Honor 70 review
By Yvonne
2022-10-14

If you want a premium-feeling phone on a budget, the Honor 70 is a tempting choice, with a good camera and attractive design.

Honor 70 is a beautiful phone that offers good specifications for its price. It feels premium in many ways, especially in terms of the processor, camera and design. Although its design is controversial, the major drawbacks of the Honor 70 - such as the absence of wireless charging and a telephoto lens - are not something you would expect from a midrange phone.

The pros

  • +

    Eye-catching design

  • +

    Screens that look good

  • +

    Rapid charging

Related Reading: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review

Cons

  • -

    The decal can be divisive

  • -

    No zoom camera

  • -

    No headphone jack

Related Reading: Sony Xperia 10 IV review

Review in two minutes

This Honor 70 review should start with a simple truth: It was difficult to fill out its "cons" list. TechRadar requires us to list three, and it was difficult to come up with just one.

The Honor 70 may not be perfect but it is a great value for money. It could have wireless charging and a telephoto lens. Yes, it could, but that's not what you would expect at this price.

The Honor 70 is an affordable mid-range smartphone that feels more like a flagship than many other phones this price. The premium quality of the Honor 70, whether it is deserved or not, can only make you feel more connected to this phone.

It has a striking design with both a reflective pattern in the back and a sparkling effect on its face. This might seem a bit gauche to some, especially those who prefer their black phone without much style. However, the number of compliments we received during testing was hard not to notice.

The display is curved at the edges, which you don't often see on non-premium smartphones. This adds a premium touch to the phone and makes it more comfortable in your hand.

It's just as beautiful as its design. The phone's screen is bright and bold. You'll love it for watching TV and playing video games.

Honor 70

The device's remarkable battery life is also something we want to emphasize. This is actually what makes the Honor 70 a mid-range smartphone. We're used to expensive phones that have poor battery life. We are happy that the Honor 70 can last for a full day.

One thing we must mention is that while some might consider the Honor 70 an elephant in a room, it's not. The Honor 70 isn't much different than its predecessor, but it doesn't look too different on paper. What happened to the 60, you ask? No idea.)

While the new phone has a different chipset than the one that came with the old model, the main camera of the 70 is more powerful than the 50's. The charging speed, resolution, and front camera on the two phones are identical.

The specs don't do justice to user experience. Honor 70 is a significant step forward in every department. It has better cameras and feels quicker than its predecessor.

The new Honor 70 phone is more expensive and features a similar specs to the Honor 50. But, we believe that it's a worthwhile upgrade and makes the phone more appealing than the mid-range market that feels stagnant in 2022. This phone is one of the top Android smartphones this year.

Price and Release Date for Honor 70

Honor 70

The Honor 70 costs £479 in the UK, which is a slight increase from the £449 starting price of the Honor 50. This is for 8GB RAM with 128GB storage. However, the Honor 50's predecessor was 6GB RAM so it may not be unreasonable to increase the cost.

The starting price is $570, or AU$810 but Honor has not confirmed if it will be available in these regions. It seems unlikely that Honor will sell the phone in the US.

There's also a version for £529, which gets you 256GB storage instead of 128GB, and that's the exact same price as the Honor 50's 256GB storage option.

Although the phone was officially launched in September at IFA 2022, it was also announced in China in August. It was then put on sale just days prior to Honor's IFA event.

  • Value score: 4.5/5

Honor 70 design

Honor 70

Honor 70 is an attractive phone that feels premium both in appearance and use. This comes as a welcome relief after a year of expensive phones not feeling very premium.

It is easily the most striking aspect of the phone. While we are concerned it will cause division, all who tested the device were impressed by its design. It has both a shiny, glittery back with a diamond-like appearance . Both elements are designed to draw attention.

Although the design is not very well represented in photos, we think it looks great in person. We tested the silver model of the phone, and we are unable to comment on their appearance in person.

Camera bumps are two circular knolls which protrude quite far from the rear of the handset and break up the back. The handset won't sit perfectly flat on any surface without a slight wobble when you touch it.

Honor 70

We love the curving-edge design of this phone, but it may be controversial. The handset feels comfortable in your hand thanks to this design, once a staple of high-end phones but now fading in popularity. It also makes it more likely that the handset will be broken by a fall, while some of the curved-edge screen are more prone to being accidentally touched.

Honor 70 was comfortable and easy to hold. Its light weight of 178g is also a plus.

There is a USB-C connector on the handset, along with a power and volume button at right edges. Both are easily reachable one-handed. The fingerprint scanner embedded within the display means that there is no 3.5mm headset jack. It worked flawlessly in our tests, was easy to access and unlocked the phone reliably when we touched it.

  • Design Score: 4/5

Display Honor 70

Honor 70

Honor 70's display is slightly larger than the one it replaced last year, measuring 6.67 inches versus 6.57 inches.

It's a curving-edge screen with a punch-hole cut out for the camera in the middle-top. It has very thin bezels.

This screen is 1080x2400 or FHD+. It's the same resolution as most smartphones currently on the market. Another feature that has become a standard is the 120Hz refresh rate. This means the image is refreshed 120 times per second.

The screen looks great, and has good contrast. The device is great for streaming video, browsing Instagram or playing games.

  • Score: 4/5

Honor 70 cameras

Honor 70

The IMX800 is a brand new Sony camera sensor that will be a selling point on this mid-range smartphone. The Honor 70's main camera uses this 54MP sensor.

