Honor 8X review: Has the X-factor

| Gadgets Now | Updated: Oct 25, 2018, 10:02AM IST
Honor 8X review: Has the X-factor
Critic Rating3/5
User Rating4/5

Top Features

- Good looking design
- Decent overall performance
- Long lasting battery

If there’s one brand that has been in an overdrive when it comes to launching smartphones, then it is Honor. So much so that Huawei’s sub-brand has achieved a good amount of traction in the Indian smartphone market over last one year. The firm is giving a stiff competition to Xiaomi and Samsung in the budget and mid-range segments. Out of all the Honor smartphone series that exist in the country, the Honor ‘X’ series has probably been one of the most popular ones in the market and with the new-launched Honor 8X, it is quite clear that the firm wants to continue the streak.

Honor 8X is the latest in the ‘X’ line of smartphone that has always been catering to the sub-Rs 20,000 market. With the increasing competition in the particular bracket, it was only expected from Honor to launch the 8X that has some new features and a more powerful set of specs under the hood as compared to some Chinese players. Launched last week, you can get the Honor 8X in three variants based on storage and RAM and two variants based on the colour.
These are the variants and their prices:

-4GB RAM+64GB storage (Rs 14,999)
-6GB RAM+64GB storage (Rs 16,999)
-6GB RAM+128GB storage (Rs 18,999)



We used the base model (4GB RAM + 64GB storage) as this is the most affordable in the 8X lineup and most likely to get buyers given the buying behaviour in the Indian smartphone market The smartphone also comes in Blue and Black colour versions. There’s also a Red colour variant that will arrive later

So what’s the deal with Honor 8X? At a base price of Rs 14,999 is it a worthy competitor to the likes of Xiaomi Mi A2, Nokia 6.1 Plus or other such handsets? We used it for a while and here’s what it boils down to.

Honor 8X Design


Honor 8X is a refreshing change from the previous X-series smartphones from the brand. This time it’s more premium-looking using the same metal and glass build. What’s the first change you may see is the dual-tone look at the back. Both the design tones are glossy but with a different shade that looks good for a smartphone priced at Rs 14,999. Honor says it has achieved this look using multiple layers of glass. However, since the entire back is glass coated, it attracts fingerprints and may be damaged as well if dropped from a height. However, the overall build seems sturdy.

What adds to the look is the front side that now has a larger screen estate. The sides have brushed metal look with volume and power buttons on the right side and the SIM card supporting slot on the left. At the bottom you have a 3.5mm headphone jack and a speaker grille along with a micro-USB port in the middle. You can also see the antenna strips at the bottom and towards the top on right and left side.

The company said that it went for the older micro-USB port as it wanted to keep the price of the handset down. Including a Type-C port could’ve resulted in a slight increase in Honor 8X’s cost.
There’s no Honor logo at the front though. It has been moved to the lower back side towards the left along with ‘AI camera’ written below the vertically placed dual cameras on the top-left side are all from the landscape point of view, something similar to what we have seen in flagship Huawei smartphones. The device is also being touted for the camera among other features and this design emphasises on it even more. Also, both the cameras have individual bumps but is not wobbly to operate when kept flat on a hard surface.

Honor 8X however, is not made for single-handed usage as it is broader than others in the segment. But the looks will most likely make you forget about it.



Honor 8X Display


Honor 8X’s display is not the best but it’s still worth the appreciation. At Rs 14,999 you are getting a 6.5-inch FullView IPS LCD display with FHD+ (1080x2340 pixels) resolution, giving a 91% screen to body ratio, which is difficult to find in smartphones coming at this price range. The screen is immersive enough and fortunately the notch is not a distraction here.

The notch is one of the most compact ones we have seen lately. Like others, it comprises of the ambient and proximity sensor, a circular speaker grille and a front-facing camera. It is short in both length and width, giving more space for the system and app icons on either side of the screen. All this comes in addition to a thinner chin at the bottom of the screen. It still exists though and you can clearly see it but it’s again one of the slimmest ones in the segment. So, thumbs up on that front.

Naturally, you cannot expect an AMOLED-grade saturation and overall quality here but it still is good to look at. It gets bright enough so you don’t have to struggle or change angles to view the content on the screen in bright daylight conditions. The colours are vibrant and have a certain amount of ‘punchiness’ to them. Streaming shows in Netflix shouldn’t be an issue with this one or playing games for that matter. The panel also plays well with the colour tones when viewed from different angles. There’s hardly a noticeable change there.

On the software side of things, you get a bunch of features including the ability to customise the colour tone and the temperature of the display, Blue light filter and allowing apps to show content in full view (including the area covered by the notch).

Honor 8X Performance


In our daily usage, the Honor 8X hardly gave us a chance to complain about its performance. The smartphone offers fluid performance and a major part of the credit goes to the HiSilicon 710 processor. The animation rendering and operating on multiple apps shouldn’t be an issue with the handset. The processor is said to compete with the likes of Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 636, which are also reasonably good chipsets for budget or mid-range handsets.

