Honor 8X Review: Sparkling Yet Compromising

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This year Honor is in a groove as the Chinese manufacturer remained busy introducing smartphones one by one. We have come across the budget and mid-range phones like Honor 7S and Honor 10 Lite, and on the high end, devices like Honor 10 also impressed with their non-stop performance. The latest offering by the company in the mid-range price segment is Honor 8X. As far as the looks are concerned, the device is dressed to kill and even put to shame many costlier flagships.

Without wasting much time,  let’s jump to our in-depth review of the Honor 8X to see how better it stands against the competition.

Honor 8X specs

  • Display: 6.5 inches, IPS LCD
  • OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo), EMUI 9.0
  • Chipset: Hisilicon Kirin 710
  • RAM/ROM: 4GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB
  • Camera (rear): 20MP + 2MP
  • Camera (front): 16MP
  • Battery: 3750 mAh
  • Full specs

Design and Display

As stated earlier, the strongest point of this device is its design. It is made up of glistening glass, which we seldom find in affordable devices. It looks quite similar to flagship Huawei P20 Pro from the back, which has a similar vertical camera arrangement that is placed on the left one of the two-tone strips that divide the rear of the phone. The left ‘band’ is more pronounced on the blue and red color versions where it absorbs and refracts the light significantly than what it does on the blackish version where it is less noticeable.

 

The device is made up of slippery glass, but it is a magnet for fingerprints and requires continuous cleaning unless you decide to use back cover that comes out of the box. The metal frame in the middle of glass provides a strong grip, and you don’t feel it slipping out of the hands every now and then.

Honor has placed volume rocker and power key on the right side of the phone while the SIM tray is on the left side, which is a tested approach. The volume key is placed high up the phone, which also causes nuisance sometimes; however, we loved the placement of the fingerprint sensor on the back.

Single speaker resides at the bottom of the phone with a mic and a micro USB port instead of Type-C, which is the turnoff in the design department.

Thankfully Honor 8X has got a 3.5mm jack, yes the thing we miss a lot in some of the premium smartphones. Overall, Honor 8X looks not lesser than any premium phone, but somehow, it has become Honor’s hallmark to market such a look at almost half the price.

Honor 8X adorns 2340 x 1080 pixels on a 6.5 inch LCD panel. Though the display is large enough, it gives very nice and sharp color output with bright and vivid images.

Display and Notch

The display has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, close to standard 21:9, which makes an ideal screen to watch movies.

Following the latest trend, the phone has got a notch, but to get bezel-less displays, there is no tested solution besides opting for a notch, and you get accustomed to it in a few hours.

We noticed a faulty blue hue on the device, but it only looks oversaturated in default vivid settings. Also, the phone display is not optimum in bright sunlight; you will struggle to see the screen even with full brightness. However, apart from this, the display is fantastic in shady and indoor conditions, and the media consumption is impressive.

OS

Honor 8X is furnished with EMUI with an Android 8.1 software. Although Honor’s skin used to be heavily influenced by the iPhone style and never was on par with it, things have changed now. This EMUI is now one of the best in the market if you compare it with Chinese manufacturers.

Bloatware in EMUI (L) or Party Mode (R)

Having said that, there is a lot of room for improvement if the company wants to compete with the skins of One Plus’s Oxygen OS. There is a significant amount of bloatware present on the device that Honor could cut down and release some storage.

There is also a party mode similar to the one we found in Honor 7Athat enables the users to synchronize music with other honor phones to create loud and stereotype listening.

For Gaming, Honor 8X has the famous GPU Turbo technology of Huawei, which makes the phone increase its performance by 60% and reduces battery consumption by 30%. However, it’s not comparable to Honor’s flagships due to its low processing chipset. If you want a real phone for gaming purposes, go ahead with Honor Play, which falls under the same price bracket, but it has an aluminum body.

Performance and Battery

The device is powered by HiSilicon Kirin 710 SoC, which is the same as we found in Huawei Nove 3i. Again it’s commendable that Honor has decided to ditch the over-used Kirin 659. The processor is of 12nm and has four Cortex-A73 cores at 2.2GHz and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz.

