HTech launched the HONOR 90, the company’s latest smartphone, as a comeback to the Indian market after over 3 years. This was introduced in several markets a few months back as the successor to last year’s HONOR 80 brining several upgrades in terms of display, SoC, camera, battery and lots more. Is this worth the price? Let’s dive into the review to find out.
We didn’t get the Indian retail unit for review, which doesn’t come with a charger in the box. As part of the bundle deal, users will also receive a complimentary 30W Type-C charger that is fully compatible with the HONOR 90 as a part of the launch offer, said the company.
Display, Hardware and Design
Starting with the display, the HONOR 90 has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ quad curved AMOLED screen with a pixel resolution of 2664 × 1200 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio and a pixel density of about 436 PPI. There is also smart screen resolution option.
The display is bright, since it has up to 1600 nits peak brightness, and the sunlight legibility is good as well. The colours are vibrant as well, thanks to 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. The phone ranked first in its segment in the DXOMARK Display rating, said the company.
The phone has a 120Hz refresh rate. It also has HDR support, which works for YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Under the display options, there are Normal and Vivid options. You also get video enhancer option that boosts colors and contrast for apps like YouTube, Prime Video, Netflix and more.
The phone has, 3840Hz PWM Dimming technology that minimizes flicker, reducing eye strain and ensuring a comfortable viewing experience for users. The phone’s Dynamic Dimming feature replicates natural light conditions, reducing eye fatigue by up to 18%. The display’s brightness adjusts subtly based on external lighting conditions and usage duration, prioritizing user comfort, said the company. You also get ‘always on’ display feature.
The phone has a punch-hole screen that houses a 50-megapixel camera. There is minimal bezel below the screen. The phone users a toughened glass for protection.
The phone has a power button and volume rockers on the right side. The dual SIM slots, primary microphone, USB Type-C port and the speaker grill are present on the bottom. The secondary microphone is present on the top.
The phone has a glass back. The Emerald Green model that we have comes with a matte finish that doesn’t attract fingerprints. The phone has a Dual Ring Design that follows an elegant and balanced “Mirror Luna” concept, incorporating intersecting circles and ellipses inspired by the captivating patterns of Lunar phases, said the company.
It also comes in a Diamond Silver colour with rounded elements inspired by haute couture and craftsmanship seen in luxury jewellery. There is also the Midnight Black with a glossy finish. The phone comes with a 5000mAh battery, yet weighs 183 grams. It doesn’t have IP ratings.
- 200MP camera with 1/1.4-inch Samsung ISOCELL HP3 sensor, f/1.9 aperture, LED flash, 4K video recording
- 12MP ultra-wide camera with f/2.2 aperture, macro option
- 2MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture
- 50MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 4K video recording
The camera UI is familiar with most HONOR smartphones with MagicUI that include a quick toggles between main camera, ultra-wide camera, zoom option on the bottom, quick toggles for flash, AI, motion photo, filters on the top. Other camera features include Aperture, Night mode, Multi-cam, Pro mode, Slow-mo, Panorama, HDR photo, HDR video, Time-lapse, stickers, Super macro, High-res, Solo cut, Story and Scan document.
Daylight shots came out well, thanks to the 200MP sensor, and the dynamic range is better with auto HDR. There is AI mode which recognizes different photo scenes and automatically adjusts camera settings to make boost the colours. 2X and 4X are good. The portrait mode is decent and the macro option with the ultra-wide camera is good.
The 12MP ultra-wide camera does a good job, but it is not as good as the main camera in low-light that offer a lot of details and less noise. The night mode is useful, but it takes a few seconds to process. The front camera also does a good job in daylight. The bokeh shots good with decent edge detection.
Check out the camera samples
It can record videos in up to 4K 30 fps from both the front and rear cameras, as well as the ultra-wide camera, and you can switch between the cameras seamlessly. The AI video mode recommends the modes, and the multi-cam mode is interesting. There is also a separate HDR video mode that also works in 4K, and a Portrait video mode that is limited to 1080p 30fps. EIS works well, but the phone lacks OIS, so EIS is always enabled, and there is no option to turn it off. EIS doesn’t work well if you add filters, so you can notice the shake.
Software, UI and Apps
The HONOR 90 runs MagicOS 7.1, powered by Android 13 with Android security patch for July, 2023. The company has promised 2 years of software update and 3 years of security patches. This has Google apps and the Google Play Store.
There is HonorShare that lets you seamlessly transfer cross-system files between an HONOR smartphone and a PC with HONOR Computer Manager. There is multiscreen collaboration, so you can share screens, keyboards, and mice among different devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
It has MagicText that intelligently identifies text within an image and converts it into a file. You can capture text using the camera and save it as a PDF file. There is HONOR Health app.
The version we have had some pre-loaded apps, but the HTech CEO said that the company is committed to providing a clean user experience, avoiding bloatware, and offering a smooth, stable interface.
There are gesutres and multi-window feature. A few things that needs improvements in the Magic UI is that you can’t go to an app’s settings with a long press to control permissions. There is no option to switch to vibrate mode with the volume buttons.
