A few weeks after the launch of Xiaomi's India-exclusive smartphone Mi 4i, Honor, an independent Internet smartphone brand under Huawei, has launched its India-exclusive smartphone Honor Bee.
Apart from its India-exclusive tag, the Honor Bee has been priced under ₹5,000, an yet-to-explore budget category for many smartphone makers. Currently available at ₹4,499, Honor Bee has a few competitors left to compete with, for its given price.
Design and Build
The Honor bee features a fairly standard design with removable black/white polycarbonate back cover, which grants access to its dual SIM slots, removable battery and the micro SD card slot.
Measuring 129x66.3x10mm, Huawei Honor Bee weighs 170g, including battery. Honor Bee is quite well-built with slightly rounded back and is comfortable enough to hold in hand.
The polycarbonate casing feels durable enough, but the glossy finish acts as a dirt and fingerprint magnet too.
Like most the competitors in its price, Honor Bee sticks to a quarter HD display, measuring 4.5-inch. The display offers a resolution of 854x540 pixels at 218PPI pixel density.
This puts Honor Bee at par with the latest Micromax Canvas spark and Moto E 1st generation. Infocus M2 is only sub ₹5,000 smartphone to offer a better resolution, but again Honor Bee costs ₹500 less than the Infocus branded smartphone.
The display offers well enough viewing angle. Icons and texts are crisp in use and colours are nicely balanced, but the display also fairly reflective and becomes little challenging under direct sunlight.
That said, compared to other devices in the same price bracket, the display is decent enough and offers good overall usability.
Honor Bee runs on Android Kitkat 4.4.2 operating system overlaid with the Huawei made Emoticon UI 3.0. We tested the same interface in numerous Huawei-made smartphones and found it quite amazing for the layout, color palate and the smartlock feature, but the missing of Android 5 Lollipop is a bit disgrace as the most vital competitor Moto E 1st Gen already runs on the latest Android OS.
If Huawei decides to roll out the latest Android update for Honor Bee, we believe that would be the best addition in the smartphone and will also give it a performance boost in various ways.
Honor Bee comes loaded with a quad-core 1.2GHz Spreadtrum SC7731 CPU, Mali 400MP2 GPU and 1GB RAM memory. The specification is fairly respectable if you consider the price of Huawei Honor Bee.
For getting an overview on every segment, we ran several benchmarks on Honor bee. On AnTuTu it scored 19057, while on GeekBench it got 321 single-core and 1,002 multi-core scores. On BaseMark OS II, Honor Bee scored 334, while with Nenamark 2.4 it achieved a highest frame rate of 62.5fps.
While the scores aren't stellar, they are quite reasonable and somewhat better than several other competitors.
In real life use, we found the Honor bee fast enough and managed to open applications and web pages without stutter. We found some performance issues though. While opening new apps or folders, the device experiences some chug but that's again quite common with the ultra affordable smartphones.
Honor Bee features an 8MP, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, dual LED Flash rear camera and a 2MP front camera, putting the smartphone little above the competitors in its price bracket.
Testing the rear camera, we found that images clicked in ambient light are good and usable enough. But in challenging lights, the Honor Bee camera fails to focus and also takes a while to save the image after the shutter is pressed. Even the images clicked in low light without the flash have some visible noise. We didn't find the dual tone flash a tad stronger, making the result images overexposed.
The 2MP camera is adequate enough for video calling purpose or clicking selfie images for posting on the social communities.
Battery and Storage
Powered by a 1730 mAh battery, Honor Bee offered us a battery life of 18 hours in heavy use and around a day in normal usage. Playing a video file in the loop with keeping the brightness level full, Honor Bee battery got discharged from 100 percent in little less than 8 hours. The life is actually pretty good in its standard as most of the devices runs out of battery in around seven hours.
Honor bee comes with 8GB of internal storage space with expandability support of up to 32GB. Out of 8GB memory, the device leaves five and half GB to the user.
Huawei has interestingly set the pricing of the Honor Bee smartphone. While the MRP of the device is ₹4,999, its exclusive seller Flipkart offering 10% flat discount that makes the price as ₹4,499.
For the price, Honor Bee offers an usable display, good overall performance and decent battery life. The cameras are not bad either. We wish Huawei will consider to roll out the Lollipop upgrade for the smartphone, which will make the device an unmatched deal for its price.