Honor 90 Global Edition Review: A Worthy Pixel 7a Rival?

The Honor 90 Global Edition smartphone, priced at $350 features that could rival those of the Google Pixel 7a. With a 200MP camera, 66W fast battery charging, a stunning 120Hz AMOLED screen, and a sleek design, this seems like a promising choice.

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Design

Honor 90 Global Edition Smartphone Design

Honor has always been adept at creating smartphones that exude a premium look without the hefty price tag. The Honor 90 is no exception with its slim profile, curved display, and lightweight construction, it gives the impression of a higher-end device.

Although build of plastic, it manages to retain a premium feel with just over 180 grams weight. You have four different color options black, silver, blue, and green further enhance its appeal. The textured brushed metal-style effect on the back adds a touch of sophistication.

Notably, the phone’s durability is commendable as it remains unscathed even after a week of rigorous usage. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Honor 90 lacks an IP rating for water and dust resistance a feature that many flagship devices offer.

Magic OS and Features

Honor 90 MagicOS and UI

Running on Android 13 with Magic OS 7.1 offers a distinctive software experience. Magic OS brings a different look and feel compared to stock Android. However, it may not be to everyone’s liking, especially for those accustomed to other Chinese launchers like MIUI. The absence of certain features, such as the ability to drag down the notifications bar from anywhere on the desktop, might be a slight inconvenience.

Honor’s promise of two OS updates and three years of security updates is certainly commendable, though it falls slightly short of what competitors like Google, OnePlus, and Samsung offer. On the storage front it doesn’t disappoint offering generous options of 256GB or 512GB without the need for a microSD card.

Display

Honor 90 Global Edition Display

One of the standout features is its 6.7-inch AMOLED display it’s truly a visual treat. With a sharp resolution of 2664 by 1200 pixels, your photos will be filled with fine detail, and your videos will appear incredibly crisp with gorgeous contrast, as you would expect from an AMOLED display.

Additionally, supports full HDR 10 playback allowing you to enjoy immersive viewing experiences on platforms like Netflix. By default, the display is set to the vivid mode, resulting in vibrant and eye-catching colors. If you often use your phone outdoors, you have nothing to worry about, as the display gets exceptionally bright on the maximum settings.

It also automatically adjusts to lower light conditions, although there were a couple of instances in the evening when I had to manually decrease the brightness to make it more comfortable for my eyes. The auto-brightness feature generally works well.

Honor 90 picture Quality Modes

The Honor 90 also offers a 120Hz refresh rate, with a dynamic setting available if you prefer not to manually switch between refresh rates. However, it’s important to note that the display is not LTPO technology, so the refresh rate drops only as low as 60Hz, which is expected for a smartphone in this price range.

One thing to mention is that I did encounter some responsiveness issues when tightly gripping, due to the curved display. Sometimes, my fingers would slightly intrude on the panel, requiring a loosening of my grip before the device would respond.

Speaker

While the display impresses, the audio on the Honor 90 is slightly underwhelming. Unlike many of its competitors, this features a single mono speaker setup. While the audio output is reasonable, it lacks the stereo experience that is becoming increasingly common in smartphones today.

The sound quality at maximum volume can sound slightly tinny, but it is satisfactory for casual multimedia consumption. However, for an immersive audio experience, it is recommended to use headphones, it does not have a headphone jack. Bluetooth streaming worked seamlessly, with only occasional cutouts in crowded environments. The device offers sound customization options through the Honor Histon sound effects including a basic equalizer for manual tweaks.

You may like this: Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC Review

Performance

Genshian Impact Performance on Honor 90 Global Edition Smartphone

The Honor 90 is equipped with the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor which delivers solid everyday performance. To fully leverage its capabilities, it’s recommended to switch to Performance mode in the battery settings. Doing so will maximize the device’s power, although even in the standard mode, the everyday performance is perfectly fine. Apps load quickly and run smoothly. When I tested graphically demanding games like Genshin Impact, the performance was solid.

However, when I increased the graphic settings to higher levels, I did notice some frame rate dips, particularly during intense on-screen action with numerous elements simultaneously. This caused the gameplay to become choppy. I would suggest running games on lower to medium graphics settings for smoother performance.

On the other hand, games like Call of Duty ran perfectly, without any hiccups. it equipped with a substantial vapor chamber which helps keep the device cool. Even after playing Genshian Impact for 40-50 minutes at a time, the device remained barely warm. The gaming tools on the Honor 90 are basic compared to what you’d find on devices from Asus or Xiaomi. However, they include a performance booster and a notifications blocker. You can also record your gameplay along with other standard features typically found in gaming modes.

Battery Life

Battery life is a significant strength of the Honor 90 its 5,000mAh battery capacity, the device easily lasts a full day of usage, with around 25% battery remaining at the end of the day in normal usage scenarios. With conservative usage, it can even stretch to two days comfortably. It supports 66W fast charging outpacing competitors like the Galaxy A54 and the Pixel 7a. However, it is worth noting that wireless charging is not supported.

Cameras

The Honor 90 boasts a 200MP primary camera, utilizing Samsung’s hp3 sensor. While the camera specifications are impressive, the everyday photography results were somewhat average.

The image processing occasionally led to flat-looking photos with minimal texture. The colors, although vibrant, didn’t always appear natural. However, the camera handles strong backlighting well preserving details without overexposing the image. In low light conditions, grain becomes noticeable, although the dedicated night mode helps improve low-light photography.

The portrait mode works decently, but the focus can be inconsistent at times. The Honor 90 offers various camera modes including a Pro mode for manual adjustments and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle shooter for capturing more in the frame.

Video recording at 4K resolution produces detailed footage, but the AI-powered noise reduction can inadvertently affect the commentary audio. The front-facing 50MP selfie camera performs adequately, though low-light performance remains a challenge. For photography enthusiasts, the Honor 90 may not match the image quality offered by alternatives like the Google Pixel 7a.

Final Thought

After a week of thorough testing the Honor 90 Global Edition smartphone emerges as a solid mid-range smartphone. It has attractive design, vibrant display, commendable battery life and satisfactory performance make it a worthy contender. However, the camera performance falls slightly short of expectations, especially considering the impressive specifications on paper. If photography is a top priority, alternatives like the Google Pixel 7a may offer a more enticing option.

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