Notebookcheck

Honor Holly Smartphone Review

Sven Kloevekorn, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 03/05/2015

Price-cutting HD. New smartphones for below 150 Euros (~$163) are no longer inevitably found in scrap corners. Honor presents a 5-inch handset with an HD IPS screen that would also fit well in the mid-range. The fact that it is only powered by an entry-level SoC with little RAM barely had an impact in routine use.

Honor Holly (picture: Honor)
Honor Holly (picture: Honor)

For the original German review, see here.

Like we reported early February, Honor has come up with a special idea for the startup of its new entry-level smartphones. The starting price of the Holly was to drop in line with the number of users who registered here by market launch on February 23. The manufacturer's preconditions for this campaign remain unclear, but registering was not attached to a purchase obligation. The event was called "Pricehack," and the price was 99 Euros (~$107) on launch day. However, MediaMarkt (German electronic retailer) only offered the phone for this low price for a limited time. The idea generated huge media response and attention for the Holly, which was likely also the basic idea of this campaign.

There are now quite a few 5-inch smartphones in the 100 to 150 Euros (~$108 to ~$163) price range, but the Holly stands out from its rivals with its IPS screen with a HD resolution of 1280x720 pixels. A Mediatek SoC with a maximum clock rate of 1.3 GHz and an integrated Mali-400 MP2 graphics unit, which are supported by 1 GB of RAM, are under the hood. The flash memory capacity of 16 GB is tight but can be expanded up to 32 GB via a micro-SD card. Otherwise, the usual Wi-Fi standards, Bluetooth 4.0 and HSPA+ are installed, but not LTE. The battery has a capacity of 2000 mAh. A special feature of the phone is that two SIM cards can be used simultaneously (dual-SIM).

The specifications and price place Honor's Holly with a weight of 157 grams in the (upper) entry-level range. Like other Honor smartphones, it also offers a lot of technology for a low price. We used current smartphones from a similar price range for performance comparisons, some of which feature the competing Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 8210 (MSM8210) with an Adreno 302 graphics.

Case

The back cover of the black Holly is textured (picture: Honor)
The back cover of the black Holly is textured (picture: Honor)

A metal casing was not expected for this price, and consequently the chassis of the Holly is completely made of plastic. The back part is the battery cover, which is available in black or white. The front bezel of both versions is black. It is completely covered by the display screen and cannot exactly be called small for today's standards. The absolutely sleek, piano paint-like surface of the plastic casing proved to be slippery in moist hands. Our sample's back is white and fingerprints are barely visible. That will likely also be the case in the black version because the cover features a kind of leather texture. The design is basic and is similar with that of LG's Nexus 5

Removing the back cover is easy and enables accessing the battery, both SIM-card slots, and the micro-SD slot. The build quality did not give any reason whatsoever for complaint. The back part is very flush, and we did not discover any protruding edges or other irregularities. The construction makes a very robust impression despite the plastic material. The tester could warp the Holly to a small extent with some effort, but more than a quiet crackling noise was not heard.

145 mm / 5.71 inch 69 mm / 2.72 inch 7 mm / 0.2756 inch 140 g0.3086 lbs142.2 mm / 5.6 inch 72.3 mm / 2.85 inch 9.4 mm / 0.3701 inch 157 g0.3461 lbs140.2 mm / 5.52 inch 72.4 mm / 2.85 inch 8.8 mm / 0.3465 inch 146 g0.3219 lbs132.5 mm / 5.22 inch 67 mm / 2.64 inch 9.3 mm / 0.3661 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs124.8 mm / 4.91 inch 64.8 mm / 2.55 inch 12.3 mm / 0.4843 inch 142 g0.3131 lbs

Connectivity

All basics that can be expected in a modern smartphone are installed. Wi-Fi n, HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.0, and A-GPS are just as available as a micro-SD slot for cards up to 32 GB (the Holly in fact did not support our 64 GB card). Thus, it is possible to expand the 16 GB flash memory at little cost. The RGB notification LEDs and FM radio are not a matter of course in this price range. The SoC with its integrated graphics unit and the 1 GB working memory match the entry-level claim just like the lack of LTE and NFC. The 5-inch HD IPS screen sooner points toward the mid-range.

