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Huawei Honor 6 Plus review


Huawei Honor 6 Plus review
Huawei made a splash in the market with its mid-range phone, Honor 6, which it exclusively sold online. Now, the Chinese giant returns with the Honor 6 Plus, a bigger and better version of the phone. Priced at Rs 26,499, the Honor 6 Plus comes with good hardware specifications and a special dual-lens camera. Does it offer good value for money? We try to find out in our review... 



Build & design 

The Honor 6 Plus essentially features the same design as that of the Honor 6. It is a bigger version of the phone with improvements in a number of areas. The phone's design features straight lines, rounded corners, almost flat edges and glass finish back. There is a design pattern on the back but it's not easily visible unless you see it under light. 

The phone looks solid thanks to its unibody design but the glass back felt slippery making the phone susceptible to drops. It is also prone to smudges and scratches. It would be ideal to use a back case with the phone to enhance grip.

 

The front is dominated by a 5.5-inch display, part of a glass panel that also houses an earpiece, sensor array and the front camera. There are no physical buttons at the front. 

The three edges of the phone (top, right and left) sport a metal frame while the rounded bottom edge is made of plastic. The right edge features the volume rocker key, power key and two trays - one for the micro sim card slot and the other one that can house a nano sim or a microSD card. The 3.5mm headset port sits at the top along with an Infrared port, while the micro-USB port is at the bottom. 


The glass back has holds the dual-lens rear camera and dual-LED flash, along with a speaker grill. There's some minimalist 'Honor' branding at the back as well. 

Display
Huawei Honor 6 Plus sports a 5.5-inch Full HD (1080p) in-cell display. The display is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and a fingerprint resistant coating. We did observe that the phone's display was less prone to smudging. 

Text and pictures appeared crisp and sharp and the viewing angles were pretty good. Sunlight legibility was also decent. Touch sensitivity was also great and the screen was extremely responsive. You can turn on the glove mode for increased sensitivity. 

The phone has a 73.2% screen to body ratio which makes it good for one hand use. 

We were impressed with the display's brightness and colour rendering. The phone offers a control for colour temperature in addition to brightness. 

 

Software
Huawei Honor 6 Plus runs Android 4.4 with the company's Emotion UI skin version 3.0. The software looks totally different from stock version of Android. The UI also includes on-screen navigation buttons. 

The phone's default UI is devoid of an app drawer and app icons and widgets are spread across the home screens. The unified home screen-app launcher style may come across as user-friendly to people who have not used an Android phone before. But it will take some time to get used to if you have already been using an Android smartphone. You can of course download and install an alternate launcher. 

The phone also comes with six themes each of which comes with a different set of icons, wallpapers, font style, sounds, and lock screen styles. You can also download or install new themes and customize them. 

The software does not include any stock Android app and everything including the Gallery, Music, Calculator, Calendar and Email apps are built by Huawei's software team. The apps look beautiful and offer additional value added features. 

In addition to the regular UI, the phone also offers a 'simple' Home screen style that features a minimalist tiles-like interface with bigger app icons and menus. This mode is useful for senior citizens and users who don't like the default navigation structure. 

The Honor 6 Plus also offers motion gestures such as flip to mute, pick up to reduce ringer volume, and shake to arrange icons, among others. It features a suspend button, which, when enabled can float anywhere on the screen. It houses navigation buttons, a button to lock the screen, and another one to clear the cache. 

Overall, Huawei Honor 6 Plus offers value added features through the customised Android software allowing a greater level of customization and control. 

Camera
Huawei Honor 6 sports a bionic, dual parallel 8MP rear camera that can capture pictures of up to 4160x3120p (13MP) resolution. 

According to the company, the dual-lens setup helps in capturing depth especially in panoramic images. The phone also offers wider aperture of f/0.95 for images with bokeh effect. It's pretty similar to the HTC One M8's duo camera setup but the app offers more control over the depth of field via a software slider.

 

The phone features Huawei's own camera app that offers settings for all optical attributes, HDR, Panorama and Timer modes, among others. 

Images captured by the camera in daylight turned out well with decent level of detail, accurate colour reproduction and good contrast. Images shot in low-light were also good albeit slightly grainy. 

 

The front camera also shoots good quality selfies and the phone offers all the tools to make you look as good looking as possible. 

The phone is capable of recording 1080p videos and we found the videos shot with the phone to be decent, especially for casual use. Don't expect high-quality videos as the phone lacks optical image stabilization resulting in shake being apparent.



It does include electronic image stabilization but turning that on reduces the quality of videos.
Hardware & performance
Huawei Honor 6 Plus is powered by a powered by a 1.8 GHz quad-core + 1.3 GHz quad-core Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 925 chip and 3GB RAM. The chip uses big.LITTLE architecture to optimize power usage by efficiently distributing tasks among low power and high power cores. The phone has 32GB of internal storage and you can use microSD cards of up to 64GB to store multimedia. 

Thanks to all the power under the hood, the phone is extremely responsive and snappy even though the Emotion UI software can get heavy on animations and transition effects. 

We did not experience any lag whatsoever while navigating through the home screen and menus, launching apps and switching between them. Scrolling was smooth and the phone was able to play full HD video files without any problems.

 

In synthetic benchmarks, the phone scored 40,274 in Antutu, 11,938 in Quadrant and 59.9 in Nenamark 2 benchmark tests. Some of these scores are much better than the Nexus 5 and Xiaomi Mi3 but lag behind Xiaomi Mi 4 and OnePlus One. However, we do not recommend a phone based solely on benchmarks as real world performance is different at times. 

Of the 32GB internal storage, about 25.7GB is available to the user. 

The phone offers Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity options in addition to NFC and support for Band 40 and Band 3 4G LTE bands which have been deployed in India. Interestingly, the phone has an Infrared blaster and the phone bundles a Controller app. We were able to use it as a remote with a Sony TV. However, it doesn't support Indian DTH set top boxes. 

Huawei Honor 6 Plus offers good call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter issues while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker. The phone was able to lock to GPS without any hiccups. Unfortunately, we were not able to test the 4G capability of the phone. 

It also offers FM radio. We were able to play most popular video and audio file formats. 

The external speaker outlet on the phone, located at the back, offers loud sound output but is not stereo. Also, sound gets muffled when the phone is placed on a soft surface. 

The phone is backed by a 3,600mAh battery (non-removable) and will last you more than a full working day (15-16 hours) with 3 to 4 hours of screen on time, if you put the screen brightness at the highest level and use 3G data all the time. You'll be able to make about 1-2 hours of phone calls, play some casual games and browse the web in this time period. Your mileage may vary with different usage pattern.

 

Gaming
We were able to play games like Looney Tunes Dash, Monument Valley, Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger without encountering frame drops or freezes. The phone got a little warm after playing games for longer durations. 

Verdict
Huawei Honor 6 Plus is a premium 'value for money' phablet that comes with good hardware and performance, improved camera features and enhanced software capabilities. Just like the Honor 6, the design is a bit underwhelming but doesn't come in the way of easy access and use. 

However, at a price of Rs 26,499, it's difficult to recommend the phone over the likes of the OnePlus One. 
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