Top positive review
Long term review of Huawei Honor View 10
9 October 2018
For the past two months I have been using Huawei Honor View 10 as my primary device. Hence thought to share my views:
1) Build Quality: Truly impressed with View 10's industrial design & overall build quality. I find most people now-a-days make purchase decision solely looking at phone specifications, grossly omitting other important aspects of a phone. To me this is discerningly inaccurate. I personally give great importance to the materials used to built a phone, it's overall design & build quality. In all these respects View 10 stands tall, belonging to a rare breed of all-metal uni-body design while supporting the latest trend of tall 18:9 displays. My phone looks stunning in navy blue color, with a shimmering effect under direct sunlight. An all aluminium body provides secure in-hand feel, while keeping very thin profile which adds to its premium looks. It is needless to say that I despise the current trend of glass sandwich designs in phones where front & back are entirely made out of glass. Definitely they look very premium with glossy glass backs and multiple color gradients while being super-fragile & smudge magnet. My brother's Oneplus 6 fell once from his pocket and both the front & rear glasses were shattered to pieces. Truth is glass is glass & glass breaks, and for that reason only I did not go for Asus Zenfone 5z or Honor 10 even after having the opportunity of using both phones for nearly a day.
2) Display: The notch-less 6 inch FullHD, LTPS IPS LCD panel used in View 10 is top notch (no pun intended). The display has great viewing angles while being super bright. It can shoot over 500 nits of brightness on broad daylight conditions and be perfectly visible while at night it can dim down to just 1.5 nits and not strain your eyes. Being a Low Temperature Poly-crystalline Silicon (LTPS) IPS panel it is more expensive to manufacture than regular IPS LCD panels found in Asus Zenfone 5z, Honor 10 and Huawei Honor Play . Benefits of LTPS are lower power consumption and less display heat as compared to regular IPS panels. Game centric phones from ZTE Nubia Red Magic lineup prefers LTPS panels as they help keep the overall phone temperature low and saves battery. All in all I found display quality of View 10 a match for Honor 10 & Zenfone 5z. Huawei Honor Play's display is sub-standard in comparison. Also I found View 10's display remains much cooler under long gaming sessions over other phones. But then View 10 was Honor's flagship to compete head on with Oneplus 5T, while Honor Play is all about bringing flagship Kirin 970 SoC for the masses.
3) HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoC: View 10 ships with Huawei's flagship HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset. While comparing with other flagship SoCs in benchmarks scores it easily beats the best from Mediatek's Helios P60/ P70 and even P90 but lose out to Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 845 in terms of raw computing power. To me these benchmarks scores are just numbers and have next to no importance in daily life as long as they are adequately powerful. Fortunately all flagship SoCs are very powerful at-least on the CPU side and there will be a few apps born to tax them to the brim for next 5 years. What actually matters to me are how optimized is the SoC and its manufacturing process used which denotes its power efficiency. In this respect Kirin 970 ranks as a Tier-1 flagship SoC, using latest 10 nano-meter manufacturing process, same as Snapdragon 845 and packing a total of 5.5 billion transistors. Its octa-core CPU performance in right there with Snapdragon 835 while being more powerful than P90. The GPU side contains a very powerful 12-core Mali G72 for great gaming performance. Sensibly, Huawei have opted to use all its synergies in right direction for Kirin 970 by not blindly running for peak performance over the previous generation Kirin 960, but rather optimizing the CPU's sustained performance, providing two times better GPU performance and low overall power consumption leading to class leading battery life improvements over former Kirin 960. I find new innovations like Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for artificial intelligence (AI) embedded in 970. In the end I was pleasantly surprised with Kirin 970's performance capabilities in View 10, giving more importance to REAL day-to-day life sustained performance rather than opting for chart topping benchmark scores which relies on peak performance while having no real world use.
