Introduction

High-performance hardware meets low-key design in the Huawei Honor 6, at a price that's frankly hard to beat. In a market segment where budget matters, the Honor 6 is offering some top-of-the-range specs to raise itself above the crowd.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6 official photos

The Honor 6 comes in an understated all-glass body that could have easily carried an Xperia badge. Speaking of, Honor is the only sort of branding and the Huawei logo is nowhere to be seen. Whatever marketing strategies are at play, the company's expertise is undeniable and is surely carried over to the Honor 6.

Just because the Honor 6 isn't readily identifiable though, doesn't mean it's not well built. Actually, if you manage to keep it clean, it's quite a looker.

Yet, its focus is clearly elsewhere. The device is aiming for a top spot on the bang-for-your-buck chart and on paper its outlook is promising. The _phone_ packs a powerful home-brewed Kirin 920 chipset with an octa-core processor, backed up by an ample 3GB of RAM. You get a 5" display which some consider the limit for pocketability, and it's also a FullHD panel, so everything should be tack-sharp.

Imaging is duly covered both back and front. A 13MP main camera with dual-LED flash for the major photography occasions is backed by a 5MP wide angle font-facer for the selfies that just have to be posted and shared. Another solid spec is the battery capacity, where Huawei claims the 3100mAh unit will keep the Honor 6 going for two full days.

Key features

  • 5.0" 1080p display for a crisp 445ppi density
  • HiSilicon Kirin 920 chipset
  • Octa-core processor built on the big.LITTLE architecture with four 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 performance cores and four 1.3GHz power-efficient Cortex-A7's, Mali-T628 MP4 GPU
  • Flagship-grade 3GB of RAM
  • 16/32GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • Extensive connectivity options, including cat. 6 LTE for download speeds up to 300Mbps
  • 13MP main camera with dual-LED flash and 1080p video
  • 5MP front shooter, 720p for video calls
  • 3,100mAh battery capacity
  • FM radio
  • Android 4.4.2 with EmotionUI 2.3
  • Adequate build, at 130g very light for a 5-incher with such battery capacity

Main disadvantages

  • No Lollipop at launch
  • Non-removable battery
  • All-glass body is a fingerprint magnet
  • Basic retail package

The above list points to a rich and balanced package with no major flaws to speak of - except perhaps the OS version but that's mendable. The hardware is well-thought of and promises solid performance, hard to match in a device costing €300/$340. While the battery may not be user-replaceable, its high capacity should offset that shortcoming. And the other disadvantages clearly fall in the "minor niggle" category.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6 in our studio

You could have read most of the above on the specs page though, and that's not why you're here. Join us on the following pages where we put the Honor 6 through our usual test routine.

Headphones missing

The Huawei Honor 6 arrives in an eye-catching cyan box with a shiny Honor logo on top. Below the tray holding the phone, you'll find a thin package containing a user guide and a set of protection films for both the front and the back. Taking that out reveals the powerful 2-amp A/C adapter and a separate USB cable in dedicated compartments. What was sadly omitted, at least in our review unit's bundle, was a headset.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Honor 6 retail package

Huawei Honor 6 360-degree spin

The Honor 6 fits in 139.6 x 69.7 x 7.5mm, pretty much the same footprint as Huawei's latest Ascend P7 flagship, but a whole millimeter thicker. At 130g, it's also marginally heavier than the P7, but the heft of the massive 3100mAh battery had to show up somewhere. That said, the Xiaomi Mi 4 is a similar all-glass 5-incher with a 3080mAh battery and weighs a tangible 19g more.

Design and handling

The average user could easily mistake the Huawei Honor 6 for a Sony Xperia Z-series compact. It's got a shiny glass back, slightly rounded corners and a frame, that appears to be brushed aluminum. It's even got a similar flap covering the SIM and microSD slots.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Honor 6 body and design

However, a more discerning observer will quickly notice Huawei's touch in certain places. For example, the aforementioned surrounding frame (which in fact is made of plastic, but you won't notice from a distance) stops at the bottom of the sides, a design we've seen on the P7 and G6 Ascends. The lone speaker slit on the back also comes straight from the Ascend P7.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Honor 6 and Ascend P7 side by side

The glass panels obviously provide little grip and the outer frame is quite slippery too. That would have been more of an issue on a larger device, where you'd need to let go of one side to be able to move your thumb across. The 5-inch Honor 6 has no such problems and only the extreme top requires some stretching.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Holding the Huawei Honor 6

The smartphone is tightly put together and shows good resistance to bending and twisting. No annoying sounds are produced in the process. You wouldn't call the finish premium, but it is of adequate quality considering the price of the smartphone, so no complaints are to be made here.

The one gripe we have with the design is that the miniscule gap between the frame and the glass panels gets filled with dirt and requires the occasional cleaning.

