After more than 3 years of absence because of the whole US-Huawei saga, Honor is finally back — now as an independent brand. It’s slowly expanding its smartphone business, including India, led by former Realme Vice President – Madhav Seth! The first premium product that’s going global is the Honor 90, which I’ve been driving daily for this review. For me, it feels like a really good midrange phone that gets a lot of things right.
Honor 90 Review: Specifications
- Body: 161.9 × 74.1 × 7.8mm, 183 grams
- Display: 6.7″ AMOLED, 10-bit, 120Hz refresh rate, 1600 nits peak brightness
- Resolution: FHD+ (2664 x 1200 pixels), 19.98:9
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 “Accelerated” (4nm, Accelerated) (4nm Mobile platform)
- CPU: Octa-core
– 1×Cortex-A710 (2.5GHz)
– 3×Cortex-A710 (2.36GHz)
– 4×Cortex-A510 (1.8GHz)
- CPU: Octa-core
- GPU: Adreno 644
- Memory: 12/16GB RAM, 256/512GB storage (non-expandable)
- Software & UI: Android 13 with Honor MagicOS 7.1 on top
- Rear Camera: Triple;
– 200MP primary, f/1.9
– 12MP ultrawide, f/2.2
– 2MP macro, f/2.4
- Front Camera: 50MP (punch-hole)
- Audio: Single speaker
- Security: Fingerprint scanner (in-display)
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 5 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2×2 MIMO), Bluetooth 5.2, GPS / AGPS / Glonass / Galileo / BDS, USB-C port, 5G (NR)
- Battery: 5000mAh, 66W wired charging
- Colors: Midnight Black, Feather Blue, Diamond Silver, and Emerald Green
- Price in Nepal: Rs. 58,990 (12/256GB) | Rs. 63,990 (12/512GB)
Honor 90 Review:
- 161.9 × 74.1 × 7.8mm
- 183 grams
Okay, the first thing I really liked about the Honor 90 is how it looks and feels in the hands. It’s actually giving me Huawei’s “Nova series vibes” with subtle curves all around, a bold, circular camera ring, and a slim and lightweight build quality.
And despite its sleek design, Honor has also managed to fit in a big 5000mAh battery inside, which is quite remarkable. I have it in this “Peacock Blue” colorway with a nice brushed matte finish, whereas you also get a bunch of other choices as well.
Thanks to its ergonomic design and terrific grip, I decided not to wrap it up with a clear case that Honor provides in the box. Unfortunately, that decision came to bite me back because I happened to accidentally drop it once, and… just look at this.
Maybe some kind of toughened glass would’ve prevented this, but since Honor 90 doesn’t have Gorilla Glass protection at all, I will definitely suggest you case it up, even though that takes away the remarkable hands-on feel of the phone.
- 6.7″ AMOLED, 10-bit, 120Hz, 1600 nits
- DXOMark Gold certification
- 3,840Hz PWM dimming
DXOMark Gold certification
Anyway, Honor 90’s display is equally impressive. And maybe one of the best things about it. In fact, it has received the “DXOMark Gold” certificate while tying with iPhone 14 Plus in DXOMark’s ranking of best smartphone displays.
Just listen to some of its specs, and you should be convinced. From a 1.5K resolution to a 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit colors, 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and HDR10+ certification, this 6.7” AMOLED screen has got it all.
More importantly, Honor 90 is also the very first smartphone to receive “TÜV Rheinland Flicker-Free” certification, thanks to its incredible 3,840Hz PWM dimming support.
So this means when some people say they get headaches using their phone at low brightness? Or maybe you’re one of those people? That’s because of the low PWM — aka frequency of the screen, where the light-emitting diodes turn on and off rather slowly.
Not everyone notices this, but it can be the stuff of literal headaches to those who do. For comparison, Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max have PWM dimming of just 240 and 480Hz, respectively, which is considered to be on the lower end.
On top of a flicker-free display, Honor 90 also has a hardware-level blue light filter to protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to harmful blue lights.
