Honor 70 review: phone that I can’t recommend

“The Honor 70 relies on its most important camera, performance, and reasonable price to standout, but unfortunately it doesn’t impress enough elsewhere to compete with more competent rivals.”


  • Lightweight
  • Fundamental camera is sweet
  • Two-day battery life


  • No wireless charging
  • No water resistance
  • Uncertain software update schedule

The Honor 70 faces a seriously difficult task. It’s a midrange phone that follows the worldwide release of the impressive, high-end Honor Magic4 Pro, and now joins plenty of similar phones available today. Honor has a robust history, but it surely has been away from the limelight over the past couple of years. It really needs the Honor 70 to grab our attention if it’s to compete with its many rivals. Let’s see what it’s got.

Honor 70: design

The Honor 70 looks and feels quite quite a bit just like the Honor 50. It’s principally the identical size and has a not-too-dissimilar design, plus it’s made from glass with a lovely symmetrical curve that tapers to a pointy edge. It’s not all that comfortable to carry for long periods, however the 178-gram weight is basically welcome when many high-end phones are available in at 200 grams or more nowadays. The twin circular camera module protrudes from the back panel quite quite a bit.

The back of the Honor 70, resting on a table.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

While the Honor 70 is a reasonably phone and I just like the design, it’s not exactly new-looking. The Honor 50 received some goodwill attributable to the cool reflective design on the back (and for it being Honor’s return to the worldwide market), but it surely also shared principally the identical design outside of the camera module because the Honor 30 Pro and was even closer to the Huawei Nova 9. Because there’s little deviation from the formula for the Honor 70, it does feel like more of the identical, just in a unique color.

The phone I’ve been using is in Emerald Green (you may as well get it in black or silver). I actually like the best way it glints within the sun, but green appears to be the colour of selection for smartphone makers recently — Samsung’s recent color for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is green, the OnePlus 10T is available in green, as does the Oppo Reno 8 Pro  — and it fails to make the Honor 70 stand out.

The side of the Honor 70, held in a mans hand.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

What you’ve got is a lovely, well-made, lightweight smartphone that’s entirely fantastic, but doesn’t bring attention to itself in any respect. There’s nothing here that makes it appear as if a very recent phone either, just last yr’s phone in a unique color. That’s not great when phones just like the Nothing Phone 1 and aforementioned Reno 8 Pro are on the market.

Honor 70: camera

The Honor 70 is the primary to make use of Sony’s IMX800 54MP most important camera sensor, and it’s joined by a 50MP wide-angle camera, a 2MP depth camera, and a 32MP selfie camera on the front.

The Honor 70's camera module.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Use the most important camera, and also you’ll be very happy with the Honor 70. It has a beautiful tone, a subtle HDR effect in the precise circumstances, a willingness to take detailed up-close photos with natural bokeh, and exquisite colours. I’ve confidently taken photos in all environments, knowing that the unedited image will look good, but in addition that it will probably be taken to the following level with some careful editing. I actually like that in a phone camera.

Unfortunately, the wide-angle camera’s photos are somewhat soft, there’s definite evidence of digital enhancement, and there’s distortion at the sting of images too. The camera only has electronic image stabilization (EIS) and never optical, and there’s no optical zoom either. Selfies have level of detail and decent skin tones, but often blow out the background. Photos taken using Night mode look atmospheric, however the shutter takes three to 4 seconds to take a picture, far longer than most other cameras in the identical conditions.

Honor’s big recent camera feature is named Solo Cut, and it’s an odd picture-in-picture video mode where, when shooting a gaggle of individuals, you may deal with one and show them moving around in a breakout picture. It uses AI to stay focused on the person, even in the event that they leave and re-enter the frame, and each the most important and Solo Cut videos are in 1080p and 30 frames per second (fps). I desired to try it with animals and vehicles, but it surely only recognizes people.

Is it any good? I’m not entirely sure, because although I’ve had the Honor 70 for a little bit of time, I’ve not come across a situation where I’d actually wish to use it. While this will speak to my boring lifestyle, it also speaks to only how area of interest this feature’s appeal is, and that the times I even have thought it may go well, the moment has passed by the point I’ve tried to make it work.

