Honor 4C Review: Great Camera Phone with Some Compromises
Honor phones have been around for a while now and amidst the likes of Xiaomi, OnePlus, Lenovo et all, had quietly been making steady progress. They may not be shaking up the sales charts but you’d be amazed to know there is quite a decent amount of crowd out there getting these phones. Let’s look at one of Honor’s latest offerings in the sub-midrange phones priced below 10,000 INR, the Honor 4C.
Not a looker, but sturdy
Honor aims at bringing some good specs for a low price and that is one reason why, the overall design of the phone is going to stick to the basics. No slimming, no trimming but a sturdy build of plastic is what you’re looking at here. With a thickness of 8.8mm and weighing 162 gms, the Honor 4C is quite heavy for a 5 inch phone when compared to the likes of YU Yureka that come around the 150 gms range in spite of being a 5.5 inch phone. Now this 5 inch screen packs in something close to 294 pixels per inch and has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The screen is rather dull and you will find yourself increasing the brightness to 100% when you take the phone out in the sun – add to this the fact that the screen is reflective making it so hard for one to use it when directly under the sun! Also, be warned that the display has no Gorilla Glass protection or anything.
That being said the Honor 4C fits nicely into the hands, thanks to the fact that the back of the phone has a cool texture that prevents it from slipping off your hands. The volume and power rockers on the right side are placed on a slightly raised side are very good and smooth – no clicky sound when you use them. The top of the phone holds the 3.5mm audio jack while the bottom of the phone allows for a micro USB charging port. The back of the phone looks exactly like its bigger brother the Honor 4X, including the camera design that holds a 13MP shooter with a single LED flash. The speaker grille sits at the bottom right hand corner. The front of the phone has the capacitive buttons at the bottom but won’t light up and the top portion has a 5MP shooter with a LED for notifications. Taking off the cover would reveal a rather colorful interior with the dual-micro sim slot that does NOT support 4G. A micro SD slot sits pretty beside that and supports 32GB in addition to the 8GB internal memory. A 2,550 mAh non-removable battery powers up the phone.
Outdated OS helped by a pretty skin over it
Honor 4C is powered by Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 620 Octa-core processor clocking 1.2GHz along with 2 GB of RAM. Making use of this power engine is the Emotion UI 4.0 that is built off Android KitKat 4.4.2 – oops KitKat? Well yes, but the Emotion UI has lots of tricks up its sleeve that make it a good OS. Allow us to explain certain things which we loved.
First up, it is a rock solid OS and in our usage of close to 4 weeks, barring isolated app crashes for Facebook, we did not observe any issues. The Emotion UI pitches in for the dull screen – for instance every time you lock the screen, there is a different wallpaper that shows up and Honor has so carefully chosen these so as to enhance the overall look and feel that drives the entire experience.
Notifications are arranged chronologically in the swipe down menu and accompanying it is the options toggle menu where the icons are so neatly lined up. More often than not, we see that they are all cramped up but not the case here. The themes, though a handful in number, are very well designed. One can customize many different components of the UI across multiple themes to give a unique look to the UI. Get over to the gallery app and if you wanted to quickly do a click, just pull the screen down to bring up the camera – viola! Back on the lock screen, swipe up and there is an options menu that shows up and it will remind you of what you may have seen on an iPhone! And if you were to swipe down from the middle of the screen from any of the pages that are arranged without an app-drawer, you’d be presented with a search option that will look up across apps – yes, again something that you may have seen on an iPhone. All of these be as good as the MIUI but whatever is available is fantastic and clearly evident of a good design in place with some of them inspired from iOS.
Decent performer too
The Honor 4C handles gaming decently enough but does get heated up if your started gaming beyond 20-30 minutes. Games like Real Racing 3, Sonic Dash and like did well but not without occasional stutters.
Call quality was very good and the signal reception was very impressive. Powering all of this is the 2550 mAh battery that gave an impressive performance. If you were to start your day with 100% charge, have the 3G data switch ON all the time it will last for at least a day even with slightly above average usage patterns.
The rear camera on the Honor 4C is a very impressive ones. Depth of field, macro shots, handling exposure well and last but not the least above average low light performance – pretty much sums up it up! The camera app is simple and resembles something the one would find on an iPhone (again!) or a Xiaomi’s MIUI. Quick to lock focus and snappy in clicking makes it a breeze to use the camera. The front shooter comes with a wide angle ability and clicks some good selfies as well.
To sum it all up, the Honor 4C has its strengths and is good with whatever it holds. But is that enough to join the race and beat the competition? Well the lack of 4G support could be a major deal breaker for some. The internal memory out of the box is very low and it is mandatory you bring along an additional micro SD else you may not be able to use the phone for long. The lack of backlight on the capacitive buttons, the chunkiness of the phone and the weight add on to the negatives if the dull lack luster screen without any protection was not enough! At 8,999 INR Honor 4C would find it tough to beat a Yureka that is loaded with the elusive Cyanogen OS or the long well-established Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G when compared spec to spec. Otherwise, if you’re fine with a 3GB dual SIM phone and want a phone with a great camera and a stable OS, Honor 4C can be a good option. If you were to bump up your budget a bit to 12-13K, you can consider the Xiaomi Mi4 which is a wicked awesome phone or the Mi4i.