The Honor 90, the brand’s latest mid-ranger, is an even more ambitious attempt to put the Magic 5 Pro’s best features into a significantly more cheap package.
During a pre-launch presentation of the device, Honor told me that the Honor 90 is intended for “younger users with a smaller budget,” and while this successor to the Honor 70 must necessarily compromise in some areas to cater to such a demographic, the brand has done a stellar job of making its newest candy bar handset look and feel like something close to a flagship phone.
The Honor 90 weighs slightly more than its predecessor (183g vs. 178g), but it feels just as comfortable in the hand, with a large-but-not-offensive 161.9mm x 74.1mm x 7.8mm.
The design is substantially unaltered from the Honor 70, with the exception of some minor reshaping of the two camera rings, and the phone’s rounded corners make it equally easy to grip and use with one hand. I wasn’t especially fond of having both the volume rocker and the power button on the Honor 90’s right side, with nothing on the left, but this arrangement does make ergonomic sense once you get used to it.
The Honor 90 is available in three colors: Midnight Black, Emerald Green, and Diamond Silver, with the latter being available only on the Honor website. I tried out the Emerald Green variety, which has a frosted rear finish, and I much like it than the Diamond Silver, which is just too flashy and shiny for my taste. Still, having options is a nice thing, even if the green variant is the only one available in both memory/storage configurations, at least in the UK.
The Honor 90 comes with a 6.7-inch quad-curved AMOLED display with a resolution of 2664 x 1200 and a screen refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It’s large, brilliant, and ideal for gaming and viewing movies, owing to HDR10+ support and HDR certifications from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The phone’s bezels are almost non-existent, which isn’t always the case with mid-range smartphones, and a ‘punch-hole’ front camera cut-out (rather than an obtrusive notch) at the top of the screen keeps things feeling fluid.
The Honor 90’s display, on the other hand, is more eye-friendly than those seen on other mid-range smartphones. The Honor Magic 5 Pro received praise for being the first phone to use Honor’s unique Circadian Night Display technology, which successfully filters blue light to support natural melatonin release and improve sleep quality. The Honor 90 has the same screen smarts as the Honor 8, as well as an outstanding 3840Hz PWM dimming cycle rate that helps to reduce eye strain.
Sure, that sounds like hyperbolic marketing speak, but Honor enlisted the help of Dr. Glen Jeffery, Professor of Neuroscience at University College London, to help prove the value in its new display technology, and the professor concluded, “long-term sleep disruption is associated with a range of ailments that Honor’s novel technology may be able to help side-step.” Honor is taking a big step in this manner by controlling blue light with the Honor Magic 5 Pro [and Honor 90].”
The Honor 90 employs a triple-camera system that includes a 200MP main lens (with a 1/1.4-inch sensor), a 12MP ultra-wide lens (with a 112° field of view), and a 2MP depth sensor to assist the camera in precisely determining distance.
Overall, this is a better configuration than the Honor 70, which has a 54MP lens paired with a 50MP ultra-wide lens and the same 2MP depth sensor, however the Honor 90 doesn’t compete with the finest camera phones in terms of versatility and image quality.
That’s not to say the phone doesn’t shoot good photos. As you can see here, photos are dependably bold and vivid – in both well-lit and low-light circumstances – and the Honor 90’s AI wizardry takes the guesswork out of determining which setting to employ for whatever photography scenario. The phone also includes an iPhone-style Portrait Mode, which can be used in two magnifications (1x and 2x) to better highlight the subject in the frame. The Honor 90, like the Honor 70, lacks a telephoto lens, which means it lacks optical zoom. You can digitally zoom up to 10x, but picture quality suffers as you get closer to that greater magnification.
The Honor 90 has a 50MP camera on the front, which is an upgrade over the Honor 70’s 32MP selfie shooter. Once again, AI optimization aids in keeping images captured with this lens bright and clear, and it’s good to see a phone maker focusing on more than just the rear camera system.
The Honor 90 can easily handle the demands of surfing, streaming, and gaming, and while I did notice a slight drop in performance when numerous power-hungry apps were open at the same time, the ordinary user is unlikely to put the phone through similar rigors. For those who are curious, the Honor 90’s Geekbench 6 scores – 1120 single-core and 3206 multi-core – are equivalent to the Google Pixel 7, which is a powerful device but far from one of the greatest gaming phones available. The same can be said for Honor’s latest mid-ranger.
When it comes to battery, the Honor 90 boasts a supersized 5,000mAh battery, which is a touch bigger than its predecessor’s 4,800mAh power pack. Honor promises that you’ll get up to 19.5 hours of continuous local video streaming with the Honor 90, and I found that claim to be true in my testing. The phone will comfortably last a full day in all but the most demanding use cases.
On the charging front, the phone supports 66W wired charging, and the included Honor SuperCharge charger (kudos, Honor) juiced up my review unit from 0% to 35% in just 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, I’d reached 68%, and a full 100% charge took 50 minutes.
The Honor 90’s 6.7-inch quad-curved AMOLED display is the sort of screen you’d expect to find on a four-figure flagship phone. The Honor 90 takes less than an hour to fully recharge, and just 15 minutes to reach around 35% battery from 0%.