Controls

The top of the smartphone features the 3.5mm headphone jack, a noise-cancelling mic and the IR blaster. The USB port is centrally placed at the bottom, where it is accompanied by the primary microphone.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Top and bottom of the Honor 6

The right side of the Honor 6 is more densely populated. From top to bottom we have the volume rocker, power button, SIM and microSD slots. Both compartments share a plastic flap. While typically flimsy, it shouldn't be an issue, as it won't see as much action as the USB port, which is left exposed. The left side is entirely vacant.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Right side with power and volume buttons, SIM and microSD slots

The top left corner houses the 13MP camera module with the dual-LED flash alongside. The single speaker is aligned with the lens and is in the bottom left corner. Flipping over to the front you get nothing below the display. The earpiece is above it, joined by the front facing 5MP camera and a barely discernible ambient light/proximity sensor window.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

13MP camera with dual-LED flash • 5MP front snapper

Display

The Huawei Honor 6 comes with a sharp 5-inch display of 1080p resolution. It takes advantage of the in-cell design, eliminating the additional touch-sensitive layer, and the image appears literally projected on the front glass. Viewing angles are great with the inevitable, but only marginal loss of contrast.

Everything remains clearly visible though, and text is legible even at extreme angles. Colors are vivid and accurately reproduced, but if you happen to differ, a color temperature adjustment slider lets you have your say.

Here's how the screen looks under our digital microscope:

Huawei Honor 6

We ran our typical display test, which is described in detail here. The Honor 6 didn't really excel at numbers, posting similar scores to the company's latest flagship, the Ascend P7. At 100% brightness blacks were unpleasantly lit-up, and the good brightness didn't help, resulting in rather low contrast.

In terms of contrast, the competition, in the face of the Xiaomi Mi4, doesn't fare much better though, but is noticeably brighter. Another chief rival, the Lenovo Vibe X2, was overall dimmer at 100%, but with significantly better contrast.

As usual, the 50% setting on the brightness slider actually produces results closer to a quarter of the theoretical maximum. Contrast was better at this setting and on par with the Xiaomi Mi4, but the Vibe X2 pulled ahead again.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Huawei Honor 6 0.13 125 943 0.62 507 812
Lenovo Vibe X2 0.16 188 1196 0.38 447 1188
Xiaomi Mi 4 0.17 164 940 0.73 679 929
Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4 201 404
Huawei Ascend P7 0.13 101 807 0.79 668 843
LG G2 0.1 149 1522 0.45 667 1495
Lenovo S90 Sisley 119 344
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - - - 0.77 725 942
LG Nexus 5 0.31 298 948 0.54 526 967


Sunlight legibility was okay, but not great. The reflective screen is to blame and the average brightness can only do so much.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Oppo R5
    3.678
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Motorola Nexus 6
    3.543
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • LG G Flex2
    3.465
  • YotaPhone 2
    3.453
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 Active
    3.406
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    2.892
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Meizu MX4 Pro
    2.765
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC Desire 820
    2.372
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Oppo N3
    2.181
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2.169
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia C3 Dual
    2.12
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    1.952
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
    1.935
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • ZTE Blade S6
    1.927
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Windows _phone_ 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • Samsung Galaxy Core Prime
    1.507
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Microsoft Lumia 535
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Battery life test

The battery in the Huawei Honor 6 has an ample 3100mAh capacity. The smartphone is more than adequately powered, and Huawei is keen to point out that it will last two days on a single charge.

Our experience proved that to be the case indeed. The combined rating of 67 hours means that if you do an hour of 3G calls, web browsing and video playback per day, the Honor 6 will almost make it to three entire days of usage.

Especially impressive were the results posted in web browsing and video playback, which were almost identical at just shy of 13 hours.

Huawei Honor 6

Our testing procedure includes a standby battery endurance test, which is not shown in the scorecard above, but is a part of the overall rating. You can learn more about our standardized routine here.

It's a good moment to point out that with a charger plugged in the smartphone, the touchscreen starts to misbehave, registering taps on wrong areas of the screen. It did that with both the supplied A/C adapter and third-party chargers. We're uncertain as to what's causing the problem and whether it's a common issue or we had a faulty device.

Connectivity

The Huawei Honor 6 is rich in connectivity options. There are various models for different markets though, and the one we have is the H60-L04 variety.

It comes with quad-band GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz, dual-band 3G in the 900MHz and 2100 MHz bands and LTE 800 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 MHz. LTE Cat.6 is supported for downlink speeds of up to 300Mbps.

Local connectivity is well covered with dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n with DLNA and hotspot support. Bluetooth v4.0 is on board as well, and so is GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS.

NFC support is market/operator dependent, so if it's an important feature to you, you'd be wise to check beforehand.

An infrared blaster is on board, but with no software preinstalled. You'll need to pick a third-party solution, of which there are plenty in the Play Store.

A standard 3.5mm headphone jack will accept your choice of headphones, as none are provided. The microUSB port supports USB OTG for connecting peripherals and external storage.

EmotionUI makes KitKat unrecognizable

Much as expected, the Honor 6 comes with Huawei's heavy overlay on top of Android 4.4.2. The company's customizations run very deep and the experience is pretty far detached from stock KitKat. It's a pleasant interface nonetheless, sporting flat icons with rounded corners for a consistent overall look.

