HONOR just made a comeback in a big way. Not just in the Philippines, but also on the global stage where they released different smartphones in every price category. One of those segments is the premium midrange market, and we have one of their offerings in this space to review, the HONOR 70.

So, what makes it a great smartphone? Well, it should have fancy and flagship-like specs and design, but with a toned-down processor to keep the price down.

This device definitely has them. But the question is, when all combined, does it make it a worthy smartphone of your time and money? We find out in our HONOR 70 review.

HONOR 70 Specs

  • Android 12, Magic UI 6.1
  • Dual SIM, Dual standby
  • 6.67-inch FHD+ OLED display, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, 394ppi
  • 120Hz refresh rate, DCI-P3
  • 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G Plus octa-core processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • Adreno 642L GPU
  • 256GB internal storage
  • 32-megapixel front camera
  • 54-megapixel (IMX800 Super Sensing, f/1.9) + 50-megapixel (ultra-wide, macro) + 2-megapixel (depth sensor) rear cameras, LED flash
  • Under-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • No headphone jack
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE, 5G
  • WiFi 6, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GAILEO, BDS
  • NFC
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 161.4 x 73.3 x 7.91mm
  • Weight: 178g
  • Colors: Crystal Silver, Midnight Black
  • 4,800mAh non-removable battery, 66W wired fast charging

Design and Build Quality

The HONOR 70 is, hands down, one of the sleekest and most premium midrange smartphones we’ve ever held. The combination of glass in the front and back, curves on the sides, thin profile, and metal chassis makes it really incredibly pleasing to hold.

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It has ultra-thin bezels that look really clean, which is less noticeable thanks to the punch-hole cutout and curved edges.

On the back, we have HONOR’s signature Dual Ring Design, which is also one of the remnants of Huawei’s influence. It really provides a statement and makes the device look unique. Although, it has a substantial protrusion, but that doesn’t seem to be a big deal on smartphones anymore.

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As stated earlier, the device is sandwiched by glass, but not from Corning. Still, it feels fairly sturdy and comes with a screen protector pre-applied on the front. Also, it lacks any official IP rating for water and dust protection.

The color that we have here is called Midnight Black, which makes fingerprint smudges and marks more visible. To prevent this, you can install the free clear case or get the lighter Crystal Silver option that also has a more distinct texture on the back.

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Now, let’s take a tour of the hardware, shall we? On the left side, we have the physical buttons for the volume and lock/power. They are made of metal and feel really satisfying when pressed. The right side is clean.

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The top only has the secondary microphone for noise isolation, while at the bottom, there’s the USB Type-C port, primary microphone, loudspeaker, and SIM tray. Unfortunately, just like other thin smartphones, it lacks a microSD card slot for storage expansion.

As stated earlier, the HONOR 70 is one of the most premium and sleek smartphones in the market today. Honestly, a lot of people might get this device just because of its looks, and we won’t blame them for it.

Display and Sound Quality

The HONOR 70 has a pretty packed display. It uses an FHD+ OLED panel that measures at 6.57-inches, with a 2,400 x 1,080 pixel resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit color, HDR10+ support, and 1920Hz PWM.

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You can enable the Vivid Mode in the settings for an extra splash of color, but we suggest staying on the Normal mode for more realistic colors. Screen brightness is also great for outdoor visibility, and since it’s an OLED, you can drop the brightness as low as you want if you’re using the device before going to sleep.

HDR10 also works well on popular apps like Netflix and YouTube. Meanwhile, the 120Hz makes everything feel really smooth, especially when scrolling through the interface. But a lot of apps, especially games, are still capped at 60Hz.

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One big downside of the HONOR 70 is the lack of stereo speakers, which should now be a standard on a device at this price point. It only has a single bottom-firing speaker, which only has a decent performance. Quite disappointing to say the least.

Hardware and Performance

The HONOR 70 is powered by the new 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G+ octa-core processor with an Adreno 642L GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.

HONOR 70 benchmark scores

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Performance in basic tasks is unsurprisingly seamless. With its fast 120Hz screen, scrolling through the interface and social media browsing feels really smooth. Taking pictures is also fast and watching videos is hassle-free.

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have an effective cooling mechanism. It does get hot after quite some time when gaming, which causes CPU throttling that eventually translates to drops in frame rates.

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Call of Duty Mobile was initially playable at High graphics quality and frame rates. But to keep the temps down and to have sustained performance, you might want to drop the graphics settings to medium.

The bottom line is, the HONOR 70 provides a really satisfying performance unless you’re a hardcore gamer.

Camera

Like its siblings, the HONOR 70 is marketed as a great camera smartphone. This is why HONOR equipped it with a sharp 54-megapixel IMX800 super sensing sensor with an f/1.9 aperture, as well as a 50-megapixel ultra-wide lens that doubles as a macro shooter, and the obligatory 2-megapixel depth sensor.

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On the front, we have a sharp 32-megapixel selfie camera. Software features include auto subject tracking on videos with an automatic solo view, Portrait Light Spot Bokeh, and 4K video recording at 30fps.

Like most phones, it shoots images with pixel-binning to take brighter and overall better 13.5-megapixel images. Still, you can take full 54-megapixel photos if you want a more detailed photo.