Although the unit we received includes 4GB RAM, having a 6GB RAM won’t bring a major change upfront though but it sure is powerful enough to handle more apps easily. Average usage including light multi-tasking is handled well and the UI is easy to get used to.



Honor’s EMUI has seen subtle changes over past couple of years and has the one running in Honor 8X (EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo) is as refined as it gets for now. You get several customisation options under the ‘Settings’ app and the entire interface is pretty straightforward without much unwanted cramped features.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience for us with the Honor 8X. It can handle most of the tasks that you do on a day to day basis and is clutter free. It’s not as clean as the one found in Nokia smartphones, which essentially is stock Android. As for the OS updates, Honor is yet to reach a level where it gets OS upgrades as quickly as the ones running stock Android. Nonetheless, the unit we reviewed runs September security patch.

What adds to it is the GPU Turbo tech that essentially boosts the performance of the games on the smartphone. This works in tandem with the powerful yet less power consuming HiSilicon 710 processor.

The 64GB inbuilt storage may not be enough for most of us but fortunately, Honor is giving the ability to expand the inbuilt storage up to 400GB via microSD card, which takes a separate, third slot in the same dual SIM card tray.

Honor 8X Camera

Camera is one of the highlights of the Honor 8X smartphone. The firm is touting the dual rear cameras of the device that come with powerful specs and deliver a decent image and video performance. In our daily usage we found the night shots in particular better than others. What powers the device’s camera section are two rear cameras with a dedicated 2MP depth sensor along with a 20MP primary sensor. Both are said to sport f/1.8 aperture along with a bunch of modes that are powered by the AI prowess worked upon by the firm to bring out the best shot.

The AI feature is not switched on by default but the option is right there on the main camera screen at the top. In daylight usage, the feature essentially boosts the colours of the subject most of the times and makes the overall shot tad bit sharper. In low-light it optimises most of the shots closest to what it looks like in real life. As compared to a regular-clicked shot, the AI-based one loses a bit of brightness but tries to retain the near-original colour. Also, the shutter takes a second after the shot is taken, particularly to sharpen the image. This could be annoying at times but the end results do look good.

Honor claims that the AI tech in camera can optimise the image based on 22 shot categories, which includes nearly everything from a dedicated mode to click pets, portraits, nature, beaches, architecture and more. For low light shots you can also go for the dedicated Night mode, which takes even more time to click a shot and in a lower resolution but eliminates shaky shots, delivering a stable shot as the end result. Nonetheless, customisation options are ample.



The overall camera quality however, is good like it has been for all the recent Honor smartphones that have launched in the particular segment. The video shooting quality is also decent and should work for most of us. You cannot shoot 4K videos with this one but you still get the next best option – full HD at 60fps. You also get to chose the video format between H.265 (that takes less space) or H.264. Slow motion video recording is also workable.

The front-facing camera of the Honor 8X boasts of a 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture, which is not bad but also not best when it comes to taking natural-looking selfies. The bokeh mode still needs a lot of work. It however, does recognise the subject spot-on. A lot of this has to do with the post processing and we hope Honor gets it right at the next attempt.

You also get backlight portrait selfie feature, something that is similar to what is there in the iPhones. It is good for those who want to go creative in their selfie shots but is yet to reach there. Nonetheless, the 16MP camera does capture details and colours, making the shot look vivid.

Honor 8X Battery

Honor 8X gets a thumbs up from our side in the battery department. The smartphone runs for almost 8-9 hours on average usage. This includes everything from playing for an hour to streaming music, using the camera for some time and even editing documents, all which staying connected to Wi-Fi or 4G network.

It is worth adding here that Honor smartphones, although not really known for their battery performance, have always proved to be worth it handsets. The Honor 8X has a 3750mAh battery, which is not usual in smartphone in the particular price segment. The ample battery, although makes it slightly heavy, it does make sure you get long hours of usage. This is after the smartphone powering a 6.5-inch screen with around 400ppi and FHD+ resolution.



The 3750mAh battery when clubbed with a 6.5-inch display and a HiSilicon 710 processor should deliver around 5 hours of screen on time. What’s good news here is that the device comes with a bundled 10W charger (5V/2A). You also get the usual software-based features to save battery. This includes the Power Saving mode and the Ultra Power Saving mode, both of which essentially restricts background app processing along with animations and even drops the brightness of the screen with a monochrome interface.


Verdict

Honor 8X has its own set of pros and cons like any other handset but if you look at the overall set of specifications and the performance it delivers in different departments, it is one of the most competitive handsets in the market. It has a good display that is immersive and some nifty features such as triple card slot also comes as an addition if nothing else. The battery performance is also good. As for the design, it is one of the most good-looking devices in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.


If you want a stock Android handset, this is nowhere in the list but it manages to outshine others in different departments. Its track record in terms of OS updates is also not a good one. But if these factors are something you can ignore, the handset definitely ups the bar for other devices coming from Nokia and Xiaomi.


01:38
Honor 8X: Unboxing & first look
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Akhlesh Mishra

Best in under 20k

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Rajani Kanth

Honor8x excellent

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