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Design and Build Quality
Design and Build Quality
One look at the HONOR 90 5G and you can immediately tell that its design is inspired by its predecessor. The camera module looks almost identical to the HONOR 70, with the shape turned 90 degrees. They call this the Mirror Luna design with overlapping circles and ellipses.
There’s also a grip section with a diamond pattern that adds to the devices’ premium looks. The phone is just slightly taller, wider, and thinner, compared to its predecessor. The build is still mostly plastic, but not to the point where it looks cheap.
Now, let’s look at the things you’ll miss out on. Waterproofing, which would’ve made this phone a much better deal, is not present, there’s no headphone jack, which I’m totally fine with, and there’s no slot for a microSD card. You do get 512GB of storage, which is personally more than enough, but there are certainly some people who need more than that.
Lastly, there is only a single speaker at the bottom. You get good volume, and clarity is decent, so long as there isn’t much going on, but when there’s a lot happening, the sound seems distorted, like it’s trying to funnel everything into a tiny tube.
One of the HONOR 90 5G’s key selling points is its display. You get a 6.7-inch Full HD+ AMOLED Quad Curved Floating Display with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support, Netflix HDR Certification, and peak brightness of 1600 nits. As you would imagine, watching videos on this phone, especially HDR and 60fps content, is a treat. Colors are punchy, brightness is good, and details are superb.
But perhaps, the best thing about this display is its 3840Hz PWM Dimming. But what exactly is it?
PWM or Pulse Width Modulation is used to adjust the brightness of the display by rapidly turning individual pixels on and off. At low frequencies, the flickering caused by such rapid cycles may result in eye strain, eye pain and headaches.
The flicker free level, or the frequency where the flickering happens so fast that it’s no longer noticeable by the human eye is anything higher than 3125Hz. The HONOR 90 5G has a PWM Dimming frequency of 3840Hz, the highest in any smartphone to-date. In fact, the device has also received the TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free Certification for achieving the risk-free dimming level.
What this means is that this display is safe for the eyes, to the benefit those who like to put in long hours in gaming or watching content on their phone. You can check out a visual representation h
HONOR 90 packs a Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition along with 12GB of RAM, enough for a modest amount of multitasking. It also boasts a larger vapor chamber versus the HONOR 80 to improve thermals.
The device achieved a 99% stability score in 3DMark’s Wildlife Stress Test, in which the phone is subjected to heavy load for 20 test loops to see how stable or consistent it will perform.
The chart above shows how an almost identical performance for the best and worst runs, while the second chart shows that it was able to constantly maintain an almost similar score for all the runs.
Honkai: Star Rail
The HONOR 90 5G can handle Honkai: Star Rail at Medium Settings with decent performance, but not without its share of FPS drops along the way, shown by the middle section, where most battles took place. The final section is just my character idling in town.
Unfortunately, poor network conditions affected the results of our other benchmarks, but we’ll update this review with more of them at a later time.
Thermal performance is also decent, with the device getting just a bit warm throughout the test, but not enough to say that it’s uncomfortable.
HONOR 90 5G is equipped with a 200MP main camera, alongside a 12MP ultrawide and macro unit, and a 2MP depth sensor.
Of course, some of you may ask, what’s the use of a sensor with such a high megapixel count on a phone? Social Media platforms compress photos heavily anyway. Well, that’s true, but having such a sensor has its share of uses.
For one, you still get plenty of detail if you crop your photos or zoom in to your shots. It’s also good if you want to make large prints or use your photos as wallpapers, thanks to the high pixel density which allows photos to look more detailed.
When there’s an upside, there is a downside. In this case, when shooting at 200MP, you will get a large file size for your photos, not that it’s that big of a problem when you have 512GB of storage, but if you take a lot of pictures and I mean a lot, you may run into some storage issues.
Moving on to the sample, the HONOR 90 5G’s triple camera system works well in most shooting scenarios. It’s able to capture photos with good levels of detail, with good contrast, and dynamic range as well.
At night, it’s just as impressive, although it can be inconsistent. At times, you’ll get some blurry pictures even with a decently stable hand.
Video-wise, it can shoot up to 4K 30 fps. There’s no OIS in any of its cameras. There is Gyro-EIS, but it’s not enough to eliminate the shakiness, even when I’m just walking normally.
For those who like to do vlogs, the phone has an AI-assisted noise reduction feature that cancels out the background noise on videos, and it works well.
HONOR 90 5G runs MagicOS 7.1 on top of Android 13. While the overall theme, icons, and names, still seems to be “inspired” by “the past,” fact is you don’t have to worry about not having access to Google Apps, and you don’t have to do any sideloading or tinkering for that. The UI performance is also smooth and snappy.
Now, I do appreciate some of its features like Multi-Window, which lets you open a bunch of apps on small windows that you can drag across the screen and sort of “dock” for later use, and Magic Text, which allows the phone to convert text in photos to actual editable text that you can use.
There is just one minor thing that I find really annoying. It’s that for the camera app, you have to go to the settings menu just to change the resolution and frame rate, when these settings are readily accessible via the camera app’s viewfinder with a tap of an icon.
Under heavy load, and I mean almost continuous gaming on Wi-Fi with brightness on Auto, resolution and refresh rate set to high, I was able to get around 4.5 to 5 hours of on-screen time. This is a good result and suggests that at lighter workloads, this phone should last quite a hefty amount of time before having to be recharged.
Using the 66W charger that came with the unit, we were able to recharge to HONOR 90 5G from around 5% to full in 58 minutes, which is very good for a mid-range phone.
HONOR 90 5G: Verdict
HONOR 90 5G offers so many things to like. The design looks great, the AMOLED display looks fantastic, gaming performance is pretty good so far, its cameras are very capable in both day and night shots, and the battery life is excellent. Of course, there are things that I wish were present, like waterproofing, OIS, better speakers, and maybe HONOR’s own UI.
For a price that’s even more affordable than the HONOR 70, I believe it’s a worthy upgrade, and a good starting point for those who want to experience what the brand can offer.