Our review unit has 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, while in some markets, the device is even available in other options, including a 64GB variant and a whopping 6GB of RAM.

The device performed well at Geekbench and AnTuTu. If you are into comparing scores, check out the exact result.

Honor 8X GeekBench Scores (L) and AnTuTu scores (R)

Honor 8X delivers excellent performance in light and moderate usage and copes well with light gaming. However, in our heavy usage tests, the device showed significant lagging in opening apps and was uncomfortably hot. The phone was dropping frames in high-end games, which were not much noticeable, thanks to GPU Turbo.

Besides, showing lags while gaming, the device was also showing late responsiveness in switching between the already opened apps during heavy multitasking.

So if you want a device that performs day to day tasks with ease and even offers light gaming capabilities, this is the phone for you, not otherwise.

The gaming experience on Honor 8X

Although the fingerprint sensor was responsive and accurate, face-unlock disappointed us as it needed multiple attempts to unlock the phone.

Speaking of the battery, the phone has got 3750mAh juice and comes with a micro-USB port. You are not offered with any fast charging capabilities. It took 2 hours 35 minutes to charge from 0% to 100%. In our drain test, the phone lasted 4 hours and 10 minutes while we played the 1080p video at full brightness, not a worth telling performance and far behind some of the other phones Honor make such as Honor 8S.

Honor 8X Battery Test

While gaming, the phone consumed 20% of the battery in an hour, which again depicted the power of GPU Turbo. In our moderate usage where we test the device by posting content on social media, occasional one or two clicks with a camera, and browse the internet with 4G LTE continuously with full brightness enabled, the device drained 16% of the battery in an hour.

Camera

Dual rear camera setup and fingerprint sensor

Honor has given AI capabilities to the camera of the phone while the setup consists of dual rear cameras and a single front camera. The selfie camera is a 16MP lens, and the rear cameras have got a primary 20MP lens with a 2MP depth sensor.

Image with Wide Aperture Mode on Honor 8X
Wide Aperture

AI on camera helps the device to take some sophisticated clicks, but it performs occasionally and sometimes overdoes the colors. It will be wrong to compare it with the flagship cameras, but it performed pretty well compared to the other affordable offerings in the market.

Portrait Mode on Honor 8X
Portrait Mode

The camera game on Honor 8X is strong. The AI is always there to help, producing daylight photos that are sharp, detailed, and have a great dynamic range for a phone at this price. A variety of modes in the camera app give you a chance to get creative.

Picture With Auto Mode on Honor 8X
Auto Mode

Picture With HDR Mode on Honor 8X
HDR Mode

Picture With AI Mode on Honor 8X
AI Mode

The night photography was not handled well by the phone at all. The pictures were not even great with a well-lit subject while we experienced loss of details and noisy photos.

Picture at night with Auto Mode on Honor 8X
Auto Mode at Night

Picture at night with HDR Mode on Honor 8X
HDR Mode at Night

Picture at night with AI Mode on Honor 8X
AI Mode at Night

Sometimes it produced impeccable results, and other times, even with a well-lit subject, pictures came out with quite a loss of detail, and the camera clearly seemed to struggle to control the direct light.

Image of Delhi Gate with Auto Mode on Honor 8X
Auto Mode

Image of Delhi Gate with HDR Mode on Honor 8X
HDR Mode

Image of Delhi Gate with AI Mode on Honor 8X
AI Mode

Image With Auto Mode on Honor 8X At night
Auto Mode at Night

Image With HDR Mode on Honor 8X At night
HDR Mode at Night

Image With AI Mode on Honor 8X At night
AI Mode at Night

Verdict

Honor 8X is the phone which certainly enjoys a beautiful design as it shines in the crowd, but it’s certainly not a phone for those who want a great camera and better processing power.

Keeping in mind the price of the device, it’s a good option if someone agrees to compromise a little bit on poor low light performance and excessively large size of the device. The design of the device alone, nonetheless, could be appealing enough for some users to go for it without a second thought.

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