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Honor 70 review: A particularly classy mid-ranger

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £480
inc VAT

Want an extra dose of flagship class with your mid-range phone? The Honor 70 might just have you covered


  • Elegant design
  • Strong battery life
  • Fast charging


  • No OIS and mediocre low–light shots
  • Feels expensive
  • No stereo speakers

Save £50 on the Honor 70

An Amazon sale sees the price of the Honor 70 notably reduced. Dropping from its standard price of £480, the phone is currently available for just £430. Already flying high for a mid-range phone, this stark reduction has this already great value phone looking even better.

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After striking out on its own with last year’s Honor 50, Honor is back with another classy mid-range smartphone. The Honor 70 follows a similar template to its predecessor, providing Huawei-like suave design, without the software restrictions, at a mid-range price point.

While this approach is remarkably similar in many ways, Honor has learned a few new tricks over the past 12 months, chiefly in the form of a unique camera system and a larger battery.

These are shark-filled waters, however. With an incredibly strong class of rivals priced at less than £400, the Honor 70 has its work cut out proving that £480 is still good value for what you’re getting.

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Honor 70 review: What you need to know

The Honor 70 is an atypically elegant mid-ranger that offers a very good impression of an out-and-out flagship. Its slim, curvaceous design might just remind you of phones selling for double the money.

Most noteworthy on the spec front is the Honor 70’s new camera system, which is the first on the market to use the 54MP Sony IMX800 wide sensor. Together with some interesting video features, it’s another phone that promises big on the photography front for a less than premium price.

Combine that with solid Snapdragon 778G Plus performance, a 6.67in FHD+ 120Hz OLED display and speedy 66W charging, and you have another compelling smartphone option for less than £500.

READ NEXT: Do more with your budget with the best mid-range smartphones

Honor 70 review: Price and competition

The Honor 70 only comes in a single variant here in the UK, which gives you 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. This model will set you back £480.

There aren’t many phones that retail for that price, meaning it’s difficult to make direct comparisons. The closest competition is the current class of overachieving mid-rangers, which counts among its number the OnePlus Nord 2T (£319), the Pixel 6a (£384), the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (£399), and the Nothing Phone (1) (£449). 

Head in the more expensive direction, and you won’t encounter much of note until you run into the £600 Pixel 6. At the time of writing, the Pixel 6 is actually going for £474 on Google’s website, with the Pixel 7 not far away, but let’s stick with the launch price for the sake of clarity.

Honor 70 review: Design and key features

While many manufacturers are moving towards flatter displays and sharper corners, the Honor 70 sticks with the premium dual-curved display look of the Honor 50.

This is a lovely phone to hold and behold, with a skinny 7.91mm body, flat metallic top and bottom edges, and a tiny side bezel that contributes to a 90.8% screen-to-body ratio. It’s relatively light, too, at just 178g.

My model comes in an appealing Emerald Green colour, which glints pleasingly as you tilt it towards the light. There are also Midnight Black and Crystal Silver options. The glass back is silky to the touch, but it does tend to wear fingerprints like little greasy badges. The phone also lacks a waterproof IP rating, unlike the Samsung Galaxy A53 5G and the Pixel 6a.

One thing to mention is that, towards the end of my time with the device, I noticed a small crack in one corner on the rear of the phone, despite no droppage having occurred, and no sign of cosmetic damage to the nearby edges to indicate a collision. I wouldn’t like to speculate on the cause of this, suffice to say that while the Honor 70 design is very attractive, you might want to wrap it up in a protective case.

There’s no 3.5mm headphone jack here, though that’s hardly unusual these days. What’s more difficult to defend is the lack of stereo speakers, with the single bottom-mounted speaker granting loud, clear, but ultimately limited sound output.

Honor’s Magic UI 6.1 sits on top of Android 12, but continues to evoke its Huawei EMUI roots. That’s a coded way of saying you’ll find gauche menus and too much bloatware clogging up the home screen when you first switch it on.

Still, the Honor 70’s software feels fast and usable, and ultimately secures a spot in mid-table obscurity when it comes to the custom Android UI league.

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Honor 70 review: Display

Honor has equipped its phone with a 6.67in OLED display, complete with a 2,400 x 1,080 (FHD+) resolution. It’s capable of hitting a speedy 120Hz refresh rate, while a 300Hz touch sampling rate provides a high degree of responsiveness when gaming.

Like the flagship Honor Magic 4 Pro (£791), the Honor 70 also features a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) dimming rate of 1,920Hz, which should minimise eye strain. By comparison, the iPhone 13 Pro only manages 480Hz. Such a thing is hard to appraise in real-world usage, and all I can attest to is the Honor 70 display’s all-round fluidity.

