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Honor 6 smartphone ditches Huawei branding to go it alone

Huawei's flagship Honor 6 smartphone arrives in the UK - but without Huawei branding

If you thought you knew every major smartphone manufacturer, think again – a new brand has just emerged, bringing with it a high-powered handset that looks like exceptional value. Honor announced its intentions at a press event in Berlin last night, revealing the Honor 6 as a 5in smartphone with flagship specifications but a very reasonable price. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find a more recognisable brand pulling the strings.

Honor is actually a sub-brand of Chinese manufacturer Huawei, and the Honor 6 is a rebranded version of the parent company’s flagship Honor 6 handset which never made it to the UK. That is set to change tomorrow, when the Honor 6 goes on sale, exclusively online and from Amazon. The Huawei branding is gone in favour of an Honor logo, but the handset is otherwise unchanged.

That’s not a bad thing, though; the Honor 6 is a 5in handset with a Full HD, 445 pixels per inch (PPI) display, finished with an anti-fingerprint coating in a slim chassis made from composite materials. A 3D, diamond-effect texture on the back should help the handset stand out, especially when sat next to Sony’s visually similar Xperia Z3.

Inside, a Huawei-developed octa-core Kirin920 chipset provides the power. Built with ARM’s big.LITTLE rchitecture, four A15 CPU cores provide performance while four A7 CPUs should help keep power consumption to a minimum when sat unused in a pocket. It’s paired with 3GB of RAM, a Cat6 LTE modem for super-fast 4G and a massive 3,100mAh battery, which Honor says should last over 24 hours even with heavy usage. 16GB of storage is included as standard, but microSD card support will let you add up to 64GB of extra space.

There’s also a 13-megapixel camera on the back of the phone, which uses Sony’s Exmor RS camera tech, an F/2.0 aperture and 0.6 second fast capture shutter. A dual-LED flash should help it take clear photos in low light, while hardware HDR support should help correctly expose skies and bright light. A 5-megapixel front-facing camera has an 88-degree field of view, which Honor says will take ‘panoramic selfies’.

Despite using the Honor name, there’s no escaping the Huawei influence, as the Honor 6 will arrive with the latest version of the Emotion UI custom Android interface. EMUI2.3 apparently includes over 650 improvements over the previous version, but still runs on Android 4.4 KitKat – we’d prefer the stock Android experience, as the Emotion UI tries far too hard to mimic Apple’s iOS and ignores many of the features that make Android such a great platform.

While the rebranding is clearly an attempt to distance Honor from the Huawei name, it’s unclear if that’s because the original brand doesn’t carry much gravitas with customers in Europe, or because of its connotations with the Chinese government. Accusations of secret spying technology have dogged Huawei for years, ever since it expanded out of China and into other markets.

Whatever the reason, the Honor 6 looks like excellent value for a flagship smartphone. It will be going on sale from this morning onwards for £249.99 SIM-free and unlocked, in a choice of black or white colours. We’re hoping to get a closer look at the phone soon, in order to bring you some first impressions.

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