Smartphones, Tablets & Wearables

Honor 50 review: Does the independence from Huawei succeed?

You can hardly mention the name Honor without talking about Huawei in the same sentence. A few years ago, the two companies were still inseparable. After all, the “Honor” smartphone manufacturer was a subsidiary of Huawei. With devices like the Honor 8, it became clear how fruitful the cooperation was under the auspices of the giant Chinese electronics company. But to escape the momentous US embargo, Honor bought itself free from Huawei and now operates on its own. The Honor 50 is the debut of Huawei’s former subsidiary. Despite the separation, Honor cannot deny a not too distant relationship to Huawei’s recently released Nova 9. You can read how the smartphone performs in practice in our review.

Honor has thrown off its shackles

You do not have to think long about why Honor has strived for independence from Huawei. However, since the smartphone experts were in a luxurious position for many years as a 100-percent subsidiary of the Chinese electronics giant, because they were well-known, the spin-off did cause a stir. The reason for the separation was undoubtedly the US embargo, which hit Huawei like a steam hammer. Along with the parent company, subsidiaries were naturally also targeted by the US authorities. Finally, the name Honor also ended up on the dreaded embargo list. The consequences were severe.

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US companies were more or less prohibited from working with Huawei and its subsidiaries. In practice, this not only eliminated valuable suppliers of hardware. The renunciation of Google services, which include not only Android itself but also the gigantic Google Play Store, was also a massive burden. The consequence was a downward slide in sales figures and thus a no longer really profitable possibility to do business even in western climes. The introduction of Huawei’s in-house operating system with the corresponding AppGallery did not change anything. Honor knew that without Google Services, it would sooner or later disappear from the scene of the already highly competitive smartphone market.

Honor 50 Display

So the manufacturer was forced to throw the lifeline. Without further ado, one bought free from Huawei. In expert circles, there are rumors about a “redemption sum” of the equivalent of 13 billion euros. A hefty sum, but in retrospect it was most likely the only real chance for Honor to survive. However, even though the company now attaches great importance to not having anything to do with Huawei anymore, the common past cannot (yet) be dismissed.

This is particularly evident in the two smartphones that were released almost at the same time, the Huawei Nova 9 (test) and the Honor 50. Visually, you can hardly notice any differences here. Under the hood, this looks different again due to the lack of restrictions against Honor. We want to take a closer look at whether Honor can play its trump card with approved 5G and Google services against Huawei in the following.

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Technical details of the Honor 50

Operating system Magic UI 4.2 (based on Android 11)
Display 6.57-inch OLED display with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels and maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz.
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G | CPU: Octa-Core 4 x Cortex-A78 2.4GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 1.8GHz | GPU: Adren 642L | AI: 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine
Battery 4,300 mAh battery, which is fully charged after just under an hour with the included 66 watt power adapter.
Camera Rear camera: quad camera with 108MP main camera (F/1.9 aperture) + 8MP wide-angle camera (F/2.2 aperture) + 2MP bokeh camera (F/2.4 aperture) + 2MP macro camera (F/2.4 aperture).

Front camera: 32MP selfie camera (F/2.2 aperture)

Video recording: supports 1080P (2520 x 1080 pixels) video recording at 60fps

Memory 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM or 8GB RAM + 256 GB ROM
Connections WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax, 2 x 2, MIMO, 2.4GHz and 5GHz | Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.2, supports BLE,SBC, AAC, LDAC, aptX, aptX HD
Dimensions 159.96mm (H) x 73.76mm (W) x 7.78mm (D) at 175 grams
Sensors Gravity sensor, fingerprint sensor, gyroscope, compass, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor
Price € 377.99 *

Scope of delivery of the Honor 50

Honor 50 scope of delivery

There are no big surprises in the scope of delivery of the Honor 50. Besides the smartphone itself, you will find a 66-watt power plug and the corresponding USB-C cable. Beyond that, you’ll find a SIM card tool, the usual paperwork, and a handy case that is a pleasure to carry around due to the Honor 50’s sensitive, glossy back.

Design & workmanship of the Honor 50

Let’s start with the most important part: The Honor 50 is a really chic smartphone that leaves a high-quality impression even at first glance. This is not least due to the extremely thin screen edges, which look even narrower than they actually are. The reason for this is a classic design trick that we could admire for the first time in Samsung devices. Honor has given its smartphone a rounded display that merges smoothly with the case.

Huawei Nova 9 (left) and Honor 50 (right) are real smartphone clones

However, the smartphone not only looks slim, but is also surprisingly light in the hands. This is made possible by the handy dimensions of 160 mm x 73.8 mm x 7.78 mm and a weight of a light 175 grams. If you then let your fingers wander over the entire device, you immediately notice the high build quality. The buttons convince with a very good pressure point. There is simply no creaking or cracking at any point.

