Huawei Honor 3C budget smartphone review

At just over £100, the Honor 3C is a decent budget smartphone with a good screen and reasonable specs that'll do the trick if you're looking for something cheap and cheerful. Here, we've taken a look at the pros and cons of the Huawei-built phone in our Honor 3C review.

Huawei Honor 3C review: Price, availability & competition

You'll find the Honor 3C available for £109, from various retailers including Amazon, which puts it in direct competition with similarly priced smartphones such as the £89 Moto E, the £99 Asus ZenFone 4, the £89 ZTE Blade L2, and the £129 Nokia Lumia 630. But is it better than those rivals? Read on to find out what we think.

Huawei Honor 3C review: Design & build quality

Honor 3C review

At first glance, the Honor 3C is a simple but stylish device, which satisfyingly thin bezels and an overall thin and light feel. However, upon closer inspection you'll notice a couple of tell-tale signs that giveaway this smartphone's low price tag.

First, the removable plastic back has a tacky shine to it, and it doesn't perfectly align with the camera (at least on our review unit). Plus, where the glass display meets the plastic rim around the front portion of the smartphone, there's a tiny gap that captures dirt and clings to it for dear life, so keeping it clean is a challenge.

That said, the buttons are neat, the front looks sleek (but we do wish the touch-sensitive navigation buttons along the bottom were backlit) and it's available in black or white.

Honor 3C design

Looking closer, you'll find that the Honor 3C measures 9.2mm thick, which is thinner than the Moto E and ZenFone 4, and very similar to thickness of the ZTE Blade L2 and Nokia Lumia 630.

It's also 140g, which is lighter than all of those smartphone aside from the Nokia Lumia 630, which is 134g.

Huawei Honor 3C review: Display

The Honor 3C's display is one of it's biggest selling points. It's a 5in screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720, making a pixel density of 294ppi. That's not the best screen around – far from it, in fact – but at just £109 it's an impressive addition to this budget handset.

Honor 3C display

For comparison, the Moto E has a 4.3in display with a resolution of 960 x 540 (256ppi), the ZenFone 4 has a 4in display at 800 x 480 px (233ppi), the ZTE Blade L2 has a 5in display at 854 x 480 pixels (196ppi), and the Nokia Lumia 630 has a 4.5in display with a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels (221 ppi). The Honor 3C is the clear winner there.

Huawei Honor 3C review: Hardware & performance

Let's take a look inside the Honor 3C now, to find out whether there's any power behind that impressive display.

The Honor 3C's processor is an ARM 1.3GHz quad-core chip paired with 2GB of RAM. Below gives you an idea of how it compares with similarly priced rivals. It scores well in the GeekBench 3 test so is among the more powerful of the budget smartphones, but scores very poorly in the graphics test. In the SunSpider Javascript test (where lower is better), the Honor 3C scored extremely poorly compared with rivals.

 

GeekBench 3 (Multi-Core)

GFXBench (T-Rex)

SunSpider

Honor 3C

1201

6.6fps

2269ms

Motorola Moto E

608

11fps

1877ms

Asus ZenFone 4

805

16.5fps

1363ms

ZTE Blade L2

1191

9fps

1316ms

Nokia Lumia 630

N/A

N/A

1486ms

There's only 8GB of internal storage, and unfortunately the microSD card slot only allows you to add an extra 32GB, but that should be enough for most.

As mentioned previously, this smartphone has a removeable back cover, and that provides access to the battery (meaning you'll be able to easily install a new one should the battery that comes with the smartphone become faulty), but also to the dual SIM-card slots and the MicroSD slot. 

We found that the battery could last for two or three days depending on how heavily you use it - we were suitably impressed.

As for connectivity, the Honor 3C offers Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and WiFi, but there's no 4G or NFC capabilities.

It's worth noting that we noticed a distinct lack in voice quality while making phone calls on the Honor 3C, though, which is a big downfall if you intend on making lots of calls, particularly if they're for business or other important purposes.

Huawei Honor 3C review: Cameras

On paper, the Honor 3C's cameras look good, but in practice we were not too impressed.

The rear-facing camera is 8Mp but it lacks focus and speed so is not ideal for moving objects or for those who struggle to keep a steady hand. It also struggles in low light. However, we're quite satisfied with the photograph we captured of St Pancras as the sun was shining on it so it is capable of good results if the conditions are right.  There is an LED flash, though, which is a plus. It is capable of 1080p video, too.

You can see a couple of examples of photographs captured below.

Honor 3C camera test 

Here's a full crop of that one so you can see the kind of detail you'll get.

And here's an example of the lack of focus and issues in low light that we mentioned. (Not ideal for owners of pets or small children!)

The front-facing camera is 5Mp, so is better than many rivals including some high-end smartphones. There's even a beauty mode that hints that the Honor 3C is the latest smartphone to implement features that help improve selfies.

Huawei Honor 3C review: Software

Another of the Honor 3C’s downfalls is the software, as it’s stuck on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. Alternative budget devices such as the Motorola Moto E offer Android 4.4 KitKat. Google’s mobile OS has been overlaid with Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.0 interface, which includes various fun themes to choose from and apps including the Phone Management app that aims to help you maximise power, memory and battery life.

Honor 3C: Specs

  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 5in (720x1280, 294ppi) IPS display
  • 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex A-7 processor
  • Mali-400 MP2
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD up to 32GB
  • 8Mp rear camera, with LED Flash
  • 5Mp front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 /b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS
  • A-GPS
  • Micro-USB
  • 2300mAh battery
  • 71.4x139.5x9.2mm
  • 140g
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean OS
  • 5in (720x1280, 294ppi) IPS display
  • 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex A-7 processor
  • Mali-400 MP2
  • 2GB RAM
  • 8GB internal storage
  • microSD up to 32GB
  • 8Mp rear camera, with LED Flash
  • 5Mp front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 /b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • GPS
  • A-GPS
  • Micro-USB
  • 2300mAh battery
  • 71.4x139.5x9.2mm
  • 140g

OUR VERDICT

The Honor 3C boasts a good screen for the price tag, and trumps some of its rivals when it comes to design and power, but its downfalls include the old software, the disappointing camera and the poor graphics performance.

However, for anyone looking for a cheep but cheerful smartphone that will do the trick for browsing the web, social media, messaging, emails, phone calls and more, the Honor 3C is worth considering, but it's also worth looking at similarly-priced alternatives.

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