Hunting down a decent phone for under £150 (RM850) used to be a crapshoot, but in 2017 you’ve never had it better.
There’s plenty of choice now, with Motorola leading the charge. Now, it’s Honor’s turn: the Honor 6A will set you back £149 (about RM850), but you get a lot of smartphone for your scratch.
Is it better than the rest, though? I got to try one out ahead of its UK launch to find out whether it can dethrone the Moto G5, or if it’s going to have to settle to a mid-table finish.
DESIGN & BUILD
The 6A has come a long way from the uggo budget handsets of a few years ago - this 5in phone is positively attractive. It’s all glass up front, and there’s even metal on the back. OK, so it's surrounded on all sides by a chunky plastic frame - but then so is the Moto G5.
It doesn't feel cheap, even if it's a little on the portly side at 8.2mm, and the curved sides and corners sit comfortably in your hand.
There's no fingerprint sensor, though, so it's back to tapping in passwords and PIN codes like a caveman. NFC doesn't make the cut, either, so Android Pay is a no-go as well. That's not a big deal in China, where paying with WeChat reigns supreme, but it's a missed opportunity for us here in the West.
You only get one camera on the back - you’ll have to splash out on the premium-yet-still-affordable Honor 9 to get dual-sensor shenanigans. Still, the 13MP snapper here should be capable of some decent daylight shots.
It’s got phase-detect AF, and felt pretty responsive in the short time I had to play with the phone. I’ll have to wait until a full review to see how it fares in low light, though. There’s no OIS, and the single-LED flash will only get you so far.
SCREEN & SOUND
It might stick to a 720p resolution, but the 6a looks reasonably sharp for a budget phone. Those pixels are stretched across a 5in LCD panel, which has decent colour definition for the cash.
Brightness is a problem, though - especially once you step outside. When the sun comes out, it's not nearly bright enough to see what's going on. At least it fare better inside and away from bright lights.
Contrast takes a big hit as soon as there’s a bit of light behind you, too. You’ll still be able to binge on Netflix shows from your bed or the sofa, but not so much when you’re out in the garden.
The speakers are about what you’d expect for a budget phone, too. Don’t crank the volume up to the max and it’ll do a decent job with YouTube clips, but that’s about all it’s good for.