Honor 50 vs Huawei Nova 9
The two devices also look like twins on the back. Without the lettering, you could hardly tell the difference here.

While the front is beyond all doubt in terms of design, some people might not like the back as much. Honor relies on a glossy back, which almost magically attracts fingerprints. We would have liked a completely matte option better, but that is often a matter of taste. Huawei’s Nova 9 offers this by the way.

Honor 50 on packaging
Honor achieves the slim design not least by flattening the screen’s edges.

If you take a look at the back, however, it is not necessarily the glossy design that quickly catches the eye. The large camera module is also immediately present. Honor uses a total of two different circles here, which the company calls “dual ring design”. Unfortunately, it clearly protrudes from the case, just like in the Nova 9. This is not a problem when you hold the Honor 50 in your hands. However, if you put it on a table or another flat surface, annoying tipping is inevitable.

However, the Honor 50 does not only share the extravagant and also cool camera design with the Nova 9 from Huawei. Unfortunately, the negative features of the two devices also coincide. As the owner of one of the two smartphones, you should definitely make sure that it does not come into contact with water. Unlike it is now common even in the mid-range, both do not offer protection against water penetration.

Honor 50 with impressive OLED

Despite its almost handy dimensions, the Honor 50 does not come with a small display by any means. The Chinese manufacturer has installed a 6.57-inch display with vivid colors and high contrasts thanks to the OLED panel. A resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels also ensures that all screen contents are wonderfully sharp. The screen’s curvature on the left and right also gives the impression that there is no screen edge at all. Very chic!

However, the Honor 50 does not only convince with static pictures. On top of that, it offers buttery-smooth moving pictures. The reason for this is the maximum refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. In order to conserve the battery, the Honor 50 can adjust this to the current use if desired. For example, when the display is in a standard application, the Hertz number is usually 60 Hz. It then jumps to a smooth 120 Hz during gaming or scrolling. We have already come to know and love this in the Nova 9.

In the settings, you can either regulate the refresh rate individually or specify a dynamic adjustment of the Honor 50.

Furthermore, the screen scored with a high brightness of up to 734 cd/m² in the test. Thus, content could be recognized without problems even in bright sunlight. When talking about the display of the Honor 50, the fingerprint sensor should not be left out. Those who hold the smartphone in their hands for the first time might look for it in vain. It is hidden in the lower third of the screen. It always delivered fast and reliable results in the test.

Strong processor with 5G

The Honor 50 does not break a sweat that easily. Thanks to the powerful Snapdragon 778G from Qualcomm, it is just as well equipped for conventional web browsing as for extensive gaming sessions. The smartphone did not achieve any groundbreaking results in our benchmark tests, but it made clear that it definitely has more than enough performance in the upper mid-range. We compared the test results of the Honor 50 with those of Huawei’s Nova 9 to illustrate the latter’s inferiority or superiority.

We started with the 3D Mark Slingshot. The Honor 50 achieved a score of 6,345 points. It is already clear here how equal the Nova 9 and Honor 50 are. After all, Huawei’s smartphone, which is also equipped with a Snapdragon 778G, achieved an almost identical score of 6,449 points. We then tightened the reins a bit and ran the 3DMark for Android Wildlife benchmark. Again, both devices performed about the same. While the Honor 50 scored 2,501 points, the Nova 9 got no less good 2,499 points from its hardware.

Our last discipline was Geekbench 5, where the results are divided into single-core and multi-core. The Honor 50 achieved 789 points (single-core) and 2,784 points (multi-core). Here, the Nova 9 with 795 points (single-core) and 3,001 points (multi-core), respectively, was able to outperform Honor a bit. Neither device compares very well with the competition from the Far East. Xiaomi in particular can show much better results with its 11T. Nevertheless, it remains to be said that we did not have any performance problems in the test.

Google Services and 5G as decisive advantages

If you compare the hardware of the Honor 50 directly with the visually very similar Nova 9, you cannot leave out the topic of 5G. Since Huawei is simply not allowed to equip its smartphone with the latest mobile standard in our region, Honor can install this hardware. That is a gigantic advantage.

Google Services represent a decisive advantage over the Huawei Nova 9

Away from that, Google Services should not be disregarded. After all, the Google Play Store only provides the games and apps that really challenge the Snapdragon 778G. The AppGallery grows and thrives in this respect, but it will still take years until both services are at least on par with each other, if at all.

Camera in dual-ring design

Honor calls the “presentation” of its camera module a “dual ring design” itself. The meaning of the designation is already clear in the first top view. Here, you look at two huge circles, which are made up of a total of four different cameras. The core of the quad camera is the main camera, which has a resolution of 108 megapixels. The purpose of such a high resolution in smartphone cameras is certainly debatable. However, it is certain that normal users will rather use the standard resolution because of the sheer size of photos taken in maximum resolution (about 15 megabytes).

