Welcome to my review of the Honor 6+.
First up, let’s take a look at the hardware. As you can see it is a non offensive rectangular design, with a mix of plastic, glass and metal. The front camera is 8mp.
The top edge reveals a microphone, headphone jack and infra red blaster. The phone comes with its own infra red app, which comes with an extensive database but also can learn functions off another remote.
On the bottom edge is another microphone and micro usb socket.
There are no buttons on the left edge but on the right hand edge there are the power, volume and two sim trays. This setup can be configured to take 2 micro sims or one micro sim and a micro SD card for additional storage. In fact the second tray can either take a micro sim or a nano sim. To use a nano sim, the nano sim card is rotated 90 degrees. If you don’t need a sim in the second tray, then you can use it for a micro sd card to expand the storage. So just to clarify, the prime sim tray located at the bottom of the phone, can only take a micro sim. It has been made this size as there are still many phones that need a micro sim. Obviously, if you had a nano sim, then an adapter would be needed to make it micro sim size.
On the rear you have the loudspeaker and 2 x 8mp rear cameras along with a true tone flash unit.
Before we move on, I will cover off the specifications of the Honor 6+.
The new mobile device is packed with tons of smartphone technology, featuring:
– Unique bionic parallel 8MP rear camera providing wide aperture F0.95-F16 which can capture some of the most powerful photos – give your eyes a new visual experience and re-discover the beauty of life
– Equipped with super 8+1 cores Kirin925 chipset (1.8ghz) and 3GB RAM+ 32GB of internal memory
– 3600mAh powered battery with patented power saving technology which lasts through two days of moderate usage
– Micro SD card support up to 128gb
– Dual SIM Dual Active with dual data usage switchable
– State-of-the-art 5.5-inch negative LCD screen, 1080 x 1920 pixels, offering 1500:1 super high contrast and industry high of 85% color saturation
– Fiberglass based cover, the most important material used in military helmets. The Honor 6+ has a high screen-to-body ratio, designed for easy and more comfortable one-handed use
– Camera focus time of 0.1 seconds.
– Dimensions – 150.4 x 75.7 x 7.5mm
– Weight 165.00g
In the box you get a micro usb lead, UK charging adapter plug, basic wired headset, sim ejector tool and some leaflets/quick start guide. You also get a screen protector for the front of the phone. The charger included is a fast charger, recharging phone in 2 hours.
The Honor 6+ is running android 4.4.2 along with EMUI v3. With EMUI you have a totally skinned look with tons of extra functionality. You also have access to a theme store to totally change the feel and look as required. EMUI v3 removes the app drawer, but this is not an issue. Lollipop is coming in July 2015.
The phone is powered by Honor’s own chipset, a 8+1 cores Kirin 925 chipset (1.8ghz) with 3GB RAM plus 32GB of internal memory. This is enough to provide a reasonable user experience with plenty of space for apps. AnTuTu revealed a score of 43,000. This should improve slightly once updated to lollipop.
As a phone, it is extremely effective. It pulls cellular, wifi and bluetooth signals with ease. Its cellular reception capabilities are way ahead of any phone I have ever used. As an example, my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge whilst driving through Cornwall showed no service several times. However the 6+ was on full H+. Another example, the 6+ was receiving 4G, whereas my S6 Edge only had H+. Both phones were on the same network too. Add to the fact it has dual sims, the Honor 6+ makes a compelling device for users who need good signal strength and versatility of the dual sim setup. If you decide not to use it in dual sim mode, then you have the option of using a micro SD card instead. My Sandisk 128gb micro sd card worked just fine. At the end of the article are screen shots showing the settings menu for the sim management, along with other aspects of the phone.
Delving deeper in to the phone skin, the quick settings are skinned as below.
If you pull down all the way, you will reveal the remainder of the quick settings toggles.
There are even extra controls available in the lock screen. The lock screen features a new image every time you press the power button. If you do not like the magazine unlock function, you can change this.
With regards to unlocking the phone, the 6+ features a double tap to unlock. This is handy for such a large device. It is has a one handed mode and customisable on screen control buttons which can be swiped down to be hidden in apps too. In one handed mode, the on screen control buttons will squash up closer to the left or right, the same for the keyboard and phone dialler.
Below is a my first home screen style applied to my Honor 6+.
Then I tried a few new themes and settled for this look which I really like a lot.
As there is no app drawer, I simply created folders on my home screen, and created another folder on another home screen for unused apps. However, as I mentioned the Honor 6+ comes with an extensive theme store. When I first got the phone, it only had 6 themes available, but now the Theme app has been updated and allows access to a huge selection of themes.
The Honor 6+ has a feature called Touchplus. After you apply this film you get new touch control areas with shortcuts at the top and bottom of the phone. I will be buying one of these and have heard from somebody who already has one how useful the Touchplus has become. Screen shot at end of post. Other features include glove mode and motions. Motion control is extensive. Options include flip to mute, reduce volume as you pick up call, raise to ear to make calls, answer calls or control the speaker/bluetooth headset, shake to rearrange home screen layout, tilt to move icons, widgets or keyboards, double tap to turn on screen. Gestures are also available. With the screen off, you can open an app by drawing the letter on the screen. Eg draw a C to open the camera, e for browser, m for music and w for weather. You only have a choice of 4 letters to draw but you can remap any of them to your desired application.
