Honor 90 review

GSMArena Team, 13 September 2023.

Gorgeous 6.7-inch display

The display is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Honor 90. The phone is rocking a pretty parge 6.7-inch curved AMOLED panel. It has a high resolution of 1200 x 2664 pixels, which Honor calls 1.5K. On a 6.7-inch diagonal, the math works out the right around 435 ppi of pixel density. That is incredibly sharp, and the Honor 90 looks the part in person.

Honor 90 review

Speaking of display resolution, it is interesting to mention that the Honor 90 has a rather unique option to manage its resolution automatically. Not only can you manually set your desired display resolution, choosing between a few predefined options, but the phone also promises to do so automatically, depending on the content you are viewing.

Honor 90 review

Out of the box, the phone is set to 2442 x 1100 pixels, and that's what we've been using for all of our testing and benchmarking, accordingly.

Automatic display resolution adjustment - Honor 90 review
Automatic display resolution adjustment

In terms of brightness, the Honor 90 promises a whopping 1600 nits. That is the advertised peak figure on a pretty small portion of the display. In our standardized testing, engaging 75% of the display area, we measured a max of 511 nits of brightness on the slider and a very impressive 1176 nits of auto brightness. The Honor 90's screen is ideally suited for outdoor use out in the sun. There is also plenty of brightness to deliver an excellent HDR experience.

Max display brightness test

White test pattern, 75% fill (nits)

  • Manual mode
  • Auto mode
Honor Magic5 Pro Honor Magic5 Pro
761
6.81" LTPO OLED 1312 x 2848 px
Sony Xperia 10 V Sony Xperia 10 V
624
6.1" OLED 1080 x 2520 px
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Redmi Note 12 Pro+
535
6.67" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Honor Magic5 Lite Honor Magic5 Lite
531
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Motorola Edge 40 Motorola Edge 40
516
6.55" P-OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Xiaomi 13 Lite Xiaomi 13 Lite
512
6.55" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Honor 90 Honor 90
511
6.7" AMOLED 1200 x 2664 px
Honor 70 Honor 70
509
6.67" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Infinix GT 10 Pro Infinix GT 10 Pro
505
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Pixel 7a Pixel 7a
498
6.1" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
vivo V27 vivo V27
497
6.78" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Poco X5 Pro Poco X5 Pro
491
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Redmi Note 12 Pro Redmi Note 12 Pro
490
6.67" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
vivo V27 Pro vivo V27 Pro
479
6.78" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Galaxy A34 Galaxy A34
476
6.6" AMOLED 1080 x 2340 px
Realme 11 Pro Realme 11 Pro
474
6.7" AMOLED 1080 x 2412 px
Poco F5 Poco F5
470
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Realme 11 Pro+ Realme 11 Pro+
470
6.7" AMOLED 1080 x 2412 px
Galaxy A54 Galaxy A54
457
6.4" Super AMOLED 1080 x 2340 px
 Galaxy S21 FE 5G Galaxy S21 FE 5G
385
6.4" Dynamic AMOLED 2X 1080 x 2400 px
Honor Magic5 Pro Honor Magic5 Pro
1227
6.81" LTPO OLED 1312 x 2848 px
Honor 90 Honor 90
1176
6.7" AMOLED 1200 x 2664 px
Pixel 7a Pixel 7a
1070
6.1" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
vivo V27 vivo V27
1055
6.78" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Motorola Edge 40 Motorola Edge 40
1043
6.55" P-OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Galaxy A34 Galaxy A34
1009
6.6" AMOLED 1080 x 2340 px
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Redmi Note 12 Pro+
990
6.67" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Galaxy A54 Galaxy A54
980
6.4" Super AMOLED 1080 x 2340 px
vivo V27 Pro vivo V27 Pro
978
6.78" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Poco F5 Poco F5
963
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Sony Xperia 10 V Sony Xperia 10 V
947
6.1" OLED 1080 x 2520 px
Xiaomi 13 Lite Xiaomi 13 Lite
938
6.55" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Poco X5 Pro Poco X5 Pro
912
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Redmi Note 12 Pro Redmi Note 12 Pro
890
6.67" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Honor Magic5 Lite Honor Magic5 Lite
864
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px
Realme 11 Pro+ Realme 11 Pro+
793
6.7" AMOLED 1080 x 2412 px
 Galaxy S21 FE 5G Galaxy S21 FE 5G
792
6.4" Dynamic AMOLED 2X 1080 x 2400 px
Honor 70 Honor 70
790
6.67" OLED 1080 x 2400 px
Realme 11 Pro Realme 11 Pro
790
6.7" AMOLED 1080 x 2412 px
Infinix GT 10 Pro Infinix GT 10 Pro
701
6.67" AMOLED 1080 x 2400 px