Honor 50 Camera

All in all, the photo quality of the “dual ring camera” can be described as satisfactory to good. Thus, the camera occasionally lacks a bit of color vibrancy and sharpness. This is especially the case when the lighting conditions are rather poor. However, it is always sufficient for photos in between! If you choose the maximum resolution of 108 megapixels, you will have to do without features like the zoom. If you can be satisfied with a lower resolution, a 10x zoom is possible.

Besides the main camera, an ultra-wide-angle lens, a bokeh camera and a macro lens are also used. While the former can capture chic panoramas thanks to its 8 megapixel resolution, the other two cameras, each with 2 megapixels, also did a good job in the test.

Shots in 108 megapixels (maximum resolution) look very good, but they also take up a lot of storage space.

The overall camera package is rounded off by the front-facing camera. This offers a resolution of an astonishing 32 megapixels – anything but typical for a selfie camera. The focus on a powerful front-facing camera is no coincidence. After all, Honor is clearly targeting heavy social media users.

If you take a look at the different video recording features, it quickly becomes clear that the Honor 50 is virtually predestined for videos on Instagram, TikTok & Co. Besides different camera modes like picture-in-picture or dual-view (both cameras are activated), you can also create different profiles here.

Panoramas can also be recorded

Those who want to create a story can switch between the different modes in a flash. In the end, the quality of recorded moving images is really impressive. Those who attach great importance to resolution will get a maximum of 4K at 30 frames per second. Alternatively, buttery-smooth recordings in FullHD with 60 frames per second are possible.

The battery performance

The former Huawei subsidiary has installed a battery with a capacity of 4,300 mAh so that the Honor 50 does not run down too quickly. It is supplied with power via USB-C port when it is empty. Honor also includes a power adapter with a rich power of 66 watts. Unfortunately, a wireless alternative via Qi is not possible.

Honor 50 charger

The high performance is noticeable. After just fifteen minutes, the battery is charged from 0 to 50 percent. If you wait a bit more than an hour, it is completely charged. However, there are two downsides to the battery. It only lasted for one day during normal to heavy use in our test. In the context of permanent use (screen permanently on), it was over after 10 hours.

The different variants

You can choose between two different features of the Honor 50. The entry-level model offers 6 GB of working memory and a flash storage of 128 GB. Alternatively, you can go for the better-equipped model with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of flash storage. Huawei is ahead in terms of price with its Nova 9. The clone of the former parent costs a few Euros less than the Honor 50, but it does not offer Google services and does not feature 5G. If this should play a role for you, you should definitely accept the additional costs.

Summary of the Honor 50 review

Honor has taken wing and was able to separate itself from the old parent company with the Honor 50. Even if you can’t deny that both models have a similar DNA, the Honor 50 still has two strong arguments that make it the better choice. First, there is Android, Google Play Store, and all other Google Services content. Android is still the better choice when you put Huawei’s operating system next to it due to its long existence in the smartphone market. And this will probably remain so for a few more years. However, the Honor 50 with 5G also offers a good reason to prefer it over the Nova 9 in terms of hardware.

Honor 50 back

Apart from that, the Honor 50 leaves a similarly good impression as the Huawei Nova 9. Here, you get a beautiful display with 120 Hz, which can also render demanding games in good performance thanks to the Snapdragon 778G. There is also not much to complain about in terms of camera performance. Of course, it cannot keep up with the flagships from Samsung or Apple, but it will be completely sufficient for average users. All in all, it remains to be said that Honor’s decision to “buy” itself out of Huawei was the right one. After all, it is Huawei’s prohibited features that make it the better choice in a direct comparison.

HONOR 50

Workmanship
Hardware
Multimedia
Performance
Battery
Value for money

87/100

The Honor 50 has become a good upper mid-range smartphone that is at least visually a clone of the Huawei Nova 9. However, with Google Services and 5G, Honor has two aces up its sleeve that definitely make the Honor 50 the better choice.

€ 38.90
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Buy now* reichelt.de
€ 39.90
Versandlager: lagernd, Lieferzeit 1-2 Werktage, 24h Express möglichDornbirn, Graz Nord, Graz Süd, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, Salzburg, St. Pölten, Villach, Wels, Wien 15, Wien 20, Wr. Neustadt, Wörgl, Zentrale Timelkam: lagernd
Buy now* e-tec.at
€ 41.00
Lagernd: Lieferzeit 1-3 Werktage
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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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Den Namen Honor kann man kaum erwähnen, ohne im selben Satz von Huawei zu sprechen. Vor einigen Jahren waren beide Unternehmen noch untrennbar miteinander verbunden. Schließlich handelte es sich beim „ehrenvollen“ Smartphone-Hersteller um ein Tochterunternehmen von Huawei. Mit Geräten wie dem Honor 8 wurde deutlich wie fruchtbar die Zusammenarbeit unter der Schirmherrschaft des gigantischen chinesischen … (Weiterlesen...)

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