What's most notable and has become the norm for phones originating in certain parts of the world, is the single-level interface with no app drawer. Instead, all apps appear straight on the homescreen. You can obtain a general idea of the Honor's take on Android in the brief video below.

The lockscreen is the usual affair at first glance, with a digital clock and date, as well as a camera shortcut located in the bottom right. It does possess some additional flair though, with two distinct unlock effects and the possibility for alternating wallpapers. A swipe from the bottom opens a drawer of iOS-style shortcuts and weather info.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

iOS-inspired lockscreen

Beyond the lockscreen we find the homescreens, of which you can have up to nine. A pinch gesture shows you a thumbnail view of all of them, where you can add or remove panes and rearrange them, as well as set one as default. They cannot be cycled though, which may end up being an issue if use up all nine of them. You do get a nice set of possible transitions to customize your experience.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Homescreen options

You'll quickly notice that there's no app drawer, with the approach having its pros and cons. While it means you don't need to bother creating shortcuts of your apps, the downside is that you can't hide apps you don't want to be immediately seen. Of course, you can always toss away the unneeded ones in some folder.

Widgets are supported, naturally, and the ones you've downloaded get their own tab.

You get a dock at the bottom, where you can store up to five shortcuts, with folders supported too. Or you can leave it empty, if that's your thing. The phone evenly distributes whatever number of items you choose to have. If your app icons get scattered all over the place, a shake gesture will restore order.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Widget menu • Shake-to-rearrange feature

Three themes are also on board, each one with its distinct look, but you can mix and match elements for an end result that suits your style. A Simple mode is available, with large tiles instead of icons, suitable for inexperienced owners on in-car use.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Themes • Simple mode

The notification area sports a two-tabbed interface with actual notifications on the left, and quick toggles on the right. The shade differentiates finger swipes between the two areas and opens the respective tab. The toggle tab has a two level interface with 15 shortcuts immediately visible, the rest accessed with a tap on the downward arrow. A brightness slider with auto option is also present.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Notification area with toggles

A power saving app is available with three preset power plans and an optimization wizard, which advises you to tweak energy-consuming features such as GPS and touch vibration. You also get an editable list of programs, allowed to run with the screen off.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Power saving options

Huawei likes things neat and tidy and the settings menu features a two-tabbed interface as well, with the most used options grouped on the left, while on the right you can get access to more obscure settings.

The Honor 6 features a task switcher that lets you swipe away unwanted apps, and there's a "Kill all" button that also informs you how much memory you've freed up.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Settings menu • Task switcher

Finally, Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs.

It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows the scores of sports teams you follow and gives you the weather forecast for your location. It's great for at-a-glance info, but can handle voice input as well. It also has a dedicated homescreen/lockscreen widget.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Google Now

Synthetic benchmarks

The Honor 6 shows up well geared for battle. It utilizes an in-house HiSilicon Kirin 920 chipset with an octa-core processor. The processor is based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture and uses four Cortex-A15 and four Cortex-A7 cores capable of working simultaneously. In the Honor 6 the Cortex-A15 cores are clocked at 1.7GHz, while the energy-efficient Cortex-A7 ones tick at 1.3GHz.

A somewhat dated Mali-T628 GPU is in charge of graphics, but should handle the 1080p resolution well enough as it has proven in the Exynos versions of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3. Huawei has been generous with the operating memory and the Honor 6 is equipped with a solid 3 gigs of RAM.

It all adds up to a powerful package on paper and we got down to business to see how that translates in actual performance. The first set of tests, Antutu 5.0, Geekbench 3 and Basemark OS II test the CPU and overall system performance.

In Antutu, the Honor 6 held its own against the current crop of flagships, posting comparable results to the Galaxy S5 with Snapdragon 801 inside and slightly trailing behind the One (M8) and Xperia Z3 compact, the latter with half the pixels.

GeekBench 3 tells a similar story, with the Honor 6 on par with the Galaxy S5, only this time the Sony and HTC flagships show lower numbers. The point we're trying to make is that the Honor 6 is competing with the big boys out there.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    46666
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    46566
  • HTC One (M8)
    44020
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    43164
  • Huawei Honor 6
    42688
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    28758
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    19690

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    3647
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    3175
  • Huawei Honor 6
    3081
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    3011
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2856
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2638
  • LG Nexus 5
    2453
  • HTC One (M8)
    2367
  • LG G2
    2243
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1895
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 S600
    1869
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    1377

The Honor 6 didn't fare as well in Basemark OS II, where its overall score was similar to the LG G2 which sports a Snapdragon 800 and 2 gigs of RAM. The top here is occupied by the stock-Android LG Nexus 5 and the Xiaomi Mi 4, miles ahead of the Huawei offering.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • LG Nexus 5
    1351
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    1324
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    1167
  • HTC One (M8)
    1126
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    1101
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    1082
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    930
  • Huawei Honor 6
    863
  • LG G2
    848
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    513

The CPU-specific parts of the benchmark, however, show that the Honor 6 was a respectable performer in single-core performance and at the top of the chart in multi-core numbers. All this suggests that probably a lack of software optimizations prevents the Honor 6 from shining in the combined score.

