Huawei’s online-only brand Honor is doing pretty well launching good phones in many different segments. After the Honor 7 flagship in India, they’re back with Honor 5X, a mid ranger and successor to its entry range in the form of Honor Holly 2 Plus. While the last iteration did not receive the sort of response Honor would’ve expected, the Holly 2 Plus takes it up a notch in an attempt to stick its neck up in a darn crowded 7000-10000 INR segment. We’ve spent close to a week with the Holly 2 Plus and here we present to you, our first impressions of the phone. Spoiler alert – it’s very positive for the price it’s being offered at – Rs. 8,499.

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Now that we’ve got the price out of our way, we would like to be upfront about the key selling proposition of the phone – a big battery phone that can also double up as a power bank when in need, more on this in a bit. For a phone of its price the Holly 2 Plus has a decent build and going into it. A metallic frame all around the edges that are not too shiny give it a good appeal. A big 4000 mAh battery would mean the phone will get a tad heavy but Honor has done well to keep it at 160 gms and the fact that it’s a phone with 5” screen and logically rounded off edges and curved profile make it easy to hold and single handed usage though it is 9.3mm thick. To the right is the set of power and volume rockers and we feel they do not pop out enough – they are clicky enough but given that the metallic frame around the phone is a tad shallow as compared to the outer edge, the buttons are seated inside than usual. Up-top is the 3.5 mm jack and the speaker plus microphone grille below it with the micro USB port at the bottom.

Onto the back is a neatly textured back case that is not too glossy, slippery or something that is prone to smudges – good job here Honor, we liked it. The 13 MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and a single led flash sit at the top while the Honor branding sits pretty beneath it. Taking the back off will reveal dual sim and microSD ports and the massive 4000 mAh non removable battery. The speciality of the sims are that they can take in GSM or CDMA ones and this is why Honor calls the Holly 2 Plus a world phone. We used Vodafone and MTS sim cards together and it worked like charm without any issues – for both data and calls.

There are no capacitive buttons, making way for the on-screen navigation buttons inside of the display, which by the way is a decent one packing 401 PPI, not bad at all. While it is good on viewing angles and average on outdoor visibility, it is prone to fingerprints and we found ourselves constantly bringing a cloth to clean it up. You’re better off having a matte finish or a clear tempered glass which would help, and also be warned it has no protection in the form of Gorilla Glass and such.

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Powering the phone will be a Quad core Mediatek processor MT6735 clocked at 1.3GHz with Mali T720 GPU, accompanied by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory of which a little above 11GB will be available for the user off the box, thanks to the thick skinned Emotion UI 3.1 built off Android 5.1 Lollipop that runs the phone.

Given its hardware, it should be a decent phone but do not expect it to go blazing on high end gaming and super heavy multitasking. Our initial impressions have been good though – overall UI is smooth and transitions seamless. If you’re a stickler for those AnTuTu Benchmark scores, the Holly 2 Plus hovers a little above the 30K mark – we got scores ranging from 30-32K The screen however has a warmer tint to it and we will try to find out if this is something that is uniform across devices. Camera seems to be snappy and latching focus pretty fast and this carries on to the processing as well. What will take some time though is the battery tests. We loved the fact that it can run both CDMA and GSM sims at the same time, a rarity nowadays in good brands, and also Holly 2 Plus charged another phone when we activated the Power Bank mode.

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At this price range there are tons of other options – ASUS Zenfone Max, Coolpad Note 3 and Lite, Lenovo P1m and such all of which are centered on elongated battery life. Will the Honor Holly 2 Plus make its mark amidst stiff and crowded competition? Will it change the fate of Holly series for good? Hang in there for a few until we will be back with our detailed review. In case you’re wondering about its availability, it goes live on Feb 15th midnight on Flipkart and Amazon coming in three colors – black, white and gold.


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Video Reviewer

GK aka CosmicPaladin is based out of Bangalore and is a gadget freak right from the day he owned the Nokia 3310 right on the day it was released! He has been using tons of handhelds from then on – witnessing the evolution of phones to smartphones and now wearables. He holds an engineering degree along with MBA and has over a decade of experience in building mobile and web enterprise apps.