Honor has made a great name for itself in the global smartphone market but being owned by Huawei, has meant it's fallen foul to the same blocks as its parent company. Despite the ban, there are still a wealth of Google-compatible Honor phones out there worth considering.
Generally speaking, Honor's phones take on the exact same specs of equivalent Huawei phones, repackage them in some typically snazzy designs and sell them cheaper. Turns out, that’s a great thing for us consumers.
Look past Honor’s youth-focused branding, as these often-affordable smartphones are great for everyone. Otherwise, they often have multiple cameras, attractive designs, and the same AI software smarts that Huawei phones have, but typically for hundreds more.
As mentioned, the one downside to the Huawei relationship is the US trade ban. Honor is affected by the same restrictions; preventing Google from working with Huawei. The result is that any new Honor devices may run Android but can't include Google Mobile Services (aka GMS). In practical terms, that means no access to the Google Play Store, limiting you to the apps available through the Huawei App Gallery (unless you're brave enough to side-load Google).
Many of the phones in our chart are unaffected, as they were all certified in time to come with full Google support, so you can buy those without fear. But we've mentioned against any entries which lack GMS, as some buyers might still consider them worthwhile.
Best Honor phones 2020
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1. Honor 20
The Honor 20 is a great-value phone that offers a lot for your money. It has better cameras than the View 20 and now costs about the same, though the premium finish (and headphone jack) help the View 20 just pip it in our view - though there isn't much in it.
The 20 is more powerful than the similarly priced Google Pixel 3a, but the trade-off is that you don't get stock Android or the guarantee of fast updates to new versions.
Read our full Honor 20 review
2. Honor 9X
The Honor 9X manages to mimic some 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 phone below £250 - 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
3. Honor 20 Pro
With flagship phones costing around a grand these days, the option of a much cheaper phone with cameras that are just as good is pretty tempting. You miss out on some high-end features: no wireless charging, no OLED screen and no water-resistance, but in just about every other area the Honor 20 Pro is top notch.
Read our full Honor 20 Pro review
4. Honor 20 Lite
It's a bit of a stretch to call this 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
5. Honor 8X
Though it only costs £229.99 in the UK, the Honor 8X looks, feels and performs like a high-end smartphone in most respects. 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 advanced 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
6. Honor View 20
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.
At just £499 for the base model, and £579 for one with extra RAM and storage, this is genuinely affordable too. Honor's flagships have always offered serious specs and slick design while undercutting rivals on price, but it usually feels like there are a couple of compromises along the way.
For perhaps the first time, the View 20 doesn't feel that way. Sure, premium features like wireless charging and waterproofing are still missing, but for most people those remain nice-to-haves - whereas with the core features here Honor is firing on all cylinders.
Read our full Honor View 20 review
7. Honor 10
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 a whopping 128GB of storage as standard. Add in smooth performance, a headphone jack, dual-SIM and attractive design and you can see why this is a mid-range king.
Read our full Honor 10 review
8. Honor 30 Pro+ (lacks GMS)
Honor's 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, sports a big, beautiful display (provided you can live with a double hole-punch) and, of course, there's the elephant in the room...
Huawei continues to battle against limits that are beyond its control, with regards to the absence of 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
9. Honor 9X Pro (lacks GMS)
The Honor 9X Pro carries over a lot of the great aspects of the Honor 9X - the versatile camera and fullscreen view - whilst also having an upgrade to the design and processor.
However, not all the changes are positive. This is Honor's first phone without Google features, and it does present a challenge for everyday use if you're invested in that ecosystem.
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
10. Honor 9A (lacks GMS)
The best thing about the Honor 9A is undoubtedly its battery life - getting a 5000mAh battery for 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 the lack of Google really makes the OS harder to use if you’re integrated within this system heavily.
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