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2573
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    2571
  • HTC One (M8)
    2428
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    2415
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2282
  • Huawei Honor 6
    2279
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    1187

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    13999
  • Huawei Honor 6
    13916
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    10063
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    10063
  • HTC One (M8)
    9860
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    9508
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    4208

Time to move on to graphics performance, and this is one area where the Honor 6 disappoints, but mostly due to the high standards it set for itself. The now ageing Mali-T628 is far from the best performers. In Basemark X the Huawei handset posted an unimpressive score and the flagships it beat in the previous chapter are retaliating.

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8)
    12396
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    12080
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    11744
  • LG Nexus 5
    11638
  • LG G2
    11101
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    9399
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    6512
  • Huawei Honor 6
    4868
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    1909

The Honor 6 did somewhat better in GFXBench, but still took quite a beating. In the T-Rex part of the benchmark it posted scores comparable to the Adreno 320 in the Snapdragon 600-equipped Galaxy S4 and the Lenovo Vibe X2. The more intense Manhattan portion is a closer run with the current flagship crowd, but these still posted about 50% better results than the Honor 6.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • HTC One (M8)
    28.4
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    27.8
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    27.6
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    27.4
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    23
  • LG Nexus 5
    23
  • LG G2
    22
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    17.8
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 S600
    17.1
  • Huawei Honor 6
    16
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    12.3
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    5.4

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    41.3
  • HTC One (M8)
    30.1
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    28.2
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    28.1
  • LG Nexus 5
    24
  • LG G2
    23.1
  • Huawei Honor 6
    17
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    17
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    12.4
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    9.3

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    11.8
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    11.8
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    11.6
  • HTC One (M8)
    11.1
  • Huawei Honor 6
    8.1
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    6.1
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    1.8

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    25.4
  • HTC One (M8)
    11.9
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    11.7
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    11.3
  • Huawei Honor 6
    8.7
  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    6.1
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    3.9

Web browsing performance was mostly unimpressive. The figures in Kraken 1.1 were on par with the LG Nexus 5 - good, but not great. In Java-script-intensive BrowserMark 2.1, on the other hand, the scores are mediocre. If it's any consolation, the Xiaomi Mi4 is not a good performer here either. As always, these numbers come from tests with the stock browser, while Google Chrome consistently posted better results, though not by much.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    4747
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    6043
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    6137
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    6480
  • Huawei Honor 6
    6937
  • LG Nexus 5
    7148
  • HTC One (M8)
    10296
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    14488

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Lenovo Vibe X2
    2211
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    1500
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (S801)
    1398
  • LG Nexus 5
    1286
  • Lenovo S90 Sisley
    1076
  • HTC One (M8)
    1069
  • Huawei Honor 6
    745
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    744

To sum it all up, benchmark performance was a mixed bag. The excellent impression left after Antutu and GeekBench was marred by unremarkable scores in the graphics department, and things didn't get much better when it came to web browsing.

That being said, the Honor 6 never got in the way of day-to-day use and the user experience didn't suffer from any lag or hiccups. Tapping the task switcher shows a reading of available RAM and that rarely got below 1GB, regardless of usage. If intensive 3D gaming is not on top of your list of priorities, the Honor 6 will not disappoint.

Standard phonebook

The Huawei Honor 6 phonebook is laid out across three tabs that can be navigated by swipes. An alphabetical list on the right can help you jump to a specific letter or you can just use the search function. Tapping on a contact image brings up a tabbed popup, that'll contain additional tabs if the contact has more information.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The tabbed phonebook

As on most Android launchers, you can assign a plethora of contact information including custom ringtones and images. You can link contacts too, if you've added the same person on multiple services.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

You can add tons of extra contact information

Telephony is excellent

The Huawei Honor 6 held on to signal well and in-call sound was just fine. The proximity sensor makes sure the screen stays off when you hold the phone to your ear.

Picking the phone to your ear while it's ringing automatically answers the call. Oddly, it doesn't work the other way around and flipping the phone on its face while it's ringing doesn't mute the ringing.

The secondary noise cancelling microphone ensures a quieter background for your voice while in call.

