Do you want a phone with a great screen great processor high capacity storage and decent memory? Do you want this phone to have a cracking camera with more video modes than you can shake a stick at as well? How nice, would it be if you get this for under £600 sim free in a sleek package with a hint of glitzy design thrown in for good measure? Sound pretty good, doesn’t it? Well luckily for you the new Honor 70 has launched recently and this phone ticks most if not all of these boxes including the cost one (if you are willing to sacrifice storage space you can get it for even cheaper!).
I have been fortunate to have been given the use of an Honor 70 for the past few weeks and I have had some time to get some thought on the device. It is that time again when I try and string together my rambling into a readable and enjoyable review for you our dear reader. So without further ado let’s jump right in with the design.
I have gone through the design of this phone on my unboxing and first impressions post and also covered it a little in my launch event write-up. If, however, you didn’t catch those articles, let me review them again.
Staring at the top is where we will find the normal pinhole speaker and that is it. The top edge is at least flat which is something I do like to see as it reminds me of the Note Series (RP) from Samsung.
Moving down the right-hand side we can see the volume rocker switch that sits above the power key which will also acct as a Google Assistant key on a long press if you wish to set it up this way. You can notice how slim this phone is almost immediately as when you pick it up the skinny edges just mold into you hand. this feels really nice and it still feels durablem
Around the bottom things get a little bit busier here as we have a dual sim card slot, one of the speakers (this one is bottom-firing), another pinhole mic and the USB Type C port that Support Honor’s propriety SuperCharge tech at up to 66w in this instance. Again like up the top this is flat edge which has made capturing the glamour shots of this phone a damn site easier!
The sim card slot does have a waterproofing ring around it but this phone does not have an IP rating, unfortunately.
On the left-hand side, we are met with a barren expanse of nothingness which is fine with me as I am right-handed but could be annoying for left-handed users but then this is true of most phones on the market.
Going around to the back is where we find the gorgeous shimmery, colour-changing (it is subtle but it is there) back panel which I believe is toughened glass but at this point, I am not certain. It does feel good and it is not a fingerprint magnet which I really like.
Nestled up in the top left quarter of the phone is where we can find the twin camera setup which consists of three different camera sensors including the world’s first Sony IMX800 54MP Super Sensing Main Camera (f/1.9 aperture), a 50MP Ultra Wide & Macro Main Camera(f/2.2 aperture) and a 2MP Depth Camera (f/2.4 aperture). These cameras will also pull double duty and work video recording along with various AI tweaked and assisted modes. I am looking forward to trying them out, especially Solo Shot.
Up front, we have the Display along with a 32MP Super Clear Selfie Camera (f/2.4 aperture) hole punch camera that again will work for video and AI Assisted modes for those all-important selfies.
Above the display is the earpiece which is nestled into a minuscule gap between the edge of the frame and the screen itself.
Onto the display though. This measures in at 6.67 “diagonal and has an FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution with a PPI of 395 and a 20.1 aspect ratio. It will support 1.07 billion colours and it is rated for DCI-P3 with a wide colour gamut.
I have to say it looks really good and I am a fan to see that it has a variable refresh rate although this is limited to 60hz or 120hz instead of being infinitely variable like on some other devices. I also have to say that I really do like the curve to the edge of the phone. It feels really smoothly done and natural and it makes the phone feel a lot slimmer than it actually is.
This genuine a really nice and well-designed phone that looks like it should be a lot more expensive than it actually is. However, is all this glitz and glamour hiding a dark and haunting secret under the skin as they do say that beauty is only skin deep!
Well, I am very pleased to say that in this case that beauty is much more than skin deep and I would actually have loved to have seen a teardown of this phone as the components inside are all top-notch with what you can expect for a top of the mid their phone. but that is enough of my depravity for phone internals! Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to make this phone sing!
Before I really get into this there is a small matter of the spec sheet to be dealt with.
|Midnight Black, Emerald Green, Crystal Silver
Weight 178 grams
|Size: 6.67 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2400 PPI 395
Aspect Ratio: 20:9
Refresh Rate: Variable between 1Hz to 120Hz
|Operating System: Magic UI 6.1 based on Android 12
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ (6nm)
GPU: Adreno 642L
Storage: 128 or 256GB
Battery: 4700 mAh (non-removable)
Charging: Fast charging 16W, 60% in 20 min (advertised)
|MAIN CAMERA – REAR
|54 MP, f/1.9, (wide), 1/1.49″, PDAF
|ULTRA WIDE CAMERA -REAR
|50 MP, f/2.2, 122˚ (ultrawide), AF
|DEPTH CAMERA -REAR
|2 MP, f/2.4, (depth
|Dual-LED dual-tone flash,
|Support 4k (up to 3840 x 2160) video shooting, support EIS video stabilisation.