4) Emotion UI: Needless to say, View 10's Emotion UI 8.0 (EMUI) is a very well thought, well designed & well optimized overlay on top of Android Oreo. Moreover Huawei's Emotion UI is designed specifically for their own in-house SoCs like Kirin 970, Kirin 710 making the software & hardware unison like made in heaven. After using the phone for almost 2 months, I must admit the UI indeed does deliver with a butter smooth, lag-free user experience. The amount of features and customization over stock Android is just insane on EMUI, but never does the UI with all this additional features feels overly cluttered. Confirmed Android Pie update in due by Dec, 2018. While being initially skeptical as I love vanilla Android, I have no complains now. And I never before used a Huawei phone which speaks a lot.
5) LPDDR4X RAM & UFS 2.1 Flash Memory: Mix in 6 gigs of top-of-the-line LPDDR4X RAM (Samsung K3UH6H60AM-EGCJ) and 128 gigs of ultra-fast UFS 2.1 flash storage (Samsung KLUDG4U1EA-B0C1) and View 10 becomes a multitasking king with blazing fast read are write speeds. No complains here.
6) Integrated Modem: Call quality is excellent with loud and clear voice but that was somewhat expected. Knowing Huawei core business I expected class leading modem integration with their in-house Kirin 970 and I was not disappointed. It supports true dual 4G VoLTE functionality i.e. you can insert two Jio sims and View 10 will support 4G VoLTE on both simultaneously. Normally even with Snapdragon 835 if one network is in 4G, the other switches to 3G. In-reality View 10 is the first phone in India to ship with this functionality.
7) Camera: View 10 always boasted excellent camera hardware, having the merit to challenge OnePlus 5T on the open. To give you an idea View 10 rear camera module on Huawei service centers costs INR 3,121 while that of Honor 10 & Honor Play is INR 2760 & INR 1,368 respectability. The camera hardware of View 10 is significantly better and more expensive than the other two. However when initially launched early 2018, View 10 camera software was half baked with no support for image stabilization be it still photography or video. This was the reason why every reviewer on its launch said 5T had a slightly better camera of the two. Roll on 10 months now Honor had repeatedly updated the camera app, making most of the underneath camera hardware available. Support for Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) came few months ago providing much needed video stabilization. A month ago we received Artificial Image Stabilization (AIS) which improved stability while shooting still images under low light conditions. I made some real comparisons with other phones in last two months, and my personal view is View 10 is on par with Asus Zenfone 5z & Oneplus 5T be it still photography or video. It holds true for both good and artificial lighting conditions. The pictures turns out great with good amount of detailing, excellent contrast and in having well balanced exposure. But my brother's significantly more expensive Oneplus 6 is undoubtedly better in this area. All in all you will not be disappointed with rear camera performance of View 10, I will say its closest competitor is Zenfone 5z & Honor 10. The front selfie camera is also quite good and turns out adequate for my needs even though I don't use them much. Honor Play is nowhere near the View 10's or Honor 10's camera performance.
8) Huawei GPU Turbo: With latest software updates, View 10 now supports Huawei’s much hyped GPU Turbo technology. The game needs to support this game software optimization, so I first played PUBG (supports GPU Turbo) and later Asphalt 9 (does not support GPU Turbo). Both games were set to highest graphics setting available. Amazingly even after two hours of continuous game-play View 10 showed no signs of stutter or frame drops. Kirin 970 undoubtedly proved it can handle any game available on the Android world in its highest graphics setting over FullHD resolution. Thanks to LTPS IPS LCD panel technology used in View 10, even after such extended hours of game-play with brightness cranked way up does not exhibit any noticeable signs of display heat which I experienced with Honor 10, Honor Play and Zenfone 5z having regular IPS LCDs. But the silent warrior which helped Kirin 970 to maintain its cool composure over such long hours of game-play session apart from the display is undoubtedly the metal construction of View 10. Ever wondered why all game centric phones from Asus ROG, ZTE Nubia Red Magic, Xiaomi Black Shark & Huawei Honor Play line-ups have similar all metal construction of View 10 while avoiding the latest glass sandwich trend at all costs. This is because metal body is an excellent heat conductor and the entire metal chassis of View 10 helps to absorb heat away from Kirin 970 keeping it cool. If the CPU gets too hot it will cause thermal throttling which leads to frame drops and stuttering. Phone like Huawei Honor 10 with glass sandwich design are very prone to thermal throttling as glass is a poor heat conductor.