The dialer and the call log share the same screen. The dialer offers smart dialing and it works both with names and numbers.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Smart dial works for both names and numbers

We put the Honor 6 through our traditional loudspeaker test and it posted an Average overall score. It's an improvement over the Ascend P7, but still not great. You shouldn't miss any calls though, even if the phone is lying on a table, when its speaker is in an unfavorable position.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Xiaomi Mi 4 62 62.1 66.6 Below Average
Huawei Ascend P7 63.9 66.1 70.9 Below Average
Lenovo Vibe X2 66 67.7 71.8 Average
Huawei Honor 6 65.9 64.6 75.6 Average
Sony Xperia Z2 66.7 64.6 75.7 Average
Lenovo S90 Sisley 66.6 65.9 75.7 Good
HTC One mini 2 69.3 66.6 75.9 Good
Motorola Moto G 81.6 75.7 82.7 Excellent
Meizu MX4 81.3 75.8 83.6 Excellent


Messaging

The messaging section is business as usual with all SMS/MMS communication is organized into threads. Attaching a photo, video, audio recording or the like automatically turns your message into an MMS.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The standard messaging app

The Honor 6 also comes with Hangouts, which is another way to handle texts. The latest update lets Hangouts integrate your SMS and MMS messages in addition to Gtalk and Google+ conversations.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The Hangouts app can also be used for messaging

For email, the Gmail app includes the four inbox options (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates) that Google recently introduced in their online interface. The default Email app is similar to Gmail, except that it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes, which is useful for when you want to keep track of multiple accounts from one place. Huawei have incorporated more elements from the Gmail app than most manufacturers, so it's an excellent alternative if you need to keep connected several email accounts.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The Gmail app • The generic email client has the same functionality but also with a combined inbox

The Honor 6 keyboard features some additional settings thanks to its Swype integration, including themes, split keyboard modes, and keyboard height, but sadly many of them are hidden within the input settings menu rather than as shortcuts from the keyboard like on most interfaces. Still, there is support for gestures as well as integration of Google's voice typing with their downloadable language packs.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei keyboard with Swype integration and themes

The image gallery includes a great editor

The Honor 6's gallery app hasn't seen much change since the Jelly Bean version. As there is no dedicated video player, it's also used to play videos.

Opening a single image lets you quickly delete or rotate it, as well as gives you some basic sharing options (including streaming it over DLNA).

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The Gallery app • Viewing an image gives you simple sharing options

You can also go into a more capable editor, which is one of the most full-featured we've seen. Huawei did a great job including light and exposure adjustments (so you can bring out the detail in the shadows or bring back the highlights), effects, color styles, red eye correction, straightening a photo, sharpening and face glow (which detects faces automatically). You can also write on images, add borders, and even adjust advanced photo manipulation settings like curves for individual color channels.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The image editor is one of the more capable we've seen

When it came to playing videos, the codec support was adequate. On the upside you get DivX, MKV and WMV support, as well as MOV files (a rarity for Android devices), but on the downside video files with AC3 audio played without a sound. Lack of AC3 support is fairly common, though, so the Honor 6 is not alone on this list.

Subtitle support had its issues, as foreign language subtitles showed odd characters, and you couldn't choose from a selection of subtitles to play if you had more than one - it just launched the first subtitle file it came across in the same directory as the movie.

Otherwise, all you really get in terms of options is play/pause and a slider to scrub through the video.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The video player offers good codec support, unimpressive subtitle handling

Music player with Dolby Mobile

The Honor 6 comes with Huawei's custom music player app that debuted on the Ascend P6. It offers four default playlists dedicated to your mood, but you'll have to assign songs to the mood playlists manually. There are also All songs, Playlists, Albums, Artist and Folders views.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Browsing the music library

The Now Playing screen is pretty standard, it offers album art and lyrics, and quick shortcuts to add a particular song to one of your mood playlists. You can toggle Dolby Mobile by tapping the icon on the top right, but there are no additional equalizer presets or custom equalizer settings.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The now playing interface has simple and extended views

Playing a song results in quick controls on the lockscreen and in the notification area.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Music controls on the lockscreen and notification area

FM radio

The Huawei Honor 6 has a built-in FM radio receiver. It can play through the headset or the loudspeaker, but you'll need to have a headset plugged in at all times as it serves as an antenna. And since a headset is not provided in the retail box, you can't actually use the FM radio from the get go.

We were also disappointed as there is no RDS support - you'll have to name your radio stations by hand.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The FM Radio also has a notification area shortcut

Audio quality is good

The Huawei Honor 6 did very well in the active external amplifier part of our audio test. The smartphone delivered spotlessly clean output, scoring excellently all over the chart. Volume levels were only average but that's not too bad for a mid-ranger.

With headphones on, you get some deterioration in stereo quality as well as undetectable to a naked ear intermodulation distortion. Overall it's still a very good performance, and one solidified by the lack of drop in the volume levels.

