The competition between the global giant Apple and the emerging Chinese brand Honor does not seem to be equal. But is it really so? What will a young company oppose to a long-term leader that sets the direction of the market development

iphone or honor

iPhone vs Honor

It is not necessary to dwell on Apple smartphones in detail – the history of the iPhone brand’s sharp rise in the mobile phone market is well known. Although by 2021, competitors have largely overtaken and even surpassed the American company in some positions, Apple is still oriented as a sign of quality.

Honor is another matter. This brand belonged to Huawei back in 2020, but US sanctions forced the company to sell its subsidiary to another Chinese firm.

The first smartphone created outside of Huawei hit the market in January 2021, and by autumn, Honor had become one of the top three brands in the Chinese market. Such rapid growth (associated, among other things, with the fall in Huawei’s positions) added confidence to Honor.

In the summer of 2021, the company’s CEO announced that the brand is ready to compete with Apple even in the field of high-end smartphones by releasing its own flagship Magic 3 line.

Compare smartphones of two brands

Previously, Honor was positioned as a youth-oriented division of Huawei, offering low-cost devices. After the sale, the brand is forced to develop independently – and for this it is necessary to stand out by presenting quality models in all segments.

The iPhone, on the other hand, quickly took the lead in the mobile phone market, often offering new ideas and features (which were later adopted by competitors). Apple still maintains a unique position among smartphone brands, although the question of whether the company is still cutting edge is being raised more and more often.

Model range and cost of devices

The main thing for Apple is not the number, but the quality. The company’s models are more expensive than competitors’ devices, but this allows the brand to lead in revenue, yielding to the number of phones sold. For buyers, such a strategy, of course, is a minus.

Besides, There are no budget devices in the Apple model list at all:

  • Even the most affordable iPhone SE 2020 costs more than 30 thousand rubles.
  • The price of the base iPhone 12 starts at 60 thousand.
  • New items in the iPhone 13 family start at 100 thousand rubles.

Against – Honor devices are value for money. The company focuses on the budget price category – up to 20-30 thousand rubles. There are no high-level models on the Russian market yet, but in the fall of 2021, Honor 50 phones belonging to the middle class, as well as the flagship Honor Magic 3, will be on sale. The expected cost of the base Magic 3 model will be 80 thousand.

Technical characteristics of the flagship models of brands

Design and body

Apple smartphones attract with innovative design, which is sometimes copied by competitors. At the same time, with the release of the latest generations of iPhone, the development of “innovation” has clearly slowed down: the iPhone 13 is practically no different from the 12.

Despite ceramic-reinforced glass, Apple devices are recommended to be used with a case to protect against physical damage. The latest generations of iPhones are IP68 water-resistant and can withstand 30 minutes underwater at a depth of up to 6 meters.

New Honor models also have their own chips: for example, the flagships of the Magic 3 line are made in a case with a strongly rounded screen. In terms of dimensions, the Magic 3 Pro is inferior to the iPhone 12 Pro Max with a slightly larger display size. The Pro variant is IP68 water resistant, while the Magic 3 base version meets the lower IP54 standard.


iPhones have always stood out for their technological excellence. Particularly noteworthy are the productive and energy-efficient processors, the best of which is the six-core Apple A15 Bionic installed on the iPhone 13. It is considered the most powerful in the smartphone market.

The difference between the generations of Apple processors is 15-20% in terms of performance, but even older iPhones have good performance.

The capabilities of the majority of Honor models are much more modest. But the newest Magic 3 flagships are ready to fight: inside these smartphones, Snapdragon 888+ processors are comparable in power to the A15 Bionic.

The more affordable Honor 50s feature the Snapdragon 778G, a decent mid-range processor that can handle mobile gaming.

Both brands have plenty of RAM, but the Honor models stand out in particular.. The company is so stingy with RAM that even the mid-range smartphone Honor 50 in the maximum configuration is equipped with 12 GB of RAM – the same amount has the flagship Magic 3 Pro.

By comparison, the base variant of the iPhone 13 only offers 4GB of RAM, while the iPhone 13 Pro comes with 6GB. But this is still enough for everyone.

But Apple smartphones have twice the maximum amount of built-in memory than Honor devicesA: The iPhone 13 Pro Max holds up to 1TB while the Honor Magic 3 Pro Plus only holds 512GB.

