Earlier this week Honor brought over its Honor 70 to the UK market after it debuted in China earlier in the year and the phone is expected to arrive in more regions in the coming weeks. At £479.99 for the 8/128 GB trim and £529.99 for the 8/256 GB model Honor is having big goals for its new workhorse, but does it have what it takes to be your next phone?
The Android midrange segment is arguably the busiest area in the smartphone market with plenty of great options from a variety of makers. The big names like Samsung, Xiaomi and the BBK group routinely offer great devices that come with their own set of highs and lows when it comes to chipset, cameras and build.
Honor aims to bring you a flagship experience on a budget and design is a big focus. Honor 70 features a dual-glass design and a curved OLED display. The panel measures at 6.67-inches and refreshes at 120Hz while the resolution is 1080 x 2400 pixels. The back also features a neat design with Crystal Silver option getting a diamond pattern while the other options stick to a frosted finish.
The cameras on the back are pretty capable too – you get a 54MP main camera that relies on Sony’s IMX 800 sensor. This is a new 1/1.49” sensor with 1.0µm pixels and all pixel autofocus and it’s the same sensor used in the flagship Honor 70 Pro and Honor 70 Pro+ models that are still exclusive to China. There’s an additional 50MP ultrawide module that doubles as a macro cam as well as a 2MP depth helper.
And now we get to the chipset – Honor went with the Snapdragon 778G+ which is also used in a variety of well-received midrangers like the Galaxy A52s 5G, Xiaomi 12 Lite and the more recent Galaxy A73 5G and Nothing Phone (1). While the 778G is a well-rounded SoC there are more capable chipsets among other midrangers with the likes of the Snapdragon 870, SD 7 Gen 1 or some of the newer Dimensity chips from MediaTek.
Honor 70 gets a decently sized 4,800 mAh battery and charging should be plenty fast – Honor is bundling a 66W adaptor in the box, which should get you a 0-60% charge in 20 minutes. The software side is covered by Magic UI 6.1 over Android 12 with full GMS support.
There’s no water resistance rating, headphone jack, or a microSD card slot on the Honor 70 which can turn off some potential buyers. Audio is handled by a single bottom-firing speaker, which also does not help its case. Honor has one advantage for early bird buyers though – a free pair of Earbuds 3 Pro which we found to be a great sounding pair of buds in our review.
With the case for the Honor 70 out the way, let’s take a look at the competition.
Samsung’s Galaxy A52s 5G comes to mind – it’s also powered by the Snapdragon 778G chipset and offers a large 6.5-inch AMOLED that refreshes at 120Hz. The main cam is a 64MP shooter with OIS while the auxiliary modules are less impressive with a 12MP ultrawide and two 5MP modules for macro shots and depth data. The Galaxy has a smaller 4,500 mAh battery and it charges far slower at 25W.
Software support is a key advantage for the Samsung phone as it’s guaranteed three Android releases and four years of security packages. The phone also gets IP67 water and dust resistance while also boasting a microSD card slot and stereo speakers making it a much more capable multimedia device. You can get a 6/256GB A52s 5G for just £300 which is far less than the Honor 70.
Another phone from Samsung’s camp is the Galaxy S21 FE which is offering a 6.4-inch AMOLED screen and 120Hz refresh rate. You get a superior Snapdragon 888 chipset here and the same great software support with three Android version updates and four years of security updates.
The main (12MP) and ultrawide (12MP) cameras are less impressive on paper though you do get an 8MP telephoto lens to make up. You also get IP68 water and dust resistance, Corning Gorilla Glass protection on the screen and stereo speakers. Pricing is pretty competitive here as well, the 6/128G Galaxy S21FE is currently going for £456.
You could also look at the Poco F4 GT – one of the most popular midranges out there. It boats the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, magnetic pop-up buttons for gaming and a 4,700 mAh battery with blazing fast 120W wired charging. The camera setup is less impressive – a 64MP main cam and an 8MP ultrawide module as well as a 2MP macro shooter. It’s a compelling all-around package and the baseline 8/128GB model currently retails for £584.
Realme GT Neo 3 brings the capable MediaTek Dimensity 8100 chipset, class-leading 150W charging and a large 6.7-inch AMOLED with a 120Hz refresh rate. Battery endurance in our tests was stellar – clocking in over 102 hours. When you do need to recharge, a full charge from 0 to 100% takes only 16 minutes. The 50MP main cam takes good enough photos in the daylight. Realme GT Neo 3 150W is currently going for £599.
Depending on where you live, there are quite a few other alternatives. With all that in mind, can you see yourself purchasing the Honor 70 or would you pick another phone?
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