And here go the results so you can see the details for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Huawei Honor 6 +0.03, -0.04 -92.3 92.1 0.0028 0.0084 -90.3
Huawei Honor 6 (headphones attached) +0.15, -0.05 -92.0 91.8 0.019 0.110 -52.5
ZTE Blade S6 +0.02, -0.07 -93.1 93.1 0.0024 0.0089 -93.1
ZTE Blade S6 (headphones attached) +0.08, -0.02 -92.9 92.7 0.021 0.066 -76.5
Samsung Galaxy A5 +0.02, -0.07 -94.5 91.4 0.0044 0.012 -93.8
Samsung Galaxy A5 (headphones attached) +0.23, -0.11 -92.4 90.4 0.017 0.190 -44.1
Samsung Galaxy A3 +0.02, -0.08 -94.2 91.8 0.0039 0.014 -93.6
Samsung Galaxy A3 (headphones attached) +0.33, -0.02 -92.7 90.9 0.067 0.208 -51.2
HTC One mini 2 +0.02, -0.09 -94.8 93.8 0.010 0.011 -93.5
HTC One mini 2 (headphones attached) +0.08, -0.03 -94.9 93.8 0.028 0.022 -90.1
Motorola Moto G (2014) +0.01, -0.06 -91.6 92.4 0.0089 0.014 -91.7
Motorola Moto G (2014)(headphones attached) +0.02, -0.09 -91.6 92.4 0.011 0.017 -45.7
Apple iPhone 5s +0.02, -0.05 -93.6 93.7 0.0013 0.0068 -90.3
Apple iPhone 5s (headphones attached) +0.12, -0.00 -93.4 93.3 0.0016 0.060 -76.1
Oppo R5 +0.02, -0.08 -93.4 92.5 0.0009 0.398 -93.2
Oppo R5 (headphones attached) +0.66, -0.01 -93.3 92.9 0.011 0.385 -68.6

Huawei Honor 6  frequency response

Huawei Honor 6 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Capable 13MP camera

The Honor 6 comes with a 13MP main camera, which shoots images up to 4,160 x 3,120 pixels in resolution. The lens is flanked by a dual-LED flash.

The app relies on a combined interface for still and video shooting with a bar on each side of the display. On the right a large virtual shutter release button sits in the middle, with a smaller one for video recording above and a shortcut to the gallery below.

The left bar houses the camera settings shortcut, a button that switches between the main and selfie camera, a dedicated flash settings button, and shooting modes menu. The usual modes are on board with panorama, HDR and filter options. An all-focus mode, which takes a sequence of several shots, allows for refocusing post-capture.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Shared camera interface

The camera produces good photos with plenty of detail across the frame. The camera module itself has a high detail resolving power and that, coupled with a noticeable tendency of overshaprening the images, delivers visually sharp photos, which we bet will make most users happy. That's especially true when sharing on social networks where photos never get posted in full resolution.

It's not without its flaws, though, and they're readily visible when the images are viewed at 100% on a computer screen. The combination of the immature noise suppression and oversharpening adds for an unnatural grainy look, especially in areas of uniform color such as the sky.

Color rendition was correct in the controlled environment of our studio, but saturation was somewhat low in real-life scenarios. It's not detrimental to your images and if you prefer a little more punch, there's a saturation slider in the settings. We kept that at the medium setting, naturally.

Metering was mostly accurate, with only a slight tendency to underexpose in bright daylight. If anything, it's beneficial to your images as it preserves data in the highlights. At times we witnessed pronounced differences in exposure of the same scene over a period of a few seconds. It's nowhere near the worse we've seen, and your mileage may vary depending on your subject.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6 camera samples

The Honor 6 camera has a built-in HDR mode and in our experience it worked really well. Processing was conservative and images came out balanced and natural-looking. It brings a definitive improvement in dynamic range, without appearing out-of-this-world.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

HDR mode off/on

The Honor 6 performed well in panorama mode. When held in portrait it produced images about 2,400 pixels high, and a 150-degree rotation produced a 3.4MB image. Exposure was even across the shot and stitching was accurate with no visible artefacts.

Huawei Honor 6

There's no dedicated macro mode, but the camera senses what you're up to, and adjusts accordingly. It was able to lock focus from extremely close distance and its position is such, that lighting your subject shouldn't be an issue. The 5MP selfie unit comes with a wide-angle lens, and when the camera is held at an arms-length, you could easily fit 5-6 people for the ultimate group shot.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Extreme close-up • Mouse selfie from 20cm

Photo quality comparison

There's a lot of 13MP cameras out there, and you can see how the Honor 6 stacks up against them with our handy photo compare tool.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Huawei Honor 6 in our photo compare tool

Decent video recording

The Honor 6 is capable of shooting video up to 1080p at 30fps and lacks more fancy modes as 4K or high frame rate recording. The front camera supports resolution up to 720p, perfectly adequate for video calls. The interface is shared with the still camera and if you have that set up in 4:3 ratio, you'll need to adjust your framing.

Videos are saved in .MP4 format and bitrate came out at 24Mbps. Audio was recorded at a lowly 96kbps.

The resulting videos show a good level of detail and don't suffer from unneeded focus hunting. On the other hand occasional abrupt changes in exposure were exhibited, perhaps triggered by our fast-moving subject matter. Don't take our word for it, though, and check out the sample below.

You can also download an untouched 1080p@30fps video (16s, 49MB) taken straight from the camera.

Video quality comparison

The video camera on the Honor 6 shoots standard 1080p videos, like most current smartphones on the market. Our video compare tool can give you a glimpse of how it compares to other models we've reviewed.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Huawei Honor 6 in our video compare tool

Great web browser experience

The Honor 6 comes with two browsers to handle your web surfing needs. The stock browser offers largely the same functionality as Google's bundled Chrome browser, but we found the latter to be a more capable performer.

