Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
What we like
What we don't like
HONOR 90 review: At a glance
- What is it? The HONOR 90 is the latest mid-range Android phone from HONOR. It upgrades the HONOR 70's camera to a 200MP shooter and the selfie sensor to 50MP. A larger 5,000mAh battery, faster Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 processor, and brighter 1,600 nits display complete the impressive package.
- What is the price? The HONOR 90 is available for £449.99 in the UK and €549.99 in other European regions.
- Where can you buy it? You can buy the HONOR 90 starting July 6 in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and other European markets. It'll be available on HONOR's official website and other online retailers like Amazon. The phone has been available in China since May.
- How did we test it? I tested the HONOR 90 for two weeks. The review unit was supplied by HONOR.
- Is it worth it? If you want an all-around great mid-range Android phone with an excellent display and an above-average camera, the HONOR 90 is definitely worth considering. But if you care about water resistance, stereo loudspeakers, or wireless charging, you should skip it.
Should you buy the HONOR 90?
At a glance, the new HONOR 90 looks quite similar to 2022’s HONOR 70, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a simple upgrade. The improvements run deep across the entire phone, making this an excellent choice in the mid-range Android market. It’s especially appealing in this matte, glittery, emerald color that morphs from green to blue to grey under different lighting.
The star of the show is the beautiful 6.7-inch AMOLED display. It can go up in brightness to 1,600 nits and didn’t have any visibility issues against the searing Lebanese sun during a recent vacation in the country. HONOR touts HDR10+ and Netflix compatibility, a DXOMark Gold Display certification, super high PWM 3,840Hz risk-free dimming, and more specs than I can remember. All of those marketing buzzwords are worth it, though. This is the best display I’ve seen on a mid-range phone and the fact that it can handle extremely bright environments as well as very dim rooms is a testament to that. I read and write a lot on my phone and I’m used to eye fatigue setting in after staring at white text on a black screen for more than thirty minutes. That never happened with the HONOR 90, even after more than an hour of use.
This is the best display I've seen on a mid-range phone. The HONOR 90's screen can be bright enough for extremely sunny days as well as easy on the eyes in very dim rooms.
The HONOR 90 also boasts an impressive camera setup, but is it one of the best budget camera phones out there? After snapping pics and videos in different settings for two weeks, I think the answer is a bit nuanced. The 200MP main sensor is fantastic in daylight, but HONOR’s color science and HDR performance remain, in my opinion, a step behind Google’s on the similarly-priced Pixel 7a. Low-light indoor shots are fuzzy, and the phone struggles with moving subjects — like a playful dog — in dim environments. HONOR, however, takes back the lead with its autofocus ultrawide camera and macro shots, its high-resolution selfie cam, and its impressively stable video performance. Seriously, check the handheld video sample below; it’s so smooth it feels like it was shot with a gimbal! (You can check the full-resolution samples in this Drive folder.)
Although the chosen Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset isn’t the hottest Series 7 processor anymore, it still does the job. I never felt any slowness or hiccups while browsing, scrolling, messaging, snapping photos, playing some light games, or editing videos. Even shooting a full-resolution 200MP photo doesn’t take more than a couple of seconds. It’s mostly impressive under heavy load, as the Wild Life stress test shows sustainable performance across 20 runs. Of course, we’re not looking at a flagship-level performance here, but the HONOR 90 should do the job for most users.
Rounding out the list of positives is a large 5,000mAh battery that easily lasted me 36 hours on a charge. I could stretch it to two full days with a bit of extra management and care, but why do that when I could always top up the phone in a few minutes? There’s a 66W fast charger in the box — a realistic speed that shouldn’t compromise on battery longevity — that can fill up the phone in less than an hour. It can even take it from zero to 20% in around five minutes. My only gripe is that it’s a USB-A charger with an A-to-C cable; I would’ve preferred a type-C charger for compatibility with other cables and devices.
