Honor Holly 3 first impressions: a budget smartphone which falls short in the specs game

“The Honor Holly 3 is a 5.5-inch phablet which retails for Rs 9,999”


Along with its Honor 8 (review) and Honor 8 Smart smartphones, the company had something to offer in the budget segment as well in its recent launch event. The Honor Holly 3 is a 5.5-inch phablet which retails for Rs 9,999, and is the first smartphone from the company that has been manufactured in India. The overall specs of the smartphone look decent, but the fierce competition in the Rs 10,000 segment has us wondering if the Honor Holly 3’s got enough. Let’s find out in the first impressions.


The Holly 3 does not stray much from its predecessor’s design language and sports a plastic back with a cross-hatched textured finish. We got the gold variant to play with, but the company is offering the phone in white and black hues as well.

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Ours demo unit looked decent enough, but there are definitely better looking smartphones out there available for a similar price. The textured back added to the grip but we found that the bulky build made it slightly difficult for us to use the phone easily with one hand.

The display on the Holly 3 is high definition, and not the sharpest we’ve come across lately. The colours looked somewhat washed out, but the screen brightness was adequate, at least indoors. Powered by a 1.2GHz octa-core Kirin processor, the phone has 2 gigs of RAM. Our short session with the phone was more or less smooth, but we felt that there was a slight lag while switching apps. While everyday use should be snappy, we can’t say much about heavy usage just yet.


The Holly 3 gets 16 gigs of built-in memory, out of which it offers approximately 10.5GB for personal use. The storage can be expanded up to 128 gigabytes using a microSD card. The phone runs Android Marshmallow out of the box with the company’s custom UI on top. We found a few Chinese apps preloaded on our unit. The overall interface felt more refined than the Holly 2 Plus.


Camera-wise the Holly 3 sports a 13MP primary shooter aided by an LED flash, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The default camera application was something you’d find on any Honor smartphone, flooded with shooting modes and filters. The focussing and shutter speeds were average. The lighting at the event was too dim for us to comment on the images we clicked.


The Holly 3 gets a 3,100mAh battery which should be more than enough to deliver a day-long battery life. The device offers smart performance mode and ultra power saving mode for you to be able to extract the most juice out of the battery.

Priced at Rs 9,999, the Holly 3 gets tough competition from the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (review), and the recently launched Coolpad Note 5 (first impressions), the latter being the cheapest smartphone with 4GB of RAM. Additionally, both these phones sport better processors, full metal bodies and fingerprint scanners, beating the Holly 3 at the specs game. We’ll be assessing the Holly 3’s capabilities as a daily driver in the coming days, so watch out for our full review.

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An engineer by qualification and a writer by interest, Deeksha has been working on blending technology and words together ever since she completed her graduation. A crazy fashion enthusiast, you’ll find her creating the most curious analogies between the world of tech, and say…an haute couture shoe. You might want to look up a fashion glossary before reading her work. Personally a fan of Windows smartphones, Deeksha has developed a knack for Android-powered devices over her time here at 91mobiles, and is just starting to delve into the Macintosh world, while iOS remains on the list. When not writing reviews or features, she likes to read fiction novels, browse through the catalogues of all the brands that exist, shop enough to clothe a small town, discover a new food outlet at least twice a day, crib about being fat…and think of ways to take over the world while doing these things.