Under good lighting, the main camera takes detailed images, with a wide dynamic range and great colors. It also takes good images even in low light with retained details and acceptable colors and contrast.

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54-megapixel main camera | Outdoors
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54-megapixel main camera | Indoors
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54-megapixel main camera | Outdoors
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54-megapixel main camera | Outdoors
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54-megapixel main camera | Portrait Mode

With its 50-megapixel sensor, the HONOR 70 has one of the best ultra-wide cameras for its price point.

Unlike the others, this one takes ultra-wide shots with great detail, striking colors, and great contrast. Even low-light shots look good. As a plus, it also doubles as a macro camera.

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50-megapixel ultra-wide camera | Indoors
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50-megapixel ultra-wide camera | Outdoors
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50-megapixel ultra-wide camera | Low-light

Selfies from the 32-megapixel main camera look unsurprisingly good. They are sharp with fine details — a rarity on selfie cameras. Although, colors and skin tones look a bit oversaturated. So, if you’re picky, try fixing that on the gallery’s built-in photo editor.

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32-megapixel selfie camera
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32-megapixel selfie camera | Portrait Mode

Clearly, the cameras are one of the key highlights of the HONOR 70. And since it’s from HONOR, we’re not really surprised.

Software and User Interface

Yes, HONOR is not part of Huawei anymore. And yes, HONOR smartphones now have Google Mobile Services. The HONOR 70 runs on Android 12 with the brand’s Magic UI 6.1 interface on top.

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HONOR might be on its own now, but Huawei’s influence is still seen in the device’s interface. It’s a good thing, though, since EMUI is still one of the most feature-packed operating systems in the market.

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The device comes with tons of usability features. There’s the HONOR Beam for sharing files with other NFC-enable devices, HONOR Share for easy file sharing on other HONOR phones and computers, easy wireless projection, link to Windows PC, wireless printing, and Android Auto.

It also has a pretty robust security system, and the under-display fingerprint scanner works really fast and reliably during our tests.

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The Magic UI also has tons of personalization options from themes to app icons. Also, it makes good use of the OLED screen with tons of Always-On Display customization and settings.

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You can swipe from the corner of the screen to quickly gain access to select apps and have them running in window mode for a better multitasking experience. Each window can be minimized into bubbles or run on full screen.

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The phone also has a clean and intuitive camera app, which lets you take full advantage of all its impressive camera hardware. Out of the box, it makes use of a Microsoft SwiftKey keyboard. It has tall keys with easy access to all the settings. No problems here.

Overall, we’re fine with the Magic UI on the HONOR 70. It has all the things you need to take advantage of the hardware that this device has.

Connectivity

Another benefit of its separation from HUAWEI is that HONOR devices can now have 5G connectivity. The HONOR 70 also has it and it worked fine during our tests, as long as we were in areas with good 5G coverage.

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Also onboard are dual-band WiFi 6, a power-efficient and reliable Bluetooth 5.2, NFC for wireless payments and easy pairing, and of course, USB Type-C. All of which performed well during our tests.

Battery and Charging

The HONOR 70 has a 4,800mAh battery. Definitely not the biggest, but considering how they were able to achieve this thinness, we’ll cut them some slack.

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PCMark’s battery test gave it a score of 12 hours and 23 minutes of screen-on time. That test consists of looping synthetic tasks, with the WiFi and Bluetooth off and screen brightness and volume set to 50%, until the battery reaches 20%.

This translates to decent screen time. This means that, if you use your phone a lot for social media, taking pictures, and other light to moderate tasks, you may not have to reach for the charger before the day ends. However, heavy users who play a lot games and videos may already need to fuel up by late afternoon.

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Fortunately, it comes with 66W fast charging. During our test, a full charge takes about 45 minutes. A quick 15-minute charge will fill the battery up enough to last a couple of hours, so uptime is really no problem at all.

Verdict

The HONOR 70 is definitely a great device. You can get it just by the build and design itself, but there’s definitely more to it. Its curved OLED display is a joy to look at, the cameras take good images in any condition, the battery is reliable, and the fast charger makes things extra convenient.

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However, it lacks some features that should already be standard on devices at this price. For starters, HONOR didn’t go with a reliable Corning Gorilla Glass for the screen and the back panel, there’s also no official IP rating water and dust protection, and more importantly, the lack of a stereo speaker is a big bummer.

Still, there are not a lot of devices quite the HONOR 70 — that reason should be enough of why this handset is worth getting.

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HONOR 70 price and availability in the Philippines

The HONOR 70 is only available in a single 8GB/256GB RAM and storage configuration for a price of Php26,990. Customers who ordered until October 28 was able to take home a free JBL Flip 5 speaker worth Php6,999. It’s available in HONOR stores and retail partners nationwide, as well as through its official store in Lazada.

If you’re looking for other products, check out the HONOR price list here.

Pros

  • Thin and premium design
  • Colorful and fast display
  • Good cameras
  • Reliable battery and fast charging

Cons

  • No Corning Gorilla Glass
  • No official IP rating for dust and water protection
  • No stereo speakers



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