Speaking of HDR, the Honor 90 HDR10+ hardware support on its display. In terms of software, it has decoding capabilities for HLG, HDR10 and HDR10+, just no Dolby Vision. We are also happy to report that the phone has the highest possible Widevine L1 DRM certification, allowing streaming services like Netflix to offer up FullHD streams and saturate the phone's display resolution.

HDR capabilities - Honor 90 review Widevine DRM - Honor 90 review Netflix playback capabilities - Honor 90 review
HDR capabilities • Widevine DRM • Netflix playback capabilities

In terms of colors, the Honor 90 has two color modes. The default "vivid" one targets the DCI-P3 color space and manages to do so rather well. It is not great in terms of color accuracy, though, with a clear tendency to oversaturate colors, particularly blues and reds, likely in order to achieve that coveted OLED "pop". Then, there is the "natural" mode, which can do either DCI-P3 or sRGB, depending on what is being displayed. We tested it against sRGB and got nearly perfect coverage and deltaE values low enough for the mode to be considered color-accurate and theoretically good enough even for color-critical work.

Color modes - Honor 90 review Color modes - Honor 90 review
Color modes

Before we move on, it is worth mentioning that the Honor 90 has a dedicated Video enhancer feature in display settings. You can enable or disable it for each supported app (YouTube, Netflix, TikTok and Facebook).

Video enhancer - Honor 90 review
Video enhancer

The Video enhancer renders non-HDR videos into HDR ones by increasing the color and contrast, but as you might expect, the results aren't amazing. Nothing beats the real thing.

The Frame Rate Booster feature, found on some other Honor phones, is notably absent from the Honor 90.

High refresh rate handling

The Honor 90 supports a total of three refresh rate modes - 60Hz, 90Hz and 120Hz. In terms of modes available in settings for the display, there are standard (60Hz), medium (90Hz), high (120Hz) and dynamic (120Hz).

Honor 90 review

The Honor 90 lacks a refresh rate visualization through its developer options, so we are left with our rather imperfect in-house refresh rate measuring app. What we managed to ascertain from our observations is that all of the modes, well, of course, except for the 60Hz one, act like a refresh rate cap, and the phone will always exhibit some form of dynamic refresh rate switching, lowering the value based on what app is being used.

Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review
Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in high mode - Honor 90 review
Apps working in high mode

So what is the difference between the "high" 120Hz mode and the "dynamic" one, which can also reach up to 120Hz? Well, dynamic, which is the default mode, is much more conservative and will tend to stick to 90Hz and even 60Hz way more often and for more apps than high mode.

Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review
Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Apps working in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review
Apps working in dynamic mode

What about high refresh rate gaming? In "high" (120Hz) refresh rate mode, almost all of the games we tried, except for Alto's Adventure, managed to run in 120Hz mode and at over 60fps.

Gaming in high mode - Honor 90 review Gaming in high mode - Honor 90 review Gaming in high mode - Honor 90 review Gaming in high mode - Honor 90 review
Gaming in high mode

The "dynamic" mode was less consistent still, also running Death Trigger 2 in 60Hz mode instead of 120Hz. That means that if you plan on doing some high refresh rate gaming, you should manually switch to the "high" refresh rate profile.

Gaming in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Gaming in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Gaming in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review Gaming in dynamic mode - Honor 90 review
Gaming in dynamic mode

All things considered, the Honor 90 has a solid base for managing its automatic refresh rate switching, but the current system is far from perfect. We would love to see some more monitoring and dynamic switching based on motion on the display, more consistent detection of video playback to drop down to 60Hz and gaming detection to up to 120Hz. In its current state, the system is usable but flawed.

Battery life

The Honor 90 has a pretty hefty 5,000 mAh battery on board. Unfortunately, despite being manufactured on a modern 4nm process, the Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset does not have a good track record when it comes to battery endurance.

