The Honor 10 manages to hold its own next to the OnePlus 6.

OnePlus has laid claim to the mid-range price category over the last few years, offering a great software experience and hardware comparable to devices that cost several hundred dollars more. The OnePlus 6 is no different, with the phone featuring Qualcomm’s latest chipset, along with a new imaging sensor, updated design aesthetic, and much more.

OnePlus has steadily increased the cost with every generation, and as a result, the OnePlus 6 starts off at $ 529. That said, a brand-new Pixel 2 XL still costs over $ 800, so the OnePlus 6 still turns out to be a bargain.

Other Chinese brands have also tried to emulate OnePlus’ formula, and the Honor 10 is the latest such device. Honor has been on the rise in European markets in recent years, and the company is also doing remarkably well in India. The Honor 10 is available in both regions and costs roughly the same as the OnePlus 6.

These are two of the best options available today if you’re looking to spend around $ 500 toward a new phone. Let’s see what they have to offer.

OnePlus 6 vs. Honor 10: Specs

Category OnePlus 6 Honor 10
Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo
OxygenOS 5.1.2
Android 8.1 Oreo
EMUI 8.1
Display 6.28-inch AMOLED, 2280×1080 (19:9)
Gorilla Glass 5
5.84-inch IPS LCD, 2280×1080 (19:9)
Gorilla Glass
Chipset Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
4×2.80GHz Kryo 385 + 4×1.70 Kryo 385
Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970
4×2.4 Cortex A73 + 4×1.80GHz Cortex A53
GPU Adreno 630 Mali-G72 MP12
RAM 6GB/8GB LPDDR4X 4GB/6GB
Storage 64GB/128GB/256GB (UFS 2.1) 64/128GB
Rear camera 1 16MP, 1.22μm, f/1.7
OIS, EIS
Dual LED flash
[email protected], [email protected]
16MP, ƒ/1.8
Dual LED flash
[email protected]
Rear camera 2 20MP, 1.0μm, ƒ/1.7 24MP, ƒ/1.8
Front camera 16MP, 1.0μm, ƒ/2.0 24MP, ƒ/2.0
Battery 3300mAh 3400mAh
Charging USB-C
Dash Charge (5V 4A)
USB-C
Fast charging (5V/4.5A)
Water resistance Splash resistant (no IP rating) No
Security Fingerprint sensor
Face unlock
Fingerprint sensor
Face unlock
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac , 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
USB-C (2.0), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
USB-C (2.0), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Dimensions 155.7×75.4×7.75mm
177g
149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm
153g
Variants Mirror Black, Midnight Black, Silk White Phantom Blue, Phantom Green, Glacier Grey, Midnight Black

What’s the same

The OnePlus 6 and Honor 10 get the basics right: there’s a 3.5mm jack on both devices, and you get USB-C along with batteries that easily deliver a day’s worth of usage. The Honor 10’s 3400mAh battery is marginally larger than the 3300mAh battery on the OnePlus 6, and the larger capacity combined with EMUI’s aggressive memory management allows the device to pull slightly ahead.

The OnePlus 6, meanwhile, has Dash Charge, so when you are running low you can get a 60% charge in just under 30 minutes. Huawei’s fast charging tech is faster, with the bundled wall charger able to charge at 5V/4.5A.

You’re getting great value for your money with either device.

OnePlus dominates the numbers game, but the Honor 6 isn’t far behind either thanks to the Kirin 970 chipset. If anything, the Honor 10 offers better value considering you get 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage as standard. The OnePlus 6, meanwhile, comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, but you can pick up a variant offering up to 256GB of storage.

Both devices are on an equal footing when it comes to the camera as well, and while the Honor 10 is missing the Leica optimization, Honor has engraved an AI Camera label at the back of the device. It doesn’t have the Night Mode feature that made the P20 Pro outmatch the likes of the Pixel 2, but you do get a similar AI-assisted camera that automatically selects the best shooting mode based on the subject in focus.

OnePlus 6 on the left, Honor 10 on the right.

Both devices have their strengths and drawbacks. The Honor 10 takes photos with accurate colors, but you do notice a lot of grain around the edges in low-light shots. The OnePlus 6, meanwhile, tends to oversaturate colors in daylight shots.

What the OnePlus 6 does better

For all of its hardware prowess, where the OnePlus 6 actually wins out is on the software front. OnePlus has managed to hit the right balance between ease of use and customizability with OxygenOS, and it continues to be one of my favorite Android skins.

