As we already mentioned, the biggest upgrade over the Honor 50 is the camera department. The Honor 70 offers a brand new 54MP Sony IMX800 sensor paired with an f/1.9 aperture. The lens itself seems to be pretty wide and maybe even too wide for Honor's taste. The native focal length is reported as 24mm by the EXIF, so Honor crops down to 27mm equivalent focal length. The end result is 12.5MP images instead of 13.5MP samples but at least there's no upscaling. This is not the first time Honor and Huawei doing this. Many other phones from the two companies use a similar approach.
The borderline useless 8MP camera has been swapped out for a proper 50MP ultrawide shooter with f/2.2 aperture and 122-degree field of view. The camera also supports autofocus and takes nice macro shots as close as 2.5cm from the subject. The third camera on the back is only used for depth sensing.
And as for the front-facing selfie camera, it's 32MP once again, offering f/2.4 aperture.
The default camera app is business as usual, with the most commonly used modes arranged in a carousel formation and you can switch between them by swiping left and right. There's a More button that reveals a couple of extra modes, which can be arranged to your liking. However, you can't move any of those to the main carousel, which in turn can't be re-arranged as well. Kind of a bummer.
The Pro photo mode lets you tinker with ISO, focus, white balance, exposure and shutter speed. The wheel at the top-right corner of the viewfinder is for the general camera settings.
One quirky and maybe even annoying thing about the camera toggles on the viewfinder is that they are not placed next to the shutter speed and the camera modes strip. That's where your thumb usually goes and controls those things. The toggles on Honor's app can only go from the left edge of the display to the right and vice versa. You have to reach all the way up to the viewfinder to switch between cameras.
The default binned resolution of the 54MP camera is 13.5MP but since Honor crops out the edges to achieve a narrower 27mm focal length, the standard images are 12.5MP in resolution. Shooting in the full 54MP resolution, however, gets you the native 24mm equivalent focal length.
In any case, the samples below look good and have a similar look to the Honor 50. Still, there are a handful of better shooters in the same price bracket. The photos are sharp, have a wide dynamic range, a good amount of fine detail and plenty of color. That last part may be a bit over the top for some people, but we find the overall appearance "juicy". We again noticed a tendency for slightly lower exposure even without overcast - shadows look too dim and pictures are somewhat darker overall.
We didn't find any annoying noise, even when indoors, while sharpness is mostly maintained in more challenging lighting conditions.
Besides the wider field of view, the 54MP mode delivers softer images, albeit more detailed, with a narrower dynamic range and with a lot more noise.
Surely, the 2x zoom samples are no telephoto quality but they seem pretty good under the right lighting conditions. Rendition is identical to the standard 1x zoom Photo mode, so everything we already said about the main camera also applies here. Expect softer shots with a tad more noise indoors, though. The 2x zoom mode is still dependable for casual social media posting.
The ultrawide camera is a huge improvement over the previous generation and it's also a lot more competent than the vast majority of ultrawide cameras in the same price bracket. However, we low-key expected a bit more from the 50MP sensor. Still, given that it's an ultrawide shooter, it delivers somewhat sharp images with a good amount of detail and punchy colors. Dynamic range isn't impressive, as you can find the occasional clipped highlights and crushed shadows. But that's not the main issue.
The more pressing issues we had with the ultrawide camera are the extreme edge softness on the right side of all samples we took as well as the apparent color fringing. It's easily noticeable around the edges of the buildings and windows. Keep in mind that the edge softness could be an issue with our unit due to a faulty lens. There's also some magenta tinge that can be seen on white backgrounds too.
Unlike most phones in this price category, the Honor 70 doesn't have a dedicated macro camera, so instead relies on its ultrawide shooter since it has autofocus. That's usually the case with higher-end devices and it's nice to see the Honor 70 incorporating AF on its ultrawide camera. Not to mention the macro shots are pretty good.
