HONOR has made a successful comeback in the Philippines, bringing in a plethora of new devices to compete against the usual players. The most alluring product may be the HONOR 70, the latest in the company’s upper-midrange smartphone lineup.
From the get-go, you can tell the HONOR 70 is a gorgeous piece of tech. Symmetry is the theme of its design, and HONOR didn’t skimp on the internal specs, either. It’s only fair to grade this phone from top to bottom, and inside-out.
A perfect fit for any hand
On paper, the HONOR 70’s 6.67-inch 1080p screen seems daunting for small hands. Once you handle it, however, you’d be surprised how manageable it actually is. The front and back panels are perfectly curved to accommodate any hand size. Although the display is tall, the sides are a pleasure to swipe on with their gradual incline.
We must also praise the overall symmetric look. The punch-hole camera is located at the top-center, and the chin is nearly as thin at the forehead. Looking from the side reveals how even the front and back edges are. The two large circles on the rear contain the three camera modules and LED flash in a similarly pleasing manner.
Check out the Crystal Silver color variant here
The handiness extends to the weight and dimensions. At only 178g in total weight and 7.9mm in thinness, the HONOR 70 is easy to carry around in spite of its premium look. It certainly punches above its price class in terms of design; even those who aren’t into curved screens would appreciate the feel of this smartphone.
We have only two gripes concerning the design. One, there’s significant wobble on a flat surface even with the bundled clear case equipped. We would’ve preferred added thickness to the plastic case to prevent this. Two, there’s only one speaker on board, and it’s rather weak. A phone this large could’ve fit a second speaker in the earpiece or on the top edge. We’re assuming this was another weight-cutting decision by HONOR.
Sharpness and clarity above all
As attractive as the HONOR 70 is, the real highlight is its cameras. All do a fantastic job at capturing scenes quickly and in high quality. While it feels like vloggers are the target market, its photographic performance is on par with the best at this price range.
The 54-megapixel main camera does most of the legwork. Its sharpness and dynamic range can rival that of higher-end smartphones’ image sensors. Photos always came out striking with lots of detail and consistency from scene to scene. Processing was fast, even in portrait mode or during nighttime photography. The output is at 12.6 megapixels by default for better noise suppression and smaller file sizes.
The 50-megapixel ultrawide camera was equally impressive. Despite having a f/2.4 aperture compared to the main camera’s brighter f/1.9, the ultrawide sensor’s photos were just as sharp and the colors weren’t too far off from the main camera’s output. The ultrawide module acts as a macro camera as well. The results are stunning for a secondary feature. Closeup captures were so easy to take and always on point in focusing. We wish we could give the same praise for the 2-megapixel depth camera, which felt like a pointless addition to the set.
Finally, the 32-megapixel front-facing camera gave mixed results. On one hand, selfies were excellent, giving us solid photos and the option to dial down the beauty and background blur settings when needed. On the other hand, it had a difficult time with skin tone and exposure with a face mask on. We tried different settings and environments, but there was often an overly warm tone no matter what sort of face mask we wore.
As for software, the most interesting feature is Solo Cut mode. It produces a secondary vertical video of your chosen subject when recording videos. The camera app tracks the person in frame and highlights them in a picture-in-picture style video. It didn’t always work, but when it did, the effect was fun to watch. Multi-video is another noteworthy feature. You could record two videos at once using two different cameras. It can be a mix of front and back cameras, or two rear cameras at the same time. Again, it’s nice to have in the few instances you’d need it.
Solo Cut mode
The fan-favorite Snapdragon is here
The HONOR 70’s snapiness is credited to its Snapdragon 778G Plus chipset. It’s Qualcomm’s upper-midrange processor with a balanced mix of power and efficiency. As we experienced on similarly equipped devices, this chipset boasts strong real-world performance and benchmark numbers across the board. In terms of gaming, it can handle a graphics-heavy title like Genshin Impact on medium settings at 30fps or low settings at 60fps. It also stays cool during extended periods, keeping our hands safe from excessive heat.
Looking at the PCMark battery endurance score, 11 hours and 31 minutes seems mediocre, especially compared to the lower-end smartphones we benchmarked before. However, that’s on the dynamic refresh rate setting which prioritizes 120Hz over the standard 60Hz, and actual usage paints a different picture. Our screen-on time hovered around seven hours on a single charge in day-to-day use on the same dynamic refresh rate. That’s above average for the 4,800mAh battery. In addition, it takes only 50 minutes to fully charge the HONOR 70 using the included 66-watt charger.
The HONOR 70’s operating system is less impressive. Although it arrives with Android 12, Magic UI 6.1 looks outdated at this point. There haven’t been many visual changes since Huawei and HONOR’s Android 10- and 11-based user interfaces. A lot of deeper Android 12 features such as notification control and launcher customization are notably absent. On the bright side, it has Google Play services unlike recent Huawei phones, so you can download your usual Android apps without fuss. Bloatware is plenty yet manageable. You can uninstall everything except the HONOR App Market and My HONOR apps, the latter of which isn’t even supported in the Philippines.
It’s tough to find weaknesses in the HONOR 70. It does everything well — even excels in some — and looks great while doing so. If we were to nitpick, we’d deduct points for the poor loudspeaker and antiquated interface. They hamper an otherwise smooth user experience.
The unit we tested has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and is priced at P26,990 (about $458). If you can settle for a slightly stepped-down chipset, the Xiaomi 12 Lite is a more affordable alternative. If you want the same processor at a much lower price, there’s the Vivo T1 5G. If you don’t mind switching to a MediaTek chipset and a more gamer-centric aesthetic, the Realme GT Neo 3 is a compelling competitor.
‘It’s tough to find weaknesses in the HONOR 70. It does everything well — even excels in some — and looks great while doing so’— Marvin Velasco
HONOR 70 specs
- 6.67-inch 1080p OLED, 120Hz refresh rate
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus 5G processor
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB storage
- 54-megapixel main, 50-megapixel ultrawide, and 2-megapixel depth cameras
- 32-megapixel front camera
- Under-display fingerprint reader
- 4,800mAh battery
- 66-watt fast charging
- 5-watt reverse wireless charging
- Magic UI 6.1, based on Android 12
- Colors: Crystal Silver, Midnight Black (only colors available in the Philippines)
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