This sensor's advantage is its size. It lets more light into the camera, which leads to brighter, more vibrant photos. Honor's AI processing is also helpful in this regard.

The photos taken with the Honor 70 are excellent - it is a noticeable improvement on the 108MP snapper that was used by the Honor 50. These photos are bright and bold, even in dimly lit conditions.

Sometimes, it seems like the AI engine is working toohard in order to saturation images. As you can see from the sample camera shots below. This was not always obvious - but that's exactly what Instagram needs.

The main camera also has a 50MP F/2.2 ultra-wide camera that doubles up as a macro lens. Honor wisely dropped the 2MP extra one it had last year.

The pictures taken with this camera are not as good as the main one. They look noticeably darker and more muted. Although snaps can be great, we recommend using the main camera whenever possible. The pictures that are taken with it look amazing.

Honor 70

The third camera is a 2MP depth sensor, which doesn't add that much. Honor was able to remove one of the appendages but didn't realize it would lose the other.

The lack of an optical zoom is a consequence of not having a telephoto lens. This is both disappointing and indicative of the high price. Although you can zoom optically up to 10x with this lens, images taken within that range tend to be grainy.

Honor has many additional camera modes that will allow you to be more versatile. You can adjust the focus manually by using Aperture.

The 32MP main camera is located at the front. It appears to be unchanged since last year's smartphone. The pictures look great, the images are sharp, and the AI optimize balances colors. However, we found one issue: background lighting distorted our photos more than usual. You can adjust this by tapping the light. However, it is difficult to do for all photos.

The handset can record video at 4K with the rear camera, 1080p with the front, and a variety of modes such as Multi-Video which records from multiple cameras simultaneously, or the Solo Cut.

Solo Cut was created for Vloggers. It allows you to focus only on one person within a group and the phone will automatically track that individual. We can't think of any use for this, but it is there.

  • Camera score: 4/5

Performance and specifications for Honor 70

Honor 70 uses the Snapdragon 788G Plus processor - this is a slightly upgraded version of the Snapdragon 50 and a chipet that we have seen in many mid-range smartphones.

It's a mid-range chipet, but it is one of the fastest processors available without having to spend a lot on a high-end phone. The 700-series chipsets were flawless, as was our experience with them.

The phone was easy to use for navigation and didn't have any crashes or stutters. The phone was responsive and reliable when playing intense games. There wasn't any noticeable lags or glitches. These phones work perfectly and are worth the price of a high-end smartphone.

Honor 70

It comes with either 8GB RAM or 128GB, but we think most people will prefer the latter.

You can use it as a 5G smartphone if your area supports these networks (and you have such a contract).

  • Score: 4/5

Software Honor 70

Honor phones include Google apps, unlike its parent-company Huawei. Honor phones used to be banned for a time, but you now have access to the Play Store and Maps as well as Gmail.

This phone is running Android 12 with Honor's MagicUI applied over it - this is mostly a graphical modification with a bright, but perhaps babyish, appearance. There are also some design tweaks.

Honor's software is a bit restrictive considering how keen some companies are on bringing new features and improvements to Android forks. It's not bad though, MagicUI isn't as standout as Samsung's OneUI and Xiaomi's MIUI.

However, it's not surprising if an Android smartphone has been used in the past.

  • Software Score: 3.5/5

Battery life for Honor 70

Honor 70

Honor added a large battery capacity increase to the phone. This is in addition to any screen-size, processor or other features that may be requiring battery power.

4.800mAh is the new power pack. This is quite a large size for a phone. It will last at least a day in most cases.

Given that this phone is meant for daily usage, it is likely to have a bit more demands than others. However, the handset was able to make it through the day, even though it sometimes didn't have enough charge at the end. This is not a 2-day phone.

It charges at a speed of 66W. This is fast enough to not cause battery damage but it is still quick. As long as the charger you use is compatible (like this in-box), charging will take around 40 minutes.

Wireless charging is not available, but you can expect a lot for this price.

  • Battery Score: 4/5

Card Honor 70

Attributes Notes Rating
Design While the patterened rear could be divisive, the Honor 70 is light and feels great in the hand. 4/5
Display The Honor 70's display specs are what you'd expect for the price, and images look good. 4/5
Performance The Honor's chip is good enough to cover intensive use cases, including gaming and video recording. 4/5
Camera The main camera performs well, though it's a shame that there's no zoom lens here. 4/5
Battery The Honor has a big battery and super-fast charging. 4/5
Software Honor's software isn't the most unique Android skin we've seen, but it's fine. 3.5/5
Value The Honor 70 is priced lower than you'd expect given how premium the user experience is. 4.5/5

Related Reading: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review: The first cheaper foldable phone

It's a good deal if...

Be the centre of attention
The Honor 70's distinctive rear design is eye-catching and makes it stand out. People who love a different phone will be attracted to it.

Are you a fan of social media photography
Although the Honor 70 isn't as good as some of the top camera phones, it can still be used for taking social media-ready photos.

A phone you can hold comfortably
The Honor 70 is light and comfortable to hold thanks to the curved edge design.

It's not worth the risk if you...

Do you like wired audio
The Honor 70 does not have a 3.5mm headset jack. This is unfortunate if you prefer wired headphones.

Have a wireless charging station
You won't have the ability to charge your phone with wireless chargers if you don't already have them. So you may want to look at a different model.

It doesn't look right
We mentioned that the Honor could be divisive on design grounds. You are free to disregard the Honor if it seems garish.

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