Honor made a name for itself for years as the cheaper, youth-oriented division of Huawei, but now that it's been sold by the Chinese giant Honor has to strike off on its own as an independent company.

That brings both challenges - forming its own R&D, manufacture, and distribution channels - and benefits, as Honor is finally free from the US trade restrictions that have crippled Huawei's ability to make phones, and so from now on Honor devices can ship globally with full Google software.

The result is that the phones on this chart are a mixed bag. The Honor 50 is the only model we've reviewed so far that's launched with Google support, so it almost automatically gets the top spot in our chart. The cheaper Honor 50 Lite will also be available soon and we hope to review it, while the company has also promised a global launch for the flagship Honor Magic 3 is on the way.

The other phones in this chart released during the ban, and so while the hardware is still relatively recent, they won't let you use Google apps or access the Google Play Store, limiting you to the apps available through the Huawei App Gallery or downloaded as .apk files using Huawei's Petal Search tool (unless you're brave enough to side-load Google). These are still good phones, but with big limitations, so make sure you know what you're getting into.

Best Honor phones 2021

1

Honor 50 - Best Honor phone

Honor 50
  • Pros
    • Slim and light
    • Beautiful display
    • Full Google support
  • Cons
    • No waterproofing
    • Mixed camera performance

The Honor 50 is the company's first phone to get a global release since going independent, and also the first to feature Google support. As a result, it's really the only Honor phone we've tested that we'd recommend most people consider.

The design and display are the biggest selling points here - the Honor 50 looks and feels great, and it's both slim (7.8mm) and light (175g). The curved 120Hz OLED display is also one of the best you'll find in any phone at this price.

The 108Mp rear camera is pretty strong, though the other rear lenses disappoint a bit. The selfie camera is still good though, and at 32Mp it's one of the higher-resolution front-facing cameras around.

The Honor 50 Lite is also getting a global release, but we haven't been able to review that model yet.

Read our full Honor 50 review

2

Honor 30 Pro+ - Best without Google

Honor 30 Pro+
  • Pros
    • Flagship specs
    • Beautiful display
  • Cons
    • No Google support
    • Limited international availability

The Honor 30 Pro+ boasts phenomenal hardware at a very competitive price. It's fronted by a superb set of cameras but also has the chops to provide great gaming performance and sports a big, beautiful display (provided you can live with a double hole-punch).

The elephant in the room is that this is one of the Honor phones that lacks Google Mobile Services.

Throw in the fact that you’ll likely have to import this device to get your hands on it, and for most, despite its numerous strengths, the 30 Pro+ becomes another of the best phones you probably shouldn’t buy.

Read our full Honor 30 Pro+ review

3

Honor 9X Pro - Best budget without Google

Honor 9X Pro
  • Pros
    • Great value
    • Two-day battery
  • Cons
    • No Google support

The Honor 9X Pro carries over a lot of the great aspects of the Honor 9X - the versatile camera and fullscreen view - whilst also upgrading the design and processor.

However, not all the changes are positive. This was Honor's first phone without full Google features, and that creates additional software challenges and frustrations.

That aside, you still get a high-end look and feel, plus a great battery life that lasts nearly two days from actual use. 

Read our full Honor 9X Pro review

4

Honor 9A - Best battery

Honor 9A
  • Pros
    • Huge battery
    • Very affordable
  • Cons
    • No Google support
    • Weak camera

The best thing about the Honor 9A is undoubtedly its battery life - getting a 5000mAh battery at such a low price is a real plus. The striking exterior design is also rather appealing.

The budget price does mean that the camera is hit-and-miss, and it's another Honor phone that lacks Google Mobile Services.

If you’re looking for a basic phone for your day-to-day tasks and aren’t too bothered by no Google integration, then it’s still worth considering the Honor 9A.

Read our full Honor 9A review

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