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HONOR 50 series launched in China (Updated: Released globally)
- HONOR has launched the HONOR 50 series in China.
- This is the firm’s first major smartphone release since it was sold by HUAWEI.
Update: October 26, 2021 (9 AM ET): It’s taken a really long time, but HONOR has finally launched the HONOR 50 series globally. Unfortunately, the HONOR 50 Pro is missing, but the HONOR 50 and HONOR 50 Lite make the cut.
The HONOR 50 starts at €529 (~$614) for the 6GB/128GB variant while the 8GB/256GB option will set you back €599 (~$695). Meanwhile, the Lite variant is available for €299 (~$347) for the sole 6GB/128GB option. These phones also have Google support, as they’re the first devices produced after HONOR went independent. There’s no word on availability beyond China and Europe for now.
Original article: June 16, 2021 (9:18 AM ET): HUAWEI spun off its HONOR sub-brand last year due to the ongoing US trade dispute, and this has allowed the newly independent brand to sign deals with a host of companies. Now, the first proper post-HUAWEI HONOR phones, the HONOR 50 series, have launched in China. And the company reportedly confirmed that the series will offer Google support.
The star of the show is the HONOR 50 Pro, and it’s serving up a Snapdragon 778G chipset, making for a pretty powerful upper mid-range proposition. The phone also serves up a 6.72-inch FHD+ curved OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 4,000mAh battery, and 100W wired charging. The latter promises a full charge in 25 minutes. Don’t expect wireless top-ups here though.
Camera duties are handled by a quad rear camera system, featuring a 108MP f/1.9 main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide snapper, and a pair of 2MP sensors for depth effects and macro shots. The main shooter in particular is capable of nona-binning to spit out shots comparable to a 12MP 2.1-micron pixel camera. The nona-binning capability and 1/1.52-inch sensor size suggest we’re looking at the Samsung Isocell HM2 sensor.
A 32MP primary camera and a 12MP secondary wide-angle sensor (100-degree field of view) handle selfies and front-facing videos. In fact, HONOR specifically notes that the secondary camera is designed for videos and the like.
The rest of the HONOR 50 series
Go down a notch and you’ll find the standard HONOR 50, sharing much in common with the Pro variant. There’s the same Snapdragon 778G SoC, a slightly smaller 6.57-inch FHD+ OLED screen, the same rear camera system, and the same 32MP selfie camera.
But the vanilla HONOR 50 ditches the 12MP secondary selfie camera and tops out at a still brisk 66W wired charging (topping up the battery in 45 minutes). In fact, the new phone also sports a slightly bigger battery compared to the Pro device (4,300mAh versus 4,000mAh).
More reading: The best HONOR phones you can buy
Finally, the HONOR 50 SE is the least impressive device of the lot and is targeting a cheaper price segment, although it still looks like a good prospect on paper. You’re getting a 6.78-inch FHD+ LTPS LCD panel, a MediaTek Dimensity 900 5G SoC, and a 4,000mAh battery with 66W wired charging (going from zero to full in roughly 37 minutes). Meanwhile, camera duties are handled by a 16MP selfie camera and a 108MP triple rear setup (also featuring an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP macro lens).
Otherwise, all three phones are powered by the Magic UI 4.2 skin atop Android 11. The HONOR 50 SE offers a side fingerprint scanner while the standard and Pro models serve up an in-display fingerprint sensor.
HONOR 50 series pricing and availability
The HONOR 50 series has only launched in China for now, although a global launch is on the cards too. You’ll be spending 3,699 yuan (~$578) for the 8GB/256GB HONOR 50 Pro in China, while the 12GB/256GB model will set you back 3,999 yuan (~$625).
Expect to pay 2,699 yuan (~$422) for the 8GB/128GB vanilla HONOR 50 and 2,999 yuan (~$469) for the 8GB/256GB option. Meanwhile, the top 12GB/256GB variant retails for 3,399 yuan (~$531). As for the HONOR 50 SE, pricing starts at 2,399 yuan (~$375) for the base 8GB/128GB option.
The company also confirmed that the phone will land in over 30 countries as part of the global launch (see the image above). These markets include Europe, the UK, Egypt, the Middle East, and South Africa.
HONOR told The Verge in a statement that the new phones will go through Google’s security review and will therefore offer Google Mobile Services (GMS).
“Consumers will be able to experience HONOR smartphones and tablets equipped with GMS,” a spokesperson told the outlet, confirming that this includes the HONOR 50 series.