Honor held an event in Dubai on 18 July for its new range of devices for the Middle East and Africa region. Recharged was in attendance where it introduced the Honor 90 and Honor 90 Lite smartphones; the Watch 4; and Pad X9 tablet.
Both the Honor 90 and 90 Lite smartphones with 5G support have been confirmed for a South African launch in September with pricing expected to be announced at the event.
For those of you who need a brief refresher, Honor used to be owned by Huawei but it was sold off to save the brand ahead of the US sanctions. It is now independent and devices run full Android with Google Mobile Services, which means it has access to the Play Store.
The introduction of the Honor 90 series may be good news for those who miss Huawei from the early-2019 days when it still had access to Android and GMS. Honor has its own Android overlay, MagicOS, which is still similar to Huawei.
Recharged has been playing with the Honor 90 this week in cream, and here’s an early first impressions so far.
- 6.7-inch 120Hz display; 1600 nit peak brightness
- 3840Hz PWM dimming + zero risk eye comfort display
- Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset
- 19GB of RAM (12+7GB) and 512GB storage
- 200MP camera with AI Vlog Master tools
- 5000mAh battery and 66W SuperCharge
The Honor 90 is slim and elongated with a curved display, which is comfortable in the hand. It is lightweight at 183g but has a plastic back, which is textured on the colourway we’ve been testing. It may or may not appeal to some, depending on how premium you prefer a handset to feel, but this is a mid-range handset. It has a large protruding lens at the back, like most phones today, which does not sit flush. However, there is a clear plastic case included in the box.
The Honor 90 has a 6.7-inch curved AMOLED display with a 120Hz screen refresh rate that you typically find in flagship phones. This is noticeable when you’re scrolling or playing games – it’s a smooth experience. But Honor also introduces what it calls an industry first “zero risk eye comfort display” with its 3840Hz PWM (pulse width modulation) dimming for a flicker-free experience when it’s being used at 120Hz. It automatically adjusts the brightness and makes it comfortable to use in low-light. I haven’t been able to properly see a difference between using a bunch of phones this week.
Honor is punting the 200MP camera on this device as a key selling point. It forms part of the triple rear camera, which also has a 12MP ultra-wide and macro camera, and a 2MP depth camera. On the front, there is a 50MP selfie-camera.
The phone takes good pics, and it does “live photos” like the iPhone, however, when you pull them up on Instagram to share, it does not automatically turn it into a boomerang like the iPhone, which is what I use live pics for primarily.
The portrait photos are good, you can adjust the depth, but at the maximum it kind of struggles so maybe play with it to see what works – I tested it on dark hair.
AI Vlog Master
If you’re a content creator, this phone may appeal to you for the AI Vlog Master tools that can help with shooting, and smart editing capabilities. It optimises for the scene you’re in, and can auto generate 15 second clips aimed for social media sharing (AI Instant Movie), like an Instagram story etc. It works on various modes, plus it uses other AI tools like noise reduction, and enhancing human voices – suited for shooting in the outdoors. If you don’t have time to edit and want things done for you, this is a great choice. If you prefer more controls, then you’re better off editing videos yourself.
The Honor 90 has a large 5000mAh battery and from what I’ve experienced, it’s pretty good. It also comes with a 66W SuperCharge plug in the box for fast charging. Again, it uses AI to keep it temperature controlled and optimised for all day usage.
The Honor 90 that we were equipped with for this week has dual SIM support, and additionally, supports eSIM. This means you can have two physical SIM cards in the device and still use an eSIM, for travelling or for local use etc. The support of eSIM is great as it currently feels like a limited feature. It also has NFC for contactless payments and an in-display fingerprint sensor, but there is no expandable storage.
The Honor 90 is a great phone for those who still miss Huawei, even though Honor has carved out some independence. There’s still some familiarity there, and I think the Honor 90 having eSIM support is also draw card above its dual SIM slots.
Mid-range phones are all about giving you high-end features but there will be compromises. Here, the 200MP and AI vlog features may be the draw card (I found that some pics could do with minor tweaking), but its a plastic phone so doesn’t have that premium feel, doesn’t support wireless charging and there’s no waterproof rating.
Pricing will be announced at launch in September.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. email@example.com