Glamorous design requires glamorous care and performance.
What an Honor to have this smartphone. Normally, a 90 grade isn’t enough to get you an honor title when you graduate but the Honor 90 is definitely the top of its class. It’s an even better improvement against the Honor 70, at least on paper.
The main selling points of this phone are its 200MP Primary Camera (no OIS though) and the shockingly high-frequency 3840Hz PWM AMOLED screen. That’s faster than your iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra flicker rate and this is more than half the price of those. We’re going to test that tidbit here using a test video since you will only see them through lenses. This high frequency makes it easy for your eyes to handle the screen and also reduces or even eliminates the number of black bars you will see while filming the phone.
As always, before we get into the review proper, check out the specs of the Honor 90 5G.
- 6.7″ 1.5K (2664x1200px) curved AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate, 3840Hz Hi-Frequency PWM Dimming
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition (4nm)
- 200MP (Primary), f/1.9, 1/1.4″, Samsung ISOCELL HP3, EIS, 4K@30fps video
- 12MP (Ultrawide), f/2.2, 4cm macro
- 2MP (Depth), f/2.4
- FRONT: 50MP, f/2.4, 4K@30fps video
- MagicOS 7.1 based on Android 13
- 5000mAh, 66W HONOR SuperCharge
- USB-C, Single bottom-firing speaker, Dual Nano-SIM Slot, In-display fingerprint scanner
- 5G Services, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 6/6e, Bluetooth 5.2, Dual-band Wi-Fi, E-SIM Support, NFC
- Emerald Green, Diamond Silver, Midnight Black
- 12/512: PHP 24,990
Clearly, Honor knows that you won’t really need the box after getting the phone and charger out there so they just went ahead with a plain white box with just the phone name labelled all over it. Smart thinking because that saves them money in actually hiring a designer.
What’s inside is also straightforward. There is a clear jelly case so that means you can add some grip to your phone while also seeing the beautiful design of the phone, a starter guide, the phone itself wrapped in plastic film, and the 66W Honor Supercharge cable and brick. We also found a secret compartment that houses the 3.5mm dongle which is the most interesting part of the unboxing. The phone has no headphone jack so we’re impressed that they actually have the courtesy to include a dongle in there. Albeit thin, it’s nice to have one.
For those who are unaware, Honor used to be a subbrand of Huawei. After Huawei got banned from using American services and products like Google Mobile Services and Qualcomm’s 5G infrastructure, Honor got affected. So, to free Honor from this ban, Huawei sold the company and Honor now runs independently. It seems like Honor is doing even better independently than they are with Huawei. However, fragments of Huawei are still seen with Honor’s new devices. Such as the interface where it’s basically unchanged from EMUI and users who are familiar with older MagicOS as well as EMUI will feel right at home here. The phone currently runs MagicOS 7.1 based on Android 13 and the company promises 2 years of software upgrades. Not the longest but at least Honor is offering something.
By default, the app drawer is disabled but you can enable it through the settings. MagicOS has a slightly higher learning curve than what we’re familiar with such as Stock Android and OxygenOS as there are some things learned from those skins that are not available here, such as three-fingered screenshots. To make changes to the home screen, you also need to visit the Settings app.
The interface has built-in third-party apps which we primarily don’t need, such as Lords Mobile, Booking.com, and Game of Sultans. There are no ads on the home screen but there are in Honor-related apps such as the theme store. Thankfully, these third-party apps can be uninstalled very easily. Honor apps like My Honor cannot be uninstalled, however.
Overall, we love how organized MagicOS is and how easy it is to get by, despite the higher learning curve. It’s also not as flashy as other Android Skins we’ve used before.
The Honor 90 comes with a curved OLED screen. Probably not from Samsung since the company never stated it and… there are some serious issues going on with Samsung’s displays recently, such as the green line. This caused companies like OnePlus to offer lifetime warranties on them. An example of over-engineering.
As for the display itself, it’s not the brightest OLED screen we used. When used outdoors, we couldn’t see much of it under direct sunlight. It also struggles even when the sun is not pointing directly at it and everything still looks dark. Because of that, it’s really hard to judge accurately how the colour reproduction is under the sunlight.
Indoors, however, that’s where the story changes. The screen produced lively colours, and here, the screen isn’t as saturated as with most Oppo phones we have used. Thanks to its curved and rounded corners, the display feels large and is immersive. We watched Ford v Ferrari on here and the movie just looks so good. Text is also crispy and sharp with no noticeable pixelation. To be fair, this is a 1.5K resolution display we’re talking about so everything here, from movies to text, looks very high quality. The phone can automatically adjust from 60 to 120Hz or you can do it manually.
PS: We recommend turning on the Video Enhancer in the settings because this will boost the viewing experience of your movies. Though, upon testing, we found no significant increase in contrast, brightness, and vividness.
Also, that 3840Hz Hi-Frequency dimming is thankfully NOT A GIMMICK. Though, you could not test this out unless you set the phone to light mode which, by default, it is. As you can see, there are no noticeable black bars on the Honor 90 (right) and its colours remain consistent versus the test subject where there is a noticeable contrast in the black and white areas of the display.
The display is one of the most advertised areas of this phone, and Honor even called it REVOLUTIONARY thanks to the Hi-frequency dimming which not even the iPhone 14 Pro Max has. It’s a pretty great display but alas we need to move on and see how does the 200MP “flagship” camera perform. We’re pretty excited for this one.