Honor 50 test: a successful return, with Google services!

The Honor 50 marks the return of the Chinese brand in France. After the U.S. sanctions on its former parent company: Huawei, Honor has taken its independence and returned to the forefront with the Honor 50 SE, 50, and 50 Pro. At the time of writing, only the “classic” model 50 is marketed in France. A smartphone that is positioned on the high end of the mid-range, with a price that starts under the symbolic bar of 500 euros.

Honor 50

Honor 50

  • Original design
  • Beautiful 120 Hz OLED screen
  • Good performance
  • Main photo sensor
  • Good autonomy and very fast charging
  • Mono speaker
  • Ultra-wide angle and macro sensors
  • Front camera integration
  • No waterproofing or microSD or mini-jack 3.5

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Before it was banned, Honor offered phones with very good value for money, often with designs that were out of the ordinary, with a communication that was aimed at a younger audience than Huawei. The absence always being wrong, other brands have since taken advantage of it to make a place in the sun on the smartphone market, Xiaomi
Oppo and Vivo are in the lead. That’s it for the presentations, now let’s discover what this Honor 50 has in the belly!

Honor 50: technical specifications

On paper, the Honor 50 has nothing to envy the competition. Its mid-range 5G-compatible processor, 8GB of RAM, and 120Hz OLED screen make it a phone with a solid technical record. We also note its contained weight of only 175 grams. The “108 megapixels” mention of the main sensor still makes its effect.

In the Honor 50 box

The content of the box is classic, but nevertheless, complete if we compare it to some competitors. Thus, we find :

  • A USB-A to USB-C cable.
  • A 66W charging pad.
  • USB-C wired headphones.
  • A transparent protective shell.
  • A quick start guide.

Honor 50 test: Design

If you think that all smartphones look the same, we can’t really disagree with you. But from time to time, manufacturers have some interesting ideas that allow them to stand out from the crowd. This is precisely the case with this Honor 50.

The design of the front panel is not original, but it is perfectly executed. The black borders around the screen are very thin, and the same size at the top and bottom (no “chin” effect). The curved slab on the sides gives this feeling of holding only the screen in the hand, without ever falling into the trap of “false positives” that sometimes meets this type of screen. As for the front photo sensor, it is perfectly centered, although surrounded by a black border that is a bit wide.

This becomes really interesting when you turn the phone over. The huge photo module composed of two circles, one for the main sensor, the other for the 3 other sensors and the flash, is not without reminding the design of the Huawei P50
. That said, it is rather original, and not necessarily more unsightly than some other proposals such as the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
to name but one.

boutons honor 50
Click to enlarge. Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.

module photo honor 50
Click to enlarge. Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.

haut parleur honor 50
© Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.

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Of course, how can you not see the “frosted crystal” finish and the glitter of the shell, which has the advantage of hiding all fingerprints? A color that will not please everyone, but which works quite well with the golden color of the photo module and the edges of the phone. The back of the phone is also curved, which gives the impression of holding a very thin smartphone. Add to that a fairly contained weight of 175 grams and you have a very comfortable Honor 50 to hold.

As far as the finish is concerned, the back and the frame of the phone are made of a very good quality plastic (unless the back is made of glass?), although it tends to slip between the fingers. A small concern is solved by the transparent protective cover provided in the box. The buttons are perfectly positioned on the right side, the fingerprint reader under the screen is very responsive and the 3.5 mm mini-jack is absent.

Honor 50 test: 120 Hz AMOLED display

ecran honor 50
© Gabriel Manceau pour Clubic.

The Honor 50 is equipped with a large 6.57-inch display with an all-around 19.5:9 ratio and a Full HD+ definition of 2430 x 1080 pixels. All this for a pixel density of 403 pixels per inch, more than enough to display all your content accurately.

More and more Android smartphones are taking advantage of a screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, including on the entry-level. We are therefore not surprised to find this type of panel on the Honor 50. The gain in fluidity is appreciable on a daily basis and the default dynamic refresh rate helps limit its impact on the battery. In the settings, you can choose to block the screen at 120 or 60 Hz.

ecran honor 50

The AMOLED technology offers the Honor 50 infinite contrast and good color saturation. The color temperature can be adjusted in the settings with two preset modes (normal and vivid), or manually. As for brightness, we always enjoyed excellent readability of the screen, even on sunny days in May.

Among the “little extras” that contribute to the visual comfort, we appreciate to find a comfort mode for the eyes as well as a “ebook” mode that switches the screen to black and white. An “always-on display” mode is also part of the game to be able to take a quick look at the time, the date and the battery level.

