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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59 Comments

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  • t.s. - Monday, September 22, 2014 - link

    My friend Galaxy Note 2 battery have been replaced 2 times. Imagine if his phone battery is a non removable type. Does everyone have a same usage pattern with u? sigh. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - link

    http://mobile.zol.com.cn/468/4687718.html
    very easy open phone .. same like on xperia z2 !
    Reply
  • semo - Sunday, September 14, 2014 - link

    No user replaceable battery means no support from the manufacturer which makes it really hard to get a hold of an original battery. After market batteries will most likely will be of a low quality as the market will be small (most people don't like tinkering). The battery if the HTC Sensation was easy to remove.What you linked to does not compare. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Friday, September 26, 2014 - link

    Yeah like in exploding samsung mobiles :D JUST because is possible to repace battery !! DANGEROUS! Reply
  • squirrelboy - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Does this phone suffer from the same battery bulging issue that the P6 has?
    In the 2 months I worked for a company that handles "loanphones" (phones people get when their own phone is out for repair) I noticed that about 1 in 5 Huawei P6's had their back come loose as a result of a bulging, damaged battery.
    Reply
  • Jon Tseng - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Blimey. Hisilicon have managed to pop out A15 big.little with integrated LTE modem (shame you were unable to test it in the field; presumably its okay if its cleared carrier certification).

    That's impressive, despite the rough edges. Remember this is a feat which has so far eluded the might of Intel, Broadcom, Renesas, NVIDIA, Mediatek and (I'm sure) a bunch of other industry luminaires.

    The Chinese are coming... :-x
    Reply
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    We'll be revisiting the LTE modem in the Ascend Mate 7 as it has the proper RF backend to work with FDD networks. Reply
  • jjj - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Was curious how their LTE does , guess that's for another time. Reply
  • JoshuaLastname - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DO A REVIEW FOR THE MEIZU MX4 ? I'm dying to see a proper benchmarking suite of the gpu. Reply
  • Achtung_BG - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Meizu MX4 in GFXbench 3.0 1080p off-screen results 398 frames
    Huwaei honor 6 results 495 frames
    Reply

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