Honor 6A hands-on: Premium style, budget price

Honor's latest budget model is going on sale in the UK. Here's our first look.

Honor, the sub-brand owned by Huawei, is putting out some great phones. We love the Honor 9, and over the past year or so even the less-expensive models have also been pretty noteworthy.

The latest phone hitting European shores is the Honor 6A, and in the UK it'll be available to pre-order from Monday, July 31 ahead of a general sale on August 4 with carrier Three. This phone has previously been announced in China, but this is the first time we're seeing it further west.

With a low price of £149.99, it's sure to interest those looking for a great phone on a budget, and after a brief hands-on we're quite impressed.

There's no fingerprint sensor, but everything else here is solid.

For the price, there's a fair amount of phone crammed in. Powering the Honor 6A is a Snapdragon 430 CPU, paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage expandable by microSD card. It's also dual-SIM, accepting one nano SIM and one micro SIM.

Inside is all well and good, but it's outside where the Honor 6A shines, frankly. In times past, budget phones would look like they were designed to be cheap. Then you look at the Honor 6A, with its sleek metallic body that comes in at 8.2mm thin, and you imagine the possibilities. It's a very clean looking phone, in part due to not having a fingerprint sensor on it at all.

That's one area where the 6A does fall short, even for a budget phone. It's possible to buy cheap and get a fingerprint sensor nowadays, and if you're moving from a phone that had one you'll probably miss it. There's also no NFC, so no Android Pay.

That slight disappointment aside, the Honor 6A is a really nice little phone, The 5-inch display is 1280 x 720 resolution but has nice colors and seems bright enough to use outdoors in the London morning. It's light, too. And while it's only coming to the UK in the gray and black combo seen here, that's OK, because it looks great.

This is one of the cheapest phones to run EMUI 5.1.

Battery life should be pretty good, too, all things considered. Honor has squeezed a 3020mAh cell inside, which should be adequate for even the most demanding of days. We'll put that to the test in the course of a full review. Additionally, Honor says that the battery inside should retain at least 80% of its total capacity after two years of charging and discharging.

On the back, you'll find a 13MP camera with phase-detect auto focus, and on the front a 5MP shooter with the usual beauty mode software you find on any Huawei or Honor phone. Additionally, the screen will light up in darker conditions to act as a flash to better illuminate your late night selfies.

The software doesn't seem to pack any surprises for anyone familiar with EMUI. The Honor 6A runs EMUI 5.1 atop Android 7.0 Nougat, and at least on the tester units we saw weren't particularly loaded with any bloat to speak of. However, we'll reserve final judgment until we've a retail unit in hand.

The Honor 6A is a direct replacement in the lineup for last year's Honor 5C, and for £150 seems like a pretty nice smartphone. It combines styling you might expect to find on a more expensive phone with solid hardware and EMUIs own take on Android. No fingerprint sensor is disappointing, but potentially not a deal breaker for everyone shopping in this price point.

We'll be spending more time with the Honor 6A soon for a full review. Pre-orders go live in the UK on vMall as of Monday, July 31 for £149.99. On August 4 it'll become available from Three, too, for £149.99 on pay as you go and with no upfront cost on a new contract from £11 a month.

See at vMall



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