The Huawei Honor 6 has been available for a few weeks in France, and it has been talked about a lot since the announcement of its manufacturer. This is not surprising because it is entitled to a particularly promising technical sheet, for a selling price starting under the fateful bar of 300 € . Some of you are probably wondering what the device is worth in the field and this is precisely the question that this test will attempt to answer.
Some of you may know it, but this test follows on from my getting started published last week. If you have read it, then you can skip the first two parts directly and go directly to the one that evokes the terminal screen, its computing power and its autonomy.
We are not changing our habits and I will therefore take the time to recall the technical characteristics of the beast before going any further. I know this step is a bit off-putting, but unfortunately it is essential:
- 5 inch screen.
- Full HD 1080p, 1920 × 1080 type definition.
- HiSilicon Kirin 920 Hi3630 processor.
- 4 x Cortex A15 @ 1.7 GHz (2 GHz max), and 4 x Cortex A7 @ 1.3 GHz (1.6 GHz max).
- Mali T628 GPU.
- 3 GB of RAM.
- 16 GB or 32 GB of storage depending on the version.
- Micro SD card slot (128 GB max).
- 13 million pixel Sony Exmor RS sensor with f / 2.0 lens + dual LED flash.
- 5 million pixel front camera.
- WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS / GLONASS, infra-red, FM radio.
- Micro SIM port, micro USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Networks: 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G +.
- Non-removable 3100 mAh battery.
- Dimensions: 139.9 x 69.7 x 7.5 mm.
- Weight: 130 grams.
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat and Emotion UI 2.3.
- From € 299 without operator subsidy.
Rather complete, no? Certainly. Huawei has set the bar very high and the Honor 6 ultimately does not have much to envy its competitors. At least on paper. And in practice? This article will attempt to answer precisely to this question.
Design, Ergonomics & Packaging
The box of the Huawei Honor 6 is not original. It even goes straight to the point and is content to recall the name of the brand and the model. No visual of the phone, therefore, and not a word on its technical characteristics.
Inside and outside the terminal, we will find a quick start guide , a synchronization cable , a power supply unit and the hands-free kit . The supplied headphones are well made, but they will be difficult to satisfy music lovers. And at the same time it is not dramatic since the latter already have their helmet.
The first thing that strikes you with the phone is its compact dimensions and its reduced weight.
In order to maintain an aggressive price positioning, Huawei has not opted for high-end materials and the terminal is therefore made of glass and plastic . The manufacturer has done things well and the phone comes with two protective films that will probably save you the worst. Otherwise, the edge of the device mimics brushed aluminum wonderfully.
The Honor 6 feels good in the hand. There isn't much to say about its finishes except that they are excellent. Nothing moves, everything is firmly maintained and an impression of solidity emerges from the whole.
The ergonomics of the device are rather conventional and all the physical buttons are grouped together on the right edge. From top to bottom, we will find the two buttons dedicated to volume control and the power button. In a row, we will also have a plastic hatch concealing the micro SIM port and the micro SD port of the phone. No trigger, however.
Its front face is occupied by the screen, the speaker and the front camera. No brand or logo, Huawei opted for clean lines and that's quite a good thing.
The back of the phone looks a lot like that of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s. The photo module and its dual LED flash are grouped together in the upper left corner. The name of the range appears a little further on.
The upper section includes the headphone jack and the infra-red port. The micro USB 2.0 port is the exact opposite.
If you like phones that are out of the ordinary and everyone notices, then the Huawei Honor 6 is not necessarily the best choice. However, it is still a beautiful product.
Screen, Power & Autonomy
The screen of the Honor 6 is built by Japan Display. The panel is not IPS, but that does not prevent it from doing its job well with a rather natural color rendering and sufficient brightness to keep it readable in direct sunlight.
The fields of vision left me a little bit hungry, however. If you are used to looking at photos or videos with several people, you may quickly feel limited in your movements and it is a little annoying with force. The same goes for the contrasts, far from equaling what the competition offers.
Good point, however, the terminal will give us the possibility to switch to 720p on the fly, which will allow us to gain a lot of autonomy in the process.
