It looks very likely that Honor is about to release its latest range of smartphones, with Honor 50 rumours already popping up and the phones beginning to appear on certification sites, with a launch tipped for as soon as this month.
Here’s what we know so far about the Honor 50 series, when the phones should arrive, and whether or not they’ll include Google support.
When will the Honor 50 be released?
There are strong indications that Honor will launch its 50 series in May 2021. GSMArena has published a teaser image that it says is from Honor, which states ‘THE 50 Series May 2021’. While it doesn’t feature the Honor brand, GSMArena is a reliable source, so it does look like this is the real deal.
You may have been expecting the Honor 40, as the company’s most recent release (in China, at least) was the Honor V40. Traditionally the V-models precede the regular flagships of the same number, so we’d expect the Honor 40, then the V50, and then the 50 series after that.
This year, it seems, Honor is breaking this trend and going straight to the Honor 50 instead.
How much will the Honor 50 cost?
There are no details yet on the price tag for the Honor 50. It’s somewhat uncharted water too, as the company used to be part of Huawei but was sold off late last year to free it from the embargo in the USA that bans Huawei from trading with most US companies, including Google.
This means that the new ownership may want to move the brand up into the premium tier rather than the affordable budget and mid-range space that it previously occupied.
As a rough estimate, the Honor V40 went on sale for CNY¥3,599 (128GB model) or ¥3,999 (256GB), which works out to around £400/$550 and £450/$615 respectively. So, if Honor sticks to a similar spec and approach, then the Honor 50 may well cost around the same.
What features and specs will be in the Honor 50?
With so little leaked at the time of writing, we can’t say with any certainty what the spec sheet will look like for the Honor 50.
Alongside the launch teaser above, GSMArena published sketches that it had acquired showing the rear camera arrangement of the phone. These included a large single lens at the top, with two smaller ones in another circular section below.
Curiously, an accompanying image also shows some kind fitting for the top lens. Could this be a physical lens-filter or magnifier, maybe along the lines of the Olloclip accessories that were popular on iPhones a few years back?
This further differentiates the Honor 50 from the V40, which has a rectangular main camera with three further lenses and a flash situated underneath.
We have a better look at the phone’s possible design thanks to this render from Weibo user Zealer. It’s not clear if this is a leaked render from Honor, or a third-party CAD render based on the details leaked so far, but either way this is probably a pretty good estimation of the final design.
The only clear spec we do have comes from China’s 3C certification system, which has revealed the chargers that will be bundled with the phone in China. Model number NTH-AN00 is believed to be the standard Honor 50, and will ship with a 66W charger.
Finally, leaker Digital Chat Station claims that the Honor 50 series will introduce a new chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 775G (model number SM7325). This is expected to be a mid-range successor to last year’s popular 765G, and sit slightly below the recent 780G.
Previous reports suggested that we might see the Snapdragon 870 chipset used here – not quite top-tier, but still a powerful component based on 2019’s flagship Snapdragon 865 hardware. It’s possible that the 775G will be found in the base Honor 50, with the 870 in the 50 Pro, and the most powerful Snapdragon 888 in the 50 Pro+.
Honor 50 Pro+
We have more concrete details about the Honor 50 Pro+, expected to be the top phone in the series. That phone’s specs appeared on benchmarking tool Master Lu, and were subsequently shared to Weibo.
The 50 Pro+ will apparently be powered by the Snapdragon 888, with at least 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. That will power a 6.79in, 120Hz AMOLED display, while the 4400mAh battery will support 66W wired and 50W wireless charging.
Curiously, a model believed to be the 50 Pro+ also popped up on 3C, with model number RNA-AN00. Instead of a 66W charger this is listed as shipping with a 100W charger however. This will be the first new charger produced by Honor (the standard 50 will still use the old Huawei design) though will also support Huawei’s 66W standard – so it’s possible that the charger itself is simply more powerful than the phone’s max charging speed, which could still be 66W.
As for that odd camera module, expect a 50Mp main sensor, along with 13Mp ultrawide and 8Mp 2x telephoto, along with a ToF sensor. On the front there’ll be a dual selfie camera, with 32Mp and 8Mp sensors.
Since this spec sheet, if real, is for the top model in the line, expect the regular Honor 50 and 50 Pro to offer a little less.
Will the Honor 50 have Google Play Services?
As mentioned above, Honor is no longer part of the Huawei group and as such will not fall under the trade ban that is currently operating in the US. While the selling of hardware is obviously important, the more essential reason for spinning off the company was so that its products would be able to use Google services, unlike the other Huawei devices.
With that in mind, it looks hopeful that Honor will be able to have Google Play Services onboard, which means the Play Store and all the Google apps too. Honor CEO George Zhao confirmed in January that the company was in talks with Google, but no announcement has been made yet regarding the results of those talks, so for now we’ll have to wait and see.
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