It's been two years since Honor last released a phone in the UK, and the Honor 50 is a stylish but slightly underwhelming phone. Now that Honor is a completely separate brand to Huawei, it's started using Google Services and users have access to Android Apps. Not only does this make it a much easier phone to sell, it means that Honor can start making its way back into the mainstream market and challenge the best camera phones once again.
The standout feature of the Honor 50 is the attractive design, although it looks very similar to that of the Huawai Nova 9 and Huawei P50 Pro, so perhaps it's not all that original. It's based on a traditional twin reflex camera and features four separate cameras of varying degrees of quality.
If you're searching for a phone that looks and feel nice but won't break the bank, the Honor 50 is a good option. But if you need a phone with masses of processing power or super-accurate colors from the main camera, you might be better off checking out some of the competition.
Honor 50: Design and screen
With a 6.75-inch, curved OLED screen, the Honor 50 offers accurate color representation and a high-resolution display (2340 x 1080) which is perfect for watching videos on the move or viewing photos on social media. The curved screen gives it a pro-end feel that, considering it's a mid-range phone, adds an advantage. Images pop on the screen and the maximum brightness is very bright.
It has a refresh rate of 120Hz and a touch sampling rate of 300Hz, so if you're an avid phone gamer you'll find it super responsive – it's just a shame that the processor isn't quite up to the standard of other recent phones if you want to use it a lot for gaming.
The actual look of the phone is really stylish and comes in four different colorways – Emerald Green, Midnight Black, Frost Crystal and Honor code. The back cameras are mounted onto an oval, rose gold plate with the main camera sat on top and the three secondary cameras and flash underneath. Based on the design of a Rollei Twin Reflex camera, the vintage design is juxtaposed with a very modern finish.
If you want a phone that easily fits in any pocket, even with a pop grip or a relatively chunky case, the Honor 50 is less than 8mm thick and weighs only 175g. It comes with a rubber case in the box, which is really handy while you wait for a better one to arrive but it doesn't feel like it would protect it much if dropped.
There is a single USB-C port, which can be used for charging or plugging in the USB-C headphones provided. For any audiophiles who like using traditional headphones, you'll have to invest in a 3.5mm jack to USB converter or find some wireless earbuds that you like because there's no headphone jack.
Like most Android phones it has an Always-on Display feature that shows you basic information such as time, date and battery level, which seemed to be working intermittently.
Honor 50: Cameras
I was really excited to get my hands on the Honor 50 mostly because of the 108MP main back camera. It also comes with an 8MP wide-angle camera with a 112-degree lens, a 2MP bokeh camera, a 2MP macro camera and a 32MP front-facing camera.
Having never used a phone with such a high-resolution main camera, I was relatively disappointed by the quality of images it produced. While the camera does seem to be sharp from corner to corner, the colors it reproduces are much cooler than what the eye sees. The autofocus is pretty fast, and even in low light, the camera is able to produce good quality images without much noise and the colors are still bold.
There is a Pro mode where you can choose settings such as shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Even when shooting at the widest aperture the blurred areas look quite natural and, while the focus fall-off is less gradual than you'd expect from a DSLR, the in-focus area really stands out.
The front-facing selfie camera is the second-best camera and the colors seem to be much more accurate. If you're looking to buy a phone for vlogging, video calls or social media, the selfie camera really is a selling point. You can also opt to shoot in beauty mode, which automatically smoothens the skin and removes unwanted eye bags.
The 8MP wide-angle camera comes in handy when you need a slightly wider field of view, but the colors and quality aren't quite as vibrant or as good as the 108MP.
Both 2MP cameras are pretty poor and add little value to the phone. The super macro mode doesn't work as well as it does on other phones with macro cameras, and you have to be really accurate in taking the photo from a distance of 4cm. It's the type of feature that you might show your friends, but wouldn't ever really use.
The bokeh mode also seems a bit irrelevant, since the main camera can go down to f/1.9 and uses a much higher resolution sensor. It feels like Honor added in these cameras so it could say there are multiple cameras, but in practice they add very little to its usability.
In terms of video specs, the Honor 50 is capable of recording in 1080p at 30fps. There seems to be a 4K mode on the video menu, but I couldn't work out how to select it.
There are also six multi-video shooting modes to choose from, which combine up to three cameras in one take. They are front to rear recording, dual view recording (front/rear), picture in picture, fast motion recording and slow-motion recording. Again, I struggled to locate the fast motion and slow-motion options in the menus, which are laid out in a confusing manner.
Honor 50: Additional specs
If you're constantly on the move and don't want to carry a charger or iPhone power bank, the Honor 50 can easily cope with a full day of interrupted use due to its 4,300mAh battery. Even if you do find you need to charge it during the day, Honor claims that its 66W SuperCharge technology can charge the battery to 70% in just 20 minutes when using the charger provided.
For a mid-range phone 66W charging is pretty fast, although we didn't quite manage to get the same charge speed – even when using the charger provided. We did, however, have to use an adapter for a foreign plug, so perhaps this is why.
The Honor 50 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G chipset, which is a pretty powerful processor for a mid-range phone. It improves both CPU and GPU performance by 45%, and AI processing power by 123% compared to previous generations.
There are two versions of the Honor 50 to choose from: one has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or you can opt for 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage, which will be much better for anyone planning to use the phone to record, edit and upload videos.
Honor 50: Verdict
If you're looking for a mid-range smartphone that has a good front and rear camera, looks stylish and has excellent battery life, the Honor 50 is a good choice. It might not have the processing power of some of the latest iPhones, but it is considerably cheaper.
Features such as the curved screen, the OLED display and the 4,300mAh single-cell dual circuit battery capable of reaching full charge within an hour you'd expect to see in pro series phones, so for the price you do get some nice features.
Living in a world where we document our entire lives on social media, it's nice to have both a front-facing camera and rear camera that produce high-quality images. However, both 2MP cameras could've been left out and it still would've been a solid phone – perhaps even a little cheaper.