Look past all the weird marketing talk about empowering consumers to “share their vibe,” and you’ve got a solid flagship workhorse for less than £500 — packing specs that beat what we’ve seen leaked about the phone (2).
Let’s go through three of these reasons.
Feeling snap happy?
Let’s start with the obvious. This is the first sub-£500 phone I’ve seen that packs a 200MP camera and I'm not talking about your typical faux high-spec, high-resolution budget implementation either. This 1/1.4-inch sensor with f/1.9 aperture and 16-in-1 pixel binning capabilities is the real deal (on paper at least). The Honor's sensor seemingly has everything it takes to capture crispy shots with plenty of color and a high dynamic range — even in challenging lighting conditions.
Alongside this, you’ll find a 12MP ultrawide with f/2.2 aperture, a 2MP Depth Camera for gauging distance accurately, and a 50MP selfie snapper with an f/2.4 aperture. It should come as no surprise when I say I’m most excited about that main shooter and the front-facing camera. The high fidelity should make these very interesting to play with (provided Honor hasn’t tried any AI face-smoothing trickery).
Compare this to leaked Nothing phone (2) info so far and you start to see how close these two are competing. According to Kamila Wojciechowska, the phone (2) is staying the course with its more balanced camera setup — a 50MP main (with an upgraded Sony IMX890 sensor), a 50MP ultrawide with the same Samsung JN1 sensor as the phone (1), and a 32MP front-facing camera.
camera specs:prime Sony IMX890 50MP w/ ois and in-sensor zoom, same sensor as OnePlus 11uw Samsung JN1 w/ eis, unchanged from Phone (1)front Sony IMX615 32MP w/ eisrevamped processing too, from the looks of itJuly 5, 2023
Of course, some of this will come down to testing, and you can look forward to that sooner rather than later.
Pipping Nothing to the post
Looking at the rest of the specs, we see Honor continuing its fight with Nothing across both its display and battery technology.
The 90 comes packed with a 6.7-inch, 1200 x 2664-pixel, AMOLED panel running at a smooth 120Hz refresh rate with a 1600-nit peak brightness and a claimed 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. In fact, this panel is so good that its received the highest DXOMARK display ranking in its premium mid-range category (an impressive 140).
As for power, you’re getting a fairly standard 5,000 mAh battery with the capability of 66W fast charging.
Going back to that Nothing phone (2) leak, we’re seeing claims of a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 1080 x 2412-pixel resolution and a variable refresh rate that goes up to 120Hz. Pair that with the smaller 4,700 mAh battery and you can start to see how Honor is ever so slightly edging ahead in the spec race.
Keeping it cost effective
Of course, as you’d expect from any Honor phone, value for money is kept integral to the whole package. The 90 is due to launch on July 16 for the following prices:
- 8GB RAM / 256GB storage: £449
- 12GB RAM / 512GB storage: £499
There are special offers to consider too. For example, if you pre-order from Amazon, Very, or Currys between July 7-18 you can get an Honor Pad X8 for free. However, let’s put all that to one side because without throwing freebies at us, this is still a pretty damn good price for what you get.
We can’t compare this to the Nothing phone (2) right now, as we don’t have any official pricing information. Though, a recent leak suggests that pricing will start from €729 (roughly £622), which was seemingly corroborated on Twitter by an annoyed Carl Pei.
Who leaked this? 😡 https://t.co/ww15dFzCMgJune 22, 2023
That would make the Nothing phone (2) nearly £200 more than the Honor 90, which could make this a tough sell. This isn't to say that some people won't gravitate towards the design-led experience of Nothing. But, for spec chasers, a tech list that is outstripped by the 90 (except for the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset and 12MP ultrawide camera) available at a far lower cost will be a hard pill to swallow.
That’s a lot of phone for less than £500. The Honor 90 looks set to be a blockbuster bargain buy for the summer, which could spoil Nothing’s big flagship party over in Europe at least, as there's no official availability of the 90 in the US.
Could the company do it? It's possible, but it’s going to be an uphill battle all the way if Honor wants to overthrow the Carl Pei hype machine and his company’s unmatched perspective on design (seriously, we love the brand’s literal transparency).
However, at a time when we are all balancing the budget, getting something that is prettier, more expensive, and has some reduced specs won’t be viewed as getting the most for your money.
Time will tell, as we'll wait for the phone (2) launch event next week before making any official declarations.
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