This is a price segment where earlier only the top-tier brands had smartphones with no super functionality or swift performance. It then changed into a market full of such devices that are capable of becoming the daily drivers, thanks to the entry of great devices from Xiaomi, Asus, and then the Android One project smartphones. When there is a good competition, it is clear that the demand is huge as well.
To broaden the search and range of choices, the other smartphone brands too are coming up with good options. One such device is the Huawei Honor Holly, which has some powerful specifications based on the price set and especially when comparing it with the other smartphones. It indeed looks decent, feels comfortable in the hand, and is one of the very few options with a large 5-inch display in the price below Rs. 10000.
On the first looks, the smartphone doesn’t really look like those budget devices, as although the material is still the same polycarbonate used in most of them, the overall shape makes it look like a little better than the other phones. There is nothing really to complain or praise about the design of the device, although two things should have been looked into:
1. The bezels around the display are wide and make the phone larger than one would expect it to be.
2. There is no proper slot given to place the fingernail and lift the back cover. It is only the MicroUSB port from where you can lift it, and that is quite hard to do.
The front has a 2MP camera, the LED notification light and earpiece on the top and the capacitive touch buttons below the display. On the right frame, the volume rocker and power buttons are seen, while there is nothing on the left side. The 3.5mm headset jack is on the top, while you can see the MicroUSB port in the bottom, beside the microphone.
Huawei has added a secondary mic on the back, just beside to the 8-megapixel rear camera and LED flash. The back cover is removable, and as said, it isn’t the easiest to remove and you might even damage the back cover while trying to pop it out with some force.
It is the Emotion UI from Huawei over Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and it looks interesting and good to use. It is quite different from the stock Android, and the major noticeable difference is the absence of app drawer, as what you see is the app icons directly on the multiple home screens. But just like MIUI, you can still place widgets with ease, alongside the app icons, and this makes the UI more interesting.
The lock screen has the circular lock with the bottom drag for unlock, and three shortcuts – Phone, camera and messaging. There are a lot of apps pre-installed, and HTC has its own apps, such as Browser, Flashlight, Sound Recorder, FM Radio, System Update, Backup, Video player. The Google apps are all pre-installed, and there are Flipkart and Flipkart eBooks apps, obvious because it is exclusively available on Flipkart.
To be fair, the Xiaomi Redmi 1s, one of the best in this price range, is expected to give a better performance because of the Snapdragon 400 processor. And the Mediatek MT6582 chipset on the Huawei Honor Holly is obviously not going to have a similar speed and response. Not surprisingly, we already see a little laggy UI on the device. Not that bad that it stops you from opening an app, but even going into a simple application takes a second or two sometimes.
The Honor Holly is a 16GB device, thus there is no worry about the storage, unlike the case with Android One phones which had no proper storage and one has to insert a MicroSD card to start using the camera app. Just to make it better for people who keep storing media, the Huawei Honor Holly has a MicroSD card slot as well, for the storage expansion.
The camera is impressive, at least for the initial thoughts. You get a similar camera to that of the Redmi 1s, an 8-megapixel shooter that does a decent capturing – you’ll see that in the camera review. For now, the Huawei Honor Holly is a perfect competitor to the Xiaomi Redmi 1s, and one of the clear winners in this price range, but again, before coming to a conclusion, a proper testing is needed on the performance front.