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Honor 10 View review: cut-price top smartphone with two-day battery life

honor 10 view review
The Honor 10 View is the new king of the cut-price flagship smartphone, offering excellent performance and features. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The Honor 10 View’s all-screen design, great performance and stellar battery life puts rival phones retailing at twice the price to shame, making you question why you’re paying any more for a top-end smartphone in 2018.

All-screen design

Huawei’s Honor 10 View is the logical extension of what happens when you take a traditional smartphone with a fingerprint scanner on the front and stretch the screen lengthways. Its 5.99in 18:9 full HD+ screen dominates with a small oval fingerprint sensor at the bottom and the spear and front-facing camera at the top.

It’s not quite symmetrical, but close enough to be unnoticeable at a glance, while the bezels at the side are super slim. It comes in a fetching blue colour, with an all-metal body and glass front. The rounded sides and corners feel great, while build quality is top-notch. The back is pretty plain, just with a subtle Honor logo, antenna bands at the top and bottom and the two cameras sticking out the back.

honor 10 view review
The metal body feels well made, with a simple, minimalist design. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The Honor 10 View is neither attractive nor ugly – it’s got a minimalist utilitarian vibe about it. At 7mm thick and 75mm wide, the 10 View is pretty compact for a phone with such a large screen. It’s 0.9mm thinner than Huawei’s other 6in smartphone, the Mate 10 Pro, as well as Google’s Pixel 2 XL, and 1.1mm thinner than the Samsung Galaxy S8+. It also stacks up well against its closest competitor, the OnePlus 5T, which is 0.3mm thicker, slightly shorter and 10g lighter – but it’s all much of a muchness.

The screen is the star of the show, and is good looking. The stretched 18:9 full HD+ LCD won’t beat any of the top OLED displays from Samsung or Apple, but it’s really not that far off with good viewing angles, brightness and colour, meaning you have to spend a lot more money to get something noticeably better.

Specifications

  • Screen: 5.99in FHD+ LCD (403ppi)
  • Processor: octa-core Huawei Kirin 970
  • RAM: 6GB of RAM
  • Storage: 128GB + microSD card slot
  • Operating system: EMUI 8.0 based on Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Camera: Dual rear camera 16MP + 20MP, 13MP front-facing camera
  • Connectivity: Dual sim LTE, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS
  • Dimensions: 157 x 75 x 7 mm
  • Weight: 172g

Two-days of battery

honor 10 view review
The Honor 10 View has a USB-C slot, which is only USB 2.0 not the faster 3.0, and a headphone socket in the bottom of the phone, which is becoming a rarity in modern smartphones. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

As with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, battery life is the star of the show for the Honor 10 View, which is unsurprising as it runs the same processor, the same software and has a similar sized screen.

Where the Mate 10 Pro managed a tremendous 50 hours between charges, the Honor 10 View lasted for just over 46 hours, meaning it would get through two full working days and simply need charging overnight on the second evening.

That was while using the 10 View as my primary device, with five hours of browsing and apps usage, hundreds of push emails and messages, 60 minutes Netflix viewing, a little walking navigation in Google maps, around 20 photos and listening to around five hours of music via Bluetooth headphones.

As with the Mate 10 Pro, the Honor 10 View is no slouch in the performance department either. It was very snappy in day-to-day usage, and promises to get better the more you use it with built-in machine learning that can predict what you want when you want it and pre-load the app. Huawei also promises that the 10 View will run as fast in a year as it does on day one, which has proved the case with some other Huawei devices.

The small oval fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate. Some could find it a bit of a stretch to hit it with their thumb while holding the phone securely where they can reach most of the screen, but it comes down to personal preference.

EMUI 8

honor 10 view review
EMUI 8 has a few nice touches and is generally quite good at getting out of the way. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The Honor 10 View runs the same modified version of Android 8 Oreo, called EMUI 8, as the Mate 10 Pro, with the same features, power-saving modes and odd quirks. Some will hate it compared to unmodified Android, but most will like it. For more information on EMUI 8, see the Mate 10 Pro review.

Cameras

honor 10 view review
The dual-camera system is quite fun to use, while the app is good except for the lack of a true automatic HDR function. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

The 10 View has one of Huawei’s dual camera systems on the back, with one colour 16-megapixel and one monochrome 20-megapixel, combining to produce some interesting shots and modes. They can be used together for improved detail and light levels in images, to produce a hybrid digital zoom, while the monochrome sensor can be used on its own for some really sharp-looking images.

The camera app is generally good, but there’s no true automatic HDR mode as has become the norm with other devices. It produces good-looking images with solid detail and colour reproduction. Overall they’re not quite as good as the top-end competition such as the Pixel 2 XL or iPhone X, particularly in low-light, but the camera is great for the money.

The 13-megapixel selfie camera is equally good, but struggled more than most with direct backlighting.

Observations

honor 10 view review
The fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate, and the Honor 10 View comes with a screen protector installed out of the box. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian
  • The phone comes with a screen protector pre-installed
  • The camera lump on the back makes the phone rock when used on a desk or table
  • The Honor 10 View is not water resistant at all
  • You can have two sims in the phone or one sim and a microSD card, but not two sims and a microSD card
  • The metal back is surprisingly good at attracting fingerprints

Price

The Honor 10 View costs £450.

For comparison, the OnePlus 5T costs £449 with 64GB of storage, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro costs £699 with 128GB, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ costs £779 with 64GB, the Google Pixel 2 XL costs £799 with 64GB and the iPhone X costs £999 with 64GB of storage.

Verdict

The Honor 10 View takes the absolute best bits of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro and shoves them into a simpler, cheaper frame creating a mid-range king.

If real, two-day battery life wasn’t enough, the 10 View has snappy performance, a great fingerprint scanner, double the storage of the competition, dual-sim support, expandable storage and even has a headphones socket. The big screen is good, so is the camera, but while neither are quite in the same league as the very best smartphones on the market, most users are unlikely to care.

It’s not the most attractive smartphone on the market and you can certainly find cheaper with a similar feature set, but none of them are quite as good a package for the money. You have to spend an awful lot more to find a better smartphone than the Honor 10 View.

Pros: excellent battery life, Android 8 Oreo, great performance, good dual camera, full-screen design, metal body, microSD card slot, dual sim support, headphone socket

Cons: no water resistance, no wireless charging, screen not the highest resolution, no Bluetooth 5 support

Other reviews

This article titled "Honor 10 View review: cut-price top smartphone with two-day battery life" was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Friday 9 February 2018 07.00am

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