Honor made a name for itself for years as the cheaper, youth-oriented division of Huawei, but now that it's been sold by the Chinese giant Honor has to strike off on its own as an independent company.

That brings both challenges - forming its own R&D, manufacture, and distribution channels - and benefits, as Honor is finally free from the US trade restrictions that have crippled Huawei's ability to make phones, and to ship them with full Google software.

The result it that the phones on this chart are a mixed bag. Some are older Honor devices, made before the trade ban kicked in - that means they feature full Google support, but will miss some of the latest features.

Others released during the ban, and so while the hardware is more recent, they won't let you use Google apps or access the Google Play Store, limiting you to the apps available through the Huawei App Gallery (unless you're brave enough to side-load Google).

Since going independent, Honor has launched one phone - the Honor V40 - but it hasn't yet made it to the West. We're still waiting to find out if it and other future Honor devices will have full Google support, and indeed if Honor will be able to add Google Mobile Services to the phones that initially shipped without them.

Those uncertainties make now a tricky time to invest in Honor hardware. But if you know you want to, here are our recommended picks.

Best Honor phones 2021

1. Honor 9X - Best overall

Honor 9X
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The Honor 9X manages to mimic elements of flagships but for a fraction of the price. With a geometric, shimmery exterior and a notch-free display thanks to a pop-up camera, you'd find it hard to believe that this is a budget phone - especially when you take into consideration the camera that comes with it. 

Of course it's not without its flaws. The triple lens camera isn't quite as good as the specs suggest, and night mode in particular doesn't hold up, while performance across the board gives away that this isn't as high-end as it looks. But still, you get a lot for the price, and a phone that looks like a lot more.

Read our full Honor 9X review

2. Honor 20 Lite - Best small Honor phone

Honor 20 Lite
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

It's a bit of a stretch to call the Honor 20 Lite a budget phone, but it's a quarter of the price of an iPhone XS. Given that perspective, the 20 Lite offers solid value with decent cameras and performance. 

It's still built to a price and is no flagship rival, but if you have this much to spend it's very good indeed.

Read our full Honor 20 Lite review

3. Honor View 20 - Best flagship

Honor View 20
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The Honor View 20 is stunning to look at from just about any angle, thanks to the one-two punch of the pinhole camera on the front and the genuinely unique holographic V effect on the glass rear. The photos look great, but don't really do this thing justice - it's properly gorgeous.

This is one of the oldest Honor phones still on sale, having launched in January 2019, but with flagship specs at the time it should still hold up surprisingly well, with solid performance, a strong camera setup, and full Google software support.

Read our full Honor View 20 review

4. Honor 8X - Best bargain

Honor 8X
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The Honor 8X is one of the older phones in this list, but don't hold that against it too much. It features a gorgeous shimmering glass back and a stunning 6.5in FHD+ bezel-less display on the front, complete with a notch housing a 20Mp camera.

It offers features including facial recognition that works well in most environments, and although performance isn't perfect when running demanding apps, it should be more than enough for casual browsing and gaming. 

Read our full Honor 8X review

5. Honor 10 - Oldie but a goodie

Honor 10
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The Honor 10 is a solid phone. Battery life might not be anything to write home about, but that's not unusual and there's so much to like here. Much of what the Honor 10 offers, like display, cameras and build quality are at the level you'd expect from a phone twice the price.

The software is better than ever and you get 128GB of storage as standard. Add in smooth performance, a headphone jack, dual-SIM and attractive design and you can see why this was a mid-range king when it launched, and remains a decent choice on a budget even now.

Read our full Honor 10 review

6. Honor 30 Pro+ - Best without Google

Honor 30 Pro+
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The Honor 30 Pro+ boasts phenomenal hardware at a very competitive price. It's fronted by a superb set of cameras but also has the chops to provide great gaming performance and sports a big, beautiful display (provided you can live with a double hole-punch).

The elephant in the room is that this is one of the Honor phones that lacks Google Mobile Services.

Throw in the fact that you’ll likely have to import this device to get your hands on it, and for most, despite its numerous strengths, the 30 Pro+ becomes another of the best phones you probably shouldn’t buy.

Read our full Honor 30 Pro+ review

7. Honor 9X Pro - Best budget without Google

Honor 9X Pro
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The Honor 9X Pro carries over a lot of the great aspects of the Honor 9X - the versatile camera and fullscreen view - whilst also upgrading the design and processor.

However, not all the changes are positive. This was Honor's first phone without full Google features, and that creates additional software challenges and frustrations.

That aside, you still get a high-end look and feel, plus a great battery life that lasts nearly two days from actual use. 

Read our full Honor 9X Pro review

8. Honor 9A - Best battery

Honor 9A
  • Rating: ratingsratingsratingsratingsratings

The best thing about the Honor 9A is undoubtedly its battery life - getting a 5000mAh battery at such a low price is a real plus. The striking exterior design is also rather appealing.

The budget price does mean that the camera is hit-and-miss, and it's another Honor phone that lacks Google Mobile Services.

If you’re looking for a basic phone for your day-to-day tasks and aren’t too bothered by no Google integration, then it’s still worth considering the Honor 9A.

Read our full Honor 9A review

Related stories for further reading