|Time-lapse, AI photography, Super Wide Angle, Aperture, Multi-Video, Night shot, Portrait mode,
Photo, Pro mode, Video, Panorama, HDR, Filter, Watermark, Documents, Super Macro,
Capture smiles, Timer, HIGH-RES, Slow-Mo, Story
|32 MP, f/2.4, (wide)
|FEATURES FRONT CAMERA
|Portrait,Time-Lapse, Filter, Stickers, Capture smiles, Mirror reflection, Timer, Night, HIGH-RES, Video, Multi-Video
GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100 CDMA2000 1x
4G Bands1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 38, 39, 41, 46, 48, 66
5G Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41, 66, 77 SA/NSA
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A, 5G
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
|5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
|Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS , BDS
|Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
|USB 2.0, Type-C,
Dual nano-SIM slot
|Li-Po 4800 mAh, non-removable
Fast charging 66W, 60% in 20 min (advertised)
Reverse charging 5W
|Gestures and on-screen navigation support
|Dual stereo speaker
Noise cancellation support
The beating heart of this phone is nothing particularly special as it is comprised of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G Plus processor which is mated with the Adreno 642L GPU. This is by no means a ground-shaking paring but it is one that will serve you well and it is more than good enough for the average user. One aspect of this processor and GPU combo is that it sips power which is great to hear as the battery is not a beast by any means at 4700 mAH pack size. It does however pack punch especially when it comes to charging it up as this phone thankfully supports the inclusion of Honor’s Supercharge 66W.
I am very grateful to see this as one of the omissions on this phone is QI Wireless charging which is excusable for a phone at the price point we are looking at. The inclusion of a QI Wireless charging coil would have added some more thickness which would have ruined the design aesthetic of this phone so I can understand why it was omitted here. We are starting to see a distinct division in the market where QI Wireless charging is concerned, more and more of the mid-tier devices are not including the wireless charging option in their spec sheets. I think up to a certain price point this is acceptable but manufacturers need to tread carefully as if you don’t include it in a device that tips over the £600 price point without including Wireless charging then you are going to start to annoy people and put them off buying your phones. Fortunately, Honor is on the correct side of this price point and has gotten away with it.
The Honor Supercharger 66W charger is thankfully also included in the box, which is a very good thing as this is a propriety charging system much like the SuperVOOC system employed by Oneplus and OPPO. The vast majority of the heat from the charging process is taken up by the charger brick and it allows simultaneous charging of 2 cells within the battery with a very short call balancing program built into the final stage of the charging session. You can also stop the phone from charging as this superfast speed from within the settings for the battery, allows you to prolong the battery life of your device and reduce the strain being placed on the battery over long charge times meaning you don’t have to worry about it as the software takes care of things for you.
In terms of the memory options available, you can get the phone with only one option for RAM and that is fixed at 8GB. You can however get 2 storage capacities depending on which colours you choose. if you go with Midnight Black or Emerald Green you can get either 128GB or 256GB of onboard storage. If however you go with the Crystal Silver then you are limited to only getting the 128GB storage option. I guess if you are pretty you don’t need much space to store memories as you’re the most memorable thing in the room! *Editors note We are not quite sure what has got into Garry too much exposure to shiny things I think we get him the counselling he needs we promise!
I cannot move away from the hardware section of the review without talking about the materials used in the build of this phone. Of course, upfront, we have got a hardened (not GorillaGlass though) curved screen panel.
This then goes around to a plastic mid-frame in every smooth way with very little to indicate the transition barring a protrusion of a fraction of a millimetre that you can barely see but can feel. It doesn’t feel bad but if you look for it you can see it. Continuing around this curved body takes you to a frosted back panel which is composed of Frosted Glass. I am glad that they have used the frosted back panel as this means that the back is not a fingerprint magnet and it doesn’t turn into a smudgy mess as soon as you go near it. It would even be possible if you wished to do so to use this without the extra (and included) case that allows for increased grip as the phone is pleasantly grippy with the back panel the way it is. With the mid-frame of the phone being made of plastic, this gets away from the need to have ugly antenna bands but gives the opportunity for 360-degree coverage for the antennas built into the phone’s skinny frame.
It is a shame that there is no official IP rating on this phone but again this is a cost-saving measure as the phone does have a protective rim around the dual sim tray and I would hazard a guess that the various other apertures are suitably protected as well. There is however no official rating so now swimming with this one! I would have also liked to see a recognised brand name for the glass on the front panel as it gives reassurance to the potential buyer seeing a name they recognise on a spec sheet.
