Honor 90 Review: The Lukewarm Return


When Honor announced it was making a comeback in India, everyone, including me, got super excited to see what was coming. The brand marked its return with the Honor 90, which had earlier been released in China. It boasts a beautiful design, a quad-curve display with eye protection technology, and a 200MP camera – which sounds like a perfect recipe, starting at Rs. 29,000 (including offers). Let’s check if it’s as scrumptious as it sounds in our full Honor 90 review.

Honor 90 Review

Honor 90 comes in three cool finishes and two RAM/ storage variants. The one we have here for review features 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. Let’s jump to the unboxing quickly and then proceed with the review.

Box Contents

Honor, at the time of the launch, cleverly announced the price to be near Rs 29,000(top variant). However, after receiving some “feedback” on social media, Honor corrected the pricing and also decided to ship a charger with the smartphone free of cost.

Here’s the list of all the accessories you get inside the retail box of Honor 90:

  • Honor 90 smartphone
  • Silicon case
  • Type C cable
  • Quick start guide

Yes, there is no charger in the box, even though there is clearly space in the box for one. Honor created an illusion at launch about the high pricing because the phone comes with a bunch of goodies, including a charger free of cost. I appreciate that Honor addressed that issue and reduced the price to a point where it can compete with well-known mid-range smartphones.

Honor 90: Build and Design

Honor 90 looks and feels premium from every side. The front has a gorgeous quad-curved display with super thin bezels and a punch-hole camera. Its rear has a glass back with a matte finish, which adds a grip to the phone; the Midnight black comes with a glossy back. The rear also holds the two large camera modules for the triple camera setup.

Honor 90’s frame is all polycarbonate with a chrome finish to give off a metal look and feel. The front cover glass and the rear glass panel are curved on the sides, which blends with the frame. This creates a seamless feel when you hold the phone and also improves the handability of the device. The brand opted for a curved frame design for the top and bottom, and I also liked the buttons and port placement.

The power button and volume rocker are placed on the right side of the smartphone, while the left side is empty. Honor placed the SIM tray slot, type-C port, primary microphone, and loudspeaker at the bottom side. The top side is also empty, aside from the secondary microphone hole.

Honor 90 is only 183 grams, which makes it an even better option for anyone who likes lightweight smartphones. The thickness is 7.8mm, but it feels even thinner because of the curved back panel and display. Honor also added a silicon case in the box to keep the smartphone protected from accidental drops.

Overall, I loved the smartphone’s design because I mostly use the smartphone without a case. It slides into my jeans pocket without resistance, which I love the most in a smartphone. Honor did a really great job with the design of the Honor 90, and it reminds me of the premium Huawei smartphones.

Honor 90: Display

Honor 90 comes with a quad-curved display, and according to the brand, this display is risk-free for the eyes. Let’s get this straight: the display is not curved on all four sides, only the coverglass is.

The top and bottom of the display’s cover glass are curved; it is very subtle, but you can feel it when using the phone. This also helps in reducing the bezels around the display to make the phone look more premium.

This is a large 6.7-inch AMOLED display with 1.5k resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. It supports HDR10+ content and features a peak brightness of 1600 nits. The refresh rate can be adjusted from the settings to steady 60, 90, 120, or dynamic. For best results, you must keep it on dynamic mode to save a little battery.

You can also switch the resolution down to FHD+, which will again help you extend the screen on time. Or you can use the Smart resolution feature, which switches the display’s resolution accordingly. It is easily the best display that you can find in a mid-range smartphone. On top of that, Honor boasts the DxO mark certification for being the best display for your eyes.

Honor added five layers of eye protection features on Honor 90, including 3840Hz PWM dimming. This is important because AMOLED flickering can cause eye problems for some users when using phones at night in the dark. Apart from this, you get some software features like a low blue light filter, dimming adjustments, and more.

Honor 90 comes with a couple of software tricks to adjust the smartphone display according to your daily usage. The color temperature can be adjusted to suit your eyes, and it also includes two color modes: Natural and Vivid.

