Honor 10 review

GSMArena team, 1 June 2018.

Android 8.1 with EMUI 8

Honor 10 runs on the same Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.1 combo found on the Huawei P20. Huawei synchronized the version number of its OS overlay with the release of the Mate 10, and now on the P20 and Honor 10, it's Android 8.1 Oreo and EMUI 8.1. Not that it's radically different or anything, but there are some fresh bits.

Honor 10 review

Let's start with the elephant in the room. You can embrace the notch, or you can opt to mask it with a black status bar that extends all the way down to the bottom edge of the notch. You should know, however, that hiding it doesn't really work as well with an LCD panel as with it does with an AMOLED.

Nevertheless, if you opt for this, the corners of the active display area will be rounded too, to match the actual corners on the bottom of the display. The size of this software bezel on the top ends up being symmetrical to the physical bottom bezel all while showing your status information white on black. This reminds us of what the LG V10 and V20 did with their extra displays, but this implementation is quite different, of course.

Notch control - Honor 10 review Notch control - Honor 10 review
Notch control

Out of the box, there is no app drawer on the EMUI 8 - it's a single tier interface like on the iPhone. However, if you miss the Android's usual layout, you can enable it back in the Display settings. There is also a handy search feature, which can be accessed by flicking down on any empty area of the home screen.

Home screen 1 - Honor 10 review Home screen 2 - Honor 10 review Home options - Honor 10 review Search - Honor 10 review Enable drawer - Honor 10 review
Home screen 1 • Home screen 2 • Home options • Search • Enable drawer

EMUI has something called Magazine lock screen, which rotates through a bunch of wallpapers, so you see a different one every time you fire up the display.

The lockscreen - Honor 10 review The lockscreen - Honor 10 review The lockscreen - Honor 10 review The lockscreen - Honor 10 review
The lockscreen

Just like the most recent Huawei smartphones, the Honor 10 has the so-called off-screen navigation set by default. It uses the surface of the fingerprint sensor for everything - tap to go back, tap and hold for Home, and swipe in either direction for Recents. But you can opt for the regular onscreen navigation key, among other options.

EMUI offers plenty of customization and features like face unlock, smart rotation, and lift to wake. Themes are supported, too, and there is a lot to choose from. There are a few themes to choose from with the option to change the icons, the skin, and wallpaper.

From the Phone Manager app, you can access shortcuts to storage cleanup, battery settings, blocked numbers, Virus scan powered by Avast, and mobile data usage.

Theme chooser - Honor 10 review Theme - Honor 10 review Theme - Honor 10 review Theme - Honor 10 review Phone Manager - Honor 10 review
Theme chooser • Theme • Theme • Theme • Phone Manager

The notification shade is pretty much a standard affair. There's a brightness bar with an Auto toggle - pull down again for more toggles.

Multitasking is pretty standard as well. Tap-holding the Recents key will let you activate split screen.

Notification area - Honor 10 review Toggles - Honor 10 review Recent apps - Honor 10 review Split screen - Honor 10 review
Notification area • Toggles • Recent apps • Split screen

Huawei's own Music app is here and offers a way to listen to stored MP3s. Huawei's Health app is also pre-installed. It offers Google Fit syncing and step counting. There's a file manager app and a note-taking app. There is an abundance of replacements for these in the Play Store, however.

Finally, there is a proprietary app called Smart Controller, which will allow you to use the IR blaster as universal remote for your compatible appliances.

Music Player - Honor 10 review Gallery - Honor 10 review Huawei Health - Honor 10 review Files - Honor 10 review Smart Remote - Honor 10 review
Music Player • Gallery • Huawei Health • Files • Smart Remote

Performance and benchmarks

The Honor 10 is powered by Huawei's own Kirin 970 chipset, one we're very familiar with from the P20 and Mate 10 series. It's packing 4 Cortex-A73 cores clocked at up to 2.4GHz and another 4 Cortex-A53 cores capped at 1.8GHz. The GPU is a twelve-core Mali-G72 MP12. There's either 4 or 6 GB of RAM depending on the model you get.

Honor 10 review

Unsurprisingly, the Honor 10 scores on par with Huawei P20 in benchmarks. Single-core performance in Geekbench is right there with the Snapdragon 835 (OnePlus 5T), but the latest Qualcomm chip is superior (OnePlus 6). All of the above applies equally well to the Honor 10's multi-core CPU performance.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    2450
  • OnePlus 5T
    1960
  • Huawei P20
    1897
  • Honor 10
    1894
  • Honor 9
    1876
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    1612
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    1532
  • Oppo F7
    1531
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    938
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    882
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    874

Let's not forget the Honor 10 is cheaper than the Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6, so we can't demand cutting-edge performance. Yet, its CPU scores are close to that.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    9011
  • Huawei P20
    6722
  • OnePlus 5T
    6701
  • Honor 10
    6591
  • Honor 9
    6457
  • Oppo F7
    5901
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    5809
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    4418
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    4309
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    4160
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    3756

Raw graphics power is also a notch down from the best players. The Adreno 630 in the Snapdragon-powered OnePlus 6 is a proven beast, but the Mali-G72 in Honor 10 does pretty alright for the class, if not beyond the expectations.

GFX 3.0 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    59
  • Honor 10
    53
  • OnePlus 5T
    52
  • Huawei P20
    46
  • Honor 9
    40
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    19
  • Oppo F7
    18
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    14
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    13
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    9.4
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    8.1

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    55
  • Huawei P20
    39
  • Honor 10
    37
  • OnePlus 5T
    35
  • Honor 9
    33
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    12
  • Oppo F7
    11
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    9.3
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    8.7
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    6.2
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    4.9

AnTuTu and BaseMark benchmarks got us some pretty big and impressive numbers, bested only by the most current Snapdragon 845 chip in the OnePlus 6.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    264200
  • Huawei P20
    206906
  • Honor 10
    200440
  • Honor 9
    156984
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    146526
  • Oppo F7
    139414
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    90263
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    87431

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 6
    4440
  • OnePlus 5T
    3632
  • Huawei P20
    3338
  • Honor 10
    3337
  • Honor 9
    3072
  • Oppo R15 Pro
    2438
  • Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018)
    2007
  • Oppo F7
    1953
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    1525
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    1455
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    1226

The Honor 10 may not be the fastest smartphone on the planet, but nobody really hoped for that. We had to manage our expectations for the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, which cost €650+, but that's not the case with the €390 Honor 10. It's bested only by the latest Snapdragon chip but is still among the best performers on the market - both CPU and GPU-wise.

In a surprising turn of events the Honor 10 turned out better at heat dispersion than the worrisome Huawei P20. Sure, it does build some heat once we start running the benchmarks, even some throttling eventually occurs, but it takes a lot more time to get to the P20's hot and throttled situation and that's commendable.

Reader comments

  • Qusay Sosan

Very good specs , elegant and moderate price Using it since 2018

  • Anonymous

What's the battery life like please

Perfect my device