While Huawei's flagship banner was traditionally carried by its Ascend P-series, the P7 didn't ship with a high end SoC that was able to compete with other devices in the same category. With the Honor 6, Huawei takes a departure from its usual lineup and introduces their first big.LITTLE and high-performance SoC, the HiSilicon Kirin 920, which will be a key area of examination.

The Honor 6 sports the same 5" form factor as its cousin the Ascend P7, but with different build materials and design. We take a in-depth look into how this new player competes in terms of performance and power consumption.

Hardware

Huawei Honor 6 Specifications
SoC HiSilicon "Kirin 920" Hi3630
(4x A7 @ 1.3GHz & 4x A15 @ 1.7GHz,
Mali T628MP4 @ 600MHz)
RAM/NAND 3 GB LPDDR3-1600, 16/32GB NAND + microSD
Display 5” 1920x1080 JDI In-cell
Network HiSilicon Balong LTE Cat. 6 300Mbps CA modem
(SoC integrated)
Dimensions 139.6 x 69.7 x 7.5mm, 130 grams
Camera 13MP Sony BSI sensor, F2.0 aperture, ISP 5-piece lens
5MP front camera
Battery

3000 mAh (11.4 Wh) rated
3100 mAh (11.8Wh) typical
3.8V battery chemistry

OS Android 4.4.2 "EmotionUI 2.3"
3.10.33 Linux Kernel
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n Wifi + BT 4.0, USB2.0, GPS/GLONASS, 
FM radio
SIM Size MicroSIM
Price $389.90

We start by taking a look at the design which is quite modest. The front face is minimalistic and sports few features that would make it possible to distinguish what phone it is. The lack of Huawei's logo on the front is intriguing as it doesn't appear on the back either. In fact, there is no way to tell that this is a Huawei phone at all as their name is nowhere to be found, with only the "Honor" logo adorning the top-middle on the back of the phone. I see this as a plus, as it contrasts with other phones that have manufacturer logos on both sides of the phone. However, I see how this could lead to confusion amongst average consumers that wouldn't recognize a phone by its design.

The general design reminds me of Sony's original Xperia Z, as both feature glossy back-panels and shiny plastic rims that contrast with the rest of the phone. This also comes with the same disadvantages that we saw on Sony's devices; the back is very fingerprint prone and slippery. The device comes with an oleophobic layer which makes it easy to wipe off the smudges, but once that eventually wears off after several months of use, I'm not keen on having to deal with this problem. It's worth mentioning that the back panel is neither glass nor scratch resistant and is easily damaged. I've already managed to inadvertedly mark this unit with some small scratches in daily use. Because the device's back is perfectly flat and has no protruding parts, I caught the device more than once sliding away from where I put it if it wasn't on a perfectly even or grippy surface. The side bezels also are extremely slippery - during normal use I found this impractical as it reduces the my grip on the device. I don't see why they couldn't have stuck with the matte plastic finish that is found only on the bottom of the device and used that for all sides.

In terms of external features, we have a standard microUSB 2.0 socket at the bottom of the device, power and volume rocker on the right hand edge in a comfortable position, and at the top a 3.5mm headphone jack and IR blaster. We find dual-microphones at the top and bottom. Because the back cover is non-removable (and thus making the battery non-replaceable), the microSIM and microSD card slots are tucked away under a panel on the bottom right side of the phone. I found the panel to be relatively sturdy and snug when closed, so it's not noticeable unless you look for it. The power and volume rocker buttons are clicky and sturdy, no complaints there.

On the back we find the camera lens on the top right of the phone, similar to iPhones and Sony's devices. As mentioned earlier, the piece doesn't protrude and seems to be well-protected from scratches. Next to it is a dual-LED flash setup, however it's just two identical LEDs working in tandem. Nevertheless, I was fairly impressed with the brightness, wide and even spread of light they were able to output. It's definitely the brightest torchlight I've found to discover on a smartphone.

The Honor 6 comes in 4 variations: the TDD-LTE model which has incompatible frequencies to operate in the western markets beyond basic 2G connectivity (H60-L01), and the FDD-LTE model which does feature compatible bands, and also comes with dual-SIM capabilities (H60-L02). The two basic 16GB network versions come in 32GB variants (H60-L11 for TDD, H60-L12 for FDD). The TDD version is aimed at the Chinese market, and will be the version we're reviewing as that is the unit Huawei has sent us. Unfortunately, this means we are unable to properly review the connectivity of the phone.

The launch price resides at $389.90 and undercuts most other flagships, a factor that should be definitely considered when evaluating the device.

Next, let's take a look at what Huawei offers in terms of software.

EmotionUI 2.3 - Core OS Features
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  • semo - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Why no user replaceable battery? I've heard all the reasons why I shouldn't care but I still want one and wonder if planned obsolescence is the only reason for not including it.

    Also, is Qi an option for this phone?
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    There is no Qi charging option. Reply
  • semo - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Thanks Andrei. I think it is worthwhile pointing out this missing feature in the article just like you did with the non-removable battery. It is important for some! Reply
  • marcokatz - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Well said. Also it's important to point at that this is an Apple-wannabe that no way can match up to some of the really highly rated phones out there. /Marco from http://www.consumertop.com/best-phone-guide/ Reply
  • Excerpt - Wednesday, October 08, 2014 - link

    Yeah bro, you tell em. And Andrea why U no learn Chinese man? I wanna know what that extra stuff does. I'm going to China in like, a minute, like everyone else. What, you don't care about me bro? I love you man.

    And does it have haptic feed-back for goodness snakes? I want them good vibes in me fingas.

    What about a sit test? Most of us reading here have fat arses, do you know sit (test)? I don't know sit (test) but I wanna hear your experience with sitting, maybe try with a heavy object like a cow, yeah a bull sit test.

    That'd be great keep up the good work. <3
    Reply
  • Murloc - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    1. takes up space
    2. makes the phone structurally weaker
    2. planned obsolence/forced service you have to pay a lot for are good ways to make money
    Reply
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Takes up literally no space seeing how Samsung S4 and S5 are both smaller and thinner than HTC One (M7 and M8 respectively)
    Arguably the back that's able to pop off makes the phone LESS prone to breaking as it allows the force to dissipate somewhat better than in the case of a rigid structure which simply breaks.
    And lastly I am going to play the world's smallest violin for the POOR POOR manufacturers trying to make a quick buck from planned obsolescence or paid-for battery replacement.

    I mean I know anandtech is all about manufacturer interests but I'll care about their concerns and problems the moment they stop earning millions upon millions in profits.
    Reply
  • Intervenator - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Are you really saying that the S4 and S5 are thinner than the HTC One because of the replaceable battery? And that it takes up "literally no space"? Really? Reply
  • arsjum - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Not because of, in spite of. Reply
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Thank you sir. That's precisely what I meant. Its thinner and yet it has a replaceable battery. Impossiburu /o\

    To me personally all that "the replaceable battery is inefficient" nonsense is just that - nonsense. Some companies are just better at making thinner phones and some try to cut corners (and costs) at every possible stage.

    And yes Anandtech has historically supported nothing but the manufacturer interests. They have been walking on these eggshells for a long time and that's precisely why they never directly criticise any dubious or greedy decision made by their sponsors :) In fact they sometimes go a step further and tell consumers (like myself) that we are wrong in wanting things like replaceable batteries and microsd slots because they are so "inefficient"

    /sigh
    Reply

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