We’ve looked at a number of Honor devices lately. The Honor 9X and the Honor 9A– both very good phones considering how cheap they are.
However, those phones lack the Google Services. So no Google Play. No Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail and so on. This is because the USA have stopped Honor (and Huawei) from working with American companies like Google.
This, though, is a new Honor phone which does have all the Google apps and Google Play. Basically this is because it’s been slid through as a “tweak” to the Honor 20.
It’s cheap too – get it from Amazon, Honor direct, Argos or Carphone Warehouse for £149.99. You can get it really cheap on a contract too.
To have a closer look, let’s dive into our video review…
The 20e runs Android 9, and no amount of updating seemed to change that for me. However, for the price I wasn’t exactly going to moan about the lack of Android 10 or 11 here. It also runs the EMUI 9.1 custom user interface which gives you gesture-based navigation, a one-handed interface and more.
The CPU is a Hisilicon Kirin 710F from Huawei themselves. It’s an octa-core chip delivering up to 2.2GHz, although despite this there is the odd bit of lag and jutter when browsing pages via Google. This could be due to the 4GB RAM or perhaps some of the “heavier” web pages I was browsing. It wasn’t a job-stopper, but when you compare it to high-end phones there’s an obvious difference here.
The phone gets 64GB of on-board storage and you can (and will need to) put a microSD card in to boost that. I found that around 10GB was already consumed before I’d even installed any apps or taken photos. There is, however, a storage clean-up system (Optimiser) which will help to keep your Honor 20e “box fresh” by cleaning out the junk. It’ll also help block dodgy numbers, monitor your data usage and tell you how much battery you have remaining.
Available in either Midnight Black or Phantom Blue, there’s a 6.21″ LCD panel which, although LCD, has a 2340 x 1080 resolution.
Also here, in a teardrop from the top of the screen, is an 8 megapixel selfie shooter.
Around back there’s three cameras plus a flash. You get a 24 megapixel, an 8 megapixel wide and a 2 megapixel depth lens. The camera app itself has Portrait, Night, Aperture, Photo and Video modes plus these extra ones too..
There’s smile capture, audio control and AI so that images are tweaked to look their best depending on what you’re taking a photo of. No HDR here from what I could see though.
Here’s some examples from the camera..
There’s also a zoom functionality, so I tried it out on this tree..
The images came out well enough, but the lack of HDR meant that there was a lot of shadowing and darkness in some shots, especially those taken inside.
The battery is a 3400mAh unit and you get 2.4GHz WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 plus a microUSB charging port. I did like the fact that this was less than 8mm thick and only 164g plus, at the price, I didn’t feel a major need to put a case on it. That meant that the relative thinness of the phone really showed through.
The back of the phone has a fingerprint sensor which worked well enough and you get Face Unlock to if you want. Although fairly “plasticy” in feel, the phone looks pretty good – I liked the polished and rounded edging.
If I was to choose a colour though, I’d definitely go for the Phantom Blue – it just has a more individual appearance.
From the main screen there’s the usual Android experience and everything you see can, of course, be altered to your taste. I switched out the keyboard (I prefer the Gboard from Google) and removed the Google search widget which is in the lower-middle part of the screen here..
Oh and yes, as mentioned before, the Google Play Store is indeed here, so no need to worry about not having that. It means that all the links you find on the internet, all the normal apps you expect, will be there and it’ll work in the same way as every other Android smartphone..
You also get all the Google apps, so the fully-featured YouTube app, the Google Maps app, Gmail and so on – right out of the box…
There’s the usual plethora of settings, including eye comfort,smart screen resolution changing (to maintain power), colour settings – even the ability to remove the network name if you don’t want that showing. All of this (and a whole lot more) can be accessed just by sliding down from the top..
Also, whether you do it here or from the home screen, you can use the Themes option to change the way that your phone looks – without making this disjointed. It’ll let you switch to different themes, adjusting not just the background but fonts and icons too…
I should just mention that, even though Google Play is here, the Huawei AppGallery (mentioned in our earlier articles) is installed should you need it. Petal Search too.
Both of these are designed to replace Google Play and, on a lot of other brand-new Huawei and Honor phones we’ve been looking at recently, this is the only way to get apps because Google Play simply isn’t there. Here, though, no need to worry – you’ve got Google Play and every other bit of Google goodness.
For the money, this really isn’t bad at all. There’s some shortcomings yes – the lack of HDR in the camera, the microUSB charging, the LCD panel, Android 9 and 64GB storage. However, it’s got Google Play, photos aren’t terrible and you do get quite a lot for less than £150.
In a market where people are tiring of spending £1000+ on phones or signing up to lengthy contracts, phones like this can really help to get more and more people into the world of smartphones. A few years ago something at the price point would’ve been royally terrible, but here you get a hi-res screen, admirable battery life, the full Android experience and a nice healthy bank account too. Bosh.
Get it from Amazon, Honor direct, Argos or Carphone Warehouse for just £149.99, whack a SIM-only card in and you can join the smartphone world.