Chrome however lets you sign in with your Google account and access open tabs and history from other devices. It has to be noted that the stock browser can't be set to hide the address bar, thus wasting screen estate.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The Stock browser and Google Chrome offer similar functionality

Apps and more

Perhaps the highlight of Huawei's homebrewed apps is the phone Manager. It lets you control all sorts of features from call privacy and Do Not Disturb settings, to phone optimization and app permissions, to network and battery usage. It features a one-touch optimization feature that frees up memory space and gives you settings recommendations for maximum battery performance. It's quite a slick feature that few manufacturers offer.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The phone Manager app houses many important features under one roof

The Honor 6 comes with a copy of Kingsoft Office 5.5, which handles document editing with ease. It supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs (both the 2003 and 2007 versions), it also opens PDF files and it doubles as a file explorer.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Kingsoft Office document editor

You do get a proper file explorer too - it has two tabs that divide your content between categories and a file explorer for internal and external storage. The app also handles ZIP and supports batch operations.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The File Manager

Huawei has included some nifty camera features in the Honor 6, some of which are accessed as individual apps. The Magnifier is especially useful for looking at stuff up close, while the markedly female-targeted Mirror apps lets you get a quick look at yourself, with included brightness adjustments and zoom options.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The Magnifier and Mirror apps offer some additional camera functionality

There are also the standard sound recorder, flashlight, calculator, calendar, clock, and weather apps, among others, that are a given in any self-respecting Android package nowadays. The calculator has a particularly well implemented landscape scientific mode.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Calendar and Calculator apps

When it comes to getting around, the Honor 6 comes with Google Maps and Navigation. The app offers much of the same functionality as its web-based counterpart, although you will need a data connection to take full advantage of the navigation features. Street view mode with the digital compass enabled is an especially cool trick.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Google Maps

The best part of owning a smartphone is getting new apps, and when it comes to Android, Google Play Store is the best source for getting your fill. From recommendations to top apps, it features a plethora of ways you can find new apps, and installing an app usually only takes a couple of taps.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

The Google Play Store

Final words

The Huawei Honor 6 makes a great first impression with a solid spec sheet, packed with all the right ingredients. While the exterior is hardly impressive, a well-performing midrange offering can get away with that. To be fair, the Honor 6 looks simple but by no means cheap.

Huawei Honor 6

The smartphone mostly delivers on the initial promise. Huawei markets it as a 2-day device, and that's actually the conservative forecast. Our test revealed that with moderate use the 3-day mark is not far off. Especially noteworthy is the excellent 13-hour screen-on time when surfing the web or watching videos.

Raw CPU performance is on par with the current upper-midrange and above, which says a lot about Huawei's progress since the Kirin 910T in the Ascend P7. The graphics department however, is not in the same league and hinders overall performance. If intense 3D gaming on a 5-incher is not your style though, the Honor 6 won't leave you waiting.

FullHD resolution across a 5-inch screen is always going to be sharp enough, and viewing angles on the Honor 6's panel are very good. Photography is well-covered, and the 13MP camera does its job proficiently, even if processing could use a tune-up.

As you can see, the Honor 6 doesn't fail in any respect, even though it truly excels in battery life only. Summarized below is our list of key findings.

Key findings

  • Design may lack character, but materials and build quality leave a positive impression.
  • 5.0-inch 1080p display is crisp, but not as bright and contrasty as we would have preferred
  • The battery backup is very good at 67 hours, but what's most impressive is the 13 hours of uptime in both web browsing and video playback
  • Huawei's heavily modified Android overlay is flat and clean and provides a great degree of customization options. Proprietary apps offer added functionality, missing in the stock OS
  • Processor is top-notch, but overall performance is let down by the dated Mali-T628 GPU
  • Video player has support for a wide number of video encoders
  • Audio output was spotless if not quite loud
  • 13MP main camera produces good images overall, but viewing them on pixel level reveals plenty of noise
  • Camcorder produces usable 1080p videos

When sifting through the available competition, we'll be looking at FullHD five-inchers for an optimum combination of sharpness and screen real estate. A performance to match the Honor 6's chipset is also expected and opponents should come with respectable photography credentials. Matching the battery may prove a difficult task, however. All this must come at a price of around and below the €300/$340 mark.

On top of the rival list we find the Lenovo Vibe X2. In contrast to the Honor 6, the Vibe X2 will stand out from the crowd - whatever classy bunch you put it in - with a unique layered design. A Mediatek chipset with octa-core processor delivers largely the same results in benchmarks, but it runs the race with 1GB RAM less. No microSD slot on the Vibe X2 means the 32GB of storage is all you get, which the Honor 6 easily tops. The Lenovo handset is a tad lighter, sacrificing battery capacity, but the Honor 6 can outlast it by a whole day in certain usage patterns.

