Honor 50 test, the return of a former challenger with Google services

We almost forgot them but since its independence, Honor is back with its new smartphone equipped with Google services. Here is our review of the Honor 50.

A few years ago, when we talked about Honor, we inevitably thought of Huawei. This is no longer the case since Honor has definitely broken away from its big brother to stand on its own feet and especially to recover Google services, a sine qua non condition for hoped for success in Europe.

Also, after its announcement in China, Honor take advantage of the end of the year to launch its new smartphone, the Honor 50, in Europe. It is a mid-range smartphone and it happens when the sector is saturated. There is no shortage of competition and places on the podium are rare. We spent a week with it and here is our verdict on the Honor 50.

The characteristics of the Honor 50

As a reminder of the characteristics, the new Honor 50 offer you :

Honor 50
Screen – 6.57 “AMOLED screen
– Full HD + definition (1080×2340)
– Density 403ppp
– 19.5: 9 aspect ratio
– Corning Gorilla Glass
– 120 Hz
– DCI-P3
– HDR10
Design – Midnight Black
– Frost Crystal
– Curved glass back
SoC and GPU – Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
– Adreno 642L
Memory – 6GB or 8GB of RAM
– 128 GB or 256 GB storage
Camera – Main sensor 108 MP, f / 1.9, PDAF
– Ultra wide-angle 8 MP, 17mm, f / 2.2
– Macro 2 MP, f / 2.4
– 2 MP depth of field sensor, f / 2.4

– Video recording in 4K30

– Front sensor 32 MP, 22mm, f / 2.2,
– Recording videos in Full HD

Drums – 4300 mAh
– Honor SuperCharge 66W (100% in 45 minutes, 70% in 20 minutes)
Connectivity – Optical fingerprint reader under the screen
– Bluetooth 5.2
– WiFi 6
– 5G
– Dual nano-SIM
– A-GPS + GLONASS, DNLA, Miracast (WiFi Direct), Google Cast
– NFC
– USB 2.0 Type-C
– Barometer, Gyroscope, Accelerometer
– Proximity and light sensor
Software – Android 11
– Magic UI 4.2
Height and weight – 159.96 x 73.76 x 7.78 mm
– 175g
Starting price – 549 euros (6GB + 128GB)
– 599 euros (8GB + 256GB)
Availability date – November 04, 2021

On the packaging side, nothing surprising since there is a box with the smartphone of course, a USB-C cable, classic but proprietary because the Honor 50 comes with its Honor SuperCharge 66W fast charging which allows the smartphone to be recharged from 0% to 100% in just 45 minutes.

Design, Screen and Audio

When we discover the Honor 50 for the first time, we can not help but this little nostalgia to find a Huawei smartphone in its heyday and this is even more the case with this back with a glossy finish which is reminiscent of the Huawei P40 Pro lights . There is also a curved screen with a curved back, which allows for a rather successful and high-end general design.

While the smartphone offers a 6.57-inch screen with a punch at the top center of the screen, one can only be pleasantly surprised by its weight of only 177g. Thus, it slips easily into a pocket without deforming it. The Honor 50 is a lightweight smartphone that fits perfectly in your hand. The workmanship is very good with a successful glass back. We tested the black version and if we appreciate the shiny side, we appreciate much less the fingerprints. Other versions are available and are much less prone to fingerprints. The physical buttons are placed in a fairly standard way just like the stereo speakers.

As we said above, the screen size with a diagonal of 6.57 inches, which is in the normal range this year. It is curved and we did not notice any particular problem when we had it in hand. And finally, on the photo block side, Honor played it original with its so-called “Dual Ring” design which clearly differentiates it from the competition. The finish of the photo block is successful and we like its racy appearance. And finally, there is a fingerprint sensor under the optical type screen and that we find slightly too low but it is above all a matter of preference.

The screen itself is OLED type with Full HD + definition, Gorilla Glass coating. Rare thing in a mid-range in 2021, the Honor 50 offers a refresh rate of 120Hz. Compared to a simple screen with a rate of 60Hz, needless to say that once in place and tried, it is adopted. It will be difficult to go back to screens that are only 60Hz. The interest is seen quite quickly on web pages, Twitter or Instagram since it is there that we will scroll through the pages of content to infinity. With a Full HD + definition, the display finesse is present and it will be difficult to determine the pixels with the naked eye. And because it’s OLED, the blacks are deep and the colors contrasting. In any case, the panel of the Honor 50 is doing very well, both in terms of colors and viewing angles. We might have liked a higher brightness but we quibble.

