The Honor 6 Plus sees Huawei doing what it does best: a top-spec phone at a good price. But is it as honourable as its name suggests? Let’s take a look.
Well, spoiler alert: It's pretty good. Some of its features are indistinguishable from a flagship model. You can, however, see where Huawei's cut corners to keep the price as low as it is - namely in the form of a crummy camera and iffy interface.
The handset is huge, with a massive 5.5 inch screen. But despite that, it's not too difficult to hold, probably owing to its slimness. There's a good weight to it which, teamed with the black glass and faux metal body, feels nice and sturdy. The main issue is that it's prone to fingerprints - particularly on the unnecessarily glossy plastic back.
Its design makes sense, with the power button and volume rocker on the right-hand side, USB port at the bottom, and headphone jack at the top. The only thing it's missing - and I did miss it - is a home button on the front, which makes waking up the screen a bit annoying. Thankfully there's an option to wake it up by double-tapping, which has the added bonus of a nice satisfying buzz.
Instead of a home button there's a selection of soft buttons right at the bottom of the display, which you can edit and switch around as you like. Their impermanence can get a bit annoying, however. When a game went full-screen, they disappeared and I couldn't figure out how to exit, and thought for a horrifying moment that I was trapped in Spider-Man: Ultimate Power forever.
I guess this is my home now.
The display itself is lovely. Not only is it big, it's got a resolution of around 400ppi - not far off the 432ppi that a Samsung Galaxy S5 has to offer. So while it's not groundbreaking, it'll give you wonderfully crisp images and clear text, with even the tiniest of fonts standing out. Nature documentaries on Netflix look stunning - though the so-so speakers do let the experience down.
The Honor 6 has two quad-core processors: one for the basics, and another that gets drafted in for more intensive tasks. And the system seems to work - there's very little lag, and games work smoothly.
The hefty 3GB of RAM means it can handle pretty much anything you throw at it, and it's kind enough to let you keep on top of how much is being used, via push notifications - though it does make you question why so many apps keep on running in the background.
Interface and features
Your mileage may vary on Huawei's own Emotion user interface. It's nice to use, but the visual design isn't the best we've seen. There's a bunch of themes to pick, which range from the cute to the artsy to the downright tacky - check out the steampunk-esque one. You even have the option of a 'simple' home screen that looks suspiciously like Windows 8. It's good if you want something plain, but as an Android veteran I found myself balking.
Some may also be a bit annoyed by the lack of an app tray. Instead, there's only the home screens and folders of apps that you can create to keep it neat. Add in a few widgets and it's just asking to get cluttered.
It's... it's beautiful.
As well as that, the default apps look kind of shabby. The design of the contacts, messaging, and camera software are totally plain, as you can see from this riveting conversation I had with myself. It's one of the few areas where the Honor 6 Plus shows its price range, but hey, they worked perfectly well.
I'm hoping for a second date. I think we got on really well.
Besides the basics, a load of apps are included, and there's actually a pretty good selection. Along with the Spider-Man game, there's a suite of Google apps, Zinio for magazines, Kingsoft Office, and Todoist, which I guess is some kind of to-do list.
Some of them really take advantage of the phone's visual capacity. The clock app is surprisingly slick, the default browser is easy to use, and though the music player is slightly awkward, it looks great on the lock screen. Its only issue is the 'home screen lyrics' feature, which supposedly puts the lyrics of the song you're listening to on top of whatever else you're doing. I'm sure it has a purpose, but as far as I could tell it just seems to kind of… be there.
Please go away. PLEASE GO AWAY.
Speaking of useless features, there are some motions and gestures you can switch on too. They include things like 'answer the phone by putting it to your ear' (useful), and 'shake the phone to rearrange the icons into a neater pattern when you're editing the home screen' (bizarrely specific and not that useful).
The battery's fine. Nothing to shout home about, but nothing to complain about either. At 3600mAh it's the perfect size for the phone's specs, and you'll easily get a full day's use without it even thinking about dying. It's non-removable, so carrying a spare around isn't an option, but luckily you shouldn't need to.
You'll also get push notifications to let you know when power-hungry apps are running, so you can stay on top of the battery's use - but, again, they get a bit irritating.
The camera on the back of the Honor 6 Plus is in fact two 8MP snappers. The idea is that they're there for depth perception, and together they can compile a better-quality picture - but despite that, the photos they take don't seem amazing. The software has few settings, though you at least get Instagram-style filters, panorama, burst, and night-time features. Plus there's a 'beauty' setting on the front cam for when you want to look like an overly airbrushed magazine model.
The cameras' quality mean you can take some great shots for sharing on social media and what-have-you, especially as the front cam is an 8MP one too. But a lot of detail is lost when you look up close, so you probably won't be hanging them up on your wall any time soon.
Individual leaves? What are they?
With the Honor 6 Plus, Huawei has very much made a 'your mileage may vary' phone filled with some very love-it-or-hate-it features. From the Emotion UI to the soft buttons, there are plenty of things to divide opinions.
Still, at its heart, this is a phone with some decent specs. For the price, you'll be surprised by how close to a flagship it seems… so long as you're cool with the look of the interface and you're not a budding photographer.
Thank you to Three for supplying our test handset!