The Honor 8 Pro (review) was easily one of the most underrated smartphones of the year 2017. With dual rear cameras, a 5.7-inch 2K display, powerful internals, and a 4,000mAh battery, it was as good if not better than the critically-acclaimed OnePlus 5 (review). The 8 Pro was even launched at a price lower than OnePlus’ flagship killer, but still got overshadowed by it to some extent.
In 2018 however, Huawei’s youth-focussed sub-brand is upping the ante further with its latest flagship the Honor View 10 (first impressions). Launched as the V10 in China, the AI-first smartphone was unveiled for the global markets amidst much fanfare in London. And with AI being the next big thing among giants like Apple and Google, it’s interesting how the Chinese brand has utilised it in its high-end offering. While the View 10 does offer flagship-grade specs, is the inclusion of AI capabilities enough for it to stand out from the competition? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out, after about two weeks of using the View 10as a daily driver.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||1080 x 2160 pixels|
|CPU||Quad core, 2.36 GHz + Quad core, 1.8 GHz, HiSilicon Kirin|
|Internal memory||128 GB|
|External memory||Up to 256 GB|
|Capacity||3750 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable|
|Talktime||Up to 23 Hours (3G)|
|Primary camera||16 MP|
|Secondary camera||13 MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 8.0 Oreo|
Design and display: less is more
Dimensions:157 x 74.9 x 6.9 mm
Honor already has launched two bezel-free phones in the Indian market the 9i (review) and 7X (review), and now it’s bringing an 18:9 display to its flagship offering as well. However, the Honor View 10 is different than most smartphones boasting bezel-less designs, and that’s because it still offers a home button-cum-fingerprint scanner below the display despite sporting minimal bezels. The authentication is fast and accurate, and while the hardware button does mean that the phone’s screen-to-body ratio isn’t as high as it could’ve been, it does make the usage easier as you don’t have to pick up the phone from the table to unlock it (as is the case if the fingerprint reader is located at the back).
That aside, the Honor View 10 is an attention catcher. Part of the reason for that is the fact that our review unit comes in blue, which not only looks different from the competition but appears quite classy too. Add to it the fact that the device is quite sleek at 6.9mm. Even with its slim frame, the phone retains the 3.5mm headset jack, available at the bottom. The placement of other buttons and ports is nothing surprising, though its good to see an IR emitter up top… a handy feature that helps you control TVs and other appliances with the phone.
The protruding dual cameras at the back do take away a bit from the slim form factor, as they jut out quite a bit. Along with the shooters, you’ll also find the LED flash. The rear panel has minimal design attributes otherwise, and the antennas are placed at the top and bottom to ensure a uniform look. Sadly, the smooth finish does mean that the View 10can become slippery when your hands are sweaty.
The Honor View 10s window to the world is a 5.99-inch display. Whats strange however, is the fact that while its predecessor the 8 Pro offered a 2k resolution, the View 10’s screen bears full HD+ resolution (with an aspect ratio of 18:9). That said, you won’t have any issues with the IPS panel it offers sharp and vibrant visuals. However, the screen is quite reflective which impacts readability in harsh outdoor conditions. The good thing is that UI offers the ability to scale for the taller aspect ratio, even if the apps don’t support the format.
Cameras: two-timing done right
Primary camera:16 MP
Secondary camera:13 MP
Huawei (and its sub-brand Honor) has established itself as one of the very few brands that offer a refined dual camera experience. And the Honor View 10 takes that a notch above with the use of AI. But before we talk about that, here’s what you get with the phone in the camera department: a 16MP f/1.8t primary shooter paired with a 20MP sensor at the rear. Interestingly, the brand continues with its usual RGB + monochrome setup, along with offering the features offered by other dual camera-toting smartphones. Along with a portrait mode, the cameras can also offer the optical zoom-like capability of up to 2x.
The View 10 offers a versatile software experience too. The camera app is chock-a-block with options from a spate of modes such as Pro, HDR, Monochrome, Night Shot, Light Painting, etc., to the wide aperture and portrait mode along with the ability to capture Apple iPhone-like live photos. Thanks to artificial intelligence, the camera is automatically able to detect the scene you’re trying to capture to ensure the best results with optimum settings. The brand claims to be able to identify 13 different types of scenes and objects.
How well does all that translate to real-life image quality? Very well, to say the least. The Honor View 10’s camera won’t disappoint you regardless of shooting conditions, and its fast too, both in terms of autofocus and shutter speed. Landscape images and indoor shots are full of detail with accurate colour reproduction, while close-ups manage to offer good depth even without using the portrait mode. The brand has perfected the art of bokeh and the results from the View 10are captivating.And the best part is that you can adjust the amount of blur not just while shooting, but even in post-processing. The 2x optical zoom is also quite handy and doesn’t compromise with the image quality. HDR is quite effective too, though wed have liked to see an auto HDR feature. Sadly, the cameras also face exposure issues as they’re unable to handle strong light sources well, resulting in overexposed images. The cameras offer goodresults in low light as well. Here are a few samples:
Check out the original images here.
