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Honor has flown the nest: Announces first phone as an independent firm, inks deals with supply chain big dogs

Proud parent Huawei probably sobbing in the car

Honor, the smartphone brand formerly owned by Huawei, today announced its first handset as an independent company. The Honor View40 is a sub-flagship blower, priced at ¥3,599 (about £400) and aimed initially at the Chinese market.

Honor introduced the View series in 2018. It has historically served as Huawei's answer to mid-range devices from the likes of Xiaomi and OPPO. This latest instalment continues on that path, albeit with some pretty stark differences under the hood.

The most glaring difference is the chipset used. The View40 uses MediaTek's Dimensity 1000+ platform, rather than Huawei's own HiSilicon Kirin chips. No prizes for guessing why. Sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have prevented Huawei from contracting out any new semiconductor production, forcing it to rely on a limited stockpile of chips that will eventually run out.

Using MediaTek allows Honor to avoid any long-term supply issues, and the Dimensity 1000+ is a fairly good choice. Built on TSMC's 7nm process, it comes in an octa-core configuration, with four Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.6GHz, as well as four energy-efficient Cortex-A55 cores running at 2.0GHz.

RAM and ROM aren't in short supply either. The Honor View40 has 8GB of LPDDR4x memory, as well as 256GB of UFS2.1 storage. Under the hood, you'll find a 4,000mAh battery, which supports 60W fast charging, delivering a full charge in 35 minutes. There's also 50W wireless charging, which Honor said can give a 50 per cent charge in 30 minutes. That difference can be explained by the relative inefficiency of wireless charging, which sees vast quantities of energy lost as heat.

The display measures 6.72 inches across. Like the Huawei Mate 40 Pro we reviewed last year, it curves across the side of the device, giving an almost borderless look. This supports refresh rates of up to 120Hz, and up to 300Hz touch response.

Honor's View series has traditionally prioritised camera quality. The best example of this is the View20, made public in late 2018 and rolled out in January 2019, which introduced two camera technologies that are now ubiquitous: the "hole punch"* selfie camera and the 48MP primary sensor.

No such boundaries are pushed this time around. The front-facing camera is a singular 16MP affair embedded into the display's top-right corner within a pill-shaped cut-out.

On the back, there's a three-camera setup, headlined by a 50MP RYYB primary sensor. Also present are a 16MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP macro sensor for closeups. As you'd perhaps expect with a phone in this price point, there's no telephoto lens for long-range photography.

On the software front, the Honor View40 uses Android 10. This is skinned with Honor's Magic UI 4.0 software, which is itself a fork of EMUI. As a China exclusive, no proprietary Google apps are included.

We asked an Honor spokespeson if there was any news on a UK release, and whether it would ultimately receive Google Mobile Services. They declined to comment.

Still, it's possible. Honor isn't burdened by the restrictions faced by Huawei, and has already signed deals with most major players in the tech supply chain. These include AMD, Intel, MediaTek, Micron Technology, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK hynix, and Sony. ®

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