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Honor 70 review: Right phone, wrong price

70, but going to 100?

Honor 70
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The Honor 70 is a strong, sleek slab with a good UI, decent cameras and strong mid-range performance. But its higher-than-expected price tag makes it hard to recommend.

Pros

  • +

    Gorgeous AMOLED screen

  • +

    Good camera system

  • +

    Sleek and stylish

Cons

  • -

    No headphone jack

  • -

    Curved display prone to accidental taps

  • -

    No wireless charging

  • -

    Pricey at £479

The Honor 70 has just been announced, and it looks set to make good on some key features the company needed to improve from its previous phones.

With a beefed up camera system, a larger battery, some welcome tweaks to the UI, and decent mid-range specs, Honor is keen to deliver mainstream phone users an attractive package.

But with a steeper price tag than anyone anticipated, the question of whether this is a worthwhile get just became a tricky one to answer.

Honor 70 pricing

The Honor 70 is available in two configurations. The 8GB + 128GB model comes in at £479, and the top tier 8GB + 256GB variant is £529. That is priced a little above the Nothing phone (1) with similar specs.

Sorry America – this phone will not be available in your territory outside of international orders.

Honor 70 design

The Honor 70 is familiar and sleek. The metallic finish on the back provides a unique personality, along with the solid, premium feel of the aluminum bumper around the edge of this glass/metal sandwich. All in all, it’s quite the looker that comes with a free case in the box for those who are prone to being a little clumsy.

Honor 70

(Image credit: Future)

Breaking down the specifics, at 6.3 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches and 6.3 ounces, the Honor 70 is a compact size for a phone with a 6.67-inch display. In fact, it comes in a shade thinner and lighter than the Nothing phone (1) (6.3 x 3 x 0.3 inches, 6.8 ounces) despite the latter sporting a smaller 6.55-inch display.

The curved glass and aluminum construction feels good to the touch and slots into your hand’s natural grip with ease. Fair warning, though, the nice frosted green finish does pick up fingerprints easily.

Honor 70 display

Honor 70

(Image credit: Future)

Turn it on and the 6.67-inch OLED display comes to life with explosive color and contrast, thanks to the HRD10+ certification and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. Images are also kept buttery smooth, thanks to the 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. 

The end result is a gorgeous color-accurate screen that is a joy to watch and use. Turning to one of my favorite display testing videos, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it really shows off the HDR and contrast ratio, as spells glow off the screen with luminosity and every scene has an impressive depth to it.

Would I have preferred a flat display rather than the curved edges? Sure. While touch responsiveness is lightning fast, you can fall victim to unintended touches down the sides, but that doesn’t impact the gorgeous visual feast your eyes will dine upon.

Honor 70 audio

The lack of a headphone jack is disappointing, but not surprising. However, Honor makes up for it with surprisingly strong stereo speakers that deliver a nice, balanced sound.

Four Year Strong’s cover of “Bittersweet Symphony” sounds awesome, with subtle details in the quiet parts being highlighted nicely, while handling the onslaught of the thrashing loud chorus sections without distortion.

Honor 70 performance

The Honor 70 is packing some mid-range heat with the Snapdragon 778G Plus chipset and 8GB of RAM, identical to the Nothing phone (1), which may give you a hint to how this phone may be priced.. 

When put to the test in Geekbench 5, the Honor 70 hit a multi-core score of 2,895, which is just pipped to the post by Nothing’s phone (3,000), but naturally falls behind the iPhone 13 (A15 Bionic, 4,436).

As for graphics, Honor touts a GPU Turbo X for improving gaming performance, which it certainly did in Call of Duty: Mobile, providing a smooth framerate during my gaming. in However, in 3DMark’s WildLife test, the 70 delivered an average frame rate of 15.9 fps — falling just behind the Nothing phone (1) (17.2 fps).

Of course, these numbers only tell half the story. In real-world use, I rarely came across any moments of stuttering in my day-to-day usage. You can stress it with more CPU-intensive tasks and see some slowdown in the likes of Adobe’s Photoshop mobile or multitasking across loads of apps. But for the essentials like social media, email and gaming, you won’t see any hiccups.

Honor 70 battery Life & Charging

With a 4,800mAh battery inside, the Honor 70 has a decent amount of stamina. On a typical day of usage, which for me includes a few hours of web browsing, listening to podcasts and Spotify all day, plenty of social media use, photography, gaming, and watching YouTube videos in the evening, it ran from 8am to 10pm with 20% of battery left.

In the moments where you do need extra juice fast, the 66W SuperCharge technology means you can go from flat to just over 55% in about 20 minutes, then back up to full in roughly 40 minutes total. Though, the package could have been sweetened with wireless charging.

Honor 70 cameras

Honor 70

(Image credit: Future)

Cameras have always been a little hit-or-miss on Honor phones, but the 70 manages to defy these expectations with solid, color-accurate photography with a nice, crisp detail and impressive bokeh.

Let’s get technical for a second. Round back, you’ll find a 54MP Sony IMX800 main camera with an f/1.9 aperture, a 50MP ultra wide and macro snapper with f/2.2 and a 2MP depth sensor. Meanwhile, up front, there’s a 32MP selfie shooter.

What this all translates into is a solid all-rounder for capturing moments. Finer details are picked out in the 4-in-1 pixel-binned shots and the light is nicely balanced to give satisfying results across both the main and ultra wide in most conditions. Particular props to the shallow depth of field on the main sensor, which gives you  surprisingly strong bokeh.

Plus, the AI-driven photography capabilities give you plenty of goodies such as a strong portrait mode that works hard to brighten subjects, even in low light. As for selfies, the 32MP sensor gives this added clarity and definition, but make sure you keep that AI beautification turned off, as it tried to scrub off half my facial hair and looked really weird!

If you push it beyond its capabilities, the Honor 70 does stumble — digital zoom produces some really mushy shots and the more trying night-time photography creates a noticeable amount of ISO noise and a blur around any subjects.

But for most users’ needs, it’s more than good enough for day-to-day snaps with its own particular style that falls in between the iPhone 13 and Google Pixel 6 in terms of vividness and contrast.

Honor 70 Magic UI 6.1

Honor 70

(Image credit: Future)

Honor’s Magic UI 6.1 on top of Android 12 brings some pre-installed apps that take a few minutes to uninstall, but the overall experience is clean and convenient. 

AI-supported YOYO suggestions feature recommends apps based on user scenarios, which helped me optimize my workflow in certain key areas on the phone. Alongside this, the UI takes advantage of the giant display with multi-window multi-tasking, which runs apps smoothly side by side.

There is also a nice file management system, where you can quickly access documents, videos and more in one place. Similar to the iPhone’s Files app, but all the more useful as it gives you access to everything across your phone.

And let’s not forget the customization on offer here — giving you the chance to change the grid density of the home screen, choose from a decent amount of pre-made widgets and make the phone your own.

As for software commitments, we don’t know how many Android and security updates the Honor 70 will receive. We will update this section once we know!

Outlook

All-in-all, the Honor 70 is a strong, sleek slab with a good UI, decent cameras and admirable mid-range performance. But there's a big problem here.

There are some omissions, which I initially chalked up to cost cutting. The lack of wireless charging and the mid-range internals that reduce your use to just below any super intensive tasks.

But at £80 more than the Nothing phone (1) and many more competitors giving you more for less, it's difficult to recommend the Honor 70.

Jason England
Staff Writer

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.