The most striking unique selling point is certainly the second SIM slot. It is, however, only GSM capable. Compared with the tester's old Nexus 4, it is also noticed that the Honor limits the sensor equipment to the bare necessities. Most ports and controls are found where expected. The micro-USB port is in the lower edge, the audio jack in the upper edge, and the power button on the right. The volume rocker is also found here, although the tester would have preferred seeing it on the left. The buttons feature a crisp pressure point, and their use is impeccable. Unfortunately, USB OTG is not supported.

Lower edge: microphone, micro-USB
Lower edge: microphone, micro-USB
Upper edge: headphone
Upper edge: headphone
Left: no interfaces
Left: no interfaces
Right: power, volume
Right: power, volume

Software

Unlike in the Honor 6, Honor does not cover Android 4.2.2 aka KitKat with the well-known Emotion UI skin on the Holly. Thus, features such as the phone manager or different design options are not available. The differences to Vanilla Android are very marginal; there are barely any additional functions. One exception is the possibility of automatically turning the phone on and off at a predefined time. Also, a basic home screen dubbed "Launcher" has been added, which can be used instead of the standard launcher and resembles the tile desktop of Windows 8.

The Holly does not have a classic app drawer so that all apps are on the home screen, but they can be moved into folders. The icons of the basic apps, such as music and videos, have been modified just like the symbols in the setting menu's first level. The other modifications are trivialities, for example the quick settings menu now features more icons. As can be seen in the screenshots, there is barely any bloatware and some apps, like Facebook, can also be uninstalled.

Communication & GPS

According to the spec sheet, Honor's Holly supports the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz band only) and Bluetooth 4.0 in addition to the different GSM and UMTS varieties. Compared with other smartphones, the Wi-Fi reception performance proved inconspicuous to good.

GPS does not look as good. It did not connect to satellites indoors where other devices managed that at least after a while. The handset connected quite fast when the tester went outdoors without a satellite fixing but also lost the signal for no apparent reason. Our GPS accuracy test was performed by car, which represents a slightly more difficult situation. A Garmin eTrex 30 was used for comparison. It did not cut corners like the Holly probably because of the shorter update intervals, and it was also closer to the streets. These minor inaccuracies should, however, not thwart successful navigating via, for example, Google Maps.

Honor Holly
Honor Holly
Honor Holly
Honor Holly
Honor Holly
Honor Holly
GPS indoors
GPS indoors
Garmin eTrex 30
Garmin eTrex 30
Garmin eTrex 30
Garmin eTrex 30
Garmin eTrex 30
Garmin eTrex 30
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors

Telephone & Voice Quality

The phone app only provides the basics that are found in an almost identical form on Nexus smartphones based on Vanilla KitKat. Neither the tester nor his landline partner had anything to complain about in terms of voice quality. That is also true for the hands-free feature. We can confirm that the Holly has a rich, natural and mostly static-free voice quality on both sides.

Cameras & Multimedia

Honor installs two cameras. The rear-facing, 8 MP unit features an LED flash, a resolution of 8 MP and a BSI sensor that promises a higher light yield. The front-facing camera only has a sufficient 2 MP. The primary camera records Full HD videos in a useful quality in daylight. Honor lists the following camera app features: Panoramic mode, Beauty mode, HDR mode, continuous shot, scene mode and video stabilizer. The pictures are colorful and sharp in default mode and the details are just sufficient for printing in A4 format.

The scenes of our test pictures exhibit tight exposure especially in high-contrast objects. That is probably supposed to prevent frayed edges, and it also functions well. Since the exposure range is not sufficient, black areas are not outlined in almost any picture.

