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We've tested out Honor's latest mid-range phone to see if it's worth your cash. Here's our verdict.
The Honor 70 improves on its predecessors with a responsive, crisp display and an easy-to-use camera that offers innovative video settings and solid photography. It also stands out for its slim design and fast charging but sadly lacks an IP rating for peace of mind. While the processor that powers the phone isn't the very latest, it takes on the everyday task with ease. It's a good offering but the 70 is going up against some tough competition, including the Google Pixel 6 and the £399 Pixel 6a.
The Honor 70 has landed. It's a light, slim, sleek new handset from Honor with plenty of style. But does it have the substance to back it up? We've been putting the new smartphone through its paces to find out.
No longer a Huawei sub-brand, Honor struck out on its own in 2020 after being sold to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information. This was mainly a by-product of US sanctions on Huawei, which left the Chinese phone manufacturer unable to equip its devices with Google services — which are the backbone of most popular Android phones.
Now, that's history and two years on Honor has begun carving its own niche with plenty of technically sound, Google-powered phones. The Honor 70 is the latest of those, offering notable features like fast charging and a 120Hz OLED display.
We've been using Honor's newest smartphone for a little while now and weighing up whether it's a good investment for you. If you are looking for something slightly cheaper, check out our review of the Google Pixel 6a, which offers a smooth UI but less in terms of its display. Or, read on for our full assessment of the Honor 70.
The Honor 70 is essentially the successor to the Honor 50, which we have There was an Honor 60 but it didn't get a full UK release, so this is the first of the brand's mid-rangers to reach the UK in earnest for a little while.
It's slightly evolved on the style of the 50 and 60, which looked similar, but the camera bump is altered and for our money, the whole thing looks and feels a bit more premium.
The Honor 70 is the latest mid-range smartphone from Honor, a former sub-brand of Huawei. It offers a good range of specs and features alongside some technical compromises that help it slot into its mid-range price bracket.
There are two options — you can grab the smaller-capacity 128GB Honor 70 for £479.99 or if you want more storage there's the 256GB version for £529.99.
This pitches it around the current price of the Google Pixel 6, which is a tough, tough phone to compete with in our book. It also draws a comparison with the Nothing Phone (1) both in terms of price and internals, as they share a processor.
The Honor 70 comes with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. When you fire it up things are pretty straightforward and it's easy to move your files and apps from another Android phone. However, you will get some bloatware and Honor's OS — Magic UI 6 — is particularly pushy around some options like gesture controls.
Everything is powered by a mid-range Snapdragon chipset, the 778G Plus, the same as that found in the Nothing Phone (1). The chip was launched in October 2021 and is not an ultra high-performance processor, but everything runs smoothly, image processing is good and we didn't encounter any technical issues during our testing period. If you're a hyper-competitive online gamer it might not be the processor — and hence phone — for you, but otherwise it covers most bases.
Elsewhere, there's a bit of a camera change-up. Increasingly, phone companies have come to the realisation that 'less is more' when it comes to megapixels, at least to a certain extent. No longer are brands competing to cram in as many MP as possible and Honor has cut the main camera on the 70 down from a 104MP sensor — previously found on the 50 and 60 models — to a 54MP sensor from Sony, which makes its debut in this handset.
The 6.67-inch OLED display is one of the phone's better features. It curves away pleasingly at the edges, boosting that narrow bezel 'edge-to-edge' feel and offering full HD+ resolution.
The panel has a 120Hz refresh rate and feels notably smooth to use. Of course, this refresh rate is increasingly an industry standard, but some key — and highly recommendable — competitors don't have it. For example, the Google Pixel 6 only offers 90Hz, despite being one of our favourite Android phones.
The phone's main camera is that 54MP IMX800 sensor from Sony. This is the first phone it's appeared in and we think it's made a pretty convincing debut. There's also a 50MP camera that shoots ultra-wide or macro shots and a 2MP depth sensor.