Compared to potential rivals, the Honor is a bit lagging in longevity in the gaming portion of our Active Use test, but is more or less on par in video playback and web browsing.

Expand to reveal our legacy battery test (Endurance rating). How we test now.

The Honor 90 is not an outlier in this respect. It managed a decent but largely unimpressive 95 hours of total endurance in our testing. Frankly, we expected more out of a 5,000 mAh battery. Still, the phone should dependably be able to deliver full-day battery life on a single charge.

Honor 90 review

As a reminder, the web browsing portion of our testing was conducted at the phone's top 120 Hz refresh rate mode, while the video test part was done at 60 Hz.

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test done at the display's highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns check out our all-time battery test results chart where you can also find all phones we've tested.

Charging speed

The Honor 90 charges pretty fast with its included 66W charger.

Honor 90 review

It isn't industry or class-leading or anything, but the charging speeds on the onboard 5,000 mAh battery are still impressive enough.

Charging speed

  • in 15 min
  • in 30 min
  • Time to full charge (from 0%)
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Redmi Note 12 Pro+
81%
5000 mAh 120W HyperCharge
Realme 11 Pro+ Realme 11 Pro+
63%
5000 mAh 100W SuperVOOC
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
61%
5000 mAh 80W SuperVOOC
Motorola Edge 40 Motorola Edge 40
58%
4400 mAh 68W TurboPower
Honor Magic Vs Honor Magic Vs
50%
5000 mAh 66W Honor SuperCharge
vivo V27 vivo V27
49%
4600 mAh 66W FlashCharge
Poco F5 Poco F5
48%
5000 mAh 67W
Poco X5 Pro Poco X5 Pro
47%
5000 mAh 67W
Xiaomi 13 Lite Xiaomi 13 Lite
46%
4500 mAh 67W
Honor Magic5 Pro Honor Magic5 Pro
45%
5100 mAh 66W Honor SuperCharge
Redmi Note 12 Pro Redmi Note 12 Pro
44%
5000 mAh Xiaomi 67W
Realme 11 Pro Realme 11 Pro
42%
5000 mAh 67W SuperVOOC
Infinix GT 10 Pro Infinix GT 10 Pro
39%
5000 mAh 45W
Honor 90 Honor 90
34%
5000 mAh 66W
Redmi Note 12 4G Redmi Note 12 4G
32%
5000 mAh 33W
Honor Magic5 Lite Honor Magic5 Lite
31%
5100 mAh 40W
Redmi Note 12 Redmi Note 12
31%
5000 mAh 33W
Galaxy A54 Galaxy A54
30%
5000 mAh 25W Samsung PD + PPS
Galaxy A34 Galaxy A34
27%
5000 mAh 25W Samsung PD + PPS
Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 7a
20%
4385 mAh 30W PD
Sony Xperia 10 V (65W PD) Sony Xperia 10 V (65W PD)
20%
5000 mAh 65W PD
Xiaomi Redmi 12 Xiaomi Redmi 12
16%
5000 mAh 18W PD
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Redmi Note 12 Pro+
100%
5000 mAh 120W HyperCharge
Realme 11 Pro+ Realme 11 Pro+
100%
5000 mAh 100W SuperVOOC
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
98%
5000 mAh 80W SuperVOOC
Motorola Edge 40 Motorola Edge 40
92%
4400 mAh 68W TurboPower
Honor Magic Vs Honor Magic Vs
85%
5000 mAh 66W Honor SuperCharge
Poco F5 Poco F5
83%
5000 mAh 67W
Xiaomi 13 Lite Xiaomi 13 Lite
83%
4500 mAh 67W
Poco X5 Pro Poco X5 Pro
82%
5000 mAh 67W
vivo V27 vivo V27
82%
4600 mAh 66W FlashCharge
Redmi Note 12 Pro Redmi Note 12 Pro
78%
5000 mAh Xiaomi 67W
Honor Magic5 Pro Honor Magic5 Pro
75%
5100 mAh 66W Honor SuperCharge
Infinix GT 10 Pro Infinix GT 10 Pro
73%
5000 mAh 45W
Realme 11 Pro Realme 11 Pro