However, not everything is so simple here either: the iPhone does not support expansion using memory cards – but this useful option is offered by Honor smartphones (although not all).

Battery life and charging

All Apple devices run on the company’s own operating systems – this adaptation improves performance and extends the battery life of gadgets. Therefore, when comparing the iPhone and other smartphones, you should not look at the battery capacity in milliamp-hours.

On paper, Android devices, including Honor models, generally outperform Apple phones. At the same time, the actual life of them may be less than that of the iPhone, squeezing the maximum out of its batteries.

In terms of charging speed, Apple devices lag behind Android smartphones, although with each new generation it tries to catch up with competitors. So far, the iPhone 13 Pro charges from zero to maximum in about 100 minutes, while the new Honor 50 Pro models take just 25.


The new Honor Magic 3 flagships feature large, thin-bezel OLED displays with a high refresh rate of 120Hz, making games and videos run smoother. Similar screens with a diagonal of 6.57-6.78 inches and the same frequency are installed in the affordable new Honor 50 (except for the SE version, which has a modest LCD display).

The latest iPhone 13 also received a screen with a frequency of 120 Hz – which Apple did not have before. The Pro Max configuration features the largest display of the new generation, a 6.7-inch OLED panel. Alas, the notch at the top of the screen that irritates some users has remained in place.

The standard iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch display and is more comfortable for most users. Compact mini models with a 5.4-inch screen are not inferior to large counterparts in terms of performance, but have a smaller battery and an even more conspicuous notch.


Previously, cameras were considered the strongest side of the iPhone – competitors could not offer a comparable level of photo and video shooting. Over the years, rivals have caught up with Apple smartphones, but their cameras are still among the best – and in some modes even take pictures of impeccable quality.

An excellent matrix and optics create photos with high detail even at a modest 12 megapixels (despite the fact that other manufacturers offer 24 megapixels and more). Another advantage of the iPhone is iOS software is more independent and gives better shooting results with automatic settings.

It is interesting to trace the evolution of cameras in models:

  • The iPhone 11 has a night mode that was not available on earlier devices.
  • There is also a difference between the iPhone 12 and 13 – the new items shoot better in low light, and also received a cinematic effect mode to blur the background on the video.

A nice feature of the iPhone is the LiDAR sensor, which blurs the background when photos are taken in portrait mode. In addition, it also helps with night shooting.

Honor phones have decent cameras with good functionality. This is a good solution for those who like to take pictures, for example, for social networks.

The Magic 3 flagships expected in Russia in the basic version are equipped with three cameras, including a 50 MP wide-angle one. And the Magic 3 Pro version received an additional fourth – a 64 MP telephoto camera with autofocus. All lenses are placed in a single round block.


The choice of operating system is mostly up to the user. The iPhone is the only way to experience iOS, and Honor phones use the much more mainstream Android OS. Both systems have their pros and cons.

iPhones are more reliable and easier to use. One of the main advantages of iOS is constant software updates and long-term support for smartphones. That is, the old phone will last longer without suffering from security and compatibility issues.

Another feature of the system is its closure. iOS does not allow you to download programs from third-party sources that bypass the App Store. This slightly limits the choice of applications, but improves stability and security. In a word, if there is no desire to fix errors and deal with software problems, then choosing the iPhone is the right decision.

The Honor brand has not been directly affected by US sanctions against Huawei, which banned the Chinese company from using Google services. New Honor smartphones support Android 11 with Magic UI interface. Nevertheless, on the Russian market, so far, there are mainly those devices that were created together with Huawei – and they do not support Google applications.

With a reputation as an open platform, Android OS is better for those who like to customize the interface themselves phone. The user has access to a huge selection of games and applications, including many free ones.

Basic smartphone services – browsers, media players and others – are easily replaced by third-party ones. But not all programs are of high quality – which cannot be said about iOS, where almost all applications are made at a high level. In addition, Android smartphones offer a shorter support period than iPhones and receive updates less frequently.

In general, both systems have similar functionality: there are practically no functions left that one OS performs and another cannot perform.

Additional functions

At this point, even inexpensive Honor smartphones have advantages over the iPhone.

  • Many models of the Chinese brand are equipped with a standard 3.5 mm audio jack, which will appeal to fans of classic wired headphones. Apple devices have been deprived of it since 2016.
  • Honor phones have a slot for a memory card – the iPhone does not offer this, although iCloud online storage, which gives 5 GB of free space, smoothes the situation a bit.
  • Connecting to a Windows-based computer is also more convenient with Honor models – this is a characteristic plus of all Android smartphones.

