Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is known for its mid-tier segment smartphones, particularly with its ‘X’ branding smartphone line-up. Last December, Honor has announced its Honor 7X smartphone with which, the company has introduced the dual cameras set up in that segment. Honor has now launched its successor — the Honor 8X with the similar dual camera setup and a new upgraded HiSilicon processor. We have tested out the new 8X and here are our thoughts on it .
Design and Display
Huawei’s Honor has come up with a massive design overhaul with the new 8X when compared to its predecessor. Gone are the big bezels on the front, the new 8X boasts a massive 6.5-inch Full HD+ IPS notched display with a new 19.5:9 ratio that shares a screen-to-body-ratio of 91% – thanks to the 2.5D curved glass screen. Since the notched display is such a norm in 2018, the Honor had done a great job by implementing the enormous screen which makes the notch almost negligible. Though the notch appears to be puny, it still packs a front facing camera, the speaker grill, and the essential sensors. Coming to the display, it certainly feels edge-to-edge, and the viewing angles of this massive display are great, images look sharp and bright with vivid colors popping out. We haven’t had any issues in handling the massive display in broad sunlight as well. The Honor 8X is an excellent device for binge-watching with its vibrant big screen, and the wider viewing angles are a bliss.
On the rear, the Honor 8X boasts a glass build with two visual effects in the same Blue finish, that appears to be two-tone in certain reflections but still looks visually appealing. The back also boasts dual camera setup and an LED flash along with the typical Honor branding. The device also retains the fingerprint sensor at the rear as its predecessor. This two-tone color body phone also equips the headphone jack at the bottom alongside the speaker grill. All-in-all the Honor 8X’s metal and glass design allures you with its extremely slim form factor and its large screen-to-body ratio which essentially feels more than premium for its mid-range price segment.
However, there’s one drawback with this beautiful phone which the micro USB charge port that is undoubtedly a step back with the competition Nokia for example, since they have already started implementing the USB Type-C within this and below price segment.
Hardware and Performance
Coming to the most anticipated part of this device, how does the Honor 8X perform? Unlike, the Honor Play that released earlier this year which, runs on a Kirin 970 SoC, the new Honor 8X comes with a 12nm Kirin 710 Soc. The new Kirin 710 is in direct competition to the Qualcomm SD 660, which is one of the powerful SoC for the mid-range segment. This Kirin 710 SoC with 64-bit architecture, comprises of 4x ARM Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz and 4x ARM Cortex-A53 @ 1.7GHz CPU and an ARM Mali G51 MP 4 GPU. Furthermore, the device comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. This Kirin SoC paired with the provided RAM helps the Honor 8X run consistently, and we haven’t witnessed any lags while multitasking to gaming.
For a smoother gaming experience, the Honor 8X bundles GPU Turbo optimization, this does not mean that it boosts up the frame-rates, but it certainly helps in optimizing battery in the background while gaming and helps you smoother the gaming experience. In our testing, the predominant games such as PUBG and Asphalt 9 ran sleekly on the Honor 8X without any jitter or screen lag.
On the software front, the Honor 8X ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box with Huawei’s EMUI 8.2 OS, which had been refined since the new 8.2 update. However, the lack of app drawer by default is amiss, and the appearance of app icons certainly look clunky. There are some pre-installed stock apps, and then there are few outdated games, which the UI asks us to install while setting up the phone. If you are a Google’s native app lover, you can easily hide these EMUI’s native apps. On the whole, the Android Oreo paired with refined EMUI gives you a smoother experience and the Honor 8X can easily be considered as a daily driver for handling social media apps and messaging apps without any second thoughts or whatsoever. As for the media streaming, the Honor 8X does support Widevine L1, which is necessary for HD streaming on the Netflix.
Lastly, the Honor 8X comes with a mono speaker instead of a stereo; however, it has a fair and decent quality which is sufficient for video watching and gaming. For authentication, as stated earlier, the device features a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and also has a Face Unlock feature that works quite fast utilizing the front camera. The 8X also features NFC and supports third-party apps for payments as well.
While the Huawei has come up with the dual cameras on its P20 Pro, the company’s sub-brand Honor is in a spree of hosting dual cameras set up on its all smartphone line-up regardless of the price segment. And, the company’s latest offering the Honor 8X is no exception, it rocks a 20MP primary camera sensor along with the 2MP depth camera sensor with an aperture of f/1.8. Adding to this, the 8X also has an added AI feature along with portrait modes. While the primary 20MP camera does all the action, the secondary 2MP camera doesn’t add any new mode like a telephoto lens or an ultra-wide lens, but it does indeed help in capturing depth control while capturing a portrait image. The dual cameras also feature a phase detection autofocus system and an LED flash.
By all means, shots taken on the primary camera does appear good, the images captured are pretty sharp and vibrant covering right amount of details – thanks to the additional effect of the AI mode, which when enabled recognizes the photo scene while capturing and helps in getting more color punchy images/photos. However, if you are that person who prefers to capture more natural lighted images without oversaturated colors, we would recommend disabling the AI mode.
The AI mode additionally features AI beauty effect that can adjust or retouch images along with multi-scene recognition, which claims to identify 22 different categories of objects in images in various scenarios. There’s also an ultra-low light mode for the primary camera when enabled, the camera stitches together a series of shots and this stitching of multiple shots results in images looking much sharper rather than the pictures took with this mode disabled.
As the budget of the Honor 8X is constrained, the primary camera can only record upto 1080p up to 60fps. While the primary camera lacks OIS, it does have super-slow-motion video recording, where a user can film short videos at 16x slow-motion mode at 480fps.
On the front, the Honor 8X features a 16MP selfie camera sensor with a f/2.0 aperture alongside HDR capabilities and video recording upto 1080p at 30 frames per second. The level of detail on the images are quite good despite that, the colors on the image occasionally feel washed out.
There’s also a portrait mode paired up with the beauty mode as well. The former mode is a software feature which creates a fake bokeh effect that can be disabled at any time. There’s also an additional feature for the front-facing camera that uses AI algorithms for portrait selfies that eventually offers four different studio level portraits.
To power up the massive 6.5-inch display, Honor has armed the Honor 8X with a 3,750mAh battery. On a moderate day-to-day use, the Honor 8X can easily get through a day with constant messaging apps and social media apps as well as a tad bit of gaming and video watching as well.
To power-up the battery quickly, there’s a suitable 5V/2A adapter which does help in fast charging. However, the micro USB charging is quite dated in 2018.
If you are looking for a device that looks and feels expensive and also should perform the regular day-to-day tasks with the least compromises, then the Honor 8X is the way to go. Specifically, in this mid-range price segment – this large display certainly matters when compared to the contemporaries, along with the combination of Kirin 710 SoC and added GPU turbo optimization surely helps the Honor 8X to excel with its offering. Aside from the micro USB charging, the cameras, AI benefits, overall slim and the trendy notch design add up to the Honor 8X to make it a perfect value for money. As for the value of money, the new Honor 8X starts at Rs 14,990. This undoubtedly is the new choice we would recommend you to get amongst the lot.