The version we have packs 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and there is also a 8GB RAM version. You also get up to 7GB of virtual RAM, which is enabled by default. There is 256GB UFS 3.1 of storage, and there is also a 512GB storage version, but you only get 8GB + 256GB and 12GB + 512GB options in India. Out of 12GB RAM, you get 11.01GB of usable RAM, out of which about 7GB of RAM is free on boot with just the default apps running in the background.
Out of 256GB of internal storage, you get about 222.7GB of usable storage. We got sequential read speeds of about 1616.9/s, which is good for a phone with UFS 3.1 storage.
Fingerprint sensor and Face unlock
It has an in-display fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone quickly, but it is not as fast as a physical fingerprint sensor. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. You can also use the fingerprint for app local and payments in apps. Furthermore, you can change the fingerprint animation and also disable it.
Music Player and Multimedia
YouTube Music is the default Music Player. There are Histen sound effects with Auto, 3D audio, Natural and Standard modes, which works when wired or wireless headset is connected. It doesn’t have FM Radio support. Audio through the mono speakers are decent, but it is disappointing that the phone doesn’t come with stereo speakers to come with cheaper models that have stereo speakers. Audio through earphones are good.
This has Widevine L1, so that you can play HD content on Netflix and other streaming apps. It supports HDR content on YouTube, Netflix and Prime Video.
Dual SIM and Connectivity
The HONOR 90 has support for n1/n2/n3/n5/n7/n8/n20/n28/n38/n40/n41/n66/n77/n78 5G
Network Bands in India. It has 4G Wi-Fi and VoLTE, with support for Carrier Aggregation on 4G. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6 802.11 ax (2.4GHz + 5GHz), VoWiFi / Wi-Fi calling support, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS / GLONASS / Beidou. It has OTG support and NFC support. Moving on, the call quality is good, and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece volume was loud.
Since, we don’t have the Indian retail unit, we don’t have the SAR value for the phone in India.
Performance and Benchmarks
This is one of the first phones to be powered by Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition 4nm Mobile Platform as the successor to Snapdragon 778G and 778G+. This has Qualcomm Kryo (A710-based) CPU that brings higher performance up to 2.5 GHz compared to 2.4 GHz in the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1.
There is Adreno 644 GPU, which promises up to 20% faster graphics rendering compared to 778G. The GPU offers a smooth gaming performance even in graphic intensive games. The phone gets a bit warm on intensive gaming or when recording 4K videos for long, but it doesn’t too hot.
The phone has a 4483mm² grand arterial biomimetic VC cooling, Gen 3 high thermal conductivity graphite sheet and Aero grade high thermal conductivity gel.
We did not face any issues or frame drops in the graphic-intensive games like COD, BGMI and Genshin Impact. It reached maximum 41.8º in our testing indoors in Wi-Fi, but this might vary outdoors in 4G or 5G. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
This clearly shows almost similar performance as the Nord CE 3 in AnTuTu, but the CPU performance is better than the 778G. However, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is way better. Some phones even offer Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the price range.
Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 5000mAh (typical) built-in battery, slightly bigger than the HONOR 80. It lasts for a whole day with Wi-Fi, but with 4G or 5G and dual SIMs. I got about 4 and half hours of screen on time with over a day of use on Wi-Fi and in 120Hz. This is decent, but not impressive since the chip is not power efficient, even though the MagicUI has several optimizations.
Since the phone has support for 66W, SuperCharge fast charging that can charge up to 50% in about 20 minutes and up to 100% in less than an hour. However, the phone doesn’t come with a charger in the box, and as a part of launch offer, the company only offers 30W fast charging, so that charging time will be more with the charger.
At a starting price of Rs. 37,999 for the 8GB + 256GB, the HONOR 90 is a decent phone considering the value it offers. Of course, the display and the camera features are impressive, but the performance to value ratio could have been better. Even the lack of OIS is acceptable since EIS does a decent job, but the phone lacks stereo speakers. Hope the company takes care of these in its next phone.
There is OnePlus Nord 3 in under Rs. 35,000 price range, and if you spend a bit more, there is OnePlus 11R. There are also iQOO Neo 7 Pro, and POCO F5, if you want better performance at a cheaper rate.
Pricing and availability
The HONOR 90 is priced Rs. 37,999 for the 8GB + 256GB and the 12GB + 512GB model costs Rs. 39,999. However, as a part of launch offer, there is Rs. 3000 instant discount for purchases using CC, DC, or EMI transactions through ICICI and SBI Bank cards.
There is also Rs. 5000 instant discount for the first sale, which might attract the buyers, since these bring the effective price of the phone down to Rs. 29,999. There is additional Rs. 2,000 discount when you exchange old smartphones while purchasing the HONOR 90.
The HONOR 90 will be available from Amazon.in and offline stores as well Reliance stores, starting from September 18th.
- Brilliant display
- Good cameras
- Smooth performance
- Decent battery life
- No Stereo speakers
- No OIS
- No charger in the box