Who’s the star? You select. #HONOR70 Solo Cut Mode puts the main target where you wish it. #IFA2022 #HONORConnectedFuture pic.twitter.com/se2h6RGx0c

— HONOR (@Honorglobal) August 29, 2022

Honor is promoting the feature using a marriage where Solo Cut highlights someone apart from the bride and groom dancing. It’s indicative of a feature on the lookout for a use — if the opposite person was the more interesting subject, wouldn’t you simply film them normally to see their antics full screen anyway?

Smartphones with good most important cameras aren’t rare, and since the Honor 70’s additional cameras are nothing greater than fantastic and Solo Cut is something you might use a couple of times, there’s not that much here to make the phone a must-buy over any of the competition.

Does the rest make the Honor 70 special?

Normally, it’s the design or the camera that makes a smartphone stand out. But recently, the performance, battery, and particularly the charging have been used to provide phones a leg up out there. The Honor 70 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, but as various other phones, including the old Honor 50, also use this chip, it’s not going to win many individuals over.

The Honor 70's charging port.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

A 66W fast charger is included within the box, and Honor says it takes the 4,800mAh cell from zero to 100% in 45 minutes. It does indeed meet this goal, and it’s fast, but not the fastest you may get. You don’t must spend that way more on a phone that can fully charge in half-hour. While I don’t think an additional quarter-hour away from the charger will make that much difference to on a regular basis use, it’s yet another “average” feature on the Honor 70’s spec list. The shortage of wireless charging hurts it more, as several rivals have this feature.

I played Asphalt 9: Legends and the Snapdragon 778G performs very well, and for casual gaming for brief periods of time, the Honor 70 is sweet. The lightweight design means it’s not cumbersome, and the screen is vivid and colourful. The only speaker is a letdown and stops the phone from excelling at gaming or video watching. Play for half-hour, and also you’ll only lose about 7% from the battery, and overall it is going to last for 2 days of use before a recharge.

The software is Android 12 with MagicUI 6.1 installed, and although Honor has said MagicOS 7.0 is coming before the tip of the yr, it hasn’t said when (or if) the Honor 70 will receive the update. In order that doesn’t make the phone interesting either. The software has been reliable when it comes to notifications and app use, there’s an easy-to-use multitasking mode, the design is uniform, and it looks great on the 120Hz refresh rate screen. I could do without all of the pre-installed apps, though, but this isn’t recent for Honor.

Honor 70: price and availability

You possibly can pre-order the Honor 70 within the U.K. and Europe now, and it’s 480 British kilos (about $570) for the 8GB/128GB model or 530 kilos (about $625) for the 8GB/256GB version. Honor doesn’t sell its smartphones within the U.S., however the Honor 70 might be imported should you really wanted one.

The Honor 70 is a tough sell

There’s nothing improper with the Honor 70 in any respect, but I actually can’t discover a reason to recommend it over another similarly priced phone. It’s even quite difficult to recommend it over the currently less expensive Honor 50 should you really should have an Honor phone. The saturated smartphone market makes it hard for brands to do something different, however the Honor 70 is the corporate on autopilot.

It doesn’t do anything particularly badly, but it surely doesn’t make much of an effort to essentially compete either, with missing wireless charging and water resistance being particularly unlucky omissions, and subsequently it becomes unremarkable.

The Honor 70 on a table showing the screen.Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

In the event you’ve got 500 kilos or around $600 to spend on a recent phone, the selection is big. We’d recommend the Google Pixel 6, to attend to see the Google Pixel 7, or to spend less and get the Google Pixel 6a. The Samsung Galaxy A53 5G is an amazing buy, I recently liked the Oppo Reno 8 Pro, the OnePlus Nord 2T and the Realme GT Neo 3T are well priced, and the Nothing Phone 1 is completely different from the rest on the market in the meanwhile. Shop around or trade in a phone with Samsung directly, and the Galaxy S22 even becomes an option too.

Once I swap my SIM card from the Honor 70 into one other phone, I don’t think I’ll remember the Honor 70, and that’s probably the harshest criticism of any current device.

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