The Huawei Honor brand started with a bang in Germany: the start-up model Honor 6 offers top-class equipment at an outrageously low price. What’s the catch?
You can see right away where Huawei saved money when making the Honor 6. The smartphone looks like a mixture of Apple’s iPhone and Sony’s Xperia series – and you realize when you touch it that the shiny metallic frame is actually a plastic strip. But even if the design can hardly be called unique and the haptics are anything but outstanding, the manufacturer delivers rock solid work here. For a 5-inch smartphone, the Honor 6 is extremely compact and light, and the workmanship is also excellent – in the 300 euro price range, this is not self-evident. Another positive point is two protective films included in delivery. They are meant primarily for use on the back, since it consists only of a plastic panel. The front with the display, on the other hand, is protected by scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3.
The IPS display makes clear that the Honor 6 is on par with the top smartphones from Samsung and the like when it comes to technology. The full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels is displayed on a 5-inch screen, the display is has a stable viewing angle and is highly luminous with 460 candela. Typical of Huawei, you can adjust the color temperature in the settings – but we didn’t do this, because the default standard is already optimal.
A lot of force is sleeping under the display, namely the eight-core Kirin 920 processor, which was made in the modern big-little design from ARM. Four strong, A15 cores clocked with a maximum of 1.8 GHz are combined with four weaker and more economical A7 cores. In this test, this tandem showed no weaknesses; on the contrary, the system always responds fluidly and apps launch quickly and without delay. Even the generous RAM is doing its part to contribute to the good performance – 3 GB are a rare thing in this price range.
Although the Honor 6 has no separate shutter button for the camera, you can take a picture from your current position by pressing the volume down button twice. The extremely short shutter lag is striking. The 13 megapixel lens provides a surprisingly good image quality comparable to the Huawei flagship Ascend P7: under ideal lighting conditions, the photos are in the same league as the Xperia Z3 or the Galaxy S5; when it gets darker, however, pale colors and image noise make the class difference clear. Nevertheless, Huawei puts together a powerful camera package that is rounded off by a multitude of settings and a panoramic Selfie function in the front camera.
The Android 4.4.2 operating system is installed, which the Huawei Emotion UI user interface is layered over. With an appearance similar to Apple’s iOS and many clever additional features, it is unquestionably one of the best manufacturer compositions for Android. Small drawback: Emotion UI is installed on older version 2.3 – version 3.0 is already installed on Huawei devices like the Ascend Mate. For the Honor brand, however, Huawei promises regular updates; an upgrade to the 3-variant will be delivered to the Honor 6 in the next few days.
We did not experience the “extra-long battery life” promised by the manufacturer. With a running time of 6:09 hours in connect mixed use, the smartphone is more in the average range. You can get through the day with the charge, but other (and more expensive) devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S5 last significantly longer. Wireless services and voice quality are good to very good across the board, but the smartphone only supports two UMTS bands, and 3G connection in certain countries such as the USA is therefore not possible. In Germany, however, there is no problem.
Looking at the price, the Honor 6 is a smartphone with top equipment and is worth recommending. If you also want an attractive housing, you simply must spend more money.
You can find the smartphone in the Internet under the name “Honor 6” and “Huawei Honor 6”. What is correct?
In Europe, Honor is its own independent brand. So “Honor 6” is the right term. Units with other designations are gray imports from abroad, where for historical reasons, the Huawei brand is still used in part. These devices, however, are not adapted to the European market, so you should always go for an “Honor 6”.
Honor is a 100 percent subsidiary of Huawei. Why the new brand? Why not just launch the smartphone with the Huawei label?
We are going in completely new directions with the Honor brand. We have created Honor for digital natives; these are people who feel at home in the online world and have no fear of contact with new things. What we want is to develop the right products for our fans together with them. That’s why creating something new was the best way. We see ourselves as Honor in the Huawei Group much like the Mini brand in the BMW Group. Despite having many things in common with a BMW, Mini has a customer approach specific to its brand, which is very heavily oriented on target groups. The situation with Honor is similar. Nevertheless, as a young brand, we benefit from the technological expertise and comprehensive know-how of our parent company.
What exactly makes Honor unlike other brands?
With our clear focus, we put the digital natives on center stage, at the heart of Honor, so to speak. We hope Honor will play a key role in the daily lives of our fans. We are therefore not restricting ourselves to producing smartphones, tablets and other devices in the future, which we are sure will fit the target audience. We listen to our fans, dialogue with them and are able to accurately respond to their needs. For us, this means a high degree of interaction on our social media channels, in the relevant forums and in our Honor Club World, which you can log on to at www.hihonor.com. Among other things, it serves as a communication platform for fan events, which we have held in some European cities since early February. The activities ranged from roundtables to kart racing to a Honor club night. The stars of the event were, of course, our products.
According to a self-description, “Honor promotes business partnerships and provides the opportunity for alliances”. Who do you have in mind?
Striking out in new directions to us means enriching our devices with functions and services of other emerging “game changers”. We will make some changes here in the future. In many industries, we are seeing a trend towards new business models that have one thing in common: they utilize the users to improve existing systems. Very exciting synergies will arise from cross-sector partnerships. We will promote things that you have never seen before.
Honor has been active in China for some time. What has been your experience there?
Honor is one of the most successful e-commerce brands in China. Online sales are booming and responding well to our efforts. We are shaping the zeitgeist in this area. This is also our goal for Europe.
The smartphone market is highly competitive. Is there even still room for a new brand in Germany?
Clearly – yes! The success of Honor 6 and the general interest in Honor have proved us right. With our sales partners, we made it in the top 10 in Europe from the get-go with the Honor 6, and it was often even the best-selling device.
What goals have you set for Germany and Europe this year?
We are primarily interested in acquiring many fans. We want to achieve the highest possible level of commitment. All this is more important than revenues, which we see as more than 100 million US dollars from the potential for the Honor in Europe this year.