Honor 10: The business take

The new Honor 10 flagship smartphone is shaping up to become a potential opponent to mainstream devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 or the iPhone SE.

But how will the Honor 10 be received in a workplace environment? We’ve picked out eight reasons which make this handset a worthwhile business smartphone.

1. The NPU

One of the most-talked about selling points of the Honor 10 is the NPU (Neural-Network Processing Unit) that lives inside the Huawei Kirin 970 system-on-a-chip. In Huawei’s own words, it delivers “an AI performance density that far surpasses any CPU and GPU”.

For now, though, use cases are limited. It excels at handling pictures and there’s a translation app, built in partnership with Microsoft, which shows promise. Expect more to come as more developers jump on the AI bandwagon and tools become more readily available, as well as a greater number of smartphones coming bundled with the appropriate hardware.

2. The audio socket

While most high-end handsets have decided to move away from the venerable 3.5mm audio connector, the Honor 10 has included it, which for businesses means being able to switch seamlessly from wireless to wired business headsets when needed.

Many offices will still have pieces of legacy business equipment that require a physical audio port for connecting to a smartphone, and the Honor 10 is one of the few flagship devices that offers this option.

3. Dual SIM standby

The Honor 10 is also one of the very few flagship smartphones available from high street stores that come with two SIM slots, both 4G capable. That’s great for businesses and employees that want to have separate SIM cards for business and personal communications and data consumption.

Having a dual SIM card strategy is also great for frequent flyers, allowing them to pop in a local card while keeping their regular phone number available.

4. PrivateSpace

One of the most interesting business features of the Honor 10 is PrivateSpace. In a nutshell, the service allows users to create a second virtual smartphone which you can use for work, or for anything you want to keep away from your main account.

The feature is ideal when you have kids, for example, who want to use your phone, and may end up downloading potentially unwanted applications. PrivateSpace is lockable and works independently from the main account. It is not as exhaustive and secure as Samsung’s Knox (which is a complete platform) – but it’s better than no protection at all.

5. 128GB on-board storage

There are no mainstream smartphones on the market other than the Honor 10 that can offer 128GB storage for less than £400 ($535). With up to 90% of that capacity available, it provides a real alternative for those looking to transport big files around without resorting to yet another badly-protected, easily-lost USB drive (hello GDPR).

The fact that the device sports a Type-C connector means that it should be able to transfer data faster. Alternatively, use the bundled Huawei Share to access files on your phone directly from a computer.

6. A free virus scanner out-of-the-box

Hidden inside this handset’s Phone Manager app is a free antivirus powered by one of the world’s biggest security companies. Apparently a white-label version of Avast’s own free Mobile Security app, the service comes with a clean-up feature, the ability to block calls and messages, as well as a battery saver.

Combined with PrivateSpace, App Locker and File Safe (which creates an encrypted vault to hide any file you want from prying eyes), Phone Manager provides a free, yet seamless, privacy feature.

7. A novel approach to screen captures

Huawei has brought its Knuckle Sense tool to the Honor 10, which means that to capture a full screenshot capture, all you need to do is hit the screen firmly twice with one knuckle. For a partial screenshot, use your knuckles to highlight the designated capture area which you can then annotate, and send to your work colleagues, for example.

And for a video recording of your screen (complete with voice), firmly hit the screen twice with two knuckles (as you would rap on a door).

8. App Twin

Though not exclusive to Honor or Huawei, App Twin is a rather nifty app that allows you to clone an app within the same smartphone (Asus has one called: Twin Apps). You can therefore have two Facebook apps or two Twitter apps running, and, combined with PrivateSpace, you could potentially run four accounts of any kind on the same physical device.

Bear in mind, though, that some applications, like WhatsApp, are tied to your mobile phone number, so you can only have one app per physical device, per SIM card.

Going forward

Honor can improve the overall desirability of the follow-up to the Honor 10 by adding more accessories to its product line, and by making it waterproof (IP68 preferably). We’d also like to see an extended warranty option and the addition of a microSD card slot for good measure.

We couldn’t help but notice that this handset isn’t ranged on key business networks as well. At the time of writing, Carphone Warehouse Business, O2, Vodafone and EE didn’t stock the Honor 10 on business plans.