The noise suppression strong intervention tends to blur low-contrast image sections, such as lawns or pavement even in very good light conditions. However, it does not manage to subtract the image noise in the sky's blue. Apparently, the picture editor tries to brighten up dark image areas, which leads to massive artifacts in sharpness alongside noise. Generally, the camera offers a satisfactory snapshot-suitable image quality that does not allow room for editing or zooming sections afterwards. The webcam suffices for videoconferencing and (blurry) selfies - but not more.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3

Accessories

The cyan-colored cardboard box only contains warranty documents and a quick-start guide in English besides the power supply and a one-meter USB cable.

Warranty

Honor includes a 24-month manufacturer's warranty on the handset and only six months on the battery as common among most brands.

Input Devices & Controls

Honor opted for soft-touch buttons in KitKat design below the screen, which are not backlit and only perfectly visible in very good light due to their low contrast. They respond reliably to touch when they are tapped, which also functions even without looking after a short period of familiarization. The advantage of this is that content has more room on the display. The content rotates within a second when turning the smartphone.

A swipe keyboard is preloaded on the Honor 6. The one in the Holly dubbed "Pinyin" does not support this input method and also annoys with an infamous bug: It is not possible to set the layout to German permanently in the preloaded browser or even in Chrome. The "English (9-key)" is displayed after every new input. When the layout is set to German via a button again, ".com" is mapped on the space bar. Although the keyboard does not behave that way in other applications, it is absolutely useless and we deducted points for that. The tester soon enabled the stock Android keyboard and generally recommends SwiftKey. We did not have problems with the touchscreen's responsiveness or accuracy.

Display

It is not at all a matter of course that Honor installs an IPS screen with an HD resolution in such an affordable entry-level smartphone like the Holly. All other comparably priced smartphones in the performance comparison have less. 1280x720 pixels (16:9) distributed over 5-inches still equals 294 ppi. It is 441 ppi in Full HD like in the Nexus 5. The tester would claim that only hawk-eyes will see a difference in routine use. Everything was nicely sharp, high-detail and void of annoyances like pixelated slanted edges subjectively. 

472 cd/m² in the center is a really fantastic maximum brightness. No other smartphone in our comparison field can compete with that. The Holly also places itself among the upper third of all smartphones we tested in the past twelve months.

459
cd/m²
485
cd/m²
433
cd/m²
461
cd/m²
472
cd/m²
421
cd/m²
455
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
434
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 485 cd/m² Average: 454.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 472 cd/m²
Contrast: 613:1 (Black: 0.77 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8.23 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 8.84 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.12

However, the black level of 0.77 cd/m² is too high even for IPS conditions. The Holly owes its good contrast of 613:1 to its high brightness. IPS stands for a good color reproduction besides good viewing-angle stability. However, the DeltaE of 8 (ColorChecker) and 9 (Grayscale) are not really conforming to standards and are overall only middling. Microsoft's Lumia 535 with rates of less than 4 proves that that can be done better. Subjectively, the tester perceived the colors as vivid but not too garish and the balance as warm. A slight shift towards green is visible in the grayscale screenshot.

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
CalMAN ColorChecker sRGB
CalMAN ColorChecker AdobeRGB
CalMAN ColorChecker AdobeRGB
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Color Management
CalMAN Color Management
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
Screen
-12%
-8%
18%
15%
Brightness middle
472
426
-10%
375
-21%
431
-9%
373
-21%
Brightness
455
417
-8%
370
-19%
424
-7%
365
-20%
Brightness Distribution
87
90
3%
91
5%
90
3%
96
10%
Black Level *
0.77
1.02
-32%
0.74
4%
0.64
17%
0.5
35%
Contrast
613
418
-32%
507
-17%
673
10%
746
22%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
8.23
8.06
2%
8.8
-7%
3.6
56%
4.84
41%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
8.84
9.64
-9%
8.69
2%
3.71
58%
5.62
36%
Gamma
2.12 104%
2.46 89%
2.03 108%
2.4 92%
2.59 85%
CCT
6819 95%
7015 93%
8507 76%
6878 95%
7943 82%

* ... smaller is better

Despite the fabulous maximum brightness, the screen will have to be shadowed at least on sunny days because the reflections on the highly glossy surface will prevail otherwise.

