For its next flagship phones, Honor sounds like it's going to lean heavily on design flourishes to help the new devices stand out from the crowd.
A successor to last year's Honor 10, the Honor 20 series is set to debut at a May 21 event in London. While the budget-focused Honor 20 Lite has already popped up in the U.K. where it's selling for £249, the Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro flagships will be part of the May 21 launch, and they'll feature what Honor is billing as a dynamic holographic glass design on their back.
Apart from a few sketches, Honor really hasn't revealed exactly what the backs of its new phones will look like, other than to describe it a "depth-inducing optical effect" in an announcement today (May 10) that teases the new feature.
According to Honor, the Honor 20 series uses a two-stage process that combines multiple layers to create the phone's glass back. First, the company manufactures a depth layer that it embeds with millions of miniature prisms to create a diamond-like appearance. That layer is then combined with a glass layer, before another color layer is added as well. Exactly what colors will be revealed on May 21, Honor says.
Honor is billing this as a first, though it's not dissimilar from the looks of previous devices from the Chinese phone maker. The $500 Honor View 20, released earlier this year, featured a textured coating on its back that created an almost holographic v-shape that seemed to shimmer when it caught the light. It's likely the Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro are building on that design flourish.
Like the Honor View 20, the upcoming Honor 20 series will feature a punch-hole cutout for the front camera, according to Honor, which confirms previous leaks about the Honor 20 Pro's look. Because the cutout is 4.5mm — again, the same as the View 20 — Honor's new phones will have more screen real estate at their disposal. Honor says the phones will feature 6.26-inch displays, giving users a 91.6% screen-to-body ratio.
All Honor will say about the camera in the Honor 20 series is that it will be a "professional-grade" shooter. But because Honor says the rear lenses on the back of the phone will arranged in a symmetrical L-shaped pattern, it's safe to assume the Honor 20 series will offer multiple rear cameras. Rumors about the upcoming phones suggest that there will be up to four rear lenses.
We'll find out for certain what the Honor 20 and 20 Pro have to offer — and whether they'll make it to the U.S. — in a few weeks.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.