Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus

If you're in the market for a $400-equivalent phone, the Nokia 7 Plus and the Honor 10 are two of the best options available.

The Honor 10 is notable for its aurora glass design, which alternates between several shades of blue (or green) based on how light reflects off the back. The phone also comes with 128GB of storage as standard, and has a similar set of AI-based camera features as the more expensive Huawei P20 Pro.

The Nokia 7 Plus, meanwhile, comes with a durable aluminum chassis, and runs Android One. HMD focused on the basics, and that has worked in its favor.

Neither the Nokia 7 Plus nor Honor 10 are available to purchase in the U.S. This guide is for those in the UK, Europe, and India.

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Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus

Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus: Specs

Category Honor 10 Nokia 7 Plus
Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo
EMUI 8.1
Android 8.1 Oreo
Android One
Display 5.84-inch IPS LCD, 2280x1080 (19:9)
Gorilla Glass
6.0-inch 18:9 IPS LCD 2160 x 1080
Gorilla Glass 3
403ppi pixel density
Chipset Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970
4x2.4 Cortex A73 + 4x1.80GHz Cortex A53
Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
4x2.20GHz Kryo 260 + 4x1.80GHZ Kryo 260
GPU Mali-G72 MP12 Adreno 512
Storage 64/128GB 64GB eMMC 5.1
Expandable No Yes (up to 256GB)
Rear camera 1 16MP, ƒ/1.8
Dual LED flash
12MP ƒ/1.75, 1.4um
Dual Pixel Autofocus
EIS, Carl Zeiss optics
Rear camera 2 24MP, ƒ/1.8
12MP ƒ/2.6, 1.0um
Front camera 24MP, ƒ/2.0 16MP, ƒ/2.0
Battery 3400mAh 3800mAh
Charging USB-C
Fast charging (5V/4.5A)
Quick Charge 3.0
Water resistance No No
Security Fingerprint sensor
Face unlock
Fingerprint sensor
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
USB-C (2.0), NFC
GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo
Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, FM radio
NFC, LTE with VoLTE, Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions 149.6 x 71.2 x 7.7mm
158.4 x 75.6 x 8mm
Colors Phantom Blue, Phantom Green, Glacier Grey, Midnight Black Black/Copper, White/Copper

Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus

Where they're equal

Both the Nokia 7 Plus and the Honor 10 field great hardware. The Honor 10 has the distinction of being the most affordable phone yet to feature HiSilicon's Kirin 970 chipset. The chipset offers a dedicated Neural Processing Unit, and the Honor 10 leverages the core for AI-assisted camera features.

The Nokia 7 Plus is running the Snapdragon 660, and while it may not be quite as fast as the Snapdragon 845, the differences in day-to-day usage are minute. The Snapdragon 660 strikes the ideal balance between performance and affordability, and is Qualcomm's best mid-range chipset in a long time. In regular usage, the Snapdragon 660 is just as fast as the Kirin 970.

The Honor 10 comes with 128GB of storage as standard, which is double that of the Nokia 7 Plus. The downside is that there's no microSD card on the phone, whereas the Nokia 7 Plus has a hybrid SIM card slot with the second SIM card tray doubling up as a microSD slot. Thankfully, both devices have a headphone jack.

Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus

What the Honor 10 does better

The first thing you notice about the Honor 10 is just how distinctive it is. Although the P20 Pro also has a color-shifting back, the effect isn't anywhere as pronounced as the Honor 10. If you're looking for a phone to turn heads, this is the one to get.

The Honor 10 doesn't have the P20 Pro's insane Night Mode, but otherwise the AI features are similar to what you'd find on Huawei's flagship. The Nokia 7 Plus also has dual cameras — with a telephoto lens for the secondary sensor — but the Honor 10 has a distinct edge when it comes to camera prowess.

