Huawei’s e-brand Honor has had one device before this, in the budget range – the Honor Holly, which did quite well but couldn’t really challenge the tough contenders like Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G, Yu Yureka and Lenovo A6000. Under the Honor branding, in comes another device, with the 4G LTE tag hanging along, and it is the Honor 4X, that gets a price tag of Rs. 10,499. The device is more of a phablet than an easy-to-hold smartphone, just like the other two devices we might compare it with. A 5.5-inch screen with the 720p resolution isn’t uncommon now, for the units priced around Rs. 10,000, and that is what makes the Honor 4X a worthy competitor in the budget phablet range.
That capacitive touch navigation keys in the bottom look just similar to the on-screen buttons on Lollipop OS, and these are with the silver border, but don’t light up even when touched. Again, the way its back panel hugs the screen panel on the side, is just similar to the Yureka and Lenovo A6000. A plastic back, but still being able to give the users a good comfort, is because it has the cross line striated matte finish with the cutout for camera and LED flash, thus we don’t see a big popping out camera here.
On the side, the phone looks classy, credits to the way it is ditched in areas except for where the power button is located. The appropriately placed speaker grill in the bottom, makes it resemble the Apple iPhone (yes, the bottom circular holes). Not that we are comparing, but that makes it easier to guess how good they look, beside the MicroUSB port and the microphone. The Honor 4X does have a secondary microphone, beside a 3.5mm headset jack in the top.
Under the removable back cover, you’d see a non-replaceable 3000 man battery, and the two MicroSIM card slots, and a MicroSD card slot as well. Though the two SIM cards support 4G LTE connectivity, we might not suggest to take the connectivity as the prime reason as the penetration of 4G is not great, at least for now. The Snapdragon 410 SoC with 2GB RAM does seem to do quite well, and the phone seems to be smooth on performance already, but too early to say.
Move over to something further interesting, the Emotion UI, or what they call the EMUI. Want the Lollipop update on the 4X? you might wonder whether it would really make a difference here, as the EMUI 3.0 layered over the Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS is too different from the stock UI, or for that sake, most of the Chinese smartphone interfaces, except for one very common similarity – the absence of an app drawer. The lock screen has an iOS-control-center-like panel that gives you shortcuts for music control, settings and four apps – sound recorder, calculator, torch and camera. None of them would open as a widget there, but will unlock the screen and open the actual app.
As always, Huawei / Honor smartphones have this beautiful wallpaper database, and the wallpaper changes every time you wake the screen up. That though, can be avoided if you want a standard wallpaper on the lock screen. Multiple home screens supporting widgets, folders and app icons sum up the way you’ll navigate through the device, unless you want to get into the quick settings by dropping down the notification panel from the status bar.
Though the other device announced by Honor, i.e. the Honor 6 Plus seems more interesting on the camera side (with its Dual camera setup on back), the cameras on the Honor 4X don’t seem disappointing at least on the paper. A combination of 13-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front-facing camera is the least one might now expect, after seeing a surge of budget devices concentrating on decent cameras although not asking much with the pricing. The EMUI’s camera app offers a simple interface and although I might be repeating it again, the app has a swipe up/down feature for toggling modes just like in the iOS camera.
The different user modes include HDR, Panorama, Audio Note, Best photo, All focus and Watermark, while we see some color effects and a dedicated beauty mode as well. 13MP resolution takes 4:3 captured, while you’d be getting a 16:9 ratio under the 10MP resolution. I did like the way Honor 4X has tried to personalize and give the user several options to choose from, on how the camera is handled, and to take advantage of physical buttons in assisting for captures.
While using the Honor 4X for a day, it seemed we aren’t seeing anything really different from the recent launches from the e-brands, Xiaomi and Yu. Those two were the same to hold, though the volume rocker buttons placed on the right panel make the Honor 4X more likeable than the Yu Yureka. The interface seems very neat and swift, but once we run a few memory consuming apps and use the phone regularly, we might know how well it does and whether, Huawei has done well for the price of Rs. 10499.