Performance: it’s got it under the hood!

performances honor 50

The Honor 50 is equipped with the Snapdragon 778G processor from Qualcomm. A mid-range SoC that is also the first to be engraved in 6 nanometers, promising better performance and more efficiency. The phone is able to perform all the daily tasks without any slowdown. Applications install and open quickly despite a very “classic” UFS 2.1 storage. The 8GB of RAM is able to keep many applications running in the background so you can come back to them at your leisure without them restarting.

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benchmarks honor 50

In the benchmarks, the Snapdragon 778G is unsurprisingly just below a Snapdragon 780G that we have already seen in the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
or the Dimensity 1200 AI SoC in the OnePlus Nord 2
. encouraging results insofar as the two phones mentioned above have excellent performance.

This is verified in game with Fortnite Mobile which, although presented as “not officially compatible” with the Honor 50, runs perfectly on it at 30 frames per second with a maximum quality “epic”. In these conditions, we encountered very little slowdown. To push the envelope a little further, we launched the very popular Genshin Impact, known to be resource-hungry. By default, the game offers a low graphics level at 30 frames per second. Under these conditions, the game experience is very pleasant and we didn’t encounter any slowdowns, even in the action scenes.

fortnite honor 50

Without reaching the performance of a Realme GT in this price range, the Honor 50 is a very good gaming smartphone for mobile gamers that does not overheat after a long gaming session. On the other hand, the haptic engine would have deserved a little more care for better sensations once the phone in hand.

Honor 50 test: Interface

Interface Honor 50

The Honor 50 runs on Android 11 with the in-house “Magic UI” interface in version 4.2. Honor’s interface hasn’t changed much since we last left it. It’s all about big icons and rounded shapes. If you were wondering: yes, all Google applications are present, including the Play Store. This was the necessary condition for the Chinese brand to relaunch itself on the French market.

No less than 12 Google applications are pre-installed on the phone. None of them can be uninstalled. We also counted about fifteen Honor applications, more or less useful. Some of them can be uninstalled, others not. The rest of the interface is very classic, with a good level of customization. The dark mode is of course included.

Personnalisation Honor 50

It is possible to choose the style of home screen, with or without drawer, but also the type of navigation you prefer, by gestures or with the three keys at the bottom of the screen. The search results in the settings, on the other hand, seemed rather confusing to us.

Without being bad, Honor’s Magic UI interface left us a bit disappointed by its lack of finishing touches. We’re still a long way from what Samsung’s One UI or OnePlus’ Oxygen OS, to name but a few, can offer.

Audio: listen carefully

The Honor 50 has a single speaker, which is quite rare on a mid-range phone today. Located on the bottom edge of the phone, it is easily obstructed when held horizontally to watch a video for example. As expected, the sound quality is not extraordinary. Impossible to go beyond 70% volume without squeaking. The voices are highlighted, the highs and lows are far too discreet.

If you don’t want to go through Bluetooth 5.2, the phone comes with wired headphones, as required by European regulations. Connected via USB-C, these allow you to comfortably enjoy all your multimedia content. The headphones are not in-ear, so no passive noise reduction is offered. At the software level, Honor does not offer any sound adjustment, not even a small equalizer. Audiophiles, you are warned.

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Network and GPS: it won’t let you down

We took the Honor 50 on a weekend trip with several hours of driving. It was used as a GPS in the car and as a main phone to make calls in the city and in the country. We were never able to catch it out.

reseau honor 50

The “GPS Test” and “Open Signal” applications confirm our impressions on the ground: GPS navigation is accurate (less than 3 meters) and the network quality is good with less than 39 ms of latency on the Orange network in the Bordeaux region. Without a doubt, the Honor 50 is a good companion for the road.

Honor 50 test: Camera

While the size of the Honor 50’s camera block may impress, it’s actually composed of a fairly standard 4 camera sensor configuration:

  • 108-megapixel wide-angle (f/1.9)
  • Ultra-wide angle of 8 megapixels (f/2.2)
  • Macro of 2 megapixels (f/2.4)
  • 2-megapixel depth of field (f/2.4)

A perfectible photo application

application photo honor 50

Today there seems to be a consensus on what a good mobile photo application should look like. Honor adopts these codes with a scrolling of the different shooting modes horizontally and the options associated with each of them on the upper part of the screen. The “multi-video” mode that uses the front and rear sensor should please vloggers. The modes that are not displayed are located in the “More” tab.

It is possible to change the layout of the modes within this tab, but to add them as shortcuts to access them easily… Another ergonomic problem, the zoom is not just above the shortcuts, which makes the application difficult to use with one hand.

Wide-angle and ultra wide-angle: daytime photos

photo grand angle honor 20

Wide-angle photo on the left, ultra wide-angle on the right.

The Honor 50’s main photosensor is 108 megapixels, but the phone captures 12-megapixel shots by default using pixel-binning technology that merges nine photosites (not four) into one to capture more light.

