Honor 9x review: Decent specs for a limited $300 price tag
This is the new Honor 9x, which is a special smartphone for two big reasons.
The first? This will mark the final phone in the Honor lineup for 2019, and closes out the year with a blower that packs some very decent specs for a limited price tag. The second reason is a little darker.
Thanks to the well-documented spat between Honor’s parent company Huawei and the US government, this just might be the last ever Honor phone to run Google apps. While in China, that doesn’t mean very much – those aren’t available there anyway – but for those of us here in the Middle East, that’s a big deal.
So, has Honor saved the best for last?
Honor 9x: Design and Screen
Let’s kick things right off the bat with a price. The Honor 9x comes in at just under 271 US dollars. And for that price, it’s one heck of a phone.
For starters, let’s look at the screen. You get a big 6.6-inch screen that is a little bit on the large size for a smartphone. Those with little hands beware, but those who think bigger is better certainly won’t be disappointed here.
Screen resolution is fairly sharp, but the fact that it’s an LCD over the increasingly more common OLED panels might turn some people off. However, that said, the LCD on this is certainly very pleasing on the eyes.
The highlight here – or rather, the notched elephant in the room is certainly that screen. Where’s the notch?! I hear you scream? That’s right, the Honor 9x features an all-screen design, there’s no notch or whole punch here for that.
Honor manages this magic by fitting a pop-up camera in the top of the phone, one that jumps up when you want to take a selfie. It’s an interesting take on the front-facing camera, and while it’s not new it still is rather innovative.
Ultimately, most people are really going to like watching it slide in and out. And Honor has a new technology that senses when phones have been dropped, and automatically retracts the pop-out camera.
You also get a fingerprint center to the rear of the device.
Honor 9x: Performance and Battery
Straight from the get you you’ll notice that while Honor’s 9x does more than most at this price point, there is noticeable slowdown when compared to other flagship phones. That’s to be expected, however, and provided you don’t go too crazy trying to play games while recording movies while downloading apps, you won’t test the phone too much.
Gaming on the go is absolutely fine on this device, and the downward-firing speaker is alright, but proper audiophiles will really need to invest in a proper pair of headphones. Fortunately, you also get a 3.5-millimetre jack – a true rarity in the world of smartphones.
Under the hood lies a Kirin 710F chipset, which is an upgrade on last-year’s device but just by a smidgeon. Ultimately it can handle most of what you’d ever throw at it.
From a battery perspective you get 4,000 mAh which is more than enough to provide you with a day’s worth of work. Throw in watching full HD movies and gaming, and you might want to reach for a charger at some point during in the day – but you’ll really have to try to get it down.
Honor 9x: Camera and shooting modes
Since Honor has been plucked from Huawei’s tech cupboard, they usually have access to some very decent sensors. The 9x is no exception to that. It still takes good images, which make use of three back-facing sensors.
The main camera boasts 48-megapixels – which is joined by an 8-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide lense and a 2-megapixel depth sensor to improve on portrait shots. Ultimately, pictures taken looked good, they were bright and have decent contrast. However, when we swiped over to ultra-wide there was noticeable distortion around some of the images. So while they were mostly good, consistency seems to be a little bit of a problem.
Of course, the star here is really that selfie camera. Fortunately, that little guy works perfectly and when matched with Honor’s artificial intelligence, is more than worthwhile for putting your selfies on the gram.
Honor 9x: The Verdict:
At less than US$300, this is a pretty special phone. It does everything it needs to with bells on, and certainly won’t disappoint those who want high-end functionality in a wallet-friendly package.
There is, however, no getting away from the fact that this very well could be the last Honor phone to come with Google support. And while the phone will continue to receive updates from Google, it just might be the last of a dying breed. But for that, only time will tell.