Final Words & Conclusion

Huawei's attempt at attacking the high-end segment with its own new SoC created by its subsidiary HiSilicon gets off to a rough, but promising start. The Honor 6's software managed to impress me by including a lot of new innovative and useful features in the form of Huawei's implementation of Android - EmotionUI. While I reviewed version 2.3 that many in the western audience may not have the chance to experience, almost all of the unique features carry over to EmotionUI 3.0 already found in the Ascend Mate 7 and Ascend G7, with the Honor 6 supposedly also getting an update in the future.

The HiSilicon Hi3630, a.k.a. the Kirin 920/925 provides the first non-Samsung big.LITTLE implementation. While the performance on the CPU side was great, power consumption and software drivers were not. Huawei has a lot of potential for improvement here as long as they invest time and effort in trying to optimize the platform. Sadly on the GPU side, there's not much one can do about the Mali T628, I think Huawei chose a too small implementation of the GPU for it to be able to compete in the high end segment against the higher core versions from Samsung and Qualcomm's Adreno GPUs. The truly disappointing discovery was what seems to be a severe limitation on the SoC's ISP and camera capabilities. 

The design of the phone is simplistic but still quite attractive. The greatest issue here is the glossy plastic back of the phone. Huawei is kind enough to provide both front and back screen protectors in their retail box, but this is just an excuse for bad material choice. The device could have done without the faux-glass back, as it otherwise offers solid build quality.

When considering all pros and cons of a device, it comes all down to pricing in the end. The $389 price tag of the Honor 6 may atone for some of its issues, but it still remains a doubtful purchase due to its abysmal Wi-Fi performance and mediocre camera. We don't have too many options in that price range - the OnePlus One and the Nexus 5 coming to mind. The OPO has become quite of a fiasco in terms of availability and it  similarly suffers from some flaws in terms of software. So while the Nexus 5 is reaching to be 1 year old soon, it still might be the best alternative.

Of course Huawei isn't standing still. The Honor 6 is supposed to be a device mainly targeted at the Chinese market, and since I've started writing the review a couple of weeks ago, they have announced the Ascend Mate 7 with EmotionUI 3.0 powered by a slightly speed-bumped Hi3630. All in all, Huawei did an acceptable job, but the device falls short of expectations. Here's hoping that their engineers are listening and addressing the brought up issues in future products as I see good potential in its devices.

Camera & Video Recording
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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 8, 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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