Honor 9X is the latest mid-range smartphone from the Chinese phone maker that always gives this impression of making phones identical to the parent brand Huawei. We have noticed similarities in the previous phones, and the same is true for the 9X that resembles Huawei Y9s in many ways. The price is not much different, and the same is true for the screen size, resolution, chipset, and the camera setup. Of course, the placement of the pop-up selfie camera and the fingerprint scanner is a significant difference between the two. However, we can expect a performance match as well.
Design and Display
Honor 9X is a true successor to the 8X that we have already reviewed. The phone gave an impressive look, and the same is true about the 9X, which is a glass body from both front and back. The latest version comes in two colors, Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black. The blue variant we have shimmers and creates an X design when the light reflects from the surface. The Honor calls it a Dynamic X design.
The rear panel houses two significant features, fingerprint scanner – that is well within reach of the index finger, and the triple camera setup aligned vertically on the left side. The rest of the rear panel is nothing but a light reflector.
We get the usual volume rockers and the power keys on the right side that are also easily accessible through the thumb. Interestingly the left the phone is empty as Honor has moved the hybrid SIM tray to the top of the phone just adjacent to the pop-up selfie camera. We can also find a microphone nearby.
Right at the bottom, there is a 3.5 mm audio slot, a Type-C charging port, a primary mic, and the speaker grille.
Flip the phone, and we get 6.5 inches of the full screen without an intruding notch; courtesy the motorized front camera that makes it possible. The bezels are reasonably smaller except for a little prominent chin that does not look odd either.
The screen offers a 1080 x 2340 px resolution and a 391 ppi that is precisely the same that we get on Huawei Y9s. Although it can’t be as sharp as an AMOLED or OLED, it is still a good display for every type of content. The quality of the display is quite decent at 1080p, the colors are vivid, and the icons appear sharp. We noted the display equally good both indoors and outdoors.
Like usual Honor and Huawei phones, you get to select 720 or 1080p resolution from the display setting area, but I would prefer to keep the smart resolution chosen and let the phone decide where it has to offer you a full resolution or a 720p. This will undoubtedly create a balance between good battery life and a nice display.
Performance and battery
Honor 9X has Kirin 710F under the hood, which we also found in Huawei Y9s and even Honor 8X. Some of the models come with standard 710, but Huawei says there is no difference in the performance of the ‘F’ version and the standard one. Besides, there is a 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory that is extendable to 512GB through a microSD card.
The phone runs EMUI 9.1 on top of Android 9, and we don’t expect Honor 9X to get EMUI 10 anytime soon.
The smartphone scored 181341 on Antutu, which is better in the ranking than Huawei Y9s 2019 (178183) and Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 (116771), suggesting better hardware and software optimization although Huawei’s models have similar chipset.
The phone performs quite nicely and does not show any sign of lag during a normal usage pattern. It can easily run PUBG and Call of Duty at medium settings; however, we noticed a little frame drops here and there that is ignorable considering the price of the phone.
Honor 9X is fueled by a 4000mAh battery, which sports 10W fast charging right out of the box. The phone gets charged in 2 hours and 18 minutes. In our video playback test, we completely drained the battery in almost 11 hours, whereas, the hourly consumption for normal usage stood at 7%. However, gaming geeks should expect an hourly discharge of 11 to 12% based upon their gaming habits.
In the camera department, Honor 9X boasts a triple camera setup comprising of a 48MP primary lens, an 8MP Super wide-angle lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. On the front, there is a 16MP motorized pop-up for clicking selfies.
By default, 9X captures 12MP shots through its primary lens. The pictures preserve natural colors and contrast, and details are decent.
The 48MP lens capture more details as compared to 12MP standard mode, but images of the 48MP lens are a little overexposed and noise level. Honor 9X can handle backlit objects very nicely, and it captures good details of the subject and the background at the same time, which you can see in the following picture.
An 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens overexposes the area where sunlight falls directly; the remaining looks underexposed and registering lesser detail.
At night, Honor 9X performs nicely in better lighting conditions. Have a look at the following images to see how punchy the colors are. Honor 9X has a dedicated night mode that helps to take some pretty good pictures in the night. Its 8MP night photos are well exposed as compared to the standard mode, but the color is a little bit on the warmer side.
The phone can take very decent shots with its aperture mode; the subjects get the right focus, and the backgrounds become beautifully blurred.
Similarly, portraits from the front and back camera are catchy. The skin tones are natural, and backgrounds are nicely separated from the subject.