Although there’s nothing inherently bad about the HONOR 90, I found myself missing a few high-end features that have started creeping up in other mid-range phones. With no water resistance, I had to be extremely cautious of getting the phone wet. No wireless charging is just as inconvenient. And the mono speaker felt decidedly old-school compared to the earpiece-plus-speaker stereo setup of other phones. Perhaps the biggest annoyance, though, was that HONOR didn’t make up for these with any decidedly budget but useful features like a 3.5mm headphone jack or SD card support.
HONOR is only offering two years of Android updates, which makes it harder to recommend as a long-term purchase.
You can’t count on timely or frequent updates either. The HONOR 90 will only get two years of Android updates with an extra year of security patches; an update policy well behind several of its competitors.
Overall, though, the HONOR 90’s package is impressive, especially when you combine that excellent display with a good camera and chip performance. The phone’s value and attractiveness will depend on where you live, though. The £449.99 asking price is competitive in the UK, making it one of the best phones under £500. However, €549 feels a bit excessive in the rest of Europe where other brands are offering more interesting alternatives.
What are the best HONOR 90 alternatives?
Speaking of alternatives, the midrange market is full to the brim with options in the £400-500 range, though no matter what you choose, you’ll win something and lose something. Such is the law of budget devices; you have to be OK with some compromises.
- Google Pixel 7a ($477 at Amazon): At a similar price, the Pixel 7a offers a significantly different package from the HONOR 90. It has a better overall camera, wireless charging, IP67 rating, a better processor, and longer and more consistent support. But its display isn’t as good, it charges much slower, and the battery lasts significantly less. The choice between the two depends on your priorities, though Google’s software promise does mean it’s a much safer long-term buy.
- Galaxy A54 5G ($449.99 at Samsung): If you prefer Samsung’s One UI experience or want an ecosystem of products that work very well together, the similarly-priced Galaxy A54 5G is a good alternative to the HONOR 90. You get an IP67 rating, a microSD slot, stereo speakers, four years of Android updates, but beware, the base A54 5G configuration has less RAM (6GB). Performance and camera experience should be similar, even if the specs are different on paper. The only downside is that it charges at 25W max.
- Sony Xperia 10 V ($415 at Amazon): Those looking for a smaller package should consider the Xperia 10 V. It’s more compact with a 6.1-inch display and lighter at 159g, but it doesn’t skimp on features like a 5,000mAh battery, stereo speakers, a 3.5mm plug, microSD card slot, IP65 rating, and Gorilla Glass Victus display. The Snapdragon 695 5G processor is a bit slower, though, and Sony’s image post-processing is disappointing unless you know your way around RAW photos and Adobe Lightroom.
HONOR 90 specs
2664 x 1200 resolution
120Hz refresh rate
1,600 nits peak brightness, HDR10+
Qualcomm Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 Accelerated Edition 5G
66W HONOR SuperCharge fast charging
- 200MP wide, f/1.9, 1/1.4-inch sensor, 16:1 binning
- 12MP ultrawide and macro, f/2.2
- 2MP depth camera, f/2.4
- 50MP, 4:1 binning
Primary: 4K/30fps, 1080p/60fps
Plastic back, aluminum frame
Side-mounted fingerprint reader
Face unlock (via camera)
Ports and switches
USB 2.0 via USB-C
Dimensions and weight
161.9 x 74.1 x 7.8mm
In the box
66W HONOR SuperCharge charger
USB Type-A to Type-C cable
Clear TPU case
HONOR 90 review: FAQ
Yes, the HONOR 90 has the Google Play Store loaded out of the box. It also has access to all of Google’s apps including Search, Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Photos, and more.
No, the HONOR 90 doesn’t have an SD card slot.
Yes, the HONOR 90 has NFC.
The HONOR 90 comes with a double-sided SIM tray that supports two physical SIMs.
Yes, you can switch one of the two available SIM slots to use eSIM instead.