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The Honor 50 is a new mid-range offering from Chinese company Honor, formerly part of Huawei. We put it through its paces to see if it's worth your cash.
The curved screen and slim bezels of the Honor 50 make it a very appealing handset aesthetically and while it's not perfect, Honor has got plenty right with this new offering. However, it's still hard to make the case that it's better than its competitors.
Previously part of Huawei, Honor is now its own distinct company, and the Honor 50 is the first phone the company has sold in the UK since the change. It's a solid addition to the Honor brand and makes an interesting addition to the mid-range phone market.
Users familiar with the Huawei-Google saga, which saw many Chinese phones ship without access to Google apps, will be relieved. That's in the past, and the Honor 50 has access to all the Google software you'd expect from an Android phone.
That's a huge boost in terms of ease and usability, especially for those migrating from another Android phone. Having access to Google Play and the whole Google suite means this phone fits into the existing ecosystem and is a much more appealing purchase as a result.
However, with all that said, the Honor 50 struggles to really make its mark in the mid-range phone space when lined up against the best of the competition – phones like the OnePlus Nord 2 and iPhone SE. For more on one of these key competitors, take a look at our full iPhone SE review.
The Honor 50 packs a snappy 108MP main camera and an appealing design. It's a nice package with a stunning display, but there are some slightly strange omissions. First among them may be the lack of any real waterproofing, followed closely by the lack of a wireless charging capability.
It's easy to get by without wireless charging, but for day-to-day use, the lack of any notable waterproofing could be a cause for concern. Another irritation is the prominence of Honor bloatware (i.e. apps you don't really need that are pre-loaded onto the device by the manufacturer).
However, on the face of it, the Honor 50 is a responsive and usable handset. Powered by a Snapdragon 778G – a new mid-range chip from Qualcomm – the phone delivers what you'd expect in a very nice looking package. While the camera and user interface aren't likely to wow you, the 120Hz display might.
The Honor 50 is the first phone created and sold in the UK by Honor since it parted ways from parent company, Huawei. Since the split, the company had previously released the Honor V40, but this phone was only available in limited regions, mainly China.
The Honor 50 does almost everything you'd expect from a modern smartphone – other than coping well with dust and water. It lacks an IPX rating, which could make some users a little nervous about their new handset.
There are two versions of the Honor 50, starting at £449 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The second option is £529 for 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The Honor 50 is – like the phones of parent company Huawei – essentially trying to give the user some of the perks of a flagship phone for the price of a mid-ranger.
However, when we compare the Honor 50 to some of the phones at a similar price-point – the iPhone SE, the OnePlus Nord 2 and the Samsung Galaxy A52 – the Honor isn't the most usable of the bunch, the best designed, or the most appealing. While its main camera packs in more megapixels, the end results don't quite measure up to the megapixel count.
The Honor 50 packs a reasonably impressive specs sheet but nothing that will immediately make it stand out from the crowd. Fast charge is a real bonus, and Honor claims that the wired fast-charge facility can take the phone to 100% battery in 45 minutes. Unfortunately, the review sample shipped with a European two-pin plug, so we were unable to verify that claim in testing.
The Snapdragon 778G chipset that powers the phone is a slightly toned-down version of the Snapdragon 780G – which was powerful but not popular with manufacturers. It does its job admirably, and the user experience on the Honor 50 is a smooth one. That said, some users switching from Google or Samsung phones will notice quirks in the UI that aren't quite as intuitive as competitors. Again, this is a minor concern but another one that adds up and makes it hard to recommend the Honor 50 over those competitors.
There's no headphone jack, but that is increasingly the norm for mainstream smartphones. However, the Honor 50 does come with a wired pair of USBC headphones, which is a nice touch.
The phone lacks wireless charging but otherwise performs reasonably well in this metric. It packs a 4300 mAh battery which lasts the whole day with ease, even if you use the battery-draining 120Hz refresh rate.
It's not a battery that's going to last for several days, but it felt par for the course and was never inconveniently low on juice. However, it is compatible with a 66W fast-charge, which makes fast work of a quick top-up.
The camera on the Honor 50 is good, but it's not outstanding. The numbers are impressive, with the phone packing a 108-megapixel four-camera array on the reverse, but thanks to the relatively low resolution of the three supporting lenses in the array (8MP, 2MP, 2MP), the results are far from stunning.
Low light performance is one of the hallmarks of a great camera among the current best smartphone contenders, but the Honor 50 doesn't compare well to the competition.
The front-facing camera is good and produces clear images. It packs a 32MP lens and is quick and simple to use.
The sleek design of the Honor 50 is one of its main selling points. That eye-catching curved screen combines with the way the narrow handset sits nicely in the palm of your hand, and overall it's a lovely, tactile package.
It is a little bit of a magnet for fingerprints, though, and perfectionists may be irritated by the way the camera bump juts out of the back of the handset. That's a price worth paying, though, for the quality of photographs the Honor 50 delivers.
Overall the Honor 50 is a solid phone with a few drawbacks. Its sleek design and pleasing hand-feel might attract some UK buyers, but overall it's hard to find reasons to recommend it over the competition.
That said, if you're particularly drawn to the fast-charge feature and the design, the Honor 50 could be right up your street. It's a serviceable mid-ranger with a really attractive display, perfect for streaming content on the go and boosting the battery with a quick, fast charge afterwards.
The Honor 50 is available from a range of retailers. The 128GB model of the Honor 50 typically costs £449.
For the latest news, reviews and deals, check out the RadioTimes.com Technology section. Want to know how this phone compares? Read our best mid-range phone guide. Or, for tech gifting ideas, try out our tech gifts 2022 guide.
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