Moving on from hardware, the big reason that people are going to want to buy this phone, of course, is the camera or cameras to be more accurate.
Honor have made some big claims about the camera performance for the Honor 70 and I have been reasonably impressed with the performance of the camera for normal day to day shots. i have included a few images of these below for your review.
I have found that the camera is really true to what you see with your eyes and this is due to the new Sony IMX800 sensor board with a rated megapixel count of 54. Honor have called the camera a SuperSensing camera. The camera does draw on the AI part of the Snapdragon chipset to help with the super sensing capabilities and this does work when you are using it to take various images. For example, the picture of the Cat correctly identified that the picture was of an animal and made the various tweaks to the setting and parameters to correctly capture the cat’s features and the end result is pretty good. The same was true of the sunset and this one is a bit trickier as I am asking the sensor to accommodate an extremely bright source of light and not wash out the rest of the image, again I think it does quite a good job.
The next thing i wanted to test was the variable aperture mode to get some background blur or Bokeh. Whilst the phone does have an inbuilt bokeh mode which I did try but i wasn’t that happy with so use the adjustable aperture mode to get the effect i wanted on the two shots below.
I am happy with the result in the shots above as they give me the effect i was looking for and it was easy enough to get.
One of the other features of the camera that was another area being talked about a lot at the press event was the video functions. And I was keen to have a play. So first up is the fairly normal dual camera modes that we have seen on various different devices over the past few years. They are useful if you want to give a different perspective to your footage but I can’t see myself using them very much. If I were TicToc creator or an Instagrammer then this may be more interesting. Check these samples out below.
Here is a regular video just to give you an idea of its capabilities.
The big one that is shouting from the rooftops, it is called Solo Cut. This is a very interesting feature that is something that I have never seen before. The video will automatically track a subject that you identify from the preview screen this will track the subject as it moves across the frame. I have tried to capture its functionality for you below.
The first video is the raw footage
The second video is the Solo Cut
You can see that in the first video the tracking is not as smooth as i move across the frame as the camera was being panned and the motion is not that smooth. whereas in the second video the tracking is being handled by the SoloCut software that is actively tracking my motion across the frame and it does create a smoother panning motion. While this may not be the best demonstration of this feature it gives you an idea of what it can do. The demo we were shown at the launch event showcased a group of people where one of them was selected as the target or “Solo” and the camera tracked the movement of that “Solo” as they moved around in the frame.
Here is a demo video below that might give a better impression of it in action.
The camera is a well-rounded component of the phone and if you like taking photos and are on a budget then this is potentially going to be a key selling point for you on this phone. Solo Cut mode is something that is very interesting and I can see it being extremely useful in a concert experience or at a family get-together.
Honour has been getting quite good at cleaning up their software loadout on the Android lately and this is no different on the Honor 70. The phone comes with Magic UI 6.1 loaded onto it and this is based on Android as the OS. I would have liked to have seen the phone come out with Android 13 from the get-go but as the phone’s software would have been iterated a few months ago i can understand why it is not here. The UI is fairly clean and it doesn’t have too many annoying hangups as I have observed on other devices that i have reviewed and used in the past few years. In terms of bloat, there are a few of Honor’s own apps that do replicate the core Android apps but these can very easily and quickly be disabled from the main screen after a few long presses. It only took me about 3o mins to get the phone set up how I like it. This could be sped up if you use a 3rd party launcher like Nova Launcher which can store a backup of your Home screen layout in an online space. I like to try and run the phones i test with the stock launcher and UI where I can and i was pleased to say that with the Honor 70 i have not found any need to move away from their inbuilt launcher. I would have liked to see more options for changing the iconography though as the inbuilt icon sets are a bit too cartoony for me. This is something that you use to be able to do back in the Honor<->Huawei days via the Themes app. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible and the Themes App is a bit of a waste of time now, to be honest. Even if we had the ability to use the wallpaper colour match option as introduced in Android 12 then that would have been something but this is not available to you which is a shame in my eyes.
There are a few special tweaks that Honor has made in the software that are designed to help with daily tasks and the longevity of the phone. I will go over the Longevity part first as this is a big part of this phone’s personality.
The phone will easily last me 2 days with very light use of Emails, Soical media, Youtube, Music playback from local storage and so Web browsing during the evening. At the time of my writing this review, the phone is currently on 11% and it was unplugged from a power supply the morning before. I started today with around 47% in the tank. This is pretty damn good but there is a cost to this battery performance. The AI in the snapdragon chipset works with the very aggressive battery management software within the phone to pretty much kill most background processes.