The AI feature makes a tangible difference to the overall image quality, but like the P20 Pro, it tends to oversaturate photos. It also fails to recognize scenes accurately at times, leading to images with vastly overexposed colors. In the first photo below, the AI identified the Smaug figurine as food (which is hilarious), and oversaturated the gold hues. I had to turn off the feature to get a photo that looked close to reality.

Honor 10 camera Nokia 7 Plus camera

Honor 10 on the left, Nokia 7 Plus on the right.

Honor 10 camera Nokia 7 Plus camera

But when the feature does work, the results look stunning, as you can make out from the image above.

Honor 10 camera Nokia 7 Plus camera

Minor quirks like that aside, the camera on the Honor 10 is a winner. It produces great images, and while it lacks the P20 Pro's Night Mode, it shoots decent photos in low-light scenarios.

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Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus

What the Nokia 7 Plus does better

The Nokia 7 Plus may not look as flashy as the Honor 10, but it's safe to say that this is one of the most durable phones you can pick up today. The chassis is made out of series 6000 aluminum, and there's a six-layer ceramic coating at the back that gives it a matte finish — making it easier to hold and less prone to fingerprint smudges.

You're also getting a better display on the Nokia 7 Plus — it's not only larger, but it also has better color saturation. Best of all, the Nokia 7 Plus doesn't have an ugly notch at the top of the display, and that's an automatic win for HMD's handset. Honor doesn't specify what version of Gorilla Glass is on the Honor 10, but the Nokia 7 Plus features Gorilla Glass 3, which fares better against tumbles but is not as resistant to scratches.

The Nokia 7 Plus runs rings around the Honor 10 on the software front.

Another area where the Nokia 7 Plus has a distinct advantage is the software. HMD's commitment to Android One means the Nokia family of devices are first in line to receive security and platform updates, and we've seen that being the case over the course of the last year. The interface itself is akin to Google's vision of Android, with a focus on clean design and speedy performance. That's the underlying theme with the Nokia 7 Plus in general — it's a solid phone that gets the basics right.

For what it's worth, Huawei has made a lot of strides with EMUI over the last 18 months, with the Honor 10 running Andorid 8.1 Oreo out of the box. That said, EMUI still doesn't feel like a cohesive effort, and it's missing that final bit of polish.

The Nokia 7 Plus has a larger 3800mAh battery — versus the 3400mAh unit on the Honor 10 — and I noticed marginally better battery life on the device. Both phones will easily last a day on a full charge, but the Nokia 7 Plus goes that little bit further thanks to the larger battery. Both phones also offer fast charging: the Honor 10 comes with Huawei's fast charging solution, which goes up to 22.5W. The Nokia 7 Plus offers Quick Charge 3.0, which tops out at 18W.

Honor 10 vs. Nokia 7 Plus

Which should you buy? Nokia 7 Plus

The Honor 10 is incredible in its own right, and the aurora glass back makes it one of the most evocative phones of 2018. And while it has beefier hardware, EMUI still has its share of quirks.

The Nokia 7 Plus looks plain in comparison, and comes with just 64GB of storage. But for $400, you're not going to find a phone that offers a similar software experience. And it doesn't hurt that the device is built like a tank. Oh, and you don't have to worry about a notch on the Nokia 7 Plus.

HMD's decision to go with Android One for all of its devices is a masterstroke and makes the Nokia 7 Plus a much more compelling option. Sure, the Honor 10 has a flashier design and more storage, but the Nokia 7 Plus wins out in day-to-day usage. HMD has done a magnificent job filling the void left by the discontinuation of the Nexus lineup, and the Nokia 7 Plus is the best option if you're coming from a Nexus 6P or even a Nexus 5X.

It's a shame that neither device will be up for sale in the U.S. anytime soon, because both the Nokia 7 Plus and the Honor 10 offer incredible value in the $400 segment. HMD and Honor have a huge presence in India and Europe, and you'll be able to pick up both devices in these markets.

The Nokia 7 Plus is up for sale from Amazon UK for £349, and you'll be able to pick up the device direct from Nokia in India for ₹26,999.

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