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Daylight shots taken with the main (wide-angle) sensor are of good quality. The exposure is right and there is a good level of detail. The saturation is quite high, which results in bright colors and high contrast. A rendering rather pleasant to the eye.

photo grand angle honor 50

Wide angle photo on the left, ultra wide angle on the right.

The 108 megapixels mode is of course available if you want to zoom in the image with a lot of precision, or simply to print your shots on large formats. For photos to share on social networks, the “classic” mode with 12 megapixels will do the trick.

Not surprisingly for this price range, the ultra-large sensor is much less convincing, even in good light conditions. The chromatic aberrations are numerous, the distortion in the angles is important, as well as the loss of details in these same areas.

photo grand angle 1 honor 50

photo grand angle 3 honor 50
Photo grand-angle. Cliquez pour agrandir.

photo grand angle 2 honor 50
Photo grand-angle. Cliquez pour agrandir.

photo grand angle 4 honor 50
Photo grand-angle. Cliquez pour agrandir.

Zoom

In the absence of a telephoto sensor, you have to make do with the digital zoom. The latter does quite well up to x5, with shots that lose quality, but which remain largely usable. If you feel like it, you can zoom up to x10, assuming the consequences on your retina.

photo sans zoom honor 50

Grand-angle sans zoom à gauche, avec zoom numérique x2 à droite.

photo zoom x2 honor 50

Zoom x2 à gauche, zoom x5 à droite.

photo zoom x5 honor 50

Zoom x5 à gauche, zoom x10 à droite.

Photo

As too often, the macro sensor seems to be present to “add a sensor” on the phone. Its definition of only 2 megapixels does not allow to obtain a satisfactory level of details for this kind of shots. The minimum focusing distance is also far too large and does not allow to get close enough to the subject. After having taken dozens of pictures, here are the two most convincing ones we obtained.

photo macro honor 50
Photo macro. Cliquez pour agrandir.

photo macro honor 50
Photo macro. Cliquez pour agrandir.

Night photos

The Honor 50’s night photos result in high contrast and significant underexposure of the scene. The night mode unclogs some areas by bringing more light, but the colors remain largely desaturated. On this point, the phone of the Chinese brand did not convince us.

photo grand angle sans mode nuit honor 50

Night photo with the wide-angle sensor: without night mode on the left, with on the right.

For the sake of form, we share with you the same scene taken with the ultra wide angle. It is simply unusable. Note also that the night mode is not available in this shooting mode.

photo ultra grand angle sans mode nuit honor 50
Photo de nuit avec l’ultra grand-angle (mode nuit indisponible).

Portraits and selfies

The portrait mode is effective but can be improved. The background blur, processed in a software way, is very (too) uniform. But especially the disappearance of some elements when cropping the subject which is a problem, as you can see below.

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photo sans mode portrait honor 50

Without portrait mode on the left, with portrait mode on the right.

In selfie mode, the portraits are a bit more convincing. The clipping still cuts a few hairs on the way, but nothing too bad. We might have appreciated a better dynamic between dark and light areas.

selfie sans mode portrait honor 50

Without portrait mode on the left, with portrait mode on the right.

Video

The Honor 50 is capable of filming in 1080p at 30 or 60 frames per second, or in 4K at 30 frames per second. Unfortunately, the phone doesn’t take advantage of optical stabilization, just software stabilization. The result is a bit shaky. The phone also offers an interesting “multi-video” mode that allows you to shoot simultaneously with the phone’s front and rear sensors.

Autonomy: big day and fast recharge

It is a 4300 mAh battery that equips the Honor 50. A capacity that may seem modest considering its large 120 Hz screen and its overall performance. But Honor has done a very good job of optimization that allows its phone to last for a long day under heavy use (benchmarks, games, social networks, web browsing, etc.). If you use it more carefully, you can last up to a day and a half. Without shining, the Honor 50 offers a decent autonomy.

autonomie honor 50

Where the Honor 50 really shines is with its 66W charging pad that is included in the box. It allows you to gain 50% autonomy in just 20 minutes. Count on 40 minutes for a full recharge.

Price and availability

The Honor 50 is marketed in France at a recommended price of €499. A price that places it in direct competition with the still very good realme X3 Super Zoom

or the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
in the very popular category of the best smartphones under 500 euros

Honor 50 : the opinion of TechMarkup

For its return to the French market with Google services, Honor does not demerit by offering a very balanced smartphone that pulls its weight and design, but also its beautiful 120 Hz screen or the 66W fast charging.

We regret a few shortcomings such as the simple mono speaker, the lack of waterproofing or a not very convincing ultra-wide-angle sensor. If the Honor 50 does not demerit and deserves all your attention for all the reasons we have mentioned, the competition is still fierce on this price segment.

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