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Honor 10 Camera Review: Same Huawei P20 smarts?

The Honor 10 boasts Huawei’s AI camera smarts, similar to the super-premium P20 family. Except this Honor handset costs just £399.

In terms of megapixel count, the Honor 10 actually has that P20 beat. Here you get a 16-megapixel RGB lens, backed by a secondary 24-megapixel monochrome shooter. Both lenses boast an f/1.8 aperture, which means reasonably respectable low light performance too.

Feature-packed

Jump into the camera app and you’re immediately flooded with a bunch of toggles and camera modes. The bulk of these can basically be ignored, but some of them prove very useful indeed.

For instance, anyone who loves snapping their pets, kids and mates in action will probably get a kick from the Moving Pictures feature. This captures a brief video snippet with every shot, so your gallery is brought to life when you’re flipping through.

There’s also a lens feature which basically looks for random junk you’ve spotted on Amazon. Sometimes it actually works, other times it’s total pants.

Flick the little side-dial and you’ll skip between the auto photo mode and other camera modes. Unsurprisingly the Portrait Mode is back, so you can shoot great-looking photos of living subjects with some sexy bokeh-style background blurring. The results aren’t quite as impressive as those shot on the Huawei P20, as there’s still some silhouette blurring. All the same, we got some really nice looking shots using this mode.

A heap of extra camera modes are crammed away in the ‘more’ section, although of these only a handful are of any actual use. The Pro mode for instance offers full manual controls and the ability to shoot in RAW format. You also get slow motion and timelapse video modes, and yes – the AR lens is back, to turn you into a hilarious Disney monstrosity. Nightmares, for life.

Photo quality

On the whole, our test photos came out rather well. Each photo was packed with detail, so you can regail your extended family with a slideshow presentation of your trip to Milton Keynes right there on your massive telly, with no loss in quality. Colours really pop, especially when the AI mode takes control and breathes life into scenic shots.

This AI feature uses those delicious Kirin 970 brains to help analyse any scene you’re attempting to shoot, and then tweak the settings and add various effects to get the best possible results. It’s activated by default but you can switch it off if you like with a quick tap of the on-screen toggle.

Note however that keeping the Honor 10’s AI smarts turned on will render both the LED flash and the Moving Pictures feature inactive. So you can only really use it in decent light, and forget about that nifty animated photo gallery. But does that AI feature actually do much to boost the look of your photos, compared with just using the standard auto mode? Well, we didn’t notice a massive amount of difference, to be honest. Mostly it seems to automatically activate the portrait mode when it detects that you’re shooting people, although occasionally it’ll bring a landscape to life with richer greens and blues.

In high contrast situations, the Honor 10 does tend to slightly oversaturate brighter areas. And in very low light you can expect quite grainy, soft results – hence you’ll want to knock off the AI mode and get the flash on the go instead. However, for everything else the Honor 10 more than holds its own. Moving subjects aren’t an issue as long as they’re bathed in light, and we rarely had to scrap a photo because it looked bad.

Video quality

Switch to video mode and you can shoot home movies at Full HD resolution, at either 30 or 60 frames-per-second. There’s also a Full HD+ setting which is better suited to playback on the Honor 10’s screen. And if you want, you can even record in 4K Ultra HD resolution.

Our movies came out well, with the only real issue being the occasional popping of the lens as it tries to keep everything sharp. At the default Full HD resolution you get a respectable amount of captured detail, plus some slick image stabilisation. Bump up to 60FPS and any movement looks smoother, although the stabilisation takes a serious hit, as expected. If you walk and shoot at the same time, the results will be rather juddery.

We definitely preferred the 4K results, which look fantastic on a big telly. Everything looks sharp and natural, although once again the stabilisation leaves a lot to be desired.

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