Our mobile reviews team checks out a fair number of unlocked phones. It's fun to see what's available elsewhere in the world, and it's a window into models that might come out here soon with a carrier.
Unfortunately, these phones rarely perform as well as they would if they were tied to a network, especially a fast one. Still, there's much to glean from checking them out, even if their high prices keep us from recommending them to U.S. shoppers.
The Huawei Honor is a case in point. The Android 2.3 Gingerbread device is a midranger that looks pretty good and has some notable additions, like an interesting virtual keyboard. It also has a 4-inch screen, a 1.4GHz processor, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1,900mAh battery for longer life.
Call quality and data speeds were poor on the unlocked unit, and the cameras underperformed in some situations. Still, if the specs and design strike you, you'll also be able to check it out stateside as the Huawei Mercury for Cricket.