Honor 50 review: perfect for vloggers and with all Google services

Everything has changed for Honor. The company, once a sub-brand of Huawei, has completely separated itself from the Huawei that gave us pearls like the P30 Pro or the Mate 20 and yes, it did it precisely to escape that ban that totally killed one of the companies that in recent years have invested more in research and development in the world of mobile telephony.

Well, it took some time but Honor 50 it also arrived in Italy in its Global version, and it did so accompanied by what Huawei has missed most in recent years: Google services.

Honor 50 is the first smartphone of the "new Honor" that not only integrates (finally) the Play Store, but is animated by a Qualcomm processor, has a super curved display at the edges, an excellent front camera, a first-class design and a price that puts it right in the middle of the mid-market range.

In short, all very beautiful and, of course, there is no lack of compromises. But one thing is sure: it took. Because in a world that has become rather boring, the return of a brand like Honor could really shake up the competition. A bit like Huawei did in its golden years.

Honor 50 review: design, features, camera, display, battery and price

Design and materials

The point of the design of theHonor 50 it's simple: curved display, thin bezels, reduced thickness and a plastic back cover, but of excellent quality. In short, it is a product that at first glance might immediately seem familiar, with features that convey premium sensations, but with that "I don't know what" that makes it definitely an Honor.

In test we have the Emerald Green color (which is my favorite), but it is available in three other colors: Frost Crystal, Midnight Black and Honor Code. But except for this last version, Honor 50 is a magnet for fingerprints, a problem that can be solved using the silicone cover included in the package, and which - let's face it - is typical of devices made with this "new polycarbonate" which tends to imitate the sensations of glass.

The display is very large, which makes it Honor 50 not quite compact, indeed. Fortunately, those of the company have managed to keep it rather light (175 grams) and thin (7.8 mm), so when you hold it you feel a sort of compact sensation impossible to find with other devices directly competing with the new born in the family. by Honor.

The curved display then makes it even more slender when you hold it with one hand and although I continue to prefer flat solutions, there is no doubt that the presence of curved edges is the right "compromise" to ensure comfort for those who can't help less than super large screens.

The most distinctive element, however, is the rear bump chamber. Okay, Honor says the double ring design is inspired by cameras and compares it, even in a rather creepy way, to a pair of eyes. And ok, although it is the first device of the "new Honor", in reality it is a camera bump that we have also seen in another smartphone (coincidentally with Huawei), but let's clarify one thing: the design process of a smartphone it is long and for Honor 50 it started before the companies split up. So amen for this simile.

However, there are also some shortcomings: Honor 50 it is not an IP-certified smartphone, so it is not resistant to water and dust, and only has a single lower speaker. No stereo sound, unfortunately.

Display

That there are many smartphones with a quality display in the mid-market range is poco but sure. But if there is a really distinctive feature in this Honor 50 it is the screen itself, because the company has not only managed to keep pace with other competitors, but even excel over most of the devices sold in the same price range.

And the credit goes to the glittering 6.57-inch curved OLED panel, with FullHD + resolution, 120 Hz refresh rate which also guarantees a touch sampling rate of 300Hz, 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color gamut and support for over a billion colors.

And I'll tell you right away: if you could survive the lack of a higher resolution (which the vast majority of humans should be able to do), there is not a single reason why not to be satisfied with the display of theHonor 50.

It is a very vivid panel, with deep blacks and very pleasant contrasts, which already out-of-the-box is characterized by a well-executed white and temperature calibration, but which is clearly possible to customize through the many options available in the settings.

The fingerprint sensor has been inserted under the screen, and it is fast and reliable, while at the top there is the front camera, which has been inserted into a sun punch with which those of Honor could have tried a little more. : in my opinion it is excessively large, and if the company had wanted to, it could have significantly reduced its size.

Hardware and Performance

As for hardware and performance, the point is this: Honor 50 it is one of the first smartphones of the brand not animated by a Kirin but by a Qualcomm, even if - and this must be said - it is the processor, perhaps the only factor that makes it a mid-range. And it does so because the company, for obvious reasons of reducing the selling price, has decided to avoid the 8 series of the US manufacturer, in favor of a Snapdragon 778G which yes, is a mid-range SoC, but which - as we will see - is able to guarantee a good balance between performance, autonomy and selling price.

The reality is that even if for some the choice of this SoC may seem like a compromise, in reality the "sacrifices" in terms of performance are very few. The model we are testing is equipped with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory, but on sale there will also be a model with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal memory.

But let's get to the numbers. In our benchmarks, the Snap 778G scored pretty similar to what we saw in the Real GT Master Edition and in some tests related to the CPU it obtained scores close to those of a Snapdragon 888. The most marked difference in performance we found in the tests related to the GPU, with which it obtained a score slightly lower than that typical of animated devices with Snap 888 (or the different gaming phones), but which all in all seemed sufficient and solid to us.

The slightly contradictory data, however, we found with the AnTuTu stress test. Do you want for a lack of optimization, or for a perhaps too conservative management of the Snap778G, the test showed a rather fluctuating management of the core frequencies, with performances that reached 100% only in the initial minutes of the benchmark, and then remained in a range that varies between 40% and 60% practically for its entire duration. And despite this "conservation" of energy, the battery of the device lost about 10% in 15 minutes.

