Last year was a completely different year in the mobile industry as there were a few Chinese manufacturers officially entered Malaysian market. Well, there was one manufacturer people familiar with – Huawei. Huawei had already been in Malaysia for a few years, but last year the company introduced its sub-brand – Honor, to the Malaysian market. Honor, was originally just another series of Huawei device like the Ascend series. However, it became a sub-brand of Huawei to challenge Xiaomi by selling the devices with affordable price yet good specifications. This year, we get to review the Honor 6 Plus, and it’s basically the successor of last year’s Honor 6 with some improvements.
Design: Just The Matter of Size
I’ll keep everything short and simple. The Honor 6 Plus looks same as the Honor 6, you can’t really differentiate which one is the one by looking at the front because both have the same design. The differences are the size and the sensor placement. Obviously ‘Plus’ means bigger, the Honor 6 Plus is slightly bigger than the Honor 6.
The button layout is pretty similar to the Honor 6. The bottom edge houses the Micro USB port, the top features the 3.5 mm headphone jack, and there are SIM and MicroSD card slots on the right side of the device below the volume rocker and power button. You now need to use SIM remover to insert the SIM or MicroSD card to the respective slot. Like the P8 and Ascend Mate7, the MicroSD card goes in the SIM 2 slot (Nano SIM slot), which could be a little confusing. The metal frame surrounding the device is largely reminiscent of the iPhone, and that’s a good thing.
Moving to the back, you’ll see the Honor logo under the dual camera setup in the corner. Under the glass, not pure glass, you’ll see the radial groove pattern with tiny dots. And, the back also holds the rear-facing speaker on the bottom-left corner.
Display: Plus Means Bigger
There’s a reason why the Honor 6 Plus size has increased. Plus means bigger. The Honor 6 Plus comes with a bigger 5.5″ Full HD display with 401 ppi pixel density. The handling is still good but not great despite having a bigger 5.5″ display.
To be honest, smartphone display now a day is pretty good. There’s not much to complain about the Honor 6 Plus display, although the saturation levels may be a little high, but text is sharp and contrast is fairly high.
Performance: Homemade Processing Package
Like Samsung, the company has decided to put own processing package to power up its highest range product. For this time, the Honor 6 Plus is powered by HiSilicon Kirin 925 processor with 3 GB of RAM.
Overall, the performance is pretty good and I barely experienced any hiccups or stutters. However, the Mali-T628 GPU just can’t perform as well as its rivals like Adreno 420 and PowerVR G6430. One of my favorite racing games Asphalt 8 moved smoothly with slight hiccups. Surprisingly the temperature kept pretty calm, and that surely be the reason why its performance is not as good as its rivals.
Software: Pretty Familiar
As a Chinese smartphone, the Honor 6 Plus is running on its own EMUI 3.0 based on Android 4.4 KitKat. Like other Chinese operating systems, the EMUI 3.0 doesn’t come with an app drawer, it’s Chinese style! Overall it’s simple and you can customize the software thanks to the built-in theme engine.
Besides customizing the user interface, you can also customize the navigation bar. Touchplus feature brings you new touch control areas with shortcuts, which will be available at the top and bottom of the device. But first, you need to apply the film with three navigation key icons. Additionally, lock screen gestures can be assigned in order to access certain parts of the phone with ease.
Sadly, EMUI isn’t fully optimized with Google Play Services. As some users did actually report that it will automatically turn off notifications on your Android Wear device if you paired with it. The Google app icons like Gmail, Play Music, Play Games, Play Books and more aren’t up to date as well. Huawei seriously needs to work harder on it.
Camera: Parallel Dual-Camera
For the first time, the Honor 6 Plus features dual-camera setup, made it similar to the Duo Camera from HTC. Much like HTC Duo Camera, the optics are supposed to retrieve depth information in a scene and provide the ability to set a focal point. Both 8 MP rear cameras capture double the amount of light, which should be able to capture an HDR photo even faster.
The camera app is pretty similar to other Huawei or Honor devices, you can access three main modes (Wide Aperture, Photo and Video) by just swiping the viewfinder, while other modes can be found by pressing the button on the top corner of the screen. These modes are Beauty, Panorama, HDR, Audio Note, Best Photo, Watermark and Super Night. The Super Night mode basically is just a slow shutter mode, so you’ll have to hold the device steadily or even use a tripod.
Picture quality generally is quite good, but the shutter speed is pretty slow. Not to forget that the dual-camera with 8 MP resolution respectively can actually capture up to 13 MP resolution. Hence, good amount of detail can be captured easily and the colors look great as well.
To be honest, the so-called Wide Aperture mode actually doesn’t perform as well as promoted. You can tap on a focal point and adjust the aperture, which basically is just a defocusing mode. You can refocus the photos from the gallery, and of course it is needed to be done on the software side.
Battery: Long-lasting As Always
Previous Huawei and Honor devices have a pretty good battery life, and it’s same for the Honor 6 Plus. With 3,600 mAh battery, the Honor 6 Plus can easily last through a day with around 5 hours of screen-on-time. Despite having a decent battery life, it’s a shame that the device neither has fast charging nor wireless charging feature.
Last year, the Honor 6 was priced at RM 999 when it first made available in Malaysia. Well, the word ‘Plus’ means the device will cost more than its predecessor. Priced at RM 1,399 with the inclusive of GST, it seems that the Honor 6 Plus can’t really make me say ‘Wow!’ for this time. Don’t get me wrong, the Honor 6 Plus is still a nice device with elegant design. The metal frame does make it feel more premium than before. However, the dual-camera isn’t new at this point, and the Wide Aperture mode didn’t actually manage to differentiate itself from the competition.
- More premium material
- Stunning display
- Decent battery life
- Dual-camera setup doesn’t stand up against the competition
- EMUI not fully optimized with Google Play Services
- Performance not as good as its rivals