9) Fingerprint Sensor & Face Unlock: Honor somehow managed to cram in the fingerprint reader in the front just below the tall 18:9 display of View 10. This is the fastest fingerprint sensor I have experienced, speed & responsiveness is even better that Zenfone 5z and right here with Oneplus 6. While giving full marks to View 10 for their fingerprint sensor, the face unlock is 80-20 affair, does a fine job done under good to medium lighting conditions but struggles under dim light just like 5z. On the other hand Honor 10 ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is one of the worst I have ever experienced with multiple misreads on this phone.
10) Battery Backup & Fast charging: Honor View 10 ships with a large 3,750 mAh battery which is considerably larger than the 3,300 mAh that comes with both Zenfone 5z & Oneplus 6. Honor 10 has a slightly larger 3,400 mAh battery. The EMUI of View 10 is very intelligent and uses its AI capabilities to provide extraordinary battery endurance, maybe the best in the flagship territory. While the 5z, OnePlus 6 will take you through one day of heavy usage, the View 10 will last you for 1.5 days easily. And for casual usage it will last for 2 days eyes closed. Coming to the wall charger, in India we get 18 watts (9V, 2A) charger bundled with View 10, which supports Huawei Quick Charge as well as Qualcomm QC 2.0. And boy is it fast. The battery of View 10 has a special charge voltage of 4.4 volts which is nearly half of what the 9 volt the charger can deliver. So what Huawei have done is to convert and double the current to the battery to charge rapid fast. It does so by using its proprietary HiSilicon Hi6523 chip in View 10, which converts the chargers 9V, 2A (18 watt) input to 4.4V, 4A (17.6 watts, ~ 0.6 watt conversion loss) and provide 4 amperes or raw current to the battery. Results are astounding with 0 to 50% charge in 30 mins, 0 to 75% in 50 mins, 0 to 90% in 63 mins & 0 to 100% in 80 mins flat. I did this measurement while keeping the phone switched off and charger connected. It beats the Zenfone 5z hands down and only a shade slower than my brother's Oneplus 6 with Dashcharge tech.
11) Price: I love value for money smartphones; unfortunately flagships never fell into this category. However with time View 10 now made to this sweet spot in pricing. I bought this phone on Amazon during Independence Day offer on Aug, 2018 at INR 23.5K after heavy discounts making it the best VFM flagship smartphone of that time. Now in Oct, 2018 both Amazon & other online retailers will sell both View 10 & Zenfone 5z at the same price and both phones are steal for that price. Honor 10 is not value for money just like OnePlus 6.
1) Lack of Corning Gorilla Glass Display Protection: No phone is perfect. Neither is View 10. Being a flagship device I expected a minimum of Gorilla Glass 3 display protection but sadly that's not the case. Later I found all Honor phones in general never specify any display protection. I admit the glass over the display seems of fairly high quality, may be Dinorex or something else but I will whole heartedly advise every user of View 10 to get a high quality tempered glass protector like Nillkin Amazing H+ Pro and play safe.
2) Speaker: The single bottom firing external speaker of View 10 just like Honor Play and Honor 10 is adequately loud. However it is not quite impressive as Zenfone 5z dual speaker setup let alone benchmarks in this category like Lenovo Vibe X3. I wish the speaker on Honor phones in general could have been a bit louder.
3) Audio: View 10 uses their own HiSilicon Hi6403 audio codec, which at-least shows some impressive numbers on paper having excellent noise floor of -117dB and dynamic range of 117dB. We also get 32bit@384 KHz HD audio support and AI noise reduction. Real world audio quality through the audio jack though leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, it is on par with Mediatek & Qualcomm's own audio codec solutions found in most phones. However as a music lover I will never be satisfied with the sound quality for View 10, Honor 10, Honor Play or Oneplus 6. I am very critical about sound quality, as I have been using phones like Lenovo Vibe X3 and Vivo X5Max which are champs in this department. These phones have dedicated audiophile grade ESS Sabre DACs and audio power amplifiers which take your headphone listing experience to another level. The best option is to stick to ear buds and in-ear headphones with View 10 and the sound becomes at-least as good as Oneplus 6. The Zenfone 5z is a much better phone in this regard.