And finally, for the audio part, not surprisingly, the Honor 50 does not shine especially but does not disappoint either. The only speaker present offers mono sound that will provide the essentials. Afterwards, it remains a mono speaker but we can say that it is sufficient for short content on the internet.

Magic UI 4.2, Performance and Autonomy

Side Android, no surprise in itself, we obviously find Android 11 with the overlay Magic UI 4.2. Unsurprisingly, we find a user interface similar to what we already knew at Huawei with its EMUI except that on the Honor 50, we are entitled to Google services, an essential element in the sale of an Android smartphone in Europe. Besides, nothing revolutionary, the experience remains very close toAndroid Stock but with items borrowed from iOS like Home screen folders with only 3 columns. The icons remain sober but are somewhat old-fashioned, especially compared to what we had recently with Android 12. Now, apart from this purely aesthetic and subjective part, the Android experience is very present and we find quite finally its brands. What good finally this overlay with a fluid and pleasant experience on a daily basis.

In terms of performance, the Honor 50 embeds an SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G. Unsurprisingly, this is a mid-range SOC from Qualcomm and we were pleasantly surprised with the overall performance. It is clearly not the fastest SoC that we have seen but let’s be honest, it will suffice for 99% of our daily uses. Indeed, if the benchmark results are there to give a ranking, the reality is quite different and we never really felt a limit on a daily basis. It is only in games or super greedy applications that you will feel cramped. The 120Hz refresh rate is fully exploited and everything remains fluid in use. We used the Honor 50 with a significant number of applications and we did not feel any discomfort or slowing down. The smartphone does not heat up especially, regardless of the applications launched. The user experience remains fluid in everyday use, there is clearly nothing to complain about.

the Honor 50 offers a battery of 4300 mAh, which is average for this type of smartphone with a screen of around 6.5 inches and a refresh rate of 90Hz or more. We left everything by default in automatic mode, it was the OS that was responsible for switching between a refresh rate of 60Hz or 120Hz depending on the needs. In our practices, we easily had an average of 5 to 6 hours of screen time per day, without making any special efforts. No wireless charging but we expected it at this price point and, in reality, with the 66W wired fast charging, we did not pay special attention on a daily basis. Still, Honor, like in its time, Huawei, is quite aggressive on battery management, which allows for a lot of autonomy. Practice.

Photo and Video

Unsurprisingly, the Honor 50 offers a fairly classic photo block made up of four cameras. We have the classic wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, macro and a sensor dedicated to the depth of field. The main sensor is a 108 Megapixel sensor and it is with the technology of Nona-binning which allows to combine 9 pixels in 1 to give an output photo of the order of 12 Megapixels.

In absolute terms, when the light conditions are ideal, we don’t have much to complain about Honor 50. The photos are detailed and contrasting. On the other hand, we find that Honor plays a little too much on the sharpness slider, which in the end results in photos that may be too artificial for our taste. Be careful, in some countries, they love this type of rendering so it remains quite subjective in the end.

Now this is also felt in low light photos. If the Honor 50 does not have any particular problem except for a little longer treatment after the shooting, the excess sharpness increases the artificial side of the photos. It is all the more unfortunate that the photos remain well exposed and that Honor does not play the overbidding on the level of contrasts.

Ultra wide-angle side, Honor offers a certain consistency with the main camera in terms of exposure and colorimetry. On the other hand, we can immediately see that the quality of the objective is not up to the main objective. The photos lack sharpness and despite the excess sharpness, there is a blur, without forgetting that outside the center, the edges tend to drool in the photo. Disappointment for once. But better than words, examples:

In front, the Honor 50 offers a sensor of 32 Megapixels and even if I’m not very selfie, the quality is sufficient on this kind of shots. It is quite classic and sufficient in itself. For the video, Honor has made it its axis of communication with gadget functions that may appeal to some and more particularly to those who film themselves a lot.

Indeed, Honor presented his smartphone as a vlogging machine since we can film with two cameras at the same time. As for example embedded the front camera in a video captured with the main sensor. In our opinion, this remains very gadget because it is not very new in 2021, but why not. Still, the videos are more than correct with an electronic stabilization that works quite well

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