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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  • TekDemon - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    I wonder if the "Rog" mode is a reference to ASUS' Republic of Gamers (ROG) hardware line-i.e. a gaming mode. Given the weak GPU maybe the mode is there for people who want to play 3D games to be able to run everything at 720P and thus get acceptable framerates instead of everything having to be rendered at 1080P. It's actually a pretty great idea, especially with the newer 1440P screens on high end phones even the beefiest GPUs will struggle for framerates in graphics intense games. Reply
  • p51d007 - Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - link

    I don't care for a user replaceable battery in my Ascend Mate2...it's 400mAH and lasts days at a time, plus, I'm tech savvy enough (40 years in electronics) that I can get one and replace it myself.
    Huawei is starting to make some noise in the market, which "should" benefit consumers by causing the competition to either step up to the plate, or get left behind.
    Right now, I'm a big fan of Huawei, even though the Mate2 isn't "flagship" in the spec department, it runs perfectly, fast, bright screen and the 2-3 day battery life? LOVE IT!
    Reply
  • cnanews - Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - link

    I experienced a few surveys and purchaser remarks in a Chinese shopping sites where individuals have complained about wifi gathering issues
    http://cnanews.in/huawei-honor-6-with-octa-core-so...
    Reply
  • ritwik - Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - link

    Isn't it an amazing device? It's just awesome, 3GB RAM with 1.7Ghz Octa core processor it's just superfast http://goo.gl/4wojuW Reply
  • siteOwner - Saturday, October 18, 2014 - link

    Hi,

    Do you know if scheduler and governor used in Huawei Honor 6 are custom made by Huawei or are default from Linux Kernel? So if I install other rom will I get those core/task/scheduler/governor settings??

    Best Regards
    Reply
  • equanim1ty - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Yes.. There is definitely some issue with the Bus Bandwidth config for Honor 6 .
    Honor 6 has real problem with using Bluetooth and Internet simultaneously. Whenever I connected my Bluetooth (Stereo Headset), the internet bandwidth drops drastically

    Use case: If I'm on Viber through (Wifi @ 16Mbps or H+) , the bandwidth drops and it works fine without the Bluetooth. In order to confirm this I did multiple speed test while streaming offline Music ( Note: Music on SD card) - The internet connection speed dropped drastically from 16Mbps to the range of 1- 1.2 Mbps. I paused the music and it again jumped back to 14- 16Mbps. This happens even if I'm on 3G. I'm suspecting this is some type of implementation issue either with the architecture / bus configuration? Just wish this gets resolved with future ROM updates for an otherwise great device
    Reply
  • equanim1ty - Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - link

    Yes.. There is definitely some issue with the Bus Bandwidth config for Honor 6 .
    Honor 6 has real problem with using Bluetooth and Internet simultaneously. Whenever I connected my Bluetooth (Stereo Headset), the internet bandwidth drops drastically

    Use case: If I'm on Viber through (Wifi @ 16Mbps or H+) , the bandwidth drops and it works fine without the Bluetooth. In order to confirm this I did multiple speed test while streaming offline Music ( Note: Music on SD card) - The internet connection speed dropped drastically from 16Mbps to the range of 1- 1.2 Mbps. I paused the music and it again jumped back to 14- 16Mbps. This happens even if I'm on 3G. I'm suspecting this is some type of implementation issue either with the architecture / bus configuration? Just wish this gets resolved with future ROM updates for an otherwise great device
    Reply
  • spixel - Saturday, October 25, 2014 - link

    "The 5" 1080p display is manufacutred by JDI. The display is a non-IPS display and the viewing angles are visibly suffering from this, however it's not terrible"

    Seriously??? Of course the display is IPS, what on earth are you talking about? IPS is the standard display type for all modern smartphones except extremely cheap budget phones or those with Amoled.
    Reply
  • Bala63 - Friday, October 02, 2015 - link

    Well, I have been using Honor 6 for almost a year and I would say this is the best budget phone that I ever had! Kirin outperforms Snapdragon in most segments and the phone performs like a butter! I'm a hardcore gamer and I enjoyed playing MC4, Mortal Kombat X, Immortals and what not and I never witnessed any lag at any point of time. Camera is decent and yes, u can't expect a DSLR for 20k. But trust me, for this price, there's no better camera in the market. Battery backup is excellent! I use 4G and I get 30% charge left after using it for 5 hours continuous. Wi-Fi is a real boon! The connectivity is continuous and it is through Wi-Fi that I download movies from yify! Believe me, I wasn't disappointed with the speed and downloading of torrents, not even once. And yes, Huawei did an excellent job providing a Lollipop update for Honor 6. Now I'm able to record games in 720p and upload it to YouTube! Come on guys, Huawei is new to smart phones and we can't expect miracles in their initial attempts. EMUI offers a smooth interface with a lot of cool new themes from Huawei market. And I forgot to tell you, this is a mini-HDD! With all apps installed, I still have around 8 GB of internal storage and a mammoth 64 GB external, memory card option. The phone offers an inbuilt phone manager that scans apps, informs you about junk files, apps that take space and stuff like that! So no need for an external anti virus app. Video calling works so well and flawless in 4G.In addition, Huawei offers special features like backup, touch functions for calls, gestures for apps and what not! Honor 6 is nothing short of a marvel and I'm proud to say this is the best budget phone that I've ever had! Reply

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