Huawei Honor has been receiving a lot of praise lately due to the immense success of their smartphones. Their smartphones have good specifications, are reasonably priced, but have a beautiful premium look. Last year’s Honor 7X was a big hit in the market and was perhaps the go-to phone for the $300+/- range. Now that the 8X is out, expectations are high, has Honor done enough? Let’s find out.
The design looks refreshing, to say the least. The phone has a glass back which has different textures for the left and right side. The rear glass panel lefts light and both the left and right side reflect it in a different way. The transition between the two different types of reflections looks nice.
The reflective glass back is then met with a vibrant color scheme that makes it one of the most beautiful smartphones out there. The body of the phone is 7.8mm thick and the edges are rounded for in-hand comfort. The design, when looking at it as a whole is not that different from other Honor phones. However, the multi-textured glass back makes it look much prettier than its siblings.
The phone comes with a dual-camera setup. Like many other Huawei and Honor phones, the dual cameras go on the left side of the phone vertically. However, unlike many phones where the fingerprint scanner is directly below the cameras, the fingerprint sensor is to the middle of the phone. The sensor is in a good place where your finger can easily reach without a problem. Moreover, you can feel for it as well without fear of smudging your camera.
To top it all off, the phone has a Micro-USB port and a headphone jack. It’s slightly disappointing that given that it’s 2018, some phones are still coming with micro-USB charging ports instead of type-C. A lot of companies have now made the switch due to the latter being much faster. However, given that the Honor 8X is a budget-friendly smartphone, that can be forgiven.
The headphone jack is still there, which is nice. Many companies have now started removing the headphone jack due to various reasons. Although a lot of people now use Bluetooth options, there are still a lot of people who use wired earphones as well. Bluetooth can never beat the sound quality of wired earphones, so it’s nice to see the jack still there on the Honor 8X.
Screen and Display
The phone has a nice glass back, but what about the front? We’re looking at a 6.5-inch screen, with a 2,340 x 1,080 resolution phone. It features an IPS panel and the chin of the phone is slightly larger than the other three bezels. The body of the phone is also long. All of this combined makes the phone’s screen-to-body ratio higher than the OnePlus 6 and even the Galaxy Note 9, which is impressive, to say the least.
As for the display itself, it’s a nice looking display. If you look at the display straight after taking it out of the box, do not be fooled. The Honor 8X has a TUV Rheinland-certified eye comfort mode which applies a filter to the display and makes the display look substantially worse than what it actually is. The mode is activated by default out of the box, so be sure to disable it by going to settings.
There’s more to the display as well. There’s a video enhancement mode that increases the contrast and overall improves the quality of the display when you’re watching a video. The display also has what is known as “glare minimization” which makes the display clear even under sunlight. It’s very hard to use a phone under bright sunlight and you often need to turn up the brightness in order to see anything.
Glare minimization is a great feature that lets you see the screen without doing too much. Overall, the screen the display is good enough for the price point and also large enough to fit the hands of almost everyone.
Hardware and Performance
The Honor X comes with the new octa-core Kirin 710 chipset alongside 4 GB of ram. The phone is able to deliver smooth performance and can do just about any task you throw at it. The performance of the phone really goes to show just how blurry the line between “budget” and “premium” smartphone gets every passing day. A few years ago, you couldn’t have imagined a buttery smooth performance from a phone as cheap as the Honor 8X.
To put things into numbers, the new processor inside the phone is 75% faster than previous generation processors. Performance-wise, it’s good but what about gaming? Smartphone gaming is something that’s been on the rise for a few years now. With games like PUBG mobile and Fortnite making their way to phones, the phone’s specs are put to the real test.
Before, whenever a company would decide to put in a large amount of RAM into their phones, that was primarily done to attract those who look at spec sheets. However, now these specs become absolutely necessary due to the kind of apps and games that are available. The good news is, the phone handles games well. It also comes with the revolutionary GPU Turbo technology.
GPU Turbo really makes a difference and you can tell when you play games such as PUBG mobile or Fortnite on the phone. The turbo tech makes the phone’s GPU 130 percent better than the last generation which makes the phone really good for gaming.
Battery and Memory
The phone has a decent hardware lineup, which is capable of providing smooth and reliable performance. Such specs require a decent battery in order to make the phone durable. Huawei has done exactly that and has given the phone a large 3750 mAh battery.
The battery works well with the processor and GPU to ensure that the user gets decent battery life. On an average day, the phone can churn out 5-6 hours of screen time which is good for a phone at its price point. Of course, there are phones with much better batteries out there. However, considering the price of the Honor 8X, you can’t really get much better down there.
As far as memory is concerned, the Honor 8X comes with 128 GB of internal memory. If that’s not enough for you, then expandable storage is also an option as the phone supports a micro-SD card up to 400 GB. Overall, the phone delivers on the battery and has decent enough memory to last you a long time.
Perhaps the most important thing to look out for in a smartphone, the Honor 8X has a great camera setup for its price point. It features a dual 20MP+2MP rear camera and 16 MP front-facing cameras. The camera, for the most part, is really good. In good lighting, the camera makes you forget that you’re holding a phone that’s a 3rd of the price of an iPhone XS.
The dual camera setup means that portrait mode is also available. However, the real star of the camera would perhaps be the A.I and other camera modes. Huawei’s continued persistence on using AI technology has resulted in some really good camera results. We saw how well the AI camera worked with the P20 Pro, and although the 8X isn’t up to that level, it’s still really good.
The AI camera can process more than 500 different scenes in real-time which are categorized in 22 different categories. Color enhancement is good and the HDR mode makes the photos look really nice. The bokeh mode is amazing. It accurately recognizes edges and blurs the background around them making an ordinary photo look amazing. There are other modes as well such as a 3D portrait mode, slow-mo video, and an Augmented Reality mode too. However, the winner is the A.I mode.
The AI technology in the device optimizes and adjusts the camera quality depending on the scene. The night mode is also present, which we first saw in the P20 Pro. It eliminates the blurring of photos when taking night shots and comes up with an impressive photo. As already mentioned, it’s not as impressive as the P20 Pro, but for less than half the price, what more do you want?
The phone has everything you’d need from a smartphone. A fingerprint sensor in the correct place, good performance, a decent camera, can it offer more? In fact, it does. The phone runs on the smart user interface EMUI 8.2 which helps keep the system running smoothly. It also brings features like facial recognition in dim light and fun augmented reality (AR).
The eye comfort mode is perhaps the best one out of them all. As mentioned above, the eye comfort mode has Rheinland certification. The certification is basically equivalent to an IP certification for waterproofing. The eye comfort mode is great for people wanting to lessen the strain on their eyes, especially during the night.
The phone also has NFC which means you can make payments through your phone using options such as Google Pay. However, it seems that NFC is limited to certain regions to make sure to check before buying if you really want the phone to have the feature.
Is the Honor 8X a reasonable upgrade from last year? Does it live up to its expectations? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding yes. The mid-range market is on fire currently, with phones like the Honor 8X making it hard to distinguish between mid-range and premium devices every day.
The phone looks and performs like a high-end device and it is one. However, the price says otherwise. With that said, there are a few shortcomings of the phone which are understandable. Otherwise, Huawei couldn’t have reduced the price to as low as it has done. Overall, the phone is a winner and is available for just under the $330 mark.