Honor 90 Review: Nostalgic Midrange Smartphone

Some smartphone brands leave good impressions on me with their smooth performance at affordable prices. Unfortunately, most of them could not sustain the quality for more than a couple of generations. It seems like a tech-curse. I loved the ASUS Zenfone series (running on Intel chipset) between 2014 and 2016. I also enjoyed using Honor 8 Pro and even bought for myself after I reviewed one (it still works albeit no software updates). The performance and image quality convinced me to switch to Huawei P20 and P30 series before they fell out with the US sanctions resulting in the removal of Google products. Honor, being the sub-brand of Huawei, was also affected by the market restrictions.


I am generally very pleased with the review experience of Honor 90, partly because it inherits a lot of Huawei’s features. While the overall performance is not as snappy as flagship models, I believe less impatient users will find it a non-issue. Camera features are good enough to deliver impressive shots of every day life, with enough modes to allow the user to easily tweak and achieve the desired result. The lack of external microSD card slot is addressed with a built-in 512GB storage, and the dual 5G nanoSIM slot with eSIM covers all mobile network scenarios.

Honor 90 5G (12/512GB) retails in Singapore at S$619 and comes with a free Honor Earbuds X5 worth S$70. It is at the top of my buy list once my Dad’s Huawei Mate 10 Pro shows any sign of retirement. For warranty service support, visit 54 Genting Lane Unit 04-01 Block II, Ruby Land Complex, Singapore 349562. For detailed product information, visit the official Honor 90 product site.


Honor Magic5 Pro Review: Flagship Smartphone at Value Price

The HONOR Magic5 Pro 5G is the brand’s premium flagship series model for 2023. After a sell-off by Huawei, Honor no longer bears the burden of the parent company’s trade restrictions and is able to license Google apps in its smartphones. It retails in Singapore at S$1249 with 512GB storage and 12GB RAM powered by Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Here’s a list of the other specs that are truly flagship grade:

  • Triple 50MP rear cameras – Ultra-Wide f/2/0, Wide f/1.6, Telephoto f/3.0 up to 100x zoom
  • 12MP front camera and 2MP 3D depth camera
  • 5100 mAh battery supporting 66W Wired SuperCharge, 50W Wireless SuperCharge
  • 6.8-inch LTPO OLED 120 Hz refresh with 2160 Hz PWM Dimming and peak 1800 nits brightness
  • Dual nano SIM with eSIM, supports 5G NR
  • Infrared Sensor (old school but useful!)
  • IP68 Water Resistant
  • Bluetooth 5.2, supports SBC, AAC, AptX, AptX HD, LDAC
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax/be, 2×2 MIMO
  • NFC (works with Singapore contactless payment systems)
  • 219 grams
Camera Quality
Shot at 1x zoom.

With 3.5x telephoto mode, even without digital zoom, I find the images appearing somewhat digital. The “High-Res” 50MP version appears less processed but still exhibits digital edges. Shooting with digital zoom offers slightly better sharpening and contrast, but if you prefer to capture the full resolution, the 50MP definitely delivers the raw pixel output. The file save is much faster than Honor 90.

Shot at 3.5x zoom

When shooting in aperture or portrait mode, the camera will artificially process the bokeh to create depth of field. It seems that the final result is different from the live preview, and unlike the Honor 90, I was unable to achieve the narrow depth-of-field of f/0.95. And like the Honor 90, I am unable to adjust the bokeh post-processing.

Audio Quality

Perhaps the one feature that I don’t quite like is the headphone audio. There is the DTS:X Ultra audio processor that without a doubt improves the audio amplification and delivery. But as an audiophile enthusiast myself, I prefer my audio to be unprocessed so that I can listen to the original source. With the Magic5 Pro, after disabling the effect, the audio quality is less precise. Putting that aside, the various effects are rather useful for casual listeners to make the music sound more immersive.

Battery Life and Background Notifications

With a 5100 mAh battery capacity, the Magic5 Pro delivers a full solid day usage, far better than what I have experienced with my Google Pixel 7 Pro. However, I also noticed that I did not get the usual notifications from some of my background apps, despite enabling background permissions.


Like this:

Like Loading…


Hands-On Experience: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5

Samsung launched the first foldable smartphone in September 2019, and received a lot of flak for its durability issues. The units require so much care that media review units were extremely limited. But with each year, the folding mechanism and the flexible display get better, and by the third generation, the Z Flip3 and the Z Fold3 are in such good shape that you can use them without special care – except for the soft screen surface of course, you don’t want to apply too much sharp pressure and leave permanent marks.

Gardens By The Bay short on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 3x optical zoom F/2.4 ISO25

For that, Samsung has turned up the saturation and the sharpness that borders on appearing too artificial, yet it creates an appealing quality for day-to-day shots for personal memory or flaunting the moments on social media.

The entire zoom range from 0.6x to 30x delivers rather consistent tonality and offers shooting versatility.

Comparing Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 zoom quality from 0.6x to 30x

Naturally, the 30x zoom end exhibits digital artifacts, but 10x zoom is impressive as the below image shows that it is capable of capturing the ants harvesting the flower.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 captures details up close at 10x zoom

The portrait mode blurs the background to create bokeh that may not be as authentic compared to DSLR, but it isolates subjects and makes the image attain another level of impression. One that that annoys me when I use Google Pixel 7 Pro is that it does not apply background blur if face is not detected, because, well “portraits” are about people.

Portrait mode shot on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5

Having said that, there will be scenes that the blur might not yield convincing result, but I would try to frame the image so that the bokeh works. But for the standard close-up shots, the Z Fold5 makes me want to shoot more photos and post them.

Compare Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and Google Pixel 7 Pro

Under the unfold mode, the camera app offers a few nifty features to improve shooting experience. For instance, you can display the live preview image at the cover display so that the other party can see his or her own preview when shooting, or you can use this for selfie shot. You can also turn on photo history on the left so you can review the recently shot photos.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 camera app displays photos just captured on the left


The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 is a very well-built foldable smartphone that I enjoy using it. The major compromise I have to accept is the different aspect ratios that result in the content displaying either too small fonts or in layouts that do not fill the screen optimally. The text displayed on the cover screen is small, while the text on the main screen cannot fill more content due to the square ratio.

I also noticed people using the Z Fold series on public transport but none of them is seen using it with the main screen unfolded,. Perhaps the unfolded screen is too big to be seen using in crowded spaces, as it lacks the privacy. Between this and the Z Flip series, I prefer the Z Fold series because I can use the device fully without the extra step of unfolding, but the Z Flip5 offers a glimpse of a larger cover screen that can interact with selected apps. Given the ability for all Samsung Galaxy devices to work with one another seamlessly through the Multi control platform, I wonder if it would be better to get a smartphone and tablet separately instead of a single foldable device that has yet to achieve the best of both worlds.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 retails in Singapore from S$2398 (256GB), visit the official website here for more info.