Finally, I’ve decided to change my phone. My last phone, the OnePlus One lasted a good 3 years 2 months and it is still going extremely strong albeit with lower battery life. It’s battery failed one fine day, 3 years into its life and it needed a replacement.
The One was truly a flagship killer with impeccable specs – processor, ram, space, camera et al. – at an unbelievable price of Rs.21,999. But more than these, what I fell for was the fact that you could unlock the bootloader and still not void warranty. Plus, it shipped with CyanogenMod, an open source OS based on AOSP! These two probably are the reason why there is a full ecosystem of custom roms that enable you to use the latest version of android on the phone within months of release. It’s popularity and current use can simply be judged by the fact that it remains the #1 device for LineageOS download till date.
It did have faults. The continuous auto focus in video didn’t work smoothly and was a big annoyance. I wonder why OnePlus passed on fixing so basic a problem. It was also a delicate phone; the back which had an amazing sandstone texture is easily scratched and cracks on minor impact. But, these were minor nits for what is otherwise an amazing phone.
Over the last 2 years though, I’ve started getting put off by OnePlus. The biggest reason was the fact that software support was stopped for the earlier phones within months of the release of a new phone. The fact that Snapdragon 801 powering the one was capable of VoLTE and OnePlus chose not to support it, really put me off. Then came the frequent and unwanted new launches – one device every year was fine but launching two (3 and 3T; 5 and 5T) because they couldn’t copy the best design and specs into the first release was just not acceptable to me. They were also losing on the price front – you copy but give a good price, people will accept; but, this wasn’t the case for the last few launches as the price kept steadily inching higher.
And this gave opportunities for new brands to step in and fill in the void. Now a number of brands offer comparable specs to a OnePlus product but at a substantial lower price.
The battery failure did make me lose trust on the stability of the product. So, I decided to get rid of the One before it completely gave up one day. And I started researching. The latest offering from OnePlus was in the consideration set. But two things put me off, a) the price-value equation was off and b) a “T” in its name, to me implied that it was an upgrade of an older flagship and a filler before another flagship came in a few months later. The one thing in it’s favour, and a big one at that, was the fact that there continues to be a large community working on the OS.
Coming to the replacement – the Huawei Honor View 10. It seems to have all those elements that worked in the favour of OnePlus One…
- a great spec
- processor: Kirin 970 is capable of giving a run to the Snapdragon 835 and has a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (probably the first in a phone) which is one up
- sufficient ram and storage: Using a phone with 3GB of RAM, I think 8 GB on 5T is a gimmick and many think so too
- design: at least it’s not a blatant copy and feels different for a change
- a killer price – I got mine at ~Rs. 24,500
- a focus on the device and on India by the company; which signaled that the device would be supported by the company for sometime traded off against a healthy community of OS developers
The specs of the Honor View 10 match that of the One plus 5T. The NPU is definitely going to be a big plus at a later date when apps start using it better. But the price is the clincher. It’s a good deal less than the 5T which is what promises me to really consider this phone.
I have been using the Honour View 10 for a day now. It looks sleek, runs smoothly and can give any top end flagship a stiff competition.
The EMUI interface does have some getting used to. But it packs some neat productivity tweaks. And when I turned it on, what I loved was that it didn’t ask me to login to Google right at the beginning. That’s off to a very good start. Then the fact that I don’t have to use the Jio4GVoice app to make calls and receive sms on Jio is the icing on the cake (have been waiting to get rid of this for sometime now).
Now, I hope that Huawei/Honor encourages the community to start porting other versions of AOSP to this device as well as enables them to make good use of the NPU. Amen.