As indicated above, the Honor 6 is equipped with a HiSilicon Kirin 920 processor. This chip is produced by the manufacturer and it is based on a big.LITTLE type architecture with four Cortex A15 and four Cortex A7. Contrary to what was stated in my previous article, these eight cores can work together for the most difficult operations.
The rest of the song, you already know it. I have run several benchmarking solutions to determine the raw computing power of the phone. Do not hesitate to run them on your terminal to compare.
- An3DBench: 7877 .
- BenchmarkPi: 196.
- Quadrant: 11,132 .
- Linpack: 364,291.
- Geekbench: 857/3066.
- AnTuTu: 40 663.
He's not doing that bad in the end, right? Yes, and it should also be noted that I did not have to deplore the slightest latency during the week, even when launching games and watching videos in Full HD from my NAS.
The autonomy is quite correct for its part and the Honor 6 will easily be able to hold a full working day with a single charge, for moderate use and with 4G activated. By being careful and by deactivating WiFi or 4G according to your needs, it will be possible to reach and exceed 12 hours. Or even more, being very thrifty.
I mentioned it a little earlier but it is also possible to switch the terminal screen to 720p to save a few tens of minutes.
In short, we are quite far from what the Z3 offers, obviously, but it's not bad anyway.
Photos, Videos & Sound
Sales of digital compacts have literally collapsed in recent years, cannibalized by our smartphone friends. Manufacturers operating on the market are indeed more and more attentive to this kind of thing and this is undoubtedly what pushed Huawei to equip the Honor 6 with a Sony Exmor RS sensor of 13 million pixels crowned with a optics capable of opening in f / 2.0.
You have been a few to contact me here and elsewhere to ask me what the terminal was worth compared to the Xperia Z3.
As much to warn you immediately, it is clearly below what Sony offers with its latest flagship. The sensor and the optics play an important role in the quality of the images (still and moving), of course, but there are also other criteria to take into account and in particular everything related to the processing of the images.
Be careful though because if the Honor 6 does not do as well as the Z3, it is still capable of pretty feats. The dynamics and color rendering are fairly accurate, with an above average sharpness . Finally, as long as the light is there. As soon as it drops, the phone quickly shows its limits with yellowish images and plenty of unsightly artifacts.
The video did not leave me with lasting memories. The fault of the integrated stabilizer, well below what the Z3 or even the excellent Lumia 1020 ( tested here ) offer. In terms of recording formats, it will be necessary to be satisfied with the strict minimum with 1080p and 710p. No 4K.
The application is rather convincing with a refined interface leaving room for the essential, and therefore the image. It offers several different modes, with nice surprises in the lot. I'm thinking in particular of the “Embellish” mode which will allow you to improve your shots quite easily. Behind it, you also have to take into account all the usual odds and ends like panoramas, filters, audio notes and so on.
Huawei has done a good job overall, therefore. I have put some pictures for you below. They are also available in their original formatin my Dropbox .
What about the sound, then? No problem in conversation, we can hear the interlocutor well. On the other hand, the loudspeaker convinced me less. The sound lacks depth and velvet. It is too dry, and the bass is not very marked. I tried to tinker with the settings of the device, but without success.
If you are the type to blow up the sound in the RER, of course, it would be better to direct you to another terminal or … connect it to a Bluetooth speaker.
Overlay & Applications
I had never had the opportunity to put my hands on a terminal designed by Huawei before this test, and I therefore did not know the manufacturer's overlay. The experience was rather interesting, even enriching.
It's quite strange, but Huawei didn't go for a conventional system. In fact, the Emotion UI lock screen will display photos drawn randomly from the manufacturer's servers. Nice photos, obviously.
The user, for his part, will only have to make a vertical swipe from the bottom to the top to reveal a small reader. He can then change images on the fly, or decide to download them locally on his terminal.
Apart from this feature, we find the same information as in the competition with a widget displaying the date / time and a button allowing quick access to the application in charge of capturing photos and videos.