Overall, I loved the display during my daily usage of Honor 90. I enjoyed watching a lot of content on this display, from Amazon Prime and YouTube to Crunchyroll. It presents every content with beautiful popping colors and adequate brightness. While there is no protection on this display, Honor added a screen protector to prevent it from scratches.

Honor 90: Performance

Honor 90 comes with pretty high specifications for a mid-range smartphone. It features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated chipset, a slightly overclocked version of the regular 7 Gen 1.

Paired with it is up to 12GB of DDR5 RAM and 512 GB UFS 3.1 internal storage. These are the perfect specifications for a flagship smartphone, but you are getting it at such an affordable price.

Honor has added vapor chamber tech to cool the smartphone efficiently during gaming sessions. It also features a few software tricks to enhance the gaming experience a bit but to be honest, it didn’t feel like working during my testing. We ran some benchmarks on this smartphone, and the scores are pretty satisfactory. Check them out yourself.

On AnTuTu, the smartphone scored 4,86,251, which seems a bit low compared to current mid-range smartphones. The processor throttled to 65 percent in the stress test, but the chipset smashes anything you throw at it. I even played Genshin Impact on this smartphone with graphics maxed out, and it surprisingly ran smoothly with an average frame rate of about 40 to 50.

The smartphone is capable of juggling heavy tasks without breaking a sweat. Thanks to the 8GB DDR5 RAM with 3200 MHz frequency. The UFS storage also helps the smartphone to load up apps quickly and process data quickly, reducing load times. I tested other smartphones with this chipset before, but I found it to be performing pretty well here.

Other than that, I even ran some emulators, and the phone performed really well during the gameplay. There are a few stutters and hiccups, but since these are emulated games, I cannot judge the Honor 90 for that.

So, my experience with smartphone performance is astonishingly good. I will recommend this smartphone if you are a gamer and want performance at an affordable price with no design compromises.

Honor 90: Sound and Haptics

Honor 90 comes with a mono loudspeaker system that is placed at the bottom of the smartphone. At this price, we usually see stereo speakers, but to Honor’s credit, the sound quality is really good from this speaker. The sound is crisp and clear with sufficient bass to it, but yes, this speaker muffles when used in landscape mode.

There is no audio jack on this smartphone, so if you need to connect wired headphones, you need to use a type-C to 3.5mm dongle, which you need to buy for yourself. You can also use type-C headphones if you own one. There are a bunch of customization options available in the audio settings, including a graphical equalizer.

As far as the haptics are concerned, the smartphone comes with a linear motor and lacks that stiffness in the haptics we see on premium smartphones.

Honor 90: Software

Honor 90 runs on the latest Magic OS 7.1, which is Honor’s proprietary OS that is based on Android 13. Visually, it is very different from EMUI that we had on Honor smartphones back in the day. The brand promised two major updates up to Android 15 and three years of security patches.

It has an optional app drawer and a not-very distinctive-looking control center for quick toggles. And yes, it comes with Google apps pre-installed, including the Play Store. The UI is super fast and snappy; I experienced no glitches or bugs during my testing.

A really useful feature in the quick settings is the 5G toggle. This was useful during my testing because it lets you quickly switch the network speed accordingly. It also helps in situations when you want to save a bit of juice by switching the network to 4G.

There’s also a Video Enahncer feature that enhances the color and contrast of the content playing on popular media streaming services like Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, and more. A performance mode is provided to dial the processor clock to a higher state, consuming more battery than usual.

More useful features include App Twin, which lets you clone an app to use two accounts on the same device, and a system manager to clear the device cache. A YOYO assistant is provided for app suggestions and text extraction from images; you will find suggestions in the control center and desktop widgets.

Apart from this, there are more features like Game Mode for smoother experiences and snappy performance.

Honor 90: Camera

Honor 90 is the first ever smartphone to feature a 200MP camera at this price. And looking at the track record of Honor smartphones, I have very high expectations from Honor 90.