Battery and power management. The Honor 6+ comes with a 3,600mah battery that will get you through a heavy day and two for medium or light usage. It has affective power management modes from smart to ultra modes. Personally, I just used the smart power mode.
Screen. The 5.5 IPS 1080p panel is excellent. Colour temperature of the screen can be adjusted in the settings too. Viewing angles are good, and it is readable in the sun, although not as clear as some other phones.
The loudspeaker is on the rear of the device and maxes out at 87db. This makes listening to podcast ideal. The quality of the loudspeaker is average. The phone comes with a FM Radio but does not includes RDS. However, because of the signal strength capabilities of the Honor 6+, plug the included headphones in to act as the aerial, and within seconds the phone has scanned the entire frequency and saved the strongest stations. The included headset produces a pleasant sound. These just sit in the ears, but are not the in ear canal type, and consequently have no cushions. However, whilst not the bleeding age of audio quality, they would suffice for many people. I used them for several hours whilst listening to the FM radio. DTS is an EQ option on the phone for the music app and should always be left on. I would rank headphone audio quality 8/10 on my scale. USB Audio is not present. Bluetooth audio sounded excellent, even the DTS EQ option made a slight difference with my Plantronics BackBeat Pro headphones.However, the overall music capabilities and quality are above average and enjoyable.
Now this is where the Honor 6+ gets really interesting. It has 3 x 8mp cameras. A 8mp front camera and 2 x 8mp on the rear. To fully understand how this tech properly works, view the below video.
The camera interface is fairly straight forward.
Looking at the screen shot above, on the left edge, you get access to the main menu, changing from rear to front cameras, audio control on/off, flash options. The main control switches between photo mode, video recording or wide aperture control. Above the shutter is a tear drop which brings up the filters, and below the shutter button is the gallery button.
If you press the top left menu button, you are presented with the following.
Here you have access to a number of shooting modes from HDR, Watermark and Super night and more. You also have access to the advanced settings.
In photo mode you can select shots from 13mp at 4:3, 10mp at 16:9, 8mp at 4:3, 6mp at 16:9 and 6mp at 1:1. Video options are 1080p, 720p, VGA, QVGA and MMS. There is no 4K. Wide Aperture mode options are 8mp 4:3 and 6mp at 16:9. ISO options are from Auto, 100 up to 1,600. You can adjust the image for saturation, contrast and brightness. The Honor 6+ also features Ultra Snapshot. Holding volume down with the phone off can either open camera and take quick snapshot or just open the camera. Both options only take around 1 second.
As I mentioned at the very start, this phone has some clever technology happening with its two rear 8mp cameras. The front 8mp camera takes good selfies too. But moving back to the rear, in photo mode it uses the 2 lenses to create a 13mp shot, pulling in as much light as possible. And in real life I was really happy with the end results. All the different modes work well. As they say, the proof is in the pudding! Burst mode is achieved by pressing and holding the shutter button. It can take a maximum of 18 shots in a burst.
Super night mode allows shutter exposures of up to 32 seconds. You can either set the ISO and shutter times yourself or allow the phone to decide. In auto super night, the camera uses its dual 8mp lenses to first establish the scene depths and then starts to build the photo. For more than 3 seconds, you will need a tripod. See examples below.
The real fancy part of the phone is the wide aperture mode. This uses one of the rear 8mp lenses for depth data. This means before you take a photo, you can touch any part and adjust the focus and f stop from f/0.95 to f/16. See screen shots. You can even re-edit the focus and f stop values after you have taken the shot, re save and repeat as many times as you like.
Anyway, let’s take a look at some camera samples. With all these shots taken, these were snapped first time, every time and without the need for a second just in case the first shot didn’t come out correctly!
Here is a macro shot.
Normal photo mode shots some in HDR.
First shot is normal and then in HDR mode.
File output size was around 11mb.
Wide Aperture Mode.
Here I managed to take a shot, and keep the cross only in focus. In fact, after you have snapped the photo, you can go back to the photo, and change the focus and f stop anywhere on the image and save this new version. You can repeat this as many times as you like.
Next from the Honor 6+ but shot using the wide aperture mode, so below are 3 versions. First up, all in focus.
Front cog in focus from the Honor 6+
Now the rear of the photo is in focus.
Remember, these 3 photos are created from just one shot.
Super night mode.
The Honor 6+ has a mode called “supernight”. It really is fantastic. To illustrate its prowess, below is a shot of my local church at night using the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The S6 Edge was on a tripod, and this was shot using its Pro Mode.
And now for the Honor 6+, using its “supernight” mode. The 6+ was on a tripod for both of these shots. Same church, same time, same level of darkness.
Now the Honor 6+ shot is using a 32 second exposure and an ISO of only 200! I have shown you the longest shutter exposure just to give you an idea of what’s possible. A 10 to 15 second exposure would have been a better balance of light and darkness. However , what’s those red markings on the stones? Ghosts perhaps?
What’s not to like with this superb piece phone from Honor. The Honor 6+ is available in black from Three UK on contract and PAYG for £299. Or click here for the Honor 6 Plus from Amazon UK in black and white for £299.
I really like this phone. The camera is reliable, competent, creative and fun to use. The screen and its size are superb. Along with its dual sim and signal prowess, this makes a really good value device. In fact everything on this phone works well.
A selection of screen shots below for your perusal.