After switching to the more natural Normal screen mode, I found it to be colour-accurate to the tune of a 95.4% gamut coverage and 95.6% gamut volume in the sRGB space. An average Delta E rating of 1.4 is decent, too, if well short of best-in-class.

With auto-brightness switched off, I recorded a maximum measured luminance of 445cd/m². Again, that’s perfectly respectable, if short of the very best.

That dual-curved display does present distracting discolouration where the edges fall away, which isn’t ideal when streaming video content. It’s an inevitable consequence of the design, and something to bear in mind if media playback takes up a lot of your time.

READ NEXT: Our full roundup of the best smartphones you can buy

Honor 70 review: Performance and battery life

Honor hasn’t made a huge leap forward from the Honor 50 when it comes to performance, with the Snapdragon 778G Plus 5G merely adding a few hertz to earn its “Plus” moniker.

Still, this is a perfectly capable mid-range chip, as we discovered with the Nothing Phone (1). Average Geekbench 5 scores of 813 for single-core and 2,935 for multicore put it right in among its mid-range rivals for CPU performance.GPU speeds are similarly competitive, though not the absolute fastest among its class. The gaming experience is decent rather than spectacular, with Genshin Impact remaining playable at Medium settings and 60fps, with a couple of noticeable stutters along the way.

Elsewhere on the specs front, you’ll get 8GB of RAM here in the UK, as well as 128GB of internal storage. That’s pretty standard as mid-range Android phones go.

Honor has equipped its phone with a 4,800mAh battery, which is a big step up from the 4,300mAh cell of the Honor 50. I found the Honor 70’s stamina to be one of its strong suits, capable of getting me through a full day with four-and-a-half to five hours of full 120Hz screen-on time, yet still leaving me with around 50% power.

The Honor 70 lasted 21hrs 37mins in our standard looping video test. That’s right up there in the mid-range phone stamina stakes, sitting above the Nothing Phone (1) and the Pixel 6a, almost drawing level with the mighty Samsung Galaxy A53 5G, and only falling significantly short of the OnePlus Nord 2T.You also get a 66W Honor SuperCharge charger in the box, which will get you from zero to 80% in around 30 minutes, and crack on to 100% within 45 minutes.

Honor 70 review: Cameras

The Honor 70’s camera system is one of the most interesting things about it. It’s essentially a dual camera system led by a 54MP main sensor. That’s not a typo. This is the first outing for the 54MP 1/1.49in Sony IMX800 sensor.

This main sensor captures sharp, bright, well-exposed shots in strong to moderate lighting, with 4-in-1 pixel binning producing a 2.0μm equivalent pixel size. I was genuinely impressed by the detail and natural colour in a series of lunch shots I took, while snaps fired off from a pedalo on a sunny day demonstrated decent HDR chops, balancing out the shady trees and the bright fluffy clouds.I was also impressed by how the Honor 70’s main camera handled a neon-drenched bar at a wedding reception while still capturing a natural street scene through the window.It’s not so hot when the lights drop lower, however. The disappointing lack of OIS undermines the phone’s relatively large image sensor, resulting in slightly fuzzy – if far from disastrous – Night mode images.That main sensor is backed by a 50MP ultrawide, which is also on macro duty. Its ultrawide shots are solid, matching the tone of the main sensor reasonably well, though I noticed some clear instances of purple fringing on the trees towards the edge of the frame.Where that secondary sensor really excels is in macro mode, and it’s here that the extra pixels and the more capable centre-frame are put to good use picking out fine close-up detail. There’s also a 2MP depth sensor, but that’s neither here nor there.The Honor 70’s 32MP selfie camera is capable of capturing some impressive, well-exposed shots in sufficient lighting, with the subject popping from the background in pleasing fashion. Portrait mode effectively ladles on some extra bokeh, should you wish to accentuate that effect.Honor has also added some vlogging-focused video features, with various multi-video functions that combine simultaneous feeds from each of the cameras. Honor’s Person Autofocus Tracking Technology, meanwhile, lets you track a single face in a crowd and it works rather well.

READ NEXT: Our breakdown of the best smartphones cameras available

Honor 70 review: Verdict

The Honor 70 is an elegant, highly capable mid-range smartphone with decent performance, strong battery life and a camera that’s capable of very good things in the right conditions. Its design, while far from original, adds a touch of flagship class, too.

However, it enters a market where the OnePlus Nord 2T (£319), Pixel 6a (£384), Samsung Galaxy A53 5G (£399) and Nothing Phone (1) (£449) are offering similar and often superior features for roughly £80 less. As a result, while the Honor 70 is a good phone, it doesn’t feel like great value.

If you really want that classy, curvaceous flagship design, then the Honor 70 is as good as you’re going to get south of £500. But if all-round camera quality or flat-out performance matter more to you, or you desire features such as proper water-resistance or wireless charging, there are better options for less money.

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