However, both the most common operations and the execution of more complex 3D games will not be a problem for theHonor 50 which - already in the version we are testing, equipped with 6 GB of RAM - has not shown any signs of slowing down or lag whatsoever. And this is also made possible thanks to the Turbo X GPU technology, which those of Honor have had to adapt to the Qualcomm architecture with some success: as I see it, the bulk of the work has been done, but the company still has to work on optimizing this technology.

Camera

As for cameras, theHonor 50 it's a bit controversial. And it is because it has some undeniable strengths that make it perfect for the vast majority of people (and content creators) but, at the same time, it lacks a little bit in versatility. The main protagonist of the camera sector of Honor 50 it is the 108 megapixel sensor which, alone, takes up practically half of the space dedicated to the cameras. It is an excellent quality sensor, able to guarantee excellent shots not only in conditions of good brightness, but also using the night mode with which the images produced will always be clean, with good management of the dynamic range and tonality. well balanced: the samples you will see in this review, for example, were taken in conditions of almost extreme darkness, and the results are not bad even though those of Honor have decided not to insert any optical stabilization system (OIS).

And the same excellent quality is also found in the 32 megapixel front camera which, also thanks to a very wide lens and a 90 ° Field of View, is able to allow the taking of group selfies that are always well produced. , and clearly better than the average that is found on the direct competitors of the smartphone, in the price range between 300 and 500 euros.

Things change though when you use the other sensors built into the Honor 50. In this case the qualitative gap with the main lens is quite clear, especially in the case of the 8 megapixel ultra-wide angle lens which produces images of a much lower level than those produced by the 108 megapixel sensor, also thanks to an optics that - a my opinion - it should have been slightly brighter. Then there is a 2 megapixel depth sensor that will be used in portrait mode and aperture mode, which guarantees an excellent blur effect, and then there is a macro lens on which there would still be some work: it is a fixed focal length, it is not stabilized, and it is necessary that you position yourself exactly at about 4 cm from the subject you want to photograph to be able to obtain a decent result.

But in addition to the photos taken with the 108 megapixel sensor, the real strength of theHonor 50 are the videos. And I'm not referring to "traditional" videos, which are of good quality, can be recorded at the maximum resolution of 4k at 30 fps and feel a little lack of optical stabilization, but I'm thinking of the different recording modes that those of Honor they thought of integrating. 

For example, there is the Story mode, with which it will be possible to record short videos to the beat of music in a few seconds by following the instructions that are displayed very clearly on the screen, and there is the Multi-Video mode that will allow you to record videos using two cameras at the same time and taking advantage of different templates, and with all available lenses (front included).

In short, it is clear that from this point of view those of Honor have worked a lot to develop an interface that makes it extraordinarily easy to manage all the camera options, even during recording which (among other things) can also be paused.

Software

Either way, the big news about this Honor 50 in reality it has nothing to do with the technical characteristics of the device, or - directly - with the company itself: the new smartphone of the Chinese brand is animated by a version and complete of Android 11 customized with the company's Magic interface , and that it supports 100% all Google services. So yes, you can use apps like Gmail, Maps, Documents etc, and you can download apps and games from the Play Store.

That said, we are in the presence of the typical Honor interface. Although in the last 2 years the brand has been the victim of the same restrictions that have blocked Huawei and now becoming independent it is (finally) free again, in reality the user experience with the interface of Honor 50 it is the most familiar there can be for anyone who knows the brand. The icons are large, well organized, the color palette is very clean and all the typical features of the brand are present.

At this point my curiosity is more towards the future, when Honor will have the opportunity to better develop its graphical interface and will move further and further away from the one we have seen and reviewed in Huawei's smartphones. And a taste of this transition can already be found in the Always on section of Honor 50, where the company has included many watches, some of which recall the "Material You" design of the new Pixel: these are the artistic ones, which allow you to extract three colors from a photo and set it on the always active screen.

Battery life

The battery of Honor 50 is a 4300 mAh, a capacity typical of the price range, which also thanks to the conservative management of the Snap will be able to guarantee without any doubt one day of autonomy even by setting the refresh rate to 120 Hz and activating the Always On. And, yes you know, these are the most energy-intensive features these days. It is unlikely that you will get to the second day, but with a rather light use you might even succeed.

But regarding the battery, there is bad news and good news. The bad thing is that there is no wireless charging, the good is that with the fast 66w charger that is included in the package you can recharge the device in no time: in my tests, in about 15 minutes the smartphone was recharged from 0% to 51%. Which is not bad.

Price and conclusions

The selling price of Honor 50 is 529 euros for the 6/128 version, and becomes 599 for the 8/256 version. Until November 11, however, using the coupons found below it will be possible to buy both devices (in all colors) with a discount of 50 euros. And it is a price that places it right in the middle of the mid-range, a range that - as we know - is now full of competitors. It makes me think of the OnePlus 9, Or to Realme gt that yes, technically they would cost a little more to the newborn of the Honor house, but that could give him a hard time.

The reality of the facts, however, is that theHonor 50 is a very welcome return of the company in the global market. Its standout features are undoubtedly the design and the screen, which at this price is practically unbeatable and seems to belong to a higher range, but the charging speed and general performance are also not bad.

In short, is it a smartphone that I would recommend? Yes, especially if purchased using the 50 euro discount. However, I would have preferred that those of Honor had thought of integrating stereo audio or, at least, wireless charging: it is true that they are not very easy features to find in this price range, but if Honor 50 had it been equipped with it, it would have probably been the best alternative in the mid-range market. It is undoubtedly the best Honor I have tried in the last 2 years, and if these are the premises I can't wait to get my hands on the now imminent Honor Magic 3 in its global version.





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