Huawei Honor 4C is a nifty Chinese alternative for those who want to look beyond Xiaomi or Lenovo and are happy to spend more than Rs 7,000 on a smartphone. At Rs 8,999, Honor 4C comes with a 13MP rear camera, which delivers excellent results for a phone that does not cost the earth.
We played with the Huawei Honor 4C for a week and here’s our review of the smartphone.
Specs: 5-inch 720p HD TFT IPS display| 64-bit 1.2GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 620 processor| 2GB of RAM, 8GB internal memory (expandable up to 32GB)| 13MP A/F rear camera with Flash, 5MP front camera | Android 4.4 KitKat with Emotion UI 3.0 | 2,550mAh battery | Dual-SIM, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, Wi-Fi , 3G.
In pictures: Honor 4C, Honor Bee and Power Bank AP007
Design and Screen: Honor 4C does not have a stunning design. The wide-rectangular style with rounded edges is common to many smartphones. The Honor 4C is also very heavy at 162 grams. But the slight matte finish on the rear means it’s not entirely an ungainly sight. The rear cover is removable but the battery is not.
The screen is 5-inches with a 720p HD TFT IPS display. But it is prone to smudges and in my case quickly became an ugly mess. There is no Gorilla Glass for extra protection, so a screen-guard is a must.
The 720p display is good for reading indoors. It is fairly sharp and given the price point it does not disappoint, even if you keep the brightness levels at half, which is what I did. Also reading on the phone under Delhi’s harsh sun did not give me any problems.
Processor, RAM, Performance: Honor 4C comes with a 64-bit 1.2GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 620 processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB internal memory. The 8 GB storage is disappointing, because only around 4GB is available for users and you run out of that pretty quickly once you start downloading apps.
Where performance scores go, the phone scores 29,127 on Antutu which puts it above Redmi Note, Asus Zenfone 5 in the list. On GeekBench 3, it scores 1624 on multi-core, putting it above LG Nexus 4, Xperia Z devices, which puts it fairly down the line.
I faced issues getting the phone to respond when unlocking the screen, pulling down the notifications/shortcuts bar from the top, but other than that it was fairly responsive. Apps worked fine for me, which includes browsing on Facebook, Twitter, and even games worked without any lag.
The 2GB RAM on the 64-bit processor means the phone functions well, given its price point, but it is not particularly zippy and yes apps will crash, eventually, even if they don’t in the beginning.
In terms of call quality, the phone does the job, although I will not vouch for listening to music on this device. For some reason, while listening to YouTube videos with headphones there was a distinct jarring sound in the background. And these headphones work fine with my iPhone.
UI and Android: Honor 4c runs Android 4.4.2 which is a shame given that new phones comes with Android 5 have hit the market in India long back. What really does not work for me is the Emotion UI, and I do not see the point of including a separate browser with Chrome. As a user, I’m unlikely to ever try out the application.
Huawei’s Emotion UI feels like a bit like a mish-mash of Android and Apple. For instance, on the lock screen there is a little control panel you can swipe up which has the option for torch, camera, calculator, and recorder. It also has the play settings if you are listening to music and you can just pause, stop, etc from the lock screen.
There are a lot of applications in here I just did not feel the need to use, given how dependent I am on the Google universe. Thankfully, the phone comes pre-installed with Facebook and Twitter, which I think a lot of users will appreciate.
Camera: The USP of the Honor 4c is the camera. It delivers really good shots under low-light, the photos do not look over-saturated and it has a number of settings options for users who want to tinker with ISO, Shutter, etc.
To find more settings on the camera, you need to tap the three lines on top and options like Panorama, HDC, All Focus (lets you change focus point of a picture after you have taken it), Settings which lets you change ISO, add geo-tagging etc, will pop-up.
Array of features side, as an average smartphone user, you are unlikely to feel the need to do so many of these, especially if you want a quick picture. From that perspective, the camera does deliver, both on the front and rear and there is little lag when you are clicking.
Of course, the front camera also has a beauty mode and once again I found no use for it. Although I must say, Huawei’s beauty mode does not make you look entirely plastic, which is an achievement.
Battery: The battery is not something to boast about on this device. While it impressed me on Day 1, once I sat down to download apps by the dozen, the phone’s battery levels dropped quickly. In addition to this, it gets heated up pretty fast and if you are constantly online, the battery life is not much.
Verdict: The USP of the Honor 4c is the big 5-inch screen and the 13 megapixel rear camera. These are the two features that most OEMs think are good enough to convince customers to try out a new phone. If you don’t want to push your budget beyond Rs 10,000 and are fine with less storage space, the Honor 4c is a decent option.
You should keep in mind after sales-service when going for budget devices, and while Huawei has quite a few authorised centres in cities like Mumbai, Kolkata it has just one in Delhi. In my opinion, for this price-point, Honor 4c gives a stunning camera, which is what puts it ahead of the crowd.