10 different takes – each of those resulted in a blurry video. So, until that is fixed with an update, the 60fps footage is simply a no-go.

You can also download the untouched video samples: 2160p (10s, 35MB), 1080p at 30fps (10s, 14MB), 1080p at 60fps (10s, 16MB).

Video Compare Tool

Finally, for some extra pixel peeping head over to our Video compare tool, where you can examine the Honor 10 output against any phone we’ve tested before. We’ve pre-selected the Oppo R15 Pro and the Nokia 7 Plus, but you can, of course, pick your own set of phones.

Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool Video Compare Tool
2160p: Honor 10 against the Oppo R15 Pro and the Nokia 7 Plus in our Video compare tool

The Competition

Being part of Huawei has allowed Honor to borrow everything that made the P20 great, and then leave a few things out for a more competitive price tag. And just like the Honor 8 and 9, the 10 is shaping to be one of the best bang for the buck offers in its segment right now.

Honor is making in the mid-range what Xiaomi does for the budget segment – flagship phones on bargain prices. And the Honor 10 specs sheet and price can easily make OnePlus execs feel quite Unsettled.

Honor 10 review

And speaking of OnePlus, the OnePlus 6 is now out with a similar notched screen but with an OLED panel. It has a stunning glass body, too, and packs a more powerful Snapdragon 845 chipset in it. The new OnePlus camera benefits from OIS and EIS but lacks native monochrome sensor and advanced skills as variable aperture. The new flagship killer is more expensive than the 5 and 5T at launch – it now costs €520, which is €130 over the Honor 10. You should decide if an OLED, better GPU, and OIS are worth the extra cash.

Moving on to another BBK phone – the Oppo R15 Pro – the choice becomes even tougher. The R15 has stunning looks, similar performance and screen, but less capable camera. It costs the same as the Honor 10, but it seems this time around Huawei has the upper hand.

Then there is the Nokia 7 Plus. With the latest HMD offer you’ll get a perfectly rectangular 6″ screen, similar performance with its Snapdragon 660 chip, and one very clean Android OS thanks to Android One program. The Nokia 7 Plus has better-specked camera, with 2x optical zoom, dual-pixel AF, and EIS for the videos. There is also the larger battery. The Nokia somehow lacks the coolness of the Honor 10, especially in looks, so it’s either the notch and glass body with the Honor 10, or the ruggedly-handsome Nokia 7 Plus and its Zeiss lenses.

Finally, the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) has a curved AMOLED at the front, a capable Exynos chip, a great main camera and an impressive dual selfie setup at the front. The A8 is not cheap, but sure looks interesting, especially for selfie-conscious fans. Then again, the Honor 10 does brilliantly with just one camera at the front, it offers better performance, a trendier screen, and it’s cheaper.

And before we call it a day, there is one more phone worth considering – the Huawei P10. It’s a very similar device to the Honor 10, but offers different (read better) camera sensors, optically stabilized at that. If stabilization and lossless zoom are of utmost importance and you don’t mind the smaller screen, you should give the P10 a try.

OnePlus 6 Oppo R15 Pro Nokia 7 plus Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Huawei P10
OnePlus 6 • Oppo R15 Pro • Nokia 7 plus • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) • Huawei P10

The Verdict

The Honor 10 borrows the best of the Huawei P20 features and leaves just enough to keep the phone out of the flagship territory. There are no premium camera sensors with stabilization and no waterproofing. But that’s about it. Everything else is… well, top-notch… and the Honor manages to make up for the change in camera with better image processing.

Honor 10 review

And it works great. The Honor 10 easily matches some of the best phones on the market in terms of looks, performance, camera, and yet it costs half of their price tags. And that’s what the definition for bang for the buck looks like.

Pros

  • Nicely looking body, seems sturdy enough
  • Great screen with superb contrast, and you can hide the notch
  • Very capable main camera, color or monochrome, lots of artsy options
  • Dependable performance
  • Loud speaker
  • Feature-rich software
  • Hard to match bang for buck ratio

Cons

  • No IP67 rating, don’t dunk it in water
  • Mediocre screen contrast in bright light
  • Ultrasonic fingerprint reader is slower/fiddlier than we’re used to
  • The low-light photos not as good as on P20, nor is the 2x zoom
  • Something is wrong with the 1080p at 60fps clips as they come out blurry

For €390 launch price, we are willing to forgive a lot of those shortcomings. We’d recommend the Honor 10 wholeheartedly – it’s a great all-rounder with few flaws and some extra-large claws.

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