Honor Bee first impressions: feature-packed, but doesn’t stand out amidst the competition

“The Honor Bee is a budget device which has been specifically developed for India”

Honor Bee first impressions 01

Within an year of its existence in the Indian market, Huawei’s digital-only sub-brand Honor has introduced a slew of offerings for consumers. These include the budget-performer Holly (review), the affordable Honor 6 (review) flagship, the budget 4X (review) 4G phablet, and the camera-centric Honor 6 Plus (first impressions). All of these devices cater to different price bands and needs, and now they are accompanied by two new offerings from the brand’s stable – the Honor 4C (first impressions) and Honor Bee. While the former looks like a sibling to the Honor 4X, the Bee is a budget device which has been specifically developed for India and is making its global debut here. We were able to spend some quality time with the Honor Bee and here’s how we’ll describe our experience.

Unlike the geometric Honor 4X and 4C, the Honor Bee features rounded corners and combined with its small 4.5-inch display, the device can be held easily in one hand. Above the display, you’ll find a earpiece and a front camera sensor and below, a row of navigation buttons. The capacitive buttons follow the Android guidelines, but in a reverse order, with the first key used to return to the previous screen, the button at the centre to jump to the homescreen, and the last key to access recently-opened apps.

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The power button sits beneath the volume keys on the right edge, while both the 3.5mm audio interface and a micro-USB port can be found on top. This means that both the left and bottom sides are completely bare, except for the microphone at the base. The back panel houses the primary shooter along with the LED flash module, and a speaker grille further below.

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The rear features a smooth finish, which means it doesn’t offer a very good grip. Removing the panel exposes the battery compartment as well as a pair of micro-SIM card slots along with an expansion slot. The Honor Bee is available in classic black and white variants, as well as some brighter hues.

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The Honor Bee sports a 4.5-inch display, which bears a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. In the age of HD screens, even in the affordable territory, the pixel density appears to be on the lower side. At 217ppi, the display isn’t very sharp, and this is more noticeable when viewed closely. The screen also seems to be very reflective and is a fingerprint magnet.

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Powering the show on the Honor Bee is a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, which is backed by a gigabyte of RAM. The hardware combo is a standard these days, and we believe that it should be able to run basic tasks and games without any issues. For memory, the device comes with 8GB of eMMC storage, out of which around 5.2GB is available to the end user. One can also slide in a microSD card of up to 32GB to increase the storage.

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The Honor Bee runs a toned-down version of Huawei’s EMUI 3.0 with Android 4.4 KitKat as its base. The basics of the UI remain the same, i.e. both the homescreen and app launcher are unified with all apps placed on the homescreen. The lock screen is also dynamic thanks to Magazine Unlock, which offers a new wallpaper every time you unlock the handset. You can also change the theme with the theme manager app. However, the phone doesn’t have as many features as its pricier siblings that run the full version of EMUI.

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In the camera department, the Honor Bee bears an 8-megapixel sensor at the back and a 2MP front-facing camera. Providing illumination in low-light conditions is a dual-LED flash at the back.

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The handset sips juice from a 1,730mAh battery and comes with various battery-saving options. For connectivity, it features support for 3G on both SIMs along with the standard set of options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Priced at Rs 4,999, the Honor Bee seems like a decent offering in the entry-level segment. However, it isn’t a compelling choice when it’s pitted against some recent launches such as the Micromax Canvas Spark (first impressions) and Infocus M2.

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One of the earliest members of the 91mobiles' editorial team, Nitansh is a walking encyclopaedia of product specs. Name a phone and he’ll tell you the specifics on screen resolution, processor and camera without blinking an eyelid. Ask him if he remembers the launch date of a noteworthy phone, and he'll tell you the dates when the device first leaked, its global unveil, its Indian launch, and when it got a significant update. He’s a lover of all things Android, and loves writing reviews and scouting for new apps. A Wordpress whiz, he’s always ready to help out a fellow writer. While he juggles between many things at 91mobiles, he always manages to find time to write. In his non-tech avatar, Nitansh is a philatelist, which is a fancy word for stamp-collector.