From a lifestyle brand under Huawei you the number one company in China’s competitive smartphone marketHonor has established itself after splitting with its parent company in 2020. Honor excels with the younger consumer demographic as it pushes to bring its Chinese success to the rest of the world.
With the Honor 70 smartphone, Honor Pad 8 tablet, and Honor MagicBook 14, the company has covered the three key branches of mobile computing in the competitive mid-range space.
The smartphone: Honor 70
First up, and the newest addition to the Honor portfolio, is the Honor 70 smartphone. Lurking just above the ‘mid-range’ label but not reaching the flagship status (for Honor that would be the Honor Magic4 Pro smartphone, reviewed here). The Honor 70 is a curiously competent phone. It does nothing particularly badly, but neither does it focus on a specific area. instead, the goal seems to be to do everything ‘above average’ and allow these small wins to all add up.
Some phones you can recommend because they may have a good camera, an outstanding screen, or extended battery life with fast charging. The Honor does tick those boxes without standing out as a tall poppy with any of them. And that is a good thing… the Honor 70 is, simply, a good phone for people who just need a phone that’s not going to break the bank but has enough specs to do the job for the next two or three years.
The Honor 70 feels remarkably like many of the Honor handsets when it was part of Huawei. There’s a balance of fashion and functionality, targeted below the flagships but in a way to make it as attractive as possible to those looking at the mid-range, even though the price is slightly above average.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that what worked before as a brand still works as a standalone company.
The tablet: Honor Pad 8
The Honor Pad 8 is the first Honor tablet to get a global release. The 12-inch display runs at 2K resolution and is competitively priced at 349 Euros. Specs-wise the use of the SnapDragon 680 system on chip sets the tone for the device. Productivity apps will run fine but don’t go looking for ultimate gaming performance in your 3D monster hacking gathering potion-making spectacular experiences
Unlike the Honor 70, the Pad 8 does feel like one specific role was emphasized in the design process; that of average consumption.
This is a budget-conscious tablet though, so it comes with an LCD rather than an OLED screen. The latter would offer more vibrancy to the colors and deeper blacks, but it would also drive the price up. At 12 inches this is a big screen, and the resulting density of 195 pixels per inch could do with being a little bit higher, either through a smaller tablet or higher resolution. You can just pick out some pixelation in information-based apps, but your brain happily compensates when watching videos. It’s definitely one of the better tablet performers at this price range.
This is helped by the four speakers built into the tablet to give the best sound possible, although I would have enjoyed a 3.5 mm headphone jack over Bluetooth only for headphones – sometimes latency creeps in and that’s a bit disconcerting watching the latest blockbusters.
The laptop: Honor MagicBook 14
The 2022 version of Honor’s consumer-focused laptop, the MagicBook 14, continues the march seen up the 2021 model over the 2020 model. Then there was a move to Intel’s 11th generation technology, an integrated graphics card, and a good keyboard for typing on with good feedback although personally, I’d like to have a bit more travel in the keys.
For 2022, we get a bump to Intel’s 12th generation laptop, a fast charging laptop with an empty to full charge time of 80 minutes when using the supplied 135W charger over USB-C. You also have the option of a discrete graphics card to support the built-in Iris Xe card. That allows mid- to high-end gaming but do note the LCD screen is locked at 60 Hz.
The display is the weakest part of the package. It’s sufficient but doesn’t stand out. Thankfully the other elements of the package do. The performance comes from the Intel chipset, the screen dimensions at 3:2 make it much easier to create as opposed to consume, and the 75Wh battery is rated for over ten hours of mixed usage. And the price undercuts similarly specced laptops from the likes of Dell, Lenovo, and HP, even if it has sneaked up a touch compared to the 2021 version.
Honor’s time at IFA has been well spent. It has set out its stall to the tech world with these three key products (as well as a bit of aspirational flagshiping with the folding Honor Magic V getting a cameo. It has also discussed the potential of the next version of its MagicOS to bring these products closer together – no doubt with an eye on the YourPhone system from Microsoft and the Continuity platform from Apple.
The first individual products set Honor apart. Now its starting to bring them together.