Lenovo Vibe X2

Lenovo Vibe X2

Another Chinese entry is the Xiaomi Mi4. It's a proper flagship, but if you're lucky to live in certain parts of the world it comes at the same price as the Honor 6. Its premium finish outs an extra 19g of weight on top of the Honor 6, but with better hand feel to account for it. The Xiaomi packs a brighter display coupled with superior graphics performance which may be enough to sway user in its direction. The identical endurance rating aside, the Honor will last a good two and a half hours longer in web browsing and a whopping 5 hours more in video playback on a single charge. But then the Mi4 can shoot 4K video with its main camera and offers an 8MP selfie unit with 1080p video capability. No microSD on the Xiaomi Mi4 either.

Xiaomi Mi 4

Xiaomi Mi 4

If you happen to be a die-hard Huawei fan, you can always opt for the Ascend P7. It features premium build, and is pleasantly thin at only 6.5mm. An 8MP front facer with 1080p video is also in its favor. However, the Honor 6 outperforms it across the board, and with better battery backup, at that.

Huawei Ascend P7

Huawei Ascend P7

Depending on where you are in the world, the Samsung Galaxy S4 may be another viable option for the same amount of cash or slightly more. It's two generations old, but a flagship nonetheless, and has already gotten a Lollipop update. You'll do well to shop around and try to get the Black edition with Snapdragon 800.

Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4

Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4

Another veteran flagship, the Sony Xperia Z1, retails at the same price, at least in Europe. It's roughly the same size but significantly heavier. The Xperia Z1 packs a brighter display with stellar contrast. The Honor 6 trumps this one too in terms of battery life, but the Z1 has been promised a Lollipop update, and with the Honor 6 the outlook is grim.

Sony Xperia Z1

Sony Xperia Z1

The Huawei Honor 6 appeared an almost certain winner on paper, but in reality things aren't all that clear. A fine upper-midrange device, but not without its shortcomings. With older flagships coming down in price and against strong opposition from its homeland, the Honor 6 had better know its kung-fu.

Headphones missing

The Huawei Honor 6 arrives in an eye-catching cyan box with a shiny Honor logo on top. Below the tray holding the phone, you'll find a thin package containing a user guide and a set of protection films for both the front and the back. Taking that out reveals the powerful 2-amp A/C adapter and a separate USB cable in dedicated compartments. What was sadly omitted, at least in our review unit's bundle, was a headset.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Honor 6 retail package

Huawei Honor 6 360-degree spin

The Honor 6 fits in 139.6 x 69.7 x 7.5mm, pretty much the same footprint as Huawei's latest Ascend P7 flagship, but a whole millimeter thicker. At 130g, it's also marginally heavier than the P7, but the heft of the massive 3100mAh battery had to show up somewhere. That said, the Xiaomi Mi 4 is a similar all-glass 5-incher with a 3080mAh battery and weighs a tangible 19g more.

Design and handling

The average user could easily mistake the Huawei Honor 6 for a Sony Xperia Z-series compact. It's got a shiny glass back, slightly rounded corners and a frame, that appears to be brushed aluminum. It's even got a similar flap covering the SIM and microSD slots.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Honor 6 body and design

However, a more discerning observer will quickly notice Huawei's touch in certain places. For example, the aforementioned surrounding frame (which in fact is made of plastic, but you won't notice from a distance) stops at the bottom of the sides, a design we've seen on the P7 and G6 Ascends. The lone speaker slit on the back also comes straight from the Ascend P7.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Honor 6 and Ascend P7 side by side

The glass panels obviously provide little grip and the outer frame is quite slippery too. That would have been more of an issue on a larger device, where you'd need to let go of one side to be able to move your thumb across. The 5-inch Honor 6 has no such problems and only the extreme top requires some stretching.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Holding the Huawei Honor 6

The smartphone is tightly put together and shows good resistance to bending and twisting. No annoying sounds are produced in the process. You wouldn't call the finish premium, but it is of adequate quality considering the price of the smartphone, so no complaints are to be made here.

The one gripe we have with the design is that the miniscule gap between the frame and the glass panels gets filled with dirt and requires the occasional cleaning.

Controls

The top of the smartphone features the 3.5mm headphone jack, a noise-cancelling mic and the IR blaster. The USB port is centrally placed at the bottom, where it is accompanied by the primary microphone.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Top and bottom of the Honor 6

The right side of the Honor 6 is more densely populated. From top to bottom we have the volume rocker, power button, SIM and microSD slots. Both compartments share a plastic flap. While typically flimsy, it shouldn't be an issue, as it won't see as much action as the USB port, which is left exposed. The left side is entirely vacant.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

Right side with power and volume buttons, SIM and microSD slots

The top left corner houses the 13MP camera module with the dual-LED flash alongside. The single speaker is aligned with the lens and is in the bottom left corner. Flipping over to the front you get nothing below the display. The earpiece is above it, joined by the front facing 5MP camera and a barely discernible ambient light/proximity sensor window.

Huawei Honor 6
Huawei Honor 6

13MP camera with dual-LED flash • 5MP front snapper

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