A few weeks earlier, Huawei announced its ‘Make in India’ initiative and outlined its plans to expand its reach offline. On October 12, the company introduced its first make in India handset, the Honor Holly 3, alongside two upper mid-range handsets, Honor 8 and Honor 8 Smart, which are also the first set of Honor phones to retail at offline stores from the launch day itself (Interestingly, Honor was originally introduced as an online only sub-brand in India).

The Honor Holly 3, which we will primarily talk about in the following post, is the third Honor Holly iteration (Following Honor Holly 2 Plus and Honor Holly). Priced at 9,999, it is also the most affordable Honor handset introduced at Huawei’s #Doubletheaction event.

Did it impress? Let’s find out!

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Honor Holly 3 Specifications and Features: 

Model Honor Holly 3
Display 5.5-Inch, 720P IPS HD display
Processor 1.2GHz Kirin 620 Octa-Core, Mali 450GPU
RAM 2GB
Internal Storage 16GB(expandable up to 128GB)
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow based EmotionUI 4.1
Primary Camera 13-Megapixel sensor, Dual LED flash, F/2.0 aperture
Secondary Camera 8MP Front-Facing Camera, F/2.0 aperture
Battery 3100mAh
Others 4G LTE, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth
Price 9,999 INR

Design and Display

With a display measuring 5.5-inches diagonally, the Honor holly 3 is bigger than both Holly and Holly 2 Plus. Though Huawei remains largely apathetic about the way it looks, it’s quite clear that the Holly 3 is an improvement over its predecessor. There aren’t many design flairs to relish here and the Honor Holly 3 is more functional than striking.

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On the rear, Huawei is re-using a familiar texture with a gaudy chrome finished plastic side frame encompassing it. On the other hand, the front resembles some of the better Honor phones that we have come across. Measuring 8.45 mm around the waist and weighing 168 grams, it’s definitely not gunning for the slimmest and the lightest title belt. Nor does Huawei play to the galleries by including popular design labels like ‘Metal unibody ’and ‘2.5D glass’. Honor 5C (Full Review), another pocket friendly alternative from Huawei, did a better job design-wise.

The display size has gone bigger, but the display resolution remains same. In practice, the lack of pixels wasn’t very apparent – at least not in the dim ambiance of the demo hall. The IPS LCD panel looks decent, flaunts high contrast ratio, and is more resistant to smudges than the Holly 2 Plus (Looks like Huawei is using an oleophobic coating this time around). The color temperature circle under display settings further allows you to effectively modify color temperature to your specific taste.

EMUI 4.1 Software

The Honor Holly 3 is running heavily customized Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with EMUI 4.1 on top.

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We have had ample firsthand experience with latest EMUI software. It’s feature rich, tries to include all possible customization options except the App drawer, and has received highly polarized reviews in the past. In our opinion, it’s about time Huawei give it a face-lift and rework the notification shade. Our hands-on prototype was running the Chinese ROM, so yes, Google services weren’t working and there is no point commenting on the fluidity of the interface.

The good thing is that Huawei promises “regular software updates” for the new Honor phones.

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Performance Expectations

Honor Holly 3 banks upon 28nm based octa-core Kirin 620 chipset, which has 8 cores clocked at 1.2GHz and Mali450 GPU handling graphics. The SoC is clearly aging and the fact that it’s paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage doesn’t inspire much confidence either. Having said that, there is no valid reason to write it off just yet. This might not be apt for power users, but this could very well suffice for basic and moderate users, who are in majority.

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At least Huawei isn’t skimping on camera hardware. The Honor Holly 3 includes a 13MP rear camera with LED Flash, and wide f/2.0 aperture lens and an 8MP selfie camera with large 1.12 Micron pixels and wider f/2.0 aperture.

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The battery capacity is pretty decent at 3100mAh and the speaker is favorably positioned on the bottom edge. The fingerprint reader is another crucial thing missing.

First Impression

There are several blanks which need to be filled before we can conclude anything about the Honor Holly 3. Our initial reading is that Huawei isn’t super keen on tossing it as an alternative in cut-throat under 10k competition, but is more interested in tapping the offline market with the new set of Honor handsets.

The Holly 3 seems to be playing by offline market rules, where the profit is shared through the distribution pipeline, thus leading to comparatively more expensive products. The Honor Holly 3 isn’t terrific looking or loaded with glittering hardware, but we will have to wait and watch for the practical usage experience that it manages to muster before we give our verdict.

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