The depth sensor seems unnecessary and is likely added to offer a third camera for visual reasons, as is the current trend.
We tried the cameras out for ourselves and found them easy to use and pretty capable. Check out the gallery below to see some photos we snapped using the Honor 70. Please bear in mind that, unfortunately, we have had to compress these images slightly to display them in this format on the site. However, they still provide a good indication of the Honor 70's shooting abilities.
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'Solo Cut Mode' is a feature that Honor is keen to champion — and in fairness, it seems like an innovation that creators will enjoy. It allows users to record two different videos at once, for example: one with the rear camera and one with the front, or one in landscape and one portrait while using different zoom levels.
As you shoot, the different options for each video are displayed and you can swap between them on the fly. It's an interesting new addition that gives new flexibility to content creators.
Our tests found that the battery in the Honor 70 easily lasts for more than a full day of moderate use. A day including downloads, streaming music and video content, note making, alarms and reminders, browsing social media and taking photographs was more than manageable.
It offers a 4800mAh battery, up from the 4300mAh of the Honor 50. That combined with the fast-charging facility meant that battery life never became a pressing issue during our time with the phone.
During our test, we gave the phone half an hour to recharge as much power as it could using the out-of-the-box 66W charger and in that time it went from 30% to 76%. That's pretty impressive, without necessarily breaking any records. It's a really useful option to have though and it made our test period go smoothly.
When it comes to styling Honor hasn't always embraced subtlety. Their flagship phone — the Honor Magic 4 Pro — was unveiled at MWC 2022 and divided opinion with its huge circular camera array. It was an odd styling choice on an otherwise impressive phone. This time around Honor has pulled back on the reigns slightly, offering a more reserved, but still distinctive look. Any phone's styling is subjective of course, but we like the new look.
That said, we tested the black version, but the diamond-effect alternative looks a little gaudy. For the record, there's also a green option.
The Honor 70 feels even slimmer and sleeker than the Honor 50 and still carries that distinctive screen, which curves away on both of its long edges. It's only 7.91mm thick.
The rear of the phone is glossy, with two protruding circular camera bumps which hold three sensors, plus a flash. Unfortunately, the shiny backing of the phone does pick up marks easily, just as the similarly finished Honor flagship — the Honor Magic 4 Pro — did.
Combine that with the fact its not the grippiest phone in the world and clumsy, or fingerprint-averse users may want to make use of a phone case, especially as the phone lacks an IP rating. Thankfully, Honor has provided a case with the phone. It's a basic, clear plastic model that gives a little bit of extra protection. However, it does somewhat do away with that appealingly sleek hand-feel.
If you want a good display and camera in a slim light package that offers fast charging, the Honor 70 is a good option. Of course, the lack of an IP rating remains a concern and there are doubts around how fragile that slim, light body might be.
Battery performance is good and there's a strong feature set. We encountered no issues with overall performance. However, it is worth noting that the chip powering this phone isn't the latest tech available. That's part of the mid-range phone compromise.
In summary, if you're a competitive online gamer who needs the very latest processor then this phone isn't for you. Likewise, if you're very clumsy and drop your phone all the time, you'll at least need a serious case for some peace of mind. Otherwise, the display, camera and charging features of this phone make it an appealing mid-range proposition, though it's going up against some tough competitors in the price bracket, including the newly reduced Google Pixel 6.
The Honor 70 was unveiled on the 25th of August and went on general sale today, 2nd September. Now, there is a range of UK retailers where you can pick up the Honor 70 including Amazon and Currys.
Pick up the Honor 7 before the 16th of September and you'll also get a free pair of Honor Earbuds 3 Pro.
We've also provided buying links below for the Google Pixel 6, which has seen price reductions and been brought into the same price bracket at the Honor 70. Be aware it doesn't have the same ultra-responsive 120Hz display, but otherwise we preferred the UI and rated the Pixel 6 as one of the best Android phones out there.