Losses in image quality are first seen when looking at the screen from both a vertical and horizontal shifted view in flat angles, which can be the case with a smartphone, for example, when it is on a table. Slanted viewing angles during normal handling only lead to a negligible brightness and contrast loss. However, that is even less in first-rate screens like in the iPad Air 2. This fact rounds off the very good overall impression that the screen made in the test.

Performance

The low-priced and economic Mediatek MT6582 entry-level SoC (4 x 1.3 GHz, ARM Cortex-A7) is installed. Its assessed performance is roughly on par with Nvidia's Tegra 3 from 2011 / 2012. Thus, it has enough power for most apps. The scores achieved in our benchmarks are identical with those of other smartphones based on the same SoC, as expected.

Apps opened swiftly in practice, but not quite as fast as on current top-of-the-line models. Animations also stuttered slightly occasionally. Although Steve Jobs would not have accepted that, only very demanding users who wouldn't buy a budget smartphone from the outset would feel annoyed. Honor's Holly scores surprisingly well in the Androbench storage benchmark, which might also be a reason for the unexpectedly good gaming performance. The comparison devices cannot compete with the Holly here, and even the higher-quality Archos 50c Oxygen is at least 31% slower.

BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
507 Points ∼25%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
367 Points ∼18% -28%
Graphics (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
137 Points ∼0%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
189 Points ∼1% +38%
Memory (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
232 Points ∼3%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
593 Points ∼8% +156%
System (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
983 Points ∼6%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
572 Points ∼3% -42%
Overall (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
355 Points ∼4%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
391 Points ∼5% +10%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1174 Points ∼1%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
1153 Points ∼1% -2%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
605 Points ∼1% -48%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
601 Points ∼1% -49%
32 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
352 Points ∼7%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
353 Points ∼7% 0%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
324 Points ∼7% -8%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
321 Points ∼7% -9%
3DMark
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
7766 Points ∼5%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
7811 Points ∼5% +1%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
9246 Points ∼6% +19%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4075 Points ∼3% -48%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4023 Points ∼3% -48%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2680 Points ∼0%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
2636 Points ∼0% -2%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
6272 Points ∼1% +134%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4139 Points ∼1% +54%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4111 Points ∼1% +53%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
3136 Points ∼0%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
3091 Points ∼0% -1%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
6755 Points ∼1% +115%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4125 Points ∼0% +32%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4091 Points ∼0% +30%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4.2 fps ∼0%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
3.8 fps ∼0% -10%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
11.6 fps ∼0% +176%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
0 fps ∼0% -100%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
4.5 fps ∼0% +7%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
7 fps ∼0%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
8.9 fps ∼0% +27%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
14.7 fps ∼0% +110%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
11.7 fps ∼0% +67%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
11.1 fps ∼0% +59%
Linpack Android / IOS
Multi Thread (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
236.23 MFLOPS ∼8%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
247 MFLOPS ∼8% +5%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
260.29 MFLOPS ∼9% +10%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
234.392 MFLOPS ∼8% -1%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
145.528 MFLOPS ∼5% -38%
Single Thread (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
114.21 MFLOPS ∼11%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
112 MFLOPS ∼11% -2%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
145.04 MFLOPS ∼14% +27%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
58.598 MFLOPS ∼6% -49%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
77.48 MFLOPS ∼8% -32%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
4.76 MB/s ∼2%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
0.3 MB/s ∼0% -94%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
0.56 MB/s ∼0% -88%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
0.51 MB/s ∼0% -89%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
0.73 MB/s ∼0% -85%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
17.73 MB/s ∼9%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
12.1 MB/s ∼6% -32%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
12.17 MB/s ∼6% -31%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
8.02 MB/s ∼4% -55%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
8.72 MB/s ∼4% -51%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
48.29 MB/s ∼8%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
5 MB/s ∼1% -90%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
16.59 MB/s ∼3% -66%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
9.24 MB/s ∼2% -81%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
6.51 MB/s ∼1% -87%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
143.79 MB/s ∼10%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
40.4 MB/s ∼3% -72%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
83.03 MB/s ∼6% -42%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
37.2 MB/s ∼2% -74%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
52.07 MB/s ∼3% -64%

