Honor 8X review: Phablet at an affordable price

Honor, Huawei’s sub-brand has churned out some quality smartphones this year. They are slowly capturing the key price segments while making their presence felt in the budget flagship segment as well. After making waves with the Honor 9N and the Honor Play, the brand just announced the successor to one of their best sellers, the 7X.

With the Honor 8X, the brand has upped their game not only in terms of design and performance but price as well. The newer offering goes head to head with the likes of Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Realme 2 Pro. The phone has been launched in India with a starting price of Rs 14,999 and going up to Rs 18,999 for the top-end variant. The Honor 8X offers a lot for the price but is it worth it? We find out in the review.

Honor 8X Specifications

  • Display: 6.5-inch IPS LCD FHD+ display, 19.5:9 ratio
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo, EMUI 8.2
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes
  • CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 710 Octa-core processor
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB
  • Main Camera: 20 MP (f/1.8) (RGB) + 2MP dual-tone LED Flash
  • Selfie Camera: 16 MP
  • Connectivity: micro USB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONASS
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, Dual SIM
  • Battery: 3,750 mAh, Li-ion Polymer, non-removable
  • Price: INR 14,999

Box Contents

The box design is simple and neat like what we have seen in the past with other Honor products. There is the Honor 8X branding on top. As soon as you lift the top part, you are greeted with the smartphone. Underneath lie the documentation and the supplied accessories.

A complete list of items you get inside the box:

  • Honor 8X smartphone
  • Sim Ejector Tool
  • Charger
  • Silicon Case
  • Warranty and User Guide

Design

The phone offers a totally different design and material choice from its predecessor. The Honor 8X offers a glass sandwich design which sets the phone apart from others in this price segment. The phone features a two-tone back with the surface being glossy and matte at different areas. The dual rear cameras are placed vertically on the side with the flash underneath. There is a circular fingerprint sensor placed in the middle.

Coming to the front, the features a 6.5-inch FHD+ LCD display with a notch. Honor has minimized the bezels on this phone to a quite extent, achieving a whopping 91% screen-to-body ratio. The notch up top is of the same smaller footprint that we have seen on the Nova 3 and 3i in the past. The front facing camera, earpiece and sensors are all tucked away neatly in the notch, with the notification LED placed outside the notch and feels very out of place.

The volume rockers and power button are all placed on the right side, with the triple slot SIM tray on the left. Honor went with a micro USB port on the 8X, which is placed on the bottom along with the 3.5mm audio jack and the speaker grill. Despite the larger footprint, the phone feels light in the hand thanks to the clever weight distribution honor has done.

Display

The phone features a massive 6.5-inch 19.5:9 aspect ratio display with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels. The display is crisp and vibrant enough, so pleasing a majority of the consumers won’t be an issue. As previously mentioned, the phone comes with a smaller notch and a minimal chin at the bottom, taking the screen-to-body ration above 90%. Honor has added a blue light filter called Eye Comfort Mode that been certified by TUV Rheinland.

The display is more than perfect for this price only if viewed directly from the side, but there is a noticeable drop in quality if viewed from a slightly different angle. The larger display is perfect for content consumption. Our unit came with a pre-production software wherein Netflix content streams in HD quality which is plus as no other smartphone is providing this in under 15k price bracket.

Overall, we are very impressed with the quality of the display on the Honor 8X.

Software and Performance

Like other Huawei and Honor smartphones, the Honor 8X also runs the heavily customized Android skin EMUI 8.2 on top of Android Oreo. EMUI is packed with a bunch of nifty features like in call recording, long screenshots which are usually missing on other skins. Features like party mode can be of use for some. We still faced some stability issues with the UI and ran into occasional hiccups especially when waking up the smartphone.

EMUI gives a lot of room for customization, you get the option to choose the layout of the launcher, change themes, fonts and wallpapers. Apart from this, you get the option to use one button navigation instead of the usual onscreen Android controls which are a plus.

The only gripe we have is with the software, despite the larger screen, Honor went with a larger set of icons which look a bit odd. There are plenty of pre-installed apps and games, thankfully most of them can be uninstalled.

Coming to the performance aspect of this smartphone. The phone is powered by Huawei’s very own HiSilicon Kirin 710. This is a fairly newer chipset and we have seen it in the past on the Huawei Nova 3i. In terms of performance, the Kirin 710 is comparable to the Snapdragon 660 and can be considered as an upper mid-range chipset. The chipset is more than capable of handling day to day tasks with ease, and we didn’t notice any issues in this regard.

We took the chipset for a spin and ran titles like Asphalt, FIFA and PUBG which were playable without any issues with medium to high graphics. The gaming performance is further enhanced with the GPU Turbo. The phone was launched in three RAM and storage variants but only the base variant is on sale as of now. From our tests, we can conclude that the base 4/64GB variant is sufficient for most users.

Sadly, Honor has skimped on NFC and AptX support that is readily available on the Global variant of the smartphone.

Camera and Battery

The Honor 8X packs in a dual rear camera setup on the back, with the main camera being a 20-megapixel sensor which is assisted with a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front you get a 16-megapixel selfie shooter tucked away in the notch. Just like with the other smartphones we’ve seen this year from Honor and Huawei, a sizeable amount of stress has been put on AI, even the back camera has ‘AI Camera’ branding.

The camera app has a fairly simple and neatly laid out interface. There are five major modes — Aperture, Night, Portrait, Photo, and Video, with modes like Pro, Slow-mo, Panorama, AR Lens, HDR, Time-lapse, and more hidden away. The app by default has the AI photography mode turned on, which can be flicked off if you don’t like the results.

Talking about the camera performance, shots taken in broad daylight come out good with a decent amount of detail. The camera is fast to focus and there is no shutter lag. Just with the other Huawei and Honor phones we tested, with the AI mode enabled the phone was quick in detecting the scene and tweaked the settings accordingly. he only issue is that AI mode at times tends to oversaturate colors to make the subjects pop, which leaves the image artificial looking.

That being said, after using the camera with the AI mode turned on, the shots taken with the AI mode will grow on you. Though they look artificial at times but are still better than the original shots at least in some situations. As for the low light imaging, the camera is just not up to the mark. The low light images were so soft and grainy, that they resembled the shots taken from a sub 10k smartphone.

Selfies have always been a strong suit of Honor and it shows in the Honor 8x as well. The 16-megapixel selfie camera is much better with producing detailed shots with accurate colors. The Honor 8X supports up to 1080p video recording at 60fps and slow-motion video recording at 480fps. There is no support of OIS or EIS leaving the videos shaky and choppy.

Talking about the battery, the Honor 8X comes with a 3750 mAh which will easily last you a full day even with high usage. There is no trace of fast charging but the phone takes about 2 hours to top up the battery fully with the supplied 10W charger. To further increase the battery life, Honor has implemented a bunch of Battery optimizations and saving tweaks which do help and are very much appreciated.

Pricing

Honor 8X – INR 14,999

Pros

  • Good Build quality
  • Decent Display
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • No Type C and Fast charging
  • Below average lowlight camera performance
  • No 4K recording

Verdict – Should you go for it?

Honor 8X very easily takes the rank of being the best smartphone in the under INR 15,000 market. The things going in its favour are design, display and performance. In the design department the phone is up there with the likes of Nokia smartphones and in the performance department, the results are class leading thanks to the Kirin 710. The things we hope could have been improved are the average cameras, lack of fast charging.

We totally recommend Honor 8X to users looking for a smartphone with content consumption and gaming needs.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build & Design
Display
Camera
Battery
Software
Price

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