I’m also enjoying the usual media consumption experience on this phone. It has no problem playing HDR videos or anything, so that’s great too. However, Honor’s decision to go with a single speaker setup on a midrange phone is rather disappointing. As a result, I’ve had to connect earbuds every time I want to watch any shows or movies on this thing.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 “Accelerated Edition”
- 12GB RAM, 256/512GB internal storage
Getting to the performance side of things, the Honor 90 is powered by Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chip. It’s not the newest or the most powerful processor in this price bracket, but it is capable enough to get through your regular chores perfectly fine.
Oh, Honor has gone with an “Accelerated Edition” of 7 Gen 1 here, by the way. This is just a really fancy way of saying it has a sli…ghtly overclocked primary CPU core and nothing more.
Either way — as I said before — normal usage feels superfluid on the Honor 90. I haven’t encountered any lags, stutters, or overheating issues while I go about my everyday errands here, even though I can’t recommend it to serious gamers.
You can play titles like PUBG and COD Mobile at a steady 60 fps, but the phone gets warm pretty fast. Whereas I also noticed some frame drops when playing Genshin Impact at just Medium graphics settings with 60 fps mode turned on.
But I do like how generous Honor has been when it comes to memory configuration for this phone. You get the base 256GB storage and 12GB RAM in its base variant. So multitasking and RAM management have not been a problem here.
Software and UI
- MagicOS 7.1, Android 13
I find Honor’s MagicOS to be quite optimized as well, although some official confirmation on the number of software updates the phone would get would’ve been nice too. One Honor representative we spoke to did mention the Honor 90 will get at least up to the Android 15 update, but why not make an official announcement for everyone to see?
- Triple (200MP primary + 12MP ultrawide + 2MP macro)
- 50MP selfie camera
Okay, let me talk about the cameras now. And here, Honor has gone with Samsung’s 200MP ISOCELL HP3 sensor — the same one you’d on the Realme 11 Pro+ — alongside a 12MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro shooter. And taking care of the selfies is a 50MP sensor inside the hole-punch cutout.
I gotta say, the images from its main camera are pretty great actually. They’re a bit heavy in terms of contrast — yes — but daytime photos from the Honor 90 have good details and colors.
But since it doesn’t have OIS, it often struggles to lock focus on moving subjects like your pets. And this means its lowlight shots don’t turn out as sharp as they should either.
Its ultrawide photos are pretty great, though. There’s not much color shift here compared to the normal shots, and the Honor 90 maintains a decent amount of details thanks to that 12MP sensor. And since it supports autofocus as well, you can also take relatively better macro images here.
I like its portrait shots too. The way it manages background blurs, the subject’s skin tone, and the contrast level is commendable. There’s also a 2x mode for portraits, but except for a closer subject focus, there’s not much else with this.
However, Honor 90’s selfie game is some of the best in the segment. I mean… seriously. The way it maintains skin tone, dynamic range, and everything feels almost flagship-level whether you’re shooting indoors or outdoors. The photos do have a little smoothening effect, but they are good!
Moving on, this guy can record up to 4K 30 fps videos from its primary, ultrawide, and even selfie camera. Once again — the lack of OIS hurts Honor 90’s reputation in the video department a bit — but the videos do have decent stabilization thanks to EIS.
Battery and Charging
- 5,000mAh battery
- 66W fast charging
As for battery life, Honor 90 has been getting me through my usual workday just fine. But still, the battery optimization on this thing is not the best, especially at low battery levels, where it starts draining pretty fast.
At least its charging speed is pretty sweet, with the 66W adapter you get inside the box, taking the phone from 0 to 100% in less than an hour.
Honor 90 Review: Conclusion
Okay, time to wrap things up now. And for the most part, the Honor 90 checks a lot of boxes for a balanced midrange phone. Not just in terms of the usual stuff, but I also like how Honor has paid attention to quality of life things like network reception and call quality.
So for something under Rs. 60,000 in Nepal, I think the Honor 90 is fairly competitively priced. And besides the phone itself, I’m also super pumped to see such a competent brand make its comeback in one of the largest smartphone markets in the world. Only time will tell what this means for the competition and the future of the smartphone industry, but I can’t wait to see things play out.
Honor 90 Review: Pros and Cons
- Stylish Design
- Flagship Display
- Impressive selfies
- Single speaker
- No promised updates
- No OIS for Camera