HONOR 90 Review – Best Looking Midrange Around
RM2,099 (12GB RAM / 512GB storage)
RM1,799 (12GB RAM / 512GB storage)
+ Reliable performance for everyday use, complete with 5G
+ Stunning design
+ Excellent quad-curved display
+ Comfortable to hold
+ Good camera system
+ Decent battery life
+ Excellent charging speed
+ Relatively affordable
- No wireless charging
- Depth camera is bad
- No IP rating for water / dust resistance
- Screen refresh rate needs more optimization
- Mono speaker
- No telephoto camera
Unboxing the HONOR 90
Kicking off the HONOR 90 review with the unboxing, the box comes in a white box with a picture of smartphone on the front. You can find some details around it but there’s nothing much. Inside the box, you can find quite an assortment of items:
- User guide
- Warranty card
- SIM ejector tool
- Clear protective case
- USB-C cable
- 40W HONOR SuperCharge charger
- Handsfree kit
- 3.5mm to USB-C adapter
- The HONOR 90 itself
|Processor||Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition
1 x Cortex-A710 @ 2.5GHz + 3 x Cortex-A710 @ 2.36GHz + 4 x Cortex-A510 @ 1.8GHz
|RAM||8GB / 12GB (+HONOR RAM Turbo)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
GPS, Glonass, BDS, QZSS, Galileo
|Storage||256GB / 512GB|
|Display||6.7″ Full HD+ (2664 x 1200) AMOLED Display, 1600 nits (peak)
Adaptive 120Hz Refresh Rate
3840Hz PWM Dimming
|Rear Camera||200MP f/1.9 wide angle camera, PDAF
12MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera, 112°
2MP f/2.4 depth camera
|Selfie Camera||50MP f/2.4 wide-angle selfie cam, 100°|
66W HONOR SuperCharge Fast Charging
|Dimensions||161.9 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm, 183g|
|Colors||Midnight Black, Emerald Green, Diamond Silver, Peacock Blue|
Starting off with Antutu v10, the HONOR 90 managed to decently at best. The Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 sits between the Dimensity 6020 and 9000, the former being geared more towards entry-level, affordable smartphones whereas the latter is geared more towards flagships and upper midrange devices.
In Geekbench 6, the HONOR 90 had admirable scores in both areas but it’s clear that it’s below your usual flagships. What I find interesting is how it compares to the Dimensity 7200, losing out in single core by a small margin but winning in multi-core by a more noticeable difference. Regardless, it safely puts the CPU performance within what you’d typically expect from a midrange smartphone.
Moving on to 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited, the score doesn’t seem too good but keep in mind that the test is quite resource-intensive. Based on the result, you can easily play mobile games on it but something like Genshin Impact will likely have some form of lag unless you dial down the settings.
Lastly on PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark, the HONOR 90 managed to break the 10,000 mark, making it pretty ideal for a daily driver. In this particular test, the difference between itself and flagships are pretty small, which means it is almost as capable for your usual everyday apps.
In case you’re wondering about the battery life, the HONOR 90 at 60Hz refresh rate managed to last 10 hours and 25 minutes (625 minutes) in the PCMark Work 3.0 endurance test whereas with the dynamic refresh rate setting, it’s at a lower 8 hours 24 minutes (504 minutes). For whatever reason, it seems to not be able to efficiently dial down the refresh rate with the latter setting, resulting in a lower battery life. Hopefully, a future software update can help address this. As for the charging speed, this is what we got:
- 15 minutes = 46%
- 30 minutes = 78%
- 44 minutes = 100%
Looking for a smartphone that’s more affordable than this one? Check out our HONOR X9a review by clicking right here.
The cameras on the HONOR 90 is actually pretty good for its price. The main camera is capable of capturing good details with excellent colors, akin to flagships from two years ago, albeit with more softening effects on faces at times. The ultrawide is pretty close, though colors appear slightly more bland and it’s more prone to noise. The depth camera is barely usable so I would avoid that at all costs. Selfies are okay at best but you definitely good lighting for decent results, but even then, the softening effect is quite noticeable. Overall, it’s a pretty capable camera system.
There are a good number of reasons to consider the HONOR 90. For starters, this is arguably the best looking smartphone within its price range. This Peacock Blue is like the evolution of the gradient color trend we had previously, making it look far more elegant than its price suggests. It’s also well-designed as the quad-curved style, essentially the way the body and display are curved makes, it very comfortable to hold while giving it a more modern look.
Speaking of quad-curved, the display is another thing the HONOR 90 has going for it. It’s a 6.7-inch AMOLED dipslay with a 1.5K resolution. Furthermore, it has a 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit color, HDR10+ support, and 1,600 nits of brightness at its peak, matching up with flagship smartphones. In simpler terms, you get excellent colors with a really wide dynamic range and it’s certainly bright enough to view under sunlight. The icing on the cake here is the blue light filter on the screen itself and 3,840Hz PWM dimming, which can do automatic dimming to aid with eye fatigue.
Lastly, the price of the HONOR 90 makes it very attractive. It starts out at RM1,799 for the 256GB storage variant, but you also have the 512GB storage variant at RM2,099. You get the same chip, display, RAM and more regardless of whichever one you go as it’s only a matter of storage capacity.
Of course, the HONOR 90 has its fair share of drawbacks. For starters, it doesn’t have stereo speakers. You only get a mono speaker on the bottom, near the USB-C port. This is a bit of a missed opportunity since the display is already so good, and having one more on the earpiece directed towards the user would have made it a strong contender for multimedia use like videos, music, and mobile games.
Next up, there is no official ingress protection for the HONOR 90. That isn’t to say that it will die immediately after touching water but it’s also definitely not water and dust resistant. This is unfortunate given its camera’s prowess, as it could potentially do good for underwater shots. For realistic day-to-day use, consumers will have to be extra careful, especially in case you get caught in the rain.
Then, we have the fact that it doesn’t support wireless charging. Sure, the included charger can fully charge the device pretty fast but for those who’d rather not deal with cables and charge with ease despite the longer time period, this would be a pain point. This was likely cut to keep costs low, so I can still understand why.
Lastly, the HONOR 90 doesn’t come with a telephoto camera. The HONOR 90 can do zoomed shots decently well, provided you’re not zooming in too far, but a telephoto camera would useful the preserve quality better when shooting subjects at a distance. Sure, I could also say that this was done as a cost-cutting measure as well but if that’s the case, I’d rather they also cut the depth camera as well since it’s just terrible.
HONOR 90 Verdict
The HONOR 90 is a value-focused smartphone with great looks to boot. It may not have the best hardware but it’s certainly enough for daily use, and 5G connectivity makes it viable for long-term use. I just hope they optimize the screen refresh rate so we can see some improvements in battery life, as I’m sure it can do better than the results we got.
At the end of our HONOR 90 review, I award this smartphone with our Silver Pokdeward.
Big thanks to HONOR Malaysia for sending us this smartphone for the purpose of this review.