The OxygenOS interface itself is akin to vanilla Android, and the few customizations that OnePlus has added are well thought out and flawlessly executed. One of my favorite features is Reading Mode, which turns the entire screen monochrome, making it easier to read longform articles on the device.

There are several such customization features sprinkled throughout OxygenOS, and one recent addition is navigation gestures. The feature allows you to get rid of the nav bar, instead relying on gestures to navigate the user interface. It takes a while to get used to, but it does offer an interesting new alternative to the standard nav bar.

Huawei has made a lot of positive strides with EMUI over the course of the last 12 months, but it still doesn’t feel as cohesive as OxygenOS. That said, you can alleviate most of EMUI’s annoyances with a third-party launcher and a custom icon pack.

When it comes to real-world performance, there are few devices that can go head-to-head with the OnePlus 6 — it’s safe to say that this is one of the fastest phones available today. The Honor 10 is no slouch, but it isn’t quite as fluid as the OnePlus 6.

OnePlus 6 offers a software experience that’s unmatched in this category.

The 6.28-inch panel on the OnePlus 6 is one of the best in this category, and beats out the Honor 10’s IPS LCD display. Both devices have the same FHD+ resolution, but the AMOLED display on the OnePlus 6 offers colors that are more saturated, and you get the option to set the phone to sRGB or DCI-P3 color profile.

Then there’s the notch: both the OnePlus 6 and the Honor 10 have it, but at least on the OnePlus 6 there has been some effort to minimize the bottom bar. Honor, meanwhile, has a home button on the bottom bar, so it isn’t immediately clear as to why there’s a notch up top in the first place.

The notch is still a hideous, unwelcome, and totally unnecessary feature, but it looks like it’s here to stay for a few generations. The best you can do is hide it away, and OnePlus’ implementation to hide the cutout is better than what Honor has managed.

When you hide the notch on the OnePlus 6, it resizes apps to regular width so that the top section of a particular app isn’t hidden away. On the Honor 10, however, if you set an app to fullscreen mode and then hide the notch, the top portion will be hidden behind the black bars. This is a particularly annoying problem when you’re using something like Instagram.

Moving on, the OnePlus 6 also wins out when it comes to facial recognition. Both the OnePlus 6 and Honor 10 use a similar technique for face unlock — there’s no dedicated sensor at the front for iris scanning, so both devices use software algorithms to identify your facial patterns. OnePlus’ implementation is currently the fastest on Android, and while the Honor 10 comes close, it isn’t quite as fast or accurate as the OnePlus 6.

What the Honor 10 does better

Even at first glance, it’s easy to see that the Honor 10 has a much more interesting design. I thoroughly enjoyed using the Huawei P20 Pro earlier this year, and the Honor 10 has a similar design aesthetic at roughly half the price.

The iridescent back on the Honor 10 is unlike anything else on a phone today.

The Honor 10 has a smaller 5.84-inch display, and that makes it much more conducive to one-handed usage. The OnePlus 6 is taller and wider thanks to a 6.28-inch display, and that makes holding the phone uncomfortable.

You’re also getting more value with the Honor 10, as the phone offers more storage at a lower cost.

Which should you buy? Depends on where you live

When it comes to the hardware side of things, the differences between the Honor 10 and the OnePlus 6 are miniscule. Both phones offer incredible value for around the $ 500 mark. OnePlus inevitably takes the lead on the software front, but EMUI isn’t all that bad once you have a custom launcher installed.

The main downside with the Honor 10 is that it won’t be launching in North American markets, so if you’re in the U.S. or Canada, your default option at this price point is the OnePlus 6.

If you’re in Europe or India, the Honor 10 is a viable alternative to the OnePlus 6. The phone has a much more interesting design, and offers similar performance and better battery life.

Then there’s the fact that the £399 retail price is £70 less than what you’ll have to shell out for a OnePlus 6, and you get 128GB of storage as standard on the Honor 10. The OnePlus 6 variant with 128GB of storage runs up to £519, a whole £120 more than the Honor 10.

See at Amazon UK

OnePlus is much more aggressive in India, where the 64GB version of the OnePlus 6 costs a mere ₹2,000 ($ 30) more than the Honor 10. That said, the 128GB model comes in at ₹39,999 ($ 590), or ₹7,000 ($ 100) more than what you’d be paying for the Honor 10. If you don’t care about 128GB of storage, then the OnePlus 6 is a much better option in India.

See at Amazon India

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