1) If you desire the best camera and best display go for Oneplus 6. It is significantly more expensive than any other phones compared here. It comes draped in a beautiful design, and the OxygenOS provides a refined stock Android like user experience. The phone is an all glass build and prone to cracks in accidental drops. My brother had to pay big bucks for that. No memory card expansion slot is a big bummer and audio through 3.5 mm audio jack is average at best.
2) If you want the most multimedia centric device then Asus Zenfone 5z is the best choice. Best audio of the lot and the display is vibrant. During this festival period you will get the base variant (6GB/ 64GB) for the same price of View 10. However again this being a glass build you have to handle this fragile glass sandwich phone with care.
3) If you just want flagship grade processor performance at least possible price get Honor Play. Don't dream about the display & camera quality found on View 10. Huawei Quick Charge wall charger will also be missing from the box. However this is a well built all metal unibody phone. Only buy if in cash crunch, or as my friend did for pure gaming and nothing else. But this is not a flagship worthy phone.
4) Honor 10 is unjustifiably more expensive than View 10 just because it is a newer model. It is specially built for the European market where small display size is preferred. However hardware wise View 10 is more expensive to manufacture. I will not propose anyone to buy Honor 10 as it is not worth the price. I don't prefer glass builds, the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is a nightmare and thermal throttling is a big issue with this phone. View 10's rear camera & display happens to be slightly better than Honor 10.
5) The Honor View 10 is built like a tank with an all metal build and feels more premium in hand than it actually looks. It is built like a rock which I absolutely love and will significantly outlasts the glass sandwich design phones in hands of a rough user. The display is slightly better than Zenfone 5z & Honor 10 and comes with memory expansion support of upto 256 GB. On camera department it is a tie with 5z. However when it comes to RAM & flash storage View 10 has it all covered with a better combination of 6GB/128GB variant in India at the same price of 6GB/ 64GB of Zenfone 5z. View 10 also has the best battery backup of all. Kirin 970 is very well tuned for sustained performance in View 10 but still slightly under-powered to Snapdragon 845. Then again all these devices offering flagship grade performance and you will be hard pressed to find any lack in performance in day to day usage.
Now the choice is yours!!!
UPDATE (as on 5th Jan, 2019)
Received the much awaited Google’s Android Pie update on my View 10. It is a humongous 3.92 GB update and ships with Huawei's latest EMUI 9.0 software overlay on top of Android Pie resulting in many cool new features getting introduced:
1) The top down notification panel now features white background with blue highlights. Prior it was with black background.
2) The in-display volume sliders now show up vertically on the right side rather than horizontally on the top of the display. Looks super cool and much easier to use.
3) EMUI 9.0 introduced a brand new camera app interface, providing much improved ease-of-use. The app is now more intuitive while taking pictures and videos. Still picture quality remains stellar as usual while video quality & stabilization is better. We can shoot videos at 4K UHD though video stabilization (EIS) is available upto 1080p @ 30fps only. We also get Huawei's much awaited AI photography mode, which when set uses artificial intelligence of Kirin 970's NPU to shoot best optimized pictures. In AI mode the shots taken are much more vibrant with punchy colors, without overdoing it. Which makes the AI mode my default choice.
4) The EMUI 9 update also upgrades Huawei's previous Easy Projection feature on View 10 with wireless connectivity. Users will now have access to One-Click Projection of phone's display on big screen televisions on same WiFi network. Cool!!!
5) Brand new modes of navigation & gestures. More intuitive controls with simple swipes instead of clicking on buttons, thus combining the goodies from Android Pie and Huawei EMUI 9.
6) The update also relays support for newer technologies like HiVision and HiTouch which I am yet to use and find out.