We review the Honor 6 Plus
We’ve spent quite a few weeks with the Honor 6 Plus, the current flagship of Huawei’s Honor brand. If you don’t remember, the Honor brand is part of Huawei’s push into the low-cost, internet sales only market that is currently being dominated by its domestic rival Xiaomi in China. Just like Xiaomi, Huawei’s Honor brand concentrates in bringing hi-end specs in a package that retails less than the competition. The current flagship of the brand is the Honor 6 Plus, a phone that tries to distinguish itself from the competition by bringing a dual-camera experience to the fore.
Huawei Honor 6 Plus
- 1.8GHz octa-core Kirin 925 processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch JDI full HD IPS-NEO screen, 1920 x 1080
- 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD
- Dual 8-megpixel rear camera with dual LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Dual-SIM, dual LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
- 3600mAh battery
- Android 4.4 KitKat with Emotion UI
A body that takes several design cues from Apple
The Honor 6 Plus uses a design that’s more than reminiscent of the one in Apple’s iPhone 4. A gray plastic band surrounds the body of the phone. Overall the phone’s design is safe and mostly uninspired, but Huawei does try to mix things up by using Gorilla Glass panel on both the front and back of the phone. The rear of the phone uses a unique, criss-cross pattern that sets the Honor 6 Plus from the rest of the pack, though we feel that Huawei should have made the design more prominent – as it stands the effect is only seen when light hits the rear of the phone a certain way.
We’re rather disappointed that the speaker grille is located on the rear, which results in muffled sounds when the phone is set flat on the table, facing up. The volume rocker is on the right side, along with the power button and dual SIM slots. There are no physical capacitive keys on tap, instead the Honor 6 Plus uses dual Lollipop-style on-screen keys on the front (more on this later).
Turn the phone over, and you’ll notice the single biggest difference of the Honor 6 Plus over other phones – dual cameras. The Honor 6 Plus uses dual 8-megapixel UltraPixel cameras on the back, which senses depth information along with the normal functions of the camera. This allows for some really funky refocus magic with the camera though it does have a few issues that we’ll address in the camera section of this review.
The Honor 6 Plus uses a 5.5-inch full HD panel protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The display quality is rather good, with excellent color reproduction and outdoor readability. While the navigation buttons use Lollipop-type icons, the phone is still stuck in Android 4.4 KitKat.
The phone, much like Huawei’s other phones, use the company’s EMUI interface overlayed on top of Android 4.4 KitKat.
Kirin 925 is a beast, and can handle almost everything you throw at it
The Honor 6 Plus uses the same Kirin 925 processor as the company’s excellent Mate7 phablet. As such it achieves roughly the same benchmarks as its bigger cousin and generally performs the same way. It’s capable of running almost all of the apps you throw at it, and games played on the Honor 6 Plus are generally smooth and lag free. One of the things we regularly notice with Huawei made phones rocking Kirin processors is that they connect faster to LTE networks (Smart and Globe) than MediaTek or Exynos powered phones in the market. You can thank Huawei’s experience in providing the backbone of telcos for that.
Speaking of LTE, both SIM cards are LTE enabled, and you can further expand the 32GB of internal storage via one of the SIM slots if you prefer having more storage over two SIM slots.
The dual-camera experience is unique but doesn’t bring better low-light performance to the table
The Honor 6 Plus is capable of breathtaking photos in both brightly lit environs and low-light situations. One of the main draws of having dual a dual camera setup is the ability to refocus the shot after it’s taken, and set your own aperture after the fact, blurring or sharpening photos depending on your taste.
The main problem here is that you don’t get an overall brighter photo if you drop the aperture down to the minimum (which is 0.98), which some will point out is the whole point of using low apertures in cameras. Still, the refocus feature of the camera brings something unique to the table, and the Honor 6’s other shooting modes are a blast to use as well – we took that handsome looking photo of Singapore’s skyline using the night mode on the Honor 6 Plus.
Excellent battery life
Sporting a 3,600mAh battery, the Honor 6 Plus is one of the longest lasting phones we’ve reviewed in a while. The fact that the small frame of the Honor 6 Plus can contain a battery that’s only 500mAh shy of its bigger cousin, the Mate7, is a marvel in itself. As a result, the Honor 6 Plus can go around 1 1/2 days without a charge – if you’re particularly miserly with your use, two-day stretches of use without touching the charger is completely achievable.
Verdict: another great flagship phone at a bargain price
The Honor 6 Plus is another great addition to the already burgeoning Honor lineup of phones. Huawei managed to turn heads with their initial Honor 6 release a few months ago, and the Honor 6 Plus builds on this momentum. It’s one of the most affordable global flagships you can buy and has the chops to go up against more expensive flagships of other brands. Its dual-camera setup doesn’t deliver all that we expected, but despite this it’s still one of the best phones you can buy if you’re looking for a handset with a great camera, fast processor, and long battery life.