Honor is a new smartphone brand in the European market and its first smartphone to arrive in the UK has specs to rival Apple and Samsung but at half the price. Also see: Best smartphones 2014 and Best Android phones 2014.

The Honor 6 is built by Huawei and you can pick up this new handset for just £249 SIM-free from the firm's launch partner, Amazon.

This is thin and light, especially for a 5in smartphone and similarities with some of Huawei's handsets and some older iPhone models. We like the stylish glass rear cover but the fake metal sides on the white version look like they've been spray painted by hand. Luckily the black model looks nicer with a brushed finish.

SIM and microSD card slots are hidden under a flap on the side but don't let this fool you into thinking the device is waterproof because it's not.

The Honor 6 comes into its own when it comes to hardware, bearing in mind that sub-250 price tag.

For starters, it has a 5in IPS screen with a Full HD resolution. It's crisp, colourful and has decent brightness which is often a problem on cheaper handsets.

Under the shiny exterior is Kirin920 processor – the first octa-core Cat 6 4G system on a chip to be seen in a smartphone. There's also 3 GB of RAM and a co-processor and the Honor 6 outpaced the iPhone 6 in GeekBench 3.

It doesn't perform so well in graphics tests but we've found the device smooth on a day-to-day basis.

There's a typical 16 GB of internal storage and the card slot we already mentioned plus decent wireless including NFC. There's also an IR blaster on the top but no pre-installed app with which to use it so you'll have to download one.

Battery life is a highlight with the Honor 6 lasting us two days. It has an optional Ultra Battery Saving mode.

Cameras can often be the downfall of cheaper smartphones but not here. The Honor 6 has a 13 Mp rear camera with a dual-LED flash, a Sony sensor and results are very good. At the front is a decent 5 Mp shooter with a wide-angle lens for those selfies

You can handily take photos when the screen is off by double tapping the volume button and while this is fast, the phone rarely manages to focus properly.

The Honor 6 comes pre-loaded with Android 4.4 KitKat and Huawei's Emotion UI 2.3 and the firm has promised periodical software upgrades which will be based on consumer feedback.

The software is smooth and simple although we're not keen on the lack of a proper app menu. The excellent selection of themes is also missing.

On the plus side is a gorgeous lock screen with a different photographs each time and quick settings a swipe away. The notification bar has plenty of shortcuts alongside screen brightness, too.

There are some pre-loaded apps including Bitcasa and Kingsoft Office and although there appear to be a bundle of games, most are demos while others require a sizable download.

We're seriously impressed by the Honor 6 which provides specs you would normally pay a lot more for. You get a lot for your money including a Full HD screen, Sony camera, top-notch wireless and expandable storage. Emotion UI is far from the best Android skin but that doesn't stop the Honor 6 being the best value smartphone around.