/ 5 October 2023

Review: Ballies playing with phones – The Honor 90

Global technology brand HONOR announced the launch of the HONOR X6a and HONOR X5 Plus in South Africa, the latest additions to the X Series.

I had the chance to play with the Honor 90 over the weekend, so what did I think?

Starting with the box opening, one of my favourite parts, “you never know what you’re gonna get,” to quote Forrest Gump, I was not disappointed. The elegant packaging opened up to a very pretty silver phone,  a 66 watt fast charger (this was impressive, it took me less than an hour to get the thing fully charged), but not even the most basic headset. This is annoying to me because legally one has to have a headset to use the device while driving, but as most people ignore this anyway, even when they have a headset in their pocket, ce la vie.

As far as the phone itself, it comes with some very impressive features:

  • Display: 6.7-inch 1.5K (2664×1200 pixels) AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition
  • Main camera: 200MP lens + 12MP ultra-wide lens + 2MP depth lens
  • Selfie camera: 50MP
  • Battery: 5000mAh with a 66w charger (this charges really quickly and despite playing with it all weekend the battery did not dip below 50% so that was really impressive.
  • RAM: 12GB +7GB extended RAM
  • Onboard storage: 512GB

If you don’t know what all of that means, don’t worry, you don’t need to know how a combustion engine works to drive.

The 200mp camera has a 10x digital zoom and at full zoom I was able get a crystal clear picture on my fingerprint ridges and the slight imperfections of the wood grain of my coffee table, needless to say this is impressive without the usual level of degradation I have come to expect from digital zoom. The camera has a range of the usual settings, portrait, night, aperture (which I am sure will be a favourite of Instagram food critics everywhere looking to broadcast their latest dining experiences) and of course video options with 4K capability.

I also found something called Multi-video, which lets you record from different camera lenses simultaneously. This feature more than anything else tells me this phone was created with the Gen Z social media influencer in mind, it is a video editing suite in your pocket, you can cut, trim and combine videos, you can even add a soundtrack, all this before posting your video for your myriad followers. I was able to create something in under a minute.

As far as basic functionality goes, I did find the lack of navigation icons frustrating, I found myself having to learn a whole lot of (what my wife calls) hot corners. Basically, the navigation relies on location based swipes. Want to close an app, swipe left. Want to access google assistant swipe from one of the bottom corners. Notifications? Swipe from top left corner. Control Centre? Swipe from top right corner. What about closing an open app, or quickly switching between apps? This took me the longest to figure out. Swipe from the bottom of the screen, but go the whole way to the top, and even then it doesn’t seem to work everytime, maybe I am just not getting this right. That said, I feel this is just standard teething problems with any new device and I am sure in time it would become second nature.

With a recommended retail price of R14 999 it comes with a price tag that certainly makes me pause, but I think with the quality of the camera, the battery life of a full charge and the functionality of the camera editing suite, this is a film studio on the go and any social media influencer looking to post content from anywhere will find the functionality invaluable in posting loads of content and, hopefully, growing their following as well. That is the most impressive feature of the Honor 90. I love the camera.

Have a look at some of the other content we’ve published on this new series’ of phones here and here.