In fact, the shots we took are far superior to any other 2MP or 5MP dedicated macro camera we came across. The shots are far from lifeless, have a good amount of detail and are decently sharp too. The focusing distance can be as low as 2.5cm and there's a dedicated 2x zoom toggle for an even closer shot. This one is a crop and upscale, though, so we recommend sticking to the 1x zoom mode.
It appears that Honor has worked on the Honor 70's nighttime performance as it's considerably better than the Honor 50's. The samples below are really sharp, with great contrast, wide dynamic range and an impressive amount of fine detail. Colors are quite juicy too. Overall, the samples look really good despite the obvious artificial sharpening.
Even without the Night mode on, we can see a nice balance between highlights and shadows as well as plenty of detail in the shadows without causing a significant increase in noise. However, some may point out that the shots look a bit too "artificial", as if they are rendered on a computer.
Turning on the Night mode doesn't drastically change the overall rendition. You get a bit more contrast, slightly more saturated colors and a tad more sharpening. Those differences can be seen only under close inspection. Shadows are a tad brighter and light sources are more balanced too. Still, the differences are somewhat negligible and given the extremely long time it takes for the Honor 70 to get a single Night mode photo, we recommend sticking to the standard Photo mode for your nighttime photography unless the scene is extremely dark. It takes about 3 to 4 seconds to take one Night mode shot and that's a lot.
As expected, overall rendition is the same as the standard 1x Photo mode, only noticeably softer. The Night mode does add a bit of sharpness but fails to make any significant difference. In fact, it can sometimes make the scene look worse. All in all, the 2x zoom mode isn't a reliable way to shoot after dusk.
The ultrawide's performance is considerably above average for the class. Sticking to the standard Photo mode will produce good-looking shots in the dark with a wide enough dynamic range, good contrast and plenty of color. Sharpness is also good considering that it's an ultrawide camera.
Our recommendation stays the same - stick to the standard shooting mode and skip the Night mode altogether when taking low-light pictures because there are no tangible benefits.
Here's how the primary camera on the Honor 70 stacks against the rest of the competition in the controlled environment of our Photo Compare Tool.
The Honor 70's portrait shots are okay but nothing to write home about. They lack detail even in good lighting conditions and the edge detection algorithm is a bit too aggressive as the subject is often blurred around the edges. Color reproduction is good, though, albeit a bit too saturated and the HDR does a good job at retaining a good exposure of the subject.
We were impressed by the Honor 50's selfies and the Honor 70 is no exception. The selfies are easily one of the best we've seen in the price range as they look even sharper and feature more detail than their portrait counterparts taken with the main camera.
Colors are a bit over the top, though, as the subject often comes out with a bit too reddish skin. Low light doesn't seem to bother the selfie camera either, as even in more challenging conditions, there's no noise and fine detail is retained.
The Honor 70 is capable of recording 2160p videos at 30fps with its main camera and so does the ultrawide. That last bit is a rare feature since most of the competitors rely on a sub-optimal 8MP sensor that can't record in 4K resolution. In addition to the standard video recording, Honor has included some unique modes such as Solo Cut Mode for vlogging as well as Multi-video mode for one takes.
The Solo Cut mode is for content creators and utilizes an AI-powered algorithm that tracks one person throughout the whole video and puts them in the spotlight. The algorithm will recognize and focus on the person again, even after leaving. You can change the spotlight on the go during recording.
Anyway, back to the standard 4K footage. It looks as if Honor has improved the video capturing capabilities as the video looks a bit sharper and more detailed than the Honor 50's. Dynamic range is wide, colors are punchy and despite the overcast, we didn't notice any issues with the highlights/shadows balance. There's no noise either and the contrast is on point. It's definitely one of the good videos around this price range.
The ultrawide video, although not perfect, it's definitely better than most taken with the competing 8MP solution. However, expect a significant drop in sharpness and detail, lower contrast, less saturated colors and darker overall exposure with crushed shadows. We've also noticed the same edge softness on the right, but that could be an isolated case with our unit.
Once you are done with the real-life scenarios, take a look at our video compare tool to see how the Honor 70 stacks against the other phones we've reviewed.