An example of this is the App I use for music playback on my device called Musicolet, I install it on every phone I use and it works really well. On my Pixel 6 Pro which is running on Android 13 it just works with no issues with playback when the screen goes to sleep etc. On the Honor 70 I noticed that I would get issues with playback when the screen went to sleep, I actually got a prompt through the app that I needed to enable it to run in the background if I wanted it to return back to normal functioning. This is a real-world example of one of the apps that i have had to tweak to work around the over-eager battery management tools employed on the phone. Whilst it is not a massive issue it is something that is worth being aware of if you are an intensive user of the phone. Fortunately, I did not have any issues with receiving any of my notifications on the phone during my time with it as this used to be something that the battery management profile would hone in with laser focus and try to kill off anything other than a stock default app from delivering notifications.
I am not sure if my next concern is strictly related to the aggressive battery tweaking but i do find that when I pair my device with Android Auto i get an issue where although the pairing goes through and my car will use Android Auto it will not allow the content of the screen to display or even be interacted with. It could be that the app has not had permission set up correctly or the phone is killing the screen streaming part of the Android Auto environment but it is somewhat annoying to see this happen as i do a lot of driving so this feature is important to me. I would like to say at this point that i have had lots of issues with Android Auto on multiple phones so this is not something i am placing on Honor here and it could very well be the car software at fault. I just felt that it is worth mentioning so you know all the gory details!
The second part of the phone’s extras come in the form of neat features like the Multi Windows dock menu that will come in from the side of the phone if you perform a swipe and hold gesture this will allow you to have some quick launch apps from any screen Within a new window or a split screen mode. While it is something I have never found myself using it is nice that it is here. Also having all the usual useful gestures like Raising to wake and flipping to mute are useful little touches that make living with the phone just that little bit easier. The inbuilt storage management tool is also pretty neat as a way to help keep you on top of your files to stop that digital hoarder in all of us.
I am pretty happy with the software overall and I have been happy using the phone in my day-to-day tasks I have found that it all performs smoothly and is a nice phone to interact with. That being said I do just wish that i was able to tweak a few more things on the UI to get it to look the way I want it to. I am potentially in the minority on this though as most people who have asked and shown the phone have liked the way it looks. I suppose that this is the curse of reviewing so many phones you will always become jaded with the first little thing that irks you. Most people who will be using this phone, will find the software a great experience and probably would not question the wrinkles I have observed because quite simply they won’t notice them. This is a sign that the software has been done right for me so well done Honor you have done a good job on your latest version of Magic UI 6.1.
There is one last big feature that Honor is keen to talk about in the Honor 70 and this is Multi-Screen collaboration. Now unfortunately as I don’t have another Honor device that I can use with this tool I can tell you that I would have loved to have had this feature in years gone by as it works really well. In essence, this will allow you to access your files and other phone functions on another screen as if you are doing things on the phone. This is in itself nothing new. What is really clever is that you can actually copy things from one device to another just like you would if you were doing it on the same device I think this is really cool and wish I could have tested it for you as part of this review but it was not meant to be. This feature will work with any of the current lineup of Honor Laptops and also the brand new Honor Pad 8 that was launched alongside the Honor 70 here is a short video demoing this tool courtesy of Honor.
The Honor 70 as mentioned above comes in three different colours and 2 different storage varieties
For 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in Midnight Black, Emerald Green or Crystal Silver it will be £479.99
For 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in Midnight Black or Emerald Green it normally costs £529.99 but for the next 7 days you can get this phone £499.99
All the above prices are available now from the HiHonor store where you can also get some free HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro in Gray that are worth £169.99
I have been very impressed with the Honor 70 and I have been happy with my time using the phone. I think it is going to be popular with those in the market for a premium-looking midi-tier phone that doesn’t have a mid-tier price point. it does a lot of things right from the stunning design to the great cameras and smooth stutter-free performance. I have even been mostly pleased with Magic UI which has traditionally been a pain point for me.
Who would I recommend this phone to then? Honestly, this is a phone that can capture such a broad segment of the market it is difficult to say. Howver one thing i can say with certainty is that if you are a keen mobile photographer then there is a lot on this phone to be excited about and you will enjoy using its features especially if you are someone who uses a lot of social media for sharing those photos and videos that you create. Another segment is style-conscious and up-and-coming influencers as they are able to afford a phone that looks like it should be in the next tier and for the most part, it will perform in that higher their as well. Lastly, for anyone who wants their phone to look good and make a subtle but strong statement then this may be a phone worth considering as it is certainly one of the nicer-looking handsets I have seen this year especially if shiny things are your cup of tea (go for the Crystal Silver one as it is stunning)
I hope that gives you an idea of if the Honor 70 is for you, if you think it is then you can order one now from HiHonor and they will even throw in some HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro Grey for free which is a nice touch.