Why Honor smartphones still look like Huawei’s

Honor France why its latest products still look a lot like those of its former parent Huawei and promises that this will change soon. A few questions remain, however.

The Honor 50 and the Huawei Nova 9 are very similar // Source: Frandroid

The Honor 50 and 50 Lite were launched in France. These smartphones sign a kind of return to grace of the Chinese brand which, since its takeover by a consortium of around thirty companies, is no longer under the bosom of Huawei. In other words: Honor is no longer subject to the American embargo, can install Google services on its devices and claims to be independent of Huawei.

Wait a second. Is Honor really independent from Huawei? This is the question that many people attribute to themselves more or less legitimately. It must be said that the Honor 50 looks like the Huawei Nova 9 presented in France shortly before. The Honor 50 Lite takes up the aesthetics of the Huawei Nova 8i. The similarities don’t end there.

Honor 50 Lite
The Honor 50 Lite takes the design of the Huawei Nova 8i // Source: Honor

We could also point out the commonalities between the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite headphones and the Huawei Freebuds 4i. In addition, the brand has confirmed the arrival “soon” of the Honor MagicBook View 14 in France. However, this PC is very freely inspired by the recent Huawei MateBook 14S.

Honor explains itself

When Huawei was still the parent company of Honor, there was nothing strange about it. The two brands used almost exactly the same resources to create products that did not come out at the same time and, above all, that did not address the same audience (premium image for Huawei, young and trendy target for Honor) .

There are obviously designs that were designed at the same time

On the other hand, now that the two companies have become independent of each other, these similarities are a priori troubling. However, a spokesperson for Honor France brushed aside these questions on stage during the presentation of the new smartphones in France. The representative indeed wishes to recall that Honor has been flying on its own since the end of 2020, or even the beginning of 2021 (the time for the takeover to be finalized).

“Go Beyond” is Honor’s new slogan

In addition, he points out that a smartphone is made in several months: “there are obviously designs that were designed at the same time“. In other words, if the recent products of Honor and Huawei are still as similar as when the first was a subsidiary of the second, it is because the devices concerned began to be developed before the takeover. The Honor 50 was also presented either in China last June, only about six months after the brand gained independence.

Honor France also adds that this will change next year with products that stand out much better. In reaction to these declarations, one could even add that things have to change.

The threat of the embargo still hangs over Honor

Across the Atlantic, the suspicions that the United States harbors have not calmed down in terms of cybersecurity. Indeed, the question of an embargo against Honor similar to that applied for Huawei remains topical and regularly comes up on the table.

Several American political representatives do not believe at all in the independence of Honor and demand the acquisition of the brand as a subterfuge by Huawei to prohibit the embargo.

Joe Biden and Huawei
The administration of Joe Biden has not lifted the embargo activated by Donald Trump against Huawei // Source: Photo montage made from the banner of the White House website

So, if Honor continues to release products identical to those of Huawei, it will only increase the mistrust of the United States. Note, however, that the reasons for the embargo are not basically related to consumer products such as smartphones, but rather concern security issues around Huawei’s 5G infrastructure.

Could Honor smartphones stand out?

So there remains a question: can we take Honor at its word when it says that its products will have nothing to do with those of Huawei in the future? On paper, yes. Huawei is not part of the consortium that bought Honor. Huawei therefore normally no longer has any influence over its former subsidiary.

In addition, Honor, even when it was still under the control of the Shenzhen giant, it has already proven that it knows how to make original smartphones with its Magic range. The latest additions to this family, the Magic 3 and Magic 3 Pro are quite unique in their genre (but unavailable in France).

Honor Magic 3 and Magic 3 Pro
Honor Magic 3 and Magic 3 Pro // Source: Honor

At the same time, however, the two brands seem to continue to maintain commercial ties. Huawei remains a priori a supplier of Honor, both in terms of software hardware and: the Magic UI interface – which benefits new Google services – still looks a lot like EMUI and we imagine that Huawei grants a kind of license to Honor for that.

Based on this premise, it would not be incongruous to still see some common parts between Huawei and Honor devices, but probably in a more nuanced way.

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