HUAWEI HONOR 6 PLUS REVIEW 2015
Huawei launched its flagship phone – the Honor 6 Plus – last month. This is an upgrade to the Huawei Honor 6 which was launched last year. Also Huawei has decided to adopt the online only sales model with the Honor branding. Its Huawei Honor 4X has been selling well according to reports, so let us see if consumers looking at a high end phone will be enticed by the Honor 6 Plus.
One of the striking features of the yesteryear Huawei Honor 6 was its light weight. The Honor 6 Plus repeats the story. It is just 165 grams thin and has 7.5mm thickness. The Honor 6 Plus is a 5.5-inch device and it felt like the front-face has too much bezel on the top and bottom edge. Even the bezel on the sides isn’t as thin as we have seen with flagship devices. It has flat topped edges and it uses rounded corners around the phone. This flat design element with rounded edges does seem inspired by the Apple iPhone 5 and the rounded corners and flat-topped edges does remind one of the Sony Xperia Z2. You will also notice antenna cuts on the top edges, but according to Huawei, they are meant more for aesthetic purpose.
The rear side of the phone is made up of 6-layer carbon fiber material, which Huawei claims is quite sturdy. The shiny surface does make one think it is glass, but thanks to the carbon fiber material, the weight is under check. But after using it for a couple of weeks, we could see scratch marks on the rear side, which will make you want to get a cover. Also the rear side tends to attract fine dust particles.
The volume rocker and power/standby buttons are on the right hand side below which you have the dual SIM card slot. On top edge, there is the headphone jack along with an IR blaster. Overall, the build quality is good despite the lightness of the device. The grip is good, but the back can seem slippery at times.
The Huawei Honor 6 Plus houses the HiSilicon Kirin 925 SoC which has an octa-core processor in the big.LITTLE configuration. There is a quad-core Cortex A7 and a quad-core Cortex A15 processor which are paired with 3GB of RAM. The phone comes with 32GB of internal storage which can be expanded using the microSD card slot.
It has a 5.5-inch full HD display and comes in the dual SIM configuration. It can accept a microSIM card and a nanoSIM card. The nanoSIM card slot also takes in the microSD card on the other side of the SIM card.
On first glance at the phone and the shape of the soft buttons for home, back and menu, one would mistake this phone to be sporting the Android 5.0 Lollipop OS. But that is not the case. It comes with Android 4.4.2 out of the box. Huawei has put on the Emotion UI 3.0 skin atop the Android OS. Just like Gionee’s Amigo and Oppo’s proprietary UI, Emotion UI too lets go of the app drawer. On the connectivity front, there is support for Wi-fi a/b/g/n as well as Wi-fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A
GPS, NFC support and so on. There is also an IR blaster at the top of the phone.
Huawei Honor 6 Plus comes with the Emotion UI 3.0 on top of the Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS. As we have seen with a lot of Chinese phone makers in the past – Xiaomi, Oppo and Gionee, the Emotion UI 3.0 also doesn’t have an app drawer. You have the apps arranged in a 4×5 grid. The default theme has icons with rounded edges, but of course you can change this theme if you so wish.
Among the proprietary apps we have Themes and Phone Manager which has menus such as phone accelerator, harassment filter, power saving, traffic manager, notification manager, app lock and so on. The Tool folder has a lot of utility apps such as Mirror, Magnifier, Torch, Notepad, Recorder, FM radio, Backup and so on. With the Themes app, just like with the Cyanogen OS on the OnePlus One, you can customise the fonts, wallpaper, lock transition screen, home wallpaper from multiple themes and make your own custom theme.
The lock screen has a slider at the base which when pulled up gives you quick access to weather, voice recorder, calculator, torch and camera apps. Taking a screenshot, shows you a preview of the image and gives you options to edit or share the screenshot on the spot.
As the name implies, the Shortcuts gives you access to quick menus such as bluetooth, brightness adjustment, auto-rotate, settings and so on, which can be rearranged according to your preference. The notification tab shows you the notifications in an interesting timeline sort of a user interface. Settings menu is straight-forward and there are motion gestures as well.
Long pressing on the square shaped menu button, brings up the recent apps which can be swiped off to shut the app or pulled down upon and released to lock them. To clear all the apps you just swipe from the base to the top.
Huawei Honor 6 Plus houses the HiSilicon Kirin 925 SoC which has a Cortex A15 quad core and a Cortex A7 quad core processors in the big.LITTLE configuration. It also supports heterogenous multi-processing (HMP) which allows the phone to switch from a quad-core cluster to a single core for performing low end tasks in order to preserve battery.
The benchmark scores of the Honor 6 Plus are comparable to Snapdragon 800 SoC, and in some cases to the Snapdragon 801 SoC. They are not the highest, and that can be attributed to its lower clock speeds as compared to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC. But if terms of daily use case, the device performs quite well. The phone has a speedy response despite the skin on top. It can work smoothly even with multiple apps open and multi-tab browsing dosen’t slow down the device. Gaming was smooth as well with heavy games such as Asphalt 8, Frontline 2 running without breaking into a sweat. All in all a powerful device which runs anything you throw at it.
Call quality was good and at no point did we notice any call drops. 4G testing was not possible as we are still awaiting 4G networks in Mumbai. The earpiece speaker is loud enough to be audible even in high traffic areas.
Huawei Honor 6 Plus offers a 5.5-inch full HD display with the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. It sports an IPS LCD panel which offers great viewing angles. The display is bright and blacks are impressive. Of course, the display does not merge with the bezels in dark backgrounds. The text appears sharp and we did not notice any pixellation. Watching movies is a good experience and legibility in sunlight was also great. The auto-brightness feature works well outdoors. The glass protection keeps smudges and fingerprints at bay, which is appreciated.
One of the most important features of Huawei Honor 6 Plus is the dual-lens rear camera. It has two 8MP sensors in place of one and it’s located in the top left hand corner on the rear side of the phone. There’s a dual LED flash unit just beside the camera section. Even the front-facing camera is has an 8MP sensor. There are no details as to what sensor Huawei has employed.
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