Browser Benchmarks

Honor's Holly was always in the midfield of all smartphones that we tested in the past twelve months in the browser benchmarks. Sometimes the Mediatek SoC in the review sample and sometimes the Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 8210 as found in the Lumia had the lead, depending on the benchmark. Browsing with the Holly was fun subjectively, and we did not struggle with major lags even on sophisticated websites. Only a comparison with the iPhone alongside the lightning-fast Safari browser should not be made.

Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
1361.1 ms * ∼15%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
1046.4 ms * ∼11% +23%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
1538.8 ms * ∼17% -13%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
1254.1 ms * ∼14% +8%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
15354.5 ms * ∼26%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
15698.5 ms * ∼26% -2%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
13236.1 ms * ∼22% +14%
Huawei Ascend Y530
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
19673.3 ms * ∼33% -28%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
27174.9 ms * ∼46% -77%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
17651.2 ms * ∼30% -15%
WebXPRT 2013 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
181 Points ∼8%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
191 Points ∼8% +6%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
225 Points ∼10% +24%
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
131 Points ∼6% -28%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
2020 Points ∼4%
Kazam Thunder Q4.5
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 4 GB Flash
2117 Points ∼4% +5%
Archos 50c Oxygen
Mali-450 MP4, MT6592, 8 GB SSD
2793 Points ∼5% +38%
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
1904 Points ∼4% -6%

* ... smaller is better

Games

Even Modern Combat 5 barely stuttered.
Even Modern Combat 5 barely stuttered.

The SoC-integrated entry-level Mali-400 MP2 GPU with two cores that clock with up to 500 MHz is a bit older and only supports OpenGL ES 2.0. Despite its actually low gaming performance, it has enough power to play the good-looking Asphalt 8 smoothly in medium graphics settings; high settings stuttered. We also tried Max Payne that preferred medium settings but also ran smoothly in high settings. The sensors functioned properly.

Emissions

GFX battery test
GFX battery test

Temperature

There is nothing special to report about here. The maximum surface temperature was only 37 °C even during load. The Holly performed the stress test without problems.

 28 °C
82 F
28.2 °C
83 F
32.5 °C
91 F
 
 28.4 °C
83 F
28.6 °C
83 F
35.9 °C
97 F
 
 28.3 °C
83 F
29.2 °C
85 F
36.1 °C
97 F
 
Maximum: 36.1 °C = 97 F
Average: 30.6 °C = 87 F
28.6 °C
83 F
27.7 °C
82 F
26.7 °C
80 F
32.5 °C
91 F
29.2 °C
85 F
27 °C
81 F
30.6 °C
87 F
30 °C
86 F
28.1 °C
83 F
Maximum: 32.5 °C = 91 F
Average: 28.9 °C = 84 F
Power Supply (max.)  34.7 °C = 94 F | Room Temperature 22 °C = 72 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.9 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 37 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 34.4 °C / 94 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30.6 °C / 87 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speakers

The little mono speaker on the lower left back does not rouse high expectations. In fact, it is more a makeshift for rendering system sounds and speech in hands-free mode or in Google Now as well as navigation apps. The unit is not suitable for music playback.