The latest models from both brands support 5G connectivity – although this is not very relevant for Russia, where there is no 5G coverage.

What about ecosystems


It is believed that Apple offers the most advanced ecosystem of technology – and this is one of the main advantages of buying an iPhone. All devices – smartphone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch and more – are connected and work seamlessly, saving time and increasing convenience.

Useful ecosystem tools include:

  • Universal Clipboardwhich allows you to instantly copy and paste files from one device to another.
  • Camera Continuity – Helps you open an iPhone photo or scan for editing on a macOS computer.
  • Hand off – the user starts work on one device, and continues on another. For example, while reading on a MacBook, you can switch to your iPhone and the e-book will open on the desired page.
  • If the phone receives a call, then all equipment will respondunited in an ecosystem – the call will not be missed.

The features are ready to go right away — all you need to do is sign in to the same Apple ID and iCloud account, turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Full synchronization is provided, so you do not have to adjust the settings for each device.

But we will not go into detail about all the types of Apple electronics included in the company’s ecosystem. Let us dwell only on the most interesting gadgets from the point of view of iPhone owners – wearable devices.


iPhone usually buy wireless headphones AirPods or Air Pods Pro – the second option is equipped with active noise cancellation (ANC), which is useful if you have to listen to music in noisy places. But the cost of these devices is high, especially compared to the classic wired headphones for mobile phones – the price of AirPods 2 exceeds 15,000 rubles.

For this money, the buyer will receive high sound quality at a fairly low bitrate (320 kbps) and maximum functionality: special sensors start music if the headphones are inserted into the ears, and when the user takes them out, the playback stops. The kit comes with a very handy case.

smart watch

Smart watch Apple Watch – an expensive, but very popular option for iPhone users. Regardless of the specific model, this is a handy device built specifically for iOS.

The watch is equipped with its own processor, allows you to respond to messages, effectively monitors the body’s indicators, and has good protection against water and scratches.


The ecosystem of the Chinese brand is not as advanced as Apple’s, but not bad either. All devices communicate using technology Magic link 2.0using NFC or Wi-Fi, depending on the situation.

Synchronization is provided, as well as convenient interaction between a smartphone and a Windows 10-based Honor MagicBook laptop: fast file transfer, phone screen casting, answering messages using the keyboard, and even making calls through a computer microphone are possible.

smart watch

Wearable devices include Honor Watch and Magic Watch smartwatches, as well as Band line fitness trackers.

The pinnacle of the series are the flagship Watch GS Pro. They are able to receive calls, have a protected case and built-in memory. A connection with Blueooth headphones is supported – that is, you can listen to music without a smartphone, after saving the tracks in the watch’s memory.

Much more affordable trackers Band also protected from water, equipped with a bright AMOLED display, heart rate monitor and pedometer. For detailed control of the device, the application “Health” installed on the smartphone is used. Another useful plus is that you can read incoming notifications using the tracker.


Wireless Magic Earbuds are much cheaper than Apple models – the cost of Chinese brand devices does not exceed 5-6 thousand. These are by far the best headphones in their price range.

Their main advantage is active noise cancellation, which is practically not found among such inexpensive devices. But they have no advantages over Air Pods Pro, which also have ANC: in terms of sound quality, Magic Earbuds lose to more expensive Apple headphones.

Let’s summarize

It is difficult to directly compare the smartphones of the two brands, since the devices are still in different “weight categories”. The most expensive Honor phone on the Russian market is significantly inferior to the most affordable iPhone model.

Future buyers are better off waiting for the Magic 3 flagships and the Honor 50 mid-range models to go on sale. This will provide the Chinese brand with a strong breakthrough and allow it to become at least a conditional rival to Apple.

For now Honor is the choice for those who do not want to spend a lot for the sake of the brand name and is ready to be content with not the greatest (but sufficient) performance.

iPhone is a solution for iOS lovers or those who already have Apple gadgets. In addition, the phones of an American company are better suited to people who care more about maximum convenience and ease of use These are the characteristic advantages of the iPhone operating system.

The only thing is that it makes no sense to spend too much money and take the latest smartphone. Apple models of the previous two generations still meet the needs of even demanding users.