The Honor View 10 offers impressive selfies as well, with a 13MP f/2.0 camera up front. Even with a single sensor, the device offers a portrait mode, and it works quite well. For shooting in low light, it has a screen flash. Coming to the video capabilities, the handset can shoot up to 4K resolution. However, due to the lack of OIS, videos arent as smooth, and thesnappers also struggle with focussing while recording.
Software: emotions run high with EMUI 8.0
OS Version:8.0, Oreo
With the View 10, Honor has made a leap in terms of the software too. After Emotion UI 5.0, it has jumped directly to v8.0 to match theAndroid 8.0 Oreo platform it utilises. At first glance, you won’t find anything different than the previous iterations of the custom skin. It continues with a unified homescreen and app drawer (though you can enable the app menu from settings), and comes with quite a few preloaded apps. Some of the preinstalled titles are quite useful Phone Manager for instance, gives you a one-stop overview of data usage, app permissions, battery status, etc., while Smart Controller lets you control other electronic appliances via IR.
The Honor View 10 is being promoted as your first AI phone, and in simple words, that means it has some smarts to offer, all thanks to the dedicated NPU (Neural-network Processing Unit) in the SoC. The OS understands how you use the smartphone and ensures optimum performance as per your usage behaviour. The device comes with an optimised version of Microsoft Translator, letting you use real-time translation during a conversation, along with the usual options of translating typed text, images or audio. During our testing, the feature proved to be quite useful, though the translation wasn’t perfect.
The View 10 allows you to use software keys for navigation, or just use the home button for the same. Long-pressing the button brings you to the homescreen, tapping it once can take you to the previous screen, and swiping left or right lets you open the multitasking menu.However, you won’t be able to utilise the split-screen functionality in this manner (though you can use the knuckle gesture to enable it).
The smartphone also comes with face recognition tech. And while it works quite well, strangely enough, you can just use it to view notification content on the lock screen, and can’t be utilised to unlock the View 10 for now. However, the brand will be rolling out an update to bring this functionality in the future.
Performance: speeding through
CPU: Quad core, 2.36 GHz + Quad co…
Memory:128 GB + Up to 256 GB
SIM Slots:Dual SIM , GSM+GSM
Being a flagship, the Honor View 10 comes equipped with a top-of-the-line processor. Huawei’s in-house Kirin 970 SoC ensures that the device is able to handle any task thrown at it. It does a great job with not just basic navigation, but while running heavy apps too. To ensure smooth multitasking experience, the chipset is clubbed with 6 gigs of RAM, and switching between apps is instantaneous as well. The smartphone didn’t show any sign of slowing down even when we had 15 to 20 apps running in the background. With the Mali-G72 MP12 graphics engine, gaming is an enjoyable affair too. We often lost track of time while playing titles like Sniper Ghost Warrior, and the good thing is that the phone doesn’t heat up even after long sessions. The game suite makes the playing experience better, though the loudspeaker’s output isn’t impressive. Even more so as because of the speaker’s placement, the audio tends to get muffled.
With 128GB storage on board, you get ample amount of space on the View 10. After accounting for the OS and various resources, around 111GB is available to the end user, and if that’s not enough, you can add another 256GBby popping in a microSD card.
Connectivity-wise, Honors latest offers the usual options like 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, infrared blaster and GPS. The interesting thing is that the phone supports 4G on both the SIM slots. The call quality is also top-notch, though the phone kept losing the data network intermittently.
Even with its thin form factor, the Honor View 10 is able to pack in a beefy 3,750mAh battery. While the capacity is lower than its predecessor, it’s still more than most flagships. In day-to-day usage, the smartphone easily manages to last an entire working day and then some, even with heavy usage comprising always-on 4G, use of GPS navigation for some time, streaming Netflix videos and a bit of gaming. In our video loop test, the phone played an HD video for little more than 11 hours, which isn’t the best result, but not bad either. The handset supports Huawei’s SuperCharge technology for fast charging. However, the bundled adapter is a regular5V / 2A one, using which the View 10 takes about two hours to charge fully.
After the launch of the 9i and 7X, Honor is gunning for a hat-trick with the View 10 and it seems to have succeeded for the most part. What makes it even more attractive is the fact that the brand has ignored the phone’s international pricing of 499 euros (roughly Rs 38,000), and kept the price tag in India very competitive at Rs 29,999 essentially undercutting its rivals.
Just like Honors previous flagship, the biggest competitor to the View 10 is the OnePlus 5T (review), which is also bezel-less and offers dual rear cameras. However, the 5T is slightly more expensive and doesn’t boast AI capabilities. Xiaomis most expensive offering in India, the Mi Mix 2 (review), is also a solid contender, especially after the price cut. While the Mix 2 is almost entirely devoid of bezels and features high-end specs, the View 10 trumps it with its imaging prowess.
To sum up, while its cameras are shy of perfection and AI capabilities are in nascent stages, the Honor View 10 is still a very compelling flagship available at an enticing price point.
Editors rating: 4 / 5
- Sleek, bezel-less design
- Impressive camera performance
- Powerful hardware
- Good battery life
- Basic AI capabilities
- Face recognition doesn’t work for unlocking the phone
- No fast charger bundled with the smartphone
Photos by Raj Rout