It packs a triple camera setup at the back and a single shooter in the front for selfies. There is a 200MP primary camera paired with a 12MP ultrawide and a 2MP depth sensor. For selfies it has a 50 MP sensor for clear pictures.

The camera interface hasn’t changed a bit from what we used to see on Honor and Huawei smartphones. And this is the best part about the Honor 90’s camera: it creates a nostalgic experience for anyone who used Honor phones before the ban. It still contains all the Huawei-exclusive features that I loved the most, including some new camera tricks that the brand showcased at the launch.

Starting from the rear camera, the outdoor picture quality is fantastic. The dynamic range in the pictures is also very well done through all modes. I found that the phone is sharpening the pictures a bit, but only to the extent that it looks clear.

The color reproduction is good and looks true to life. The camera has some zoom capabilities, and after trying it, I can say it is surprisingly good. It captures good  Macro is also good because it includes a 2X zoom to jump closer to the object.

The selfie camera is also great, with sharp details and good colors. It even captures great pictures when there is light in the background by adjusting the exposure to keep the background and subject visible. I found the front-facing camera to struggle in low-light conditions.

This is also the case with the rear camera; the wide-angle lens struggles even more in low-light conditions. The post-processing does remove grains, but you can clearly see the lack of details in the pictures.

Honor 90 can record 4k videos at 30 fps using both cameras, again a plus point for everyone who loves to record videos. The stabilization is also at par with the standards, but it still cannot compete with hardware-level stabilization.

I must say that the camera system of Honor 90 is really good. If you are a camera freak and don’t want to spend too much on a flagship, I will easily recommend this smartphone to you.

In portrait images, the smartphone does a really great job at differentiating between the subject and background. It only struggles with the hair part, and the background blurring looks artificial. The skin tone seems a bit off, and the image lacks a lot of details due to the sharpening of the image.

The only issue I found in this camera system is that the camera switches lenses automatically according to a situation, which becomes annoying when you want full control over the system. It cannot be turned off from the settings. It can be fixed using a software update, and once Honor does it, I will honor it with the best camera system crown at this price.

Finally, I must say that if you like software-processed images with high contrast and poppy colors, you will love this camera system on Honor 90.

Honor 90: Battery, Connectivity, and Charging

Honor 90 comes with a massive 5000 mAh battery, which, according to Honor, will last 20 hours straight while playing videos. This will be best for someone who loves to consume online content on streaming services or YouTube.

This is a big number, but it is only possible when streaming on Wi-Fi and not on mobile data, especially not on 5G. I am using Jio 5G on this smartphone, and I was mostly using this device for watching content and camera.

The smartphone lasts way more than a day with optimum usage, with 5G mobile data enabled for half of the day. And when it comes to the connectivity, I am pretty much satisfied with the strong connectivity.

The internet speed is fast and stable most of the day, and the 5G toggle in the quick setting is a life safer when you want to reduce battery consumption. The charging situation is not very convincing here. First of all, Honor is shipping the charger separately, and this is not an Honor-branded charger.

Secondly, the charger is 30 watts, while the smartphone supports 66 watts of fast charging. This strategy from Honor is keeping the customers at a loss. Honor should at least be shipping an Honor-branded charger to ensure the longevity of the smartphone’s battery.

The smartphone with a Quick Charge 3 charger takes a little more than an hour to charge it completely to 100 percent. This is a decent charging speed, so I suggest you buy a good-quality fast charger with QC3 support.

Honor 90: Pros and Cons

Reasons to Buy

  • Beautiful design
  • Amazing display
  • Great camera system
  • Long battery backup
  • Decent pricing

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The ultrawide camera needs improvement
  • Only 30 Watt charger is provided with the phone

Honor 90 Review Verdict

Honor 90 is a solid competition for mid-range smartphones currently available in the market with about the same price tag. This phone will surely lure people away from those available options. The only thing that we all are skeptical about is the after-sales support, which Honor didn’t mention in the launch event. Otherwise, I suggest you go for this smartphone over any other mid-range smartphone available at this price range.

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