The sound is flat, compressed, low in dynamics, and extremely mid-heavy in its default settings. However, it is not piercing or distorted. The speaker cannot at all cope with rich, bass-heavy music, for example with several electric guitars. The relatively low maximum volume is not convincing, either, but should suffice for the listed applications. The sound is very impressive when a Koss Porta Pro headphone is connected to the jack. Besides the Google Play music app, the more basic app dubbed "Music" is very similar with the stock KitKat player, which Samsung also uses in a slightly modified version. Its functions cannot compete with apps like Poweramp, but it should satisfy most demands.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Consumption and runtime comparisons make most sense when smartphones with equally sized screens and the same SoC are used. We only have three in our database. The average idle differences are very marginal in this field, and the Holly is pretty exactly on average. Maximum load (load max.) is reached in sophisticated 3D games, for example. The average here is 4.6 watts; the Holly consumes 5.3 watts. Thus, the 5-watt power supply's size is on the edge.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.8 / 1.5 / 1.7 Watt
Load midlight 2.9 / 5.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870

Battery Runtime

Both Honor's Holly and Alcatel's One Touch Pop C7 have the weaker batteries among the three comparison smartphones with 2000 mAh. Acer's Liquid E700 Trio has 3500 mAh. A script automatically opens relevant Internet websites every 40 seconds in our practical Wi-Fi test where consumers like Bluetooth are off and using a screen brightness of approximately 150 cd/m². Surprisingly, the Alcatel takes the first place with an impressive 566 minutes and leaves the review sample behind by about 56%. Acer can play its higher battery capacity off against the contenders in load and clearly outruns its two, quite close rivals.

Honor Holly
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Acer Liquid E700 Trio
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Alcatel One Touch Pop C7
Mali-400 MP2, MT6582M, 4 GB Flash
Microsoft Lumia 535
Adreno 302, 200 MSM8212, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Motorola Moto E 1. Gen 2014
Adreno 302, 200 8210, 4 GB Flash
Battery Runtime
48%
18%
-12%
64%
Reader / Idle
950
853
-10%
948
0%
1336
41%
WiFi
363
510
40%
566
56%
376
4%
846
133%
Load
211
327
55%
228
8%
127
-40%
248
18%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
15h 50min
WiFi Surfing
6h 03min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 31min

Verdict

Honor Holly
Honor Holly

Not only the low price of Honor's Holly looked good in the test. It was not least the very bright and high-color IPS screen that, unlike the comparable rivals, even features an HD resolution that contributed to this. Although the casing does not really make a high-quality impression, it is well-built and stiff. The most painful gap in the configuration is the lack of LTE; many users will be able to tolerate the omitted NFC and some sensors like a barometer. There is enough power for routine use and an occasional game, but current graphics smash hits are too much for the rather relaxed entry-level SoC.

We found it too bad that the operating system and preloaded apps largely correspond to the Android standards, and there are only very few additional features. It is simply feeble that Honor has not yet managed to eliminate the keyboard bug. The speaker ruins the fun a bit on the multimedia side; the camera is not particularly compelling but is acceptable for the price. It would have been great had Honor treated the soft-touch buttons to a backlight. The listed shortcomings would be considerably worse in a 500-Euro (~$544) smartphone, but we are dealing with a price range of 100 to 140 Euros (~$108 to ~$152). Thus, Honor's Holly earns an explicit purchase recommendation because such a good performance-for-money ratio is hard to find at the moment.

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In review: Honor Holly. Review sample courtesy of Honor Germany.
In review: Honor Holly. Review sample courtesy of Honor Germany.

Specifications

Honor Holly (Honor Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel, 5-point, capacitive, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 12.5 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: combo headphone and microphone jack, Card Reader: micro SD/SDHC max. 32 GB, Sensors: accelerometer, proximity sensor, position sensor, ambient light sensor, compass
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP, GSM : 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, HSDPA : 900/2100 MHz
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.4 x 142.2 x 72.3 ( = 0.37 x 5.6 x 2.85 in)
Battery
8 Wh Lithium-Ion, 2000 mAh, 3.8 V
Operating System
Android 4.4 KitKat
Camera
Webcam: 2 MP, primary camera: 8 MP, BSI, LED flash
Additional features
Speakers: mono, Keyboard: virtual, power supply, 1-meter USB cable, warranty documents, quick start guide, FM radio, calculator, audio recorder, calendar, data backup, file manager, flashlight, weather, SIM tool kit, music, gallery, email, videos, Facebook, Twitter, WPS Office, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
157 g ( = 5.54 oz / 0.35 pounds), Power Supply: 60 g ( = 2.12 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
130 Euro

