Reviews

Honor 70 review: When a £500 phone is this good, why spend more?

Honor 70
It's an Honor: this phone has serious battery life

Honor barely mentioned battery life when they sent me the press release for the Honor 70. But it’s probably the best reason to buy this brilliant mid-range smartphone, which costs less than £500 for the cheapest model.

Here, then, in my order of importance, are the three top reasons to buy the Honor 70.

1. Battery life

I am obsessed with phone battery life. It’s the first thing I look for when buying a phone. So, when I saw this phone had a 4,800mAh battery it barely raised an eyebrow. That’s a healthy battery, but not outrageous.

Yet, somehow, I managed to get three days of battery life out of this phone, when turning it off overnight. Admittedly, I wasn’t smashing it by playing top-end games or recording 4K video – both things this phone does with aplomb – but even in everyday use, that’s impressive.

Certainly, I’d have no concerns about this phone running out of battery on a day trip. I’d even be willing to leave the charger at home if I was travelling overnight. And talking of the charger, Honor supplies a 66W fast charger that can restore 60% battery life in 20 minutes if you ever do need it.

Trust me, battery is one thing you’re never going to worry about with this phone.

2. Cameras

The Honor 70 has a very decent selection of cameras for a mid-range phone.

On the rear you’ll find a 50-megapixel f/1.9 camera, accompanied by a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera that delivers a 122-degree field of view and 2.5cm macro capability. There’s a depth-sensing camera on there too. The selfie-obsessed will be more than happy with the 32-megapixel camera on the front, too.

The cameras are capable of very decent photos – although I urge you to ignore the various ‘AI’ modes, which add fake blur or smooth skin to occasionally gruesome levels.

However, the real party tricks are saved for video. Here, you can shoot simultaneously from both the front and rear cameras, for example, allowing you to commentate on football games or describe a scene unfolding in front of you. Your ‘selfie’ video is automatically placed in-picture and it works rather well, although it can be quite tricky to keep both you and the subject in frame, as you’re concentrating on two things at once.

If the fancy video effects leave you cold, standard video shooting is fine. You can shoot 4K at up to 30 frames per second or Full HD at a much smoother 60 frames per second. Video quality is detailed and punchy, but be wary of zooming mid-video, as the zoom in and out is ragged.

3. All-round power

This isn’t a top-end handset. Indeed, it’s using the Snapdragon 778G chipset that was released last year and has appeared in previous Honor phones. That doesn’t mean it wants for much, though.

It’s more than capable of playing 3D games. Genshin Impact ran smoothly, with no dropped frames or stutter. True, the phone certainly became toasty to hold when the serious gaming started, and a 30-minute session took a 15% chunk out of the battery, but there’s power on tap here. It’s not a budget handset that will be crawling along the next time Google unleashes an Android update.

Games also look great on the 6.67in OLED screen, which has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Everything – from phone menus to fast-action thrillers on Netflix – moves along smoothly.

There are some bits we don’t like…

It’s not all gravy with the Honor 70.

The design of the handset is just OK. It’s slender, but the wraparound screen has a slight sharp edge on the sides and the protruding camera housings on the rear mean the phone wobbles when pressed on a flat surface.

Honor’s Magic UI is not aptly named. Not unless ‘magic’ means removing numbers from the notification bubbles on app icons and splurging all your installed apps on the home screens. Which, you know, it doesn’t.

Whelp if you prefer a headphone jack, too, as there’s not one here.

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Honor 70 review verdict

Let’s not lose sight of the fundamentals, though. For either £479 (128GB) or £529 (256GB) you get a powerful phone with stonking battery life, a sprinkle of decent cameras and a processor/screen combo that is capable of serious gaming.

It’s one of those phones that makes you question why anyone wants to spend twice that on a Samsung/Apple flagship.

We’ll publish full scores and photography samples from the Honor 70 soon.

Honor 70
  • Performance
  • Design
  • Battery life
  • Value for money

Honor 70 review summary

A powerful mid-range smartphone with tremendous battery life 

Overall
4.4

Pros

  • Battery can last three days
  • Strong set of cameras 
  • Capable of playing high-end games that look great on 120Hz screen

Cons

  • Slightly awkward design
  • Magic UI interface lacks class

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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