In a world filled with rectangular blocks with displays, it takes a large effort to differentiate. The new Honor 10, launched today at an event in London, follows the trend of premium smartphones in 2018: more display, and added a notch. Under the hood is the latest HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset, as seen in the Huawei Mate 10 and P20, with the added AI functional blocks to accelerate certain apps built on machine learning algorithms. The Honor line is always seen as a more cost effective way to yet most of the latest features from the Huawei main brand, and this year is no different.
From the front, visually, identifying which notched phone you are looking at is like identifying aircraft at a distance – all notches look roughly similar without knowing any of the minor detail. The Honor 10 is similar in that regard, featuring a 5.84-inch IPS LCD screen with a 2280×1080 resolution for a 19:9 aspect ratio and 432ppi. The display uses Honor’s TrueColor naming scheme, and is rated at 96% NTSC (sRGB mode was not stated). At the top is the notch, with a front facing camera, almost circular speaker, and a light detector.
For the last two generations, Honor’s main smartphone line (the one just called by its number, such as Honor 8 and Honor 9) has impressed by virtue of its color options. The hue of the Honor 8 in metallic blue was one of the first times I truly appreciated a nice color on a smartphone. The Honor 9 did not stretch my emotions as far, but the Honor 10 strikes a good balance, with the ‘Phantom Blue’ version we have at hand being like the Honor 8 blue but with a tinge more green in general, moving towards a grue-like appearance, then at extreme angles looking violet.
Hardware on the rear consists of a dual camera design, with a main 16MP color sensor (f/1.8 aperture) joined by a 24MP black and white sensor (f/2.4 aperture) to assist with phase detection auto focus, contrast focus, and create Bokeh-like photography. No mention as yet if either camera has OIS, or if the smartphone is using Huawei’s ‘AI Assisted Stabilization’ (AIAS, or AIS) which uses the onboard chip to stabilise shots or help take longer exposure shots without a tripod mount. On the rear Honor has put the words ‘AI Camera’, just in case you forget. Video recording goes up to 4K30 or 1080p60, in either H.264 or HEVC, meaning that Honor has decided not to implement any slo-mo mode as seen on the higher cost flagships. The front camera is a 24MP selfie camera with f/2.0 aperture and support for 1080p video and a front facial unlock.