Huawei Honor Holly: A Budget Phone that Delivers Value
The Huawei Honor Holly has a tongue-twister name, but its funny name aside, this phone is the Chinese company’s attempt to enter the highly contested budget smartphone segment. And this segment is now keenly contested and very competitive. Look at the competition here, the Moto E, Redmi 1S and Zenfone 4 which have similar if not better specifications. Read on to find out how it fares.
Look and feel
The Huawei Honor Holly has a plain and uninspiring design that won’t really turn any heads. It has a dual-tone finish with a glossy white removable rear cover and a completely black front. The 5-inch display is surrounded by thick bezels which gives the phone a bulky feel when compared to other devices with similar-sized screens. The glossy rear attracts a lot of dust and fingerprints, we had to wipe it quite often. Despite that, gripping the phone wasn’t tough at all.
Above the display one can find the front camera, earpiece and all the sensors. Three capacitive buttons for navigation are below it. The problem with the buttons is that they are not backlit, and as a result using the Honor Holly in darkness is a messy and difficult experience. The power button and volume rocker are on the right edge.
The 3.5mm jack sits on top while the Micro-USB port is on the bottom. The rear houses the primary camera, flash, and speaker grill. There is no groove to help pull off the rear cover and we had to use the cutout for the Micro-USB port to get a good hold on it. Beneath the cover are the battery, a slot for the microSD card and two Micro-SIM card slots.
Specifications is where the Honor Holly kills its competition and top here is its storage capacity. Apart from the 16GB of internal space, the phone also accepts microSD cards of up to 32GB. This should be more than sufficient for most users. The phone also has 1 GB of RAM. The SoC is a Mediatek MT6582 with four CPU cores clocked at 1.3GHz and a Mali-400MP2 GPU. There is an 8-megapixel primary rear camera and a 2-megapixel secondary front one for selfies.
The Honor Holly has provision for two Micro-SIM cards, but only one can connect to a 3G network. The other connectivity options include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.0. Along with this, the Honor Holly has a 2000mAh battery.
Huawei doesn’t specify the type of glass used on top of the 5-inch 720p IPS LCD panel. After being spoilt by modern OGS screens, we could immediately spot how deeply recessed the display was on the Honor Holly. The result is that hitting app icons doesn’t feel as natural as it would on, for example, a Moto E. The 3D page-turn animations don’t look that interesting. The 294ppi density of the screen supports really crisp text and images. Viewing angles are really good for a phone that is priced so competitively. Bad thing is that we found that sunlight legibility wasn’t great.
Software / Operating System
The phone runs Android 4.4.2 with the Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.3 skin on top. However, unlike its far more expensive flagship counterpart, the Honor Holly is devoid of many features. For example, the magazine-style lock screen is missing, and all app icons are lined up on the home screen itself rather than in a separate app drawer. The rounded colorful icons look slightly outdated now.
The Emotion UI 3.0 has to change that with a flatter design language in line with current trends or it will lose the battle of the budget phones. The UI is a big letdown. Huawei keeps the bloat-ware restricted to the Flipkart and Flipkart eBooks apps, because it is sold only on the e-commerce website.
The camera app is once again the same default Gingerbread app we’ve seen on a lot of budget phones, and it is not very intuitive to use. The shots we captured in bright sunlight using the 8-megapixel primary camera had blown-out highlights and issues with exposure. The HDR mode only made things messier and bad. In this price range the camera performance of the Redmi 1S is still superior. The sensor on this camera is not good for low-light, but we were surprised when we played 1080p video clips captured with this phone. They actually had great details. The 2-megapixel front camera is bad, and images taken with it looked rather soft, dreamy, and very unclear.
Budget phones generally function smoothly and not lag too much. Thankfully, the Honor Holly doesn’t disappoint in this area. We did face occasional lagging and notable stutters at times but this didn’t disrupt the overall experience of using the phone. It managed to play games such as Temple Run 2 with relative ease as well.
The Huawei Honor Holly played all our video files including the heavily encoded 40mbps one. The sound from the loudspeaker is really low.