 

Its front is always black,...
Its front is always black,...
...but the back is either black or white.
...but the back is either black or white.
Fingerprints are barely visible here,...
Fingerprints are barely visible here,...
...and that will also likely be the same for the black version.
...and that will also likely be the same for the black version.
The bezel around the camera juts out and might scratch after a while.
The bezel around the camera juts out and might scratch after a while.
The real maker is Huawei.
The real maker is Huawei.
The sensor buttons can only be seen well in good light.
The sensor buttons can only be seen well in good light.
Closeup of the light sensor, proximity sensor, and earpiece speaker.
Closeup of the light sensor, proximity sensor, and earpiece speaker.
A closeup of the opened casing.
A closeup of the opened casing.
Model label, two IMEI numbers due to dual-SIM
Model label, two IMEI numbers due to dual-SIM
Battery.
Battery.
The speaker is not very useful.
The speaker is not very useful.
Micro-SD slot.
Micro-SD slot.
Dual-SIM slots, SIM2 GSM only.
Dual-SIM slots, SIM2 GSM only.
Battery lid's inside.
Battery lid's inside.
The camera's limited exposure range...
The camera's limited exposure range...
...apparently forces a short exposure time to protect the light.
...apparently forces a short exposure time to protect the light.
The colors are (almost too) vivid.
The colors are (almost too) vivid.
And again: No frayed lights in the sky,...
And again: No frayed lights in the sky,...
...but blurred outlines in dark areas.
...but blurred outlines in dark areas.
Low-contrast areas...
Low-contrast areas...
...tend to blur.
...tend to blur.
Brightening up darker sections has negative consequences.
Brightening up darker sections has negative consequences.
The image noise in indoor pictures is very clear. However, the white balance is good.
The image noise in indoor pictures is very clear. However, the white balance is good.
Webcam.
Webcam.
Sytem information.
Sytem information.
Sytem information.
Sytem information.

Similar Devices

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Mali-400 MP2, Mediatek MT6580M
Wiko Jerry3 Smartphone Review
Mali-400 MP2, Mediatek MT6580M

Links

Compare Prices

Pros

+Very low price
+Impeccable build, rigid
+Removable battery
+Dual SIM
+RGB notification LED
+FM radio
+Little bloatware
+Good call / hands-free voice quality
+Very bright screen with decent contrast
+Very good storage performance
+Fast enough for good-looking 3D games in medium settings
 

Cons

-Plastic casing
-No LTE, no NFC
-Second SIM functions only with GSM
-Max. 32 GB micro SD cards only
-Unsatisfactory GPS
-Few sensors
-No Emotion UI, OS barely differs from Vanilla Android
-Few additional features
-Very noisy camera
-Soft touch buttons often difficult to see and no backlight
-Buggy keyboard w/ few functions
-Screen's black level too high
-Poor mono speaker
-Relatively weak battery, middling runtimes

Shortcut

What we like

The performance-for-money ratio is great.

What we'd like to see

2 GB of RAM.

What surprises us

When will Honor finally eliminate this old bug with the incorrect keyboard layout?

The competition

Kazam Thunder Q4.5

Archos 50c Oxygen

Huawei Ascend Y530

Motorola Moto E

Rating

Honor Holly - 02/26/2015 v4(old)
Sven Kloevekorn

Chassis
80%
Keyboard
58 / 75 → 77%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
37 / 60 → 62%
Weight
92%
Battery
91%
Display
79%
Games Performance
52 / 63 → 83%
Application Performance
21 / 70 → 30%
Temperature
88%
Noise
100%
Audio
56 / 91 → 62%
Camera
63%
Average
69%
79%
Smartphone - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Honor Holly Smartphone Review
Sven Kloevekorn, 2015-03- 5 (Update: 2015-03-28)