Huawei Honor Holly review

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT SIM-free

The Honor Holly doesn't have the best battery life, but this is a good value budget smartphone with lots of storage

Page 1 of 2Huawei Honor Holly review

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,280x720, Rear camera: 8-megapixels, Storage: 16GB, Wireless data: 3G, Size: 142x72x9.4mm, Weight: 156g, Operating system: Android 4.4.2

After the Honor 6 threw out the rulebook for flagship smartphones, the Huawei-owned Honor now hopes its new Holly handset can do the same thing for budget phones. When we first reviewed the phone, the Holly cost £110 SIM-free, putting it right in the middle of our current budget favourites, the £145 2nd Gen Motorola Moto G and its cheaper £90 cousin, the 2014 Moto E.

Now, the Holly's price matches the old Moto E at £90 SIM-free, making it one of the best bargains we've seen this year. Motorola's since launched a new 4G version of the Moto E (the 2nd Gen Moto E 2015), but this is currently £109 SIM-free and has a smaller 4.5in 960x540 resolution display. The Honor Holly, on the other hand, is more of a direct competitor to the Moto G, as it has a larger 5in 1,280x720 resolution display, a generous 16GB of storage and 8-megapixel camera, giving both Motorola handsets a collective run for their money.

Admittedly, the Holly doesn't look half as attractive as either of Motorola's budget handsets. The glossy chassis attracts no end of smeary fingerprints and the removable back panel flexes slightly under pressure. Still, the curved edges make it comfortable to hold and we had no problems using the handset with one hand.

The Holly's dedicated buttons also leave more room for your apps on its 5in 1,280x720 display. As it's the same size as the Moto G's screen, text, icons and images will look equally sharp on both handsets. The Holly's screen is significantly brighter than the Moto G, though, as our colour calibrator measured a peak brightness of 435.01cd/m2 compared to the Moto G's 350.70cd/m2. This made it much easier to read long articles when browsing the web, as the black text stood out much more clearly against the white background. A higher brightness should also help when using the phone outside in bright sunshine, even if that’s rarely an issue here in the UK.

Colour accuracy isn't the Holly's strong point, though, as our colour calibrator showed it was only displaying 80.1% of the sRGB colour gamut. This isn't great, even by budget phone standards, as we'd normally expect a score of at least 90% regardless of price. Instead, nearly all the main primary colour groups fell short of the sRGB gamut boundaries, leaving images looking very yellow and off colour as a result. It makes the Moto G's screen look quite cool by comparison, but the Moto G's 87.2% sRGB gamut coverage was much more evenly spread.

The Holly is powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582 processor and 1GB of RAM, which is the same set of components inside the Prestigio Mulitphone Duo 5550. This is fine for swiping through Huawei's custom Emotion UI skin, which sits on top of Android 4.4 KitKat, but the Moto G's Snapdragon 400 chip felt more responsive overall, producing snappier menu animations and quicker app loading times.

It's also worth noting that Huawei's Emotion UI doesn't have an app tray, so all your app icons spread out across the nine main home screens. This can often make the phone feel a little cluttered on top of its general sluggishness, but at least the respective icons now look a lot cleaner and more modern than previous Emotion interfaces.

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