Android requires, we can distribute our widgets and our applications on several home screens and organize ourselves as we wish. The interface is simple, clean and accessible . The manufacturer has chosen not to integrate a drawer , so we are on a system relatively close to what iOS offers.
By keeping our finger pressed for a few seconds on an empty area, we will bring up a menu with various options to add new widgets or modify the transitions between the home screens. To edit them, a simple “pinch to zoom” will suffice.
On the positive side, Huawei also offers themes. There are three installed by default, but we will be able to easily retrieve more through the provided application. With pretty surprises in store, by the way, and everyone should be able to find something to suit them.
The notification center
He got me less excited than the rest. Blame it on its interface, no doubt, which does not necessarily blend well with what we find on the side of the lock screen and home screens.
Otherwise, know that its content revolves around two tabs , a bit like what Sony offers with its own overlay. One of them will direct us to alerts generated by our apps while the second will show some of our quick shortcuts. To make them all appear, you will simply have to press a button at the bottom.
It gets straight to the point and just … displays all the running applications. As a list, and in the form of pretty thumbnails. To close a tool, you can tap on its cross or drag it horizontally to the left or to the right.
At the bottom, we will find another button to do a big cleaning. At any time, we will know where we are with the use of our RAM thanks to a banner placed upwards.
They are rather conventional, but there are still some good ideas. The gallery, for example, is very visual and it includes a complete editor offering lots of very interesting functions. In a few seconds, we can stick filters on our photos, modify their contrast or even their brightness.
The camera goes straight to the point for its part. It will be possible to switch between several shooting modes but we remain on a rather traditional offer and “slow motion” is apparently not appropriate. Also note that the Honor 6 will not be able to film in 4K, so you will have to be satisfied with Full DH 1080p.
I really liked the phone manager, which allows you to take a step back on the terminal and get advice on how to optimize it . It's really smart and I think it's typically the kind of tool that should come in handy for newbies.
The music player doesn't seem to be bad either, but I haven't really explored the subject as I mostly use Spotify. The web browser and the mail client did not leave me with lasting memories, but it is quite logical since I am used to Inbox and Chrome. Difficult to give up your little habits.
Otherwise, well the agenda disappointed me a lot for its part. It doesn't have to be pretty to look at, nor very pleasant to use. Fortunately, it will suffice to take a little tour of the Play Store to find dozens (hundreds?) Of competing solutions.
The settings of the Honor 6 are divided into two separate tabs. Huawei has effectively made the choice to highlight the most common settings to save us as much time as possible.
I'm not going to give you a list of everything the phone offers, but rather focus on the features that caught my eye the most.
And the first of all is obviously the screen saver . Logical since it will allow us to modify the definition of the terminal screen, and thus switch from 1080p to 720p on the fly. What is the point of the thing? Consume less energy! It's not bad, especially since the difference between the two modes is not obvious, so not for everyday use. After all, do you need a Full HD screen to check your emails?
Behind, we will also find another mode to save a little more energy. By playing with these functions, and with the settings of the device, we can really improve its autonomy and thus last a day and a half without getting too tired.
On this, we also have lots of other nice things like a “do not disturb” mode, a simplified home screen, a movement control system and… a floating menu.
Once activated, a small luminous ball will appear on the left side of the screen. You just have to tap on it to bring up a wheel very reminiscent of what Samsung offers on the Galaxy Note. There, we will be able to do a lot of things, and in particular open applications in windowed mode.
The following video does not show all of these features, but it will still allow you to see the Honor 6 run in real life, or almost.
The time has therefore come to render my final verdict.
The Honor 6 is not a perfect product. It doesn't get a nice brushed aluminum shell, it can't connect to a PS4 (or Xbox One) either, and it only has one photo module on the back of its shell. So it is sure, it is pale compared to other high-end terminals on the market.
But now, the thing is, it also has a huge trump card up its sleeve: it costs half the price of most of its competition . The basic model, the one with 16 GB of storage, is therefore offered below the € 300 mark.
And you know what ? It changes everything. Absolutely everything.
Because in reality, few terminals can boast of going so low.