72%
5000 mAh 67W SuperVOOC
Honor 70 Honor 70
71%
4800 mAh 66W
Honor 90 Honor 90
65%
5000 mAh 66W
Honor Magic5 Lite Honor Magic5 Lite
57%
5100 mAh 40W
Galaxy A54 Galaxy A54
56%
5000 mAh 25W Samsung PD + PPS
Redmi Note 12 Redmi Note 12
56%
5000 mAh 33W
Redmi Note 12 4G Redmi Note 12 4G
55%
5000 mAh 33W
Galaxy A34 Galaxy A34
51%
5000 mAh 25W Samsung PD + PPS
Galaxy S21 FE 5G Galaxy S21 FE 5G
51%
4500 mAh 25W PD
Sony Xperia 10 V (65W PD) Sony Xperia 10 V (65W PD)
37%
5000 mAh 65W PD
Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 7a
36%
4385 mAh 30W PD
Xiaomi Redmi 12 Xiaomi Redmi 12
29%
5000 mAh 18W PD
Redmi Note 12 Pro+ Redmi Note 12 Pro+
0:23h
5000 mAh 120W HyperCharge
Realme 11 Pro+ Realme 11 Pro+
0:28h
5000 mAh 100W SuperVOOC
OnePlus Nord 3 OnePlus Nord 3
0:32h
5000 mAh 80W SuperVOOC
Motorola Edge 40 Motorola Edge 40
0:40h
4400 mAh 68W TurboPower
Xiaomi 13 Lite Xiaomi 13 Lite
0:42h
4500 mAh 67W
Poco F5 Poco F5
0:47h
5000 mAh 67W
Realme 11 Pro Realme 11 Pro
0:47h
5000 mAh 67W SuperVOOC
Honor Magic5 Pro Honor Magic5 Pro
0:48h
5100 mAh 66W Honor SuperCharge
Honor 70 Honor 70
0:50h
4800 mAh 66W
Honor Magic Vs Honor Magic Vs
0:50h
5000 mAh 66W Honor SuperCharge
Poco X5 Pro Poco X5 Pro
0:50h
5000 mAh 67W
vivo V27 vivo V27
0:53h
4600 mAh 66W FlashCharge
Honor 90 Honor 90
0:54h
5000 mAh 66W
Redmi Note 12 Pro Redmi Note 12 Pro
0:55h
5000 mAh Xiaomi 67W
Infinix GT 10 Pro Infinix GT 10 Pro
1:01h
5000 mAh 45W
Galaxy A54 Galaxy A54
1:03h
5000 mAh 25W Samsung PD + PPS
Redmi Note 12 Redmi Note 12
1:08h
5000 mAh 33W
Redmi Note 12 4G Redmi Note 12 4G
1:11h
5000 mAh 33W
Honor Magic5 Lite Honor Magic5 Lite
1:13h
5100 mAh 40W
Galaxy S21 FE 5G Galaxy S21 FE 5G
1:15h
4500 mAh 25W PD
Galaxy A34 Galaxy A34
1:24h
5000 mAh 25W Samsung PD + PPS
Google Pixel 7a Google Pixel 7a
1:57h
4385 mAh 30W PD
Sony Xperia 10 V (65W PD) Sony Xperia 10 V (65W PD)
1:58h
5000 mAh 65W PD
Xiaomi Redmi 12 Xiaomi Redmi 12
2:07h
5000 mAh 18W PD

Speaker

The Honor 90 only has a single bottom-firing speaker. There is no stereo setup, not even a hybrid one with the earpiece. That is quite unfortunate, given that many of its competitors do offer very nice stereo setups in this price range.

The singular speaker that is available is not particularly impressive either. It is not overly loud, only managing an AVERAGE score in our testing. Its frequency response is nothing to phone home about, either. Highs come out sounding well enough without much distortion, even at high volume settings, and there is even some semblance of lows. Mids, however, are rather muddy, which is very unfortunate and hurts the multimedia experience even more, with voices sounding a bit muffled.

No equalizer is available for the speaker to remedy the situation. Just Honor's Hister sound effects menu, which is meant for headphones.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

Honor 90's main selling point is the design and screen, A54 is slightly cheaper and all-round. Depends on what matters more to you

  • Ss
  • 22 Jan 2024
  • nUk

Honor 90 or samsung a54? Why?

Bad thing about the phone is knuckle way for screenshot doesn't work for Instagram as knuckling will hit likes or hearts for Instagram posts. Notifications list not practical unlike huawei Doesn't have memory card, Doesn't have ...