Honor View 10 Hands-on: AI Features Steal the Show

LAS VEGAS — Honor, Huawei's youth-focused smartphone brand, is bringing the artificial intelligence powers of the Honor View 10 to the U.S.

There's still no firm date for U.S. availability after Honor's CES kickoff last night (Jan. 7). But executives did confirm to Tom's Guide that the phone is U.S.-bound, with it likely reaching these shores sometime in the first quarter of 2018.

Honor View 10

Honor View 10

There's no price for the phone yet in the U.S., but we're expect it will cost less than $500, making it competitive with the $499 OnePlus 5T. In Europe, the Honor View 10 sells for €499.

What we saw of the Honor View 10 in Las Vegas looks an awful lot like the phone previewed in December. The Honor View 10 uses Huawei's Kirin 970 chip, which comes with a built-in neural processor. That allows the View 10 to flex its AI smarts, particularly when it comes to photography.

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The View 10 can recognize 13 different photo scenes — everything from portraits to food to cats and dogs — and adjust camera settings on the fly. So point the View 10's dual rear cameras (a 16-megapixel main lens and a 20-MP monochrome shooter) at your pooch, and you'll get a differently composed shot than you would if you snapped a photo of an appetizer. It's a feature we've seen in Huawei's Mate 10 Pro (which is also powered by the Kirin 970 chip), and it impressed us when we had a chance to test that phone.

Honor president George Zhao showed off a few of the View 10's other AI-centric features at CES, including the ability to unlock the phone with your face. (For added security, there's a fingerprint sensor on the phone's front bezel, too.) In a feature that sounds like it's out of the iPhone X's bag of tricks, the Honor View 10 will also recognize when someone who isn't you is looking at your phone, disguising notification on the device's lock screen until it detects your face.

Honor says the neural processor on the View 10's CPU is also powerful enough to translate languages, even when the phone isn't connected to the Internet. In fact, it worked closely with Microsoft to integrate Microsoft Translator into the phone. I've tested the translation features in Google's Pixel Buds, and I've been impressed by how seamless it is, though you need a wireless connection to use that feature. I'm eager to see just how fluent the Honor View 10 is when there's no connectivity to be had.

Another Honor View 10 feature isn't necessarily a sign of the phone's smarts, though it could come in handy if you've got a friend who also buys the new phone. The Sync Play feature uses NFC to connect multiple View 10s, effectively turning them into a speaker system that plays the same song simultaneously. Sync Play is set to arrive on the View 10 later in the first quarter, Honor says.

Speaking at CES, Honor's Zhao outlined an aggressive vision for how his company will expand its presence beyond China, where it currently get 85 percent of its sales. In three years, Honor hopes that revenue will be split evenly between China and the rest of the world. To meet that goal, Honor is picking its spots in the U.S., emphasizing product lines like the View 10 (as opposed to the Honor 9) as well its Honor X lineup.

The upcoming red version of the Honor 7X

The upcoming red version of the Honor 7X

The most recent addition to the latter product line, the Honor 7X, sells for $199, and when we had the chance to review the phone, we appreciated how Honor brought a full-screen experience to a sub-$200 phone.

The Honor 7X currently comes in blue and black, but starting Feb. 14, Honor plans to sell a red version of the phone that certainly caught our eye at the company's CES event. In addition, Honor plans a software update for the 7X that will bring face unlocking features to that phone.

Image Credits: Tom's Guide

Philip Michaels

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.