It isn’t often that we encounter a true first with a smartphone these days, but we have with the Honor Holly. Intriguingly, when the Holly was launched, Honor said the number of online registrations of no obligation interest in the handset would control its price: more interest equals lower price. Starting at a price of £109.99, the online interest has lowered the phone’s value to just £89.99, which has been made the final, confirmed purchase price.
What you get for the money is an interesting combination. The build is nothing to write home about. It has a lightweight, plastic feel to it and there’s a lot of bezel around the five-inch screen so that the handset looks and feels like a budget buy. The one plus point of having the Android back, home and menu buttons below the screen is that there’s a bit more screen space available for apps to use.
The screen is an IPS LCD panel which has reasonably good viewing angles. The 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution is somewhat behind the leading edge but the text and images are sharp enough. Screen brightness doesn’t go as high as some though.
While so many sub-£100 handsets offer just 8GB memory, the Holly impresses with 16GB, of which 12.9GB is free after taking into account system apps. You can add 32GB more storage using the microSD card slot that’s under the back plate, but hot swapping is ruled out as you have to remove the battery to get to the card.
Also under the back plate you’ll find two SIM card slots. Dual SIM handsets have always been rare, and it is really nice to see one at such a low price. You don’t have to use two SIMs all the time, of course. You could reserve the second slot for your low cost travel SIM when you’re on holiday.
The quad-core 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6582 processor is backed by 1GB of RAM. It is not a bad combination and gives this budget handset enough oomph for everyday situations.
Android 4.4 has the Emotion UI sitting on top (the Honor range comes from Huawei). As with other handsets bearing this UI, there’s no app drawer. Instead, apps sit on the homescreen and you can drop them into folders to keep things tidy. This may be jarring if you are switching from another Android handset, but it doesn’t take long to get used to.
The other specifications are nothing fancy – GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0. The 8 Megapixel main camera is good enough for the odd snap to share on Facebook, but you’ll need a dedicated camera for ‘proper’ shots. There’s no NFC, no infrared, no Wi-Fi ac and no 4G. The battery is not huge at 2,000mAh – heavy users might not like this phone.