ASUS OLED family

HONOR is back with GMS! And this is the HONOR 50 – the company’s first smartphone to debut with the return of Google. HONOR is able to get Google back because HONOR is supposedly independent of Huawei now. Supposedly.

So, how is the HONOR 50? Is it actually any good? Let’s find out.

Design

I think we should just start by talking about the design of the HONOR 50. It’s technically the Huawei P50’s design. We have a glossy back panel that catches fingerprints like a magnet, and it also has the same weird dual-camera bump design.

HONOR 50

This HONOR 50 is also very uncomfortable to hold because it uses the same design as what we’ve seen on the Huawei Mate 40 that we reviewed a year ago. That super waterfall screen just makes the frame too sharp to hold and bites into my palms whenever I try to hold the phone.

HONOR 50

Plus, pressing the volume and power buttons can be extremely dangerous and the phone can just drop anytime.

HONOR 50

Supremely curved screen

So, back to the screen now. The overall quality of the 6.57-inch OLED screen is fine. It can run at 120Hz and honestly, it just looks fine. However, one thing that I do want to point out is the selfie camera cutout.

HONOR 50

You see this? It’s humongous. It immediately reminds me of the Redmi 10 that we reviewed recently as it also has that humongous selfie camera cutout.

And the pre-installed screen protector is also misaligned.

HONOR 50

Performance

That aside, let’s move on to the performance. The HONOR 50 is equipped with the Snapdragon 778G chipset. Yes, it’s a very powerful chipset and I played games like Genshin Impact at the highest graphical settings at 60fps and still manage to get an enjoyable experience. There were definitely some frame drops but I’ll say it’s pretty just very good overall.

And I think it is here that we should mention that the HONOR 50 is still using a mono speaker… in the year 2021…

Software – Magic UI

But what about the software side of things? It’s running “Magic UI” which debuted a few years ago. It’s technically just a renamed version of Huawei’s EMUI. And oh boi, after so many years, everything is just how I remembered it.

HONOR 50

All the issues are still here, too. Let me show you again as a reminder of what I complained about a few years ago – the camera UI.

You see, the camera UI is just not user-friendly. Over the years, we have a lot more camera modes and features other than just the standard photo and video. We now have portrait mode, night mode, pro photography, and pro video on some phones.

HONOR 50

Since not everyone is going to use all of these features, we have brands like Samsung, OPPO, and even Xiaomi letting us rearrange the camera modes or place those extra modes into the “more” segment. This HONOR 50? Screw you. Everything is fixed in place.

And another thing I want to point out is the photo mode with its zoom slider. Phones from other brands that I’ve used place the zoom slider right above the shutter button and retain in that position in both portrait or landscape mode. This is user-friendly since everything is around that proximity and we can take pictures using one hand, yet caters to both left-handed and right-handed users.

HONOR 50

The HONOR 50, in their infinite wisdom, decides to put it at the bottom of the frame. It’s unreachable by one hand. I just find it to be so frustrating since HONOR didn’t make any improvements to the UI when compared to 2 years ago.

Cameras

Okay, enough about the camera UI – what about the cameras themselves. There are a total of 4 different cameras here – but technically only 2 of them are usable to take pictures.

HONOR 50

Does the camera actually take good pictures, though? To have a look at all the pictures we took with the HONOR 50, watch our video at the top of this review.

And for the video side of things… the lack of OIS means that videos coming out of the HONOR 50 is pretty… unwatchable. Everything in the video warps in and out and it’s just very nauseus to watch.

I also posted a video recorded fo the HONOR 50 on my personal Facebook, and I think you can read the comments yourself.

Battery life & charger

With a decently sized 4,300mAh battery, it can last for about 10.5 hours in our battery life test – no doubt about that. I’d say it can last for one full day’s use without much of an issue if there’s no gaming involved.

HONOR 50

And for the charging times – the HONOR 50 uses a proprietary 66W charger and it takes about 40 minutes to charge from 15% to 100%. And since this is a proprietary fast-charging standard, our 100W Ugreen GaN charger will not fast-charge this phone.

HONOR 50

Price

There are two tiers of the HONOR 50.

  • 6GB RAM + 128GB storage @ RM1,699
  • 8GB RAM + 256GB storage @ RM1,999

For the base model of RM1,699, I’ll say it’s expensive. At the same price, you can get a better deal with the Xiaomi 11T (review here) that has a more powerful MediaTek Dimensity 1200, and at least Xiaomi promised 3 full OS updates, 4 years of security patches.

Xiaomi 11T vs Xiaomi 11T Pro
Xiaomi 11T

The one advantage that the HONOR 50 has is that Magic UI doesn’t have any ads in the system whereby Xiaomi 11T’s MIUI is riddled with ads.

But if you want to get the higher-end 8GB RAM + 256GB storage version, then it’ll cost you RM1,999. That’s a hefty price and I’ll suggest you just get the Samsung Galaxy A52s instead.

Samsung Galaxy A52s
Samsung Galaxy A52s

With the Galaxy A52s, you’ll have a better user experience with One UI plus Samsung’s monthly updates with 3 generations of Android updates with 4 years of security updates, IP67, a camera with proper OIS, a microSD card slot for those who want to expand beyond that 256GB of internal storage, stereo speakers, and a headphone jack!

Samsung Galaxy A52s
Yeah the Samsung Galaxy A52s comes with a headphone jack and a microSD card slot.

With that said, I really want to see HONOR do better next time in both the product itself and also in terms of pricing.

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