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Honor 9X Review: The most affordable pop-up selfie camera phone

Honor 9X with a 48MP triple camera setup, pop-up selfie camera recently launched in India. Should you choose it over the Redmi Note 8 Pro? Find out in our full review

Devesh Arora Devesh Arora @aroradevesh
New Delhi Published on: February 07, 2020 17:02 IST
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Honor 9X sports a triple camera setup at the back.

Honor launched the Honor 9X last month alongside the Honor Magic Watch 2 and the Honor Band 5i. The smartphone is a direct successor to the Honor 8X and it brings a couple of features that make it stand out from the competition. Honor 9X not only flaunts an attractive design but also offers a pop-up selfie camera under Rs. 15,000. While the features are quite impressive the first look, does it manage to beat the competition, which includes the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Realme 5 Pro and the Realme Z1 Pro? Let's find out in our in-depth review of the Honor 9X.

Honor 9X Review: Specifications

Honor 9X sports a 6.59-inch fullHD+ IPS LCD display with 19.5:9 ratio. The smartphone is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 710F processor coupled with up to 6GB of RAM. The dual-SIM handset comes with 128GB of onboard storage, which is further expandable using a microSD card. It runs on EMUI 9.1 based on Google's Android 9 Pie operating system out of the box. Under the hood, the Honor 9X packs a 4,000mAh battery.

In the camera department, the Honor 9X features a triple camera setup at the back, which is a combination of a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

Honor 9X Review: Design and Display

Honor 9X comes with a glass back design that flaunts a 3D pattern that basically shows the word - X when seen from the right angle. While the Blue colour variant does have a flashy back, the Black one comes with a more subtle and cleaner look. The glass back is curved on both sides, which helps in enhancing the in-hand feel of the device.

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Honor 9X is the only phone under Rs. 15,000 to offer a pop-up selfie camera.

The front of the phone is all-screen and unlike the competition, it does not feature a notch for the selfie camera. The smartphone does have minimal bezels up front but that is something you come to expect on every budget device. The main design feature here has to be the pop-up selfie camera. Apart from the Honor 9X, the only smartphone to feature a pop-up camera under the 20k segment is the Redmi K20.

As far as the display is concerned, the Honor 9X features a 6.59-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 2340x1080 pixels. The display panel gets bright enough to offer a decent viewing outdoor. The main advantage that the Honor 9X has is the notchless design that offers a great viewing experience for both playing games as well as binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

Honor 9X Review: Performance, Software and UI

Honor 9X is powered by the Kirin 710F processor. During our tests, we ran benchmarks on multiple apps including GeekBench, AnTuTu, and 3D Mark. The phone performed decent enough during the tests and the scores were comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, which is found on phones like Redmi Note 8 and Realme 5. 

Our Honor 9X review unit came equipped with 6GB of RAM. This made app switching pretty smooth. The phone was easily able to keep up to 10 apps in memory. The user interface (UI) did not show any signs of lag or jitters but it had aggressive battery management, which killed a few apps and stopped them from sending notifications. Apart from that, the experience was smooth.

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It offers a huge display.

In order to test out the true potential of the CPU and GPU, I downloaded graphics-intensive games like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends. During my gaming sessions, I did notice that the Honor 9X ran the games PUBG and COD in medium and low graphics settings respectively by default. 

Honor 9X Review: Camera

Honor 9X features a triple camera setup at the back. The primary 48-megapixel sensor comes with an f/1.8 aperture. It is accompanied by an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The images produced by the camera setup are quite impressive. In terms of the image quality, it can go head to head against the competion.

The camera app comes bundled with an AI mode, which was boosting the contrast and saturation of the shots. In order to get accurate colours, one will need to turn the feature off. However, if you like punchy images, you might be impressed by the AI mode. As for the portrait shots, the Honor 9X was able to capture some decent pictures but the edge detection was not up to the mark.

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Camera Sample (Resized for Web)

India Tv - Honor 9X

Camera Sample (Resized for Web)

Upfront, the Honor 9X sports a 16-megapixel pop-up selfie camera. While the popup mechanism might feel fascinating at this price point, it is not the best implementation. In my time with the device, I did notice that the pop-up mechanism takes its own sweet time to react. Basically, the mechanism feels a little slower than that on the Redmi K20 or the Realme X. However, considering the price, we can let that surpass.

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Camera Sample (Resized for Web)

In terms of the image quality, the Honor 9X was able to capture some impressive selfie shots. However, the software did tend to smooth out the skin tone even with beautification mode and AI deactivated. 

Honor 9X Review: Battery

Honor 9X comes with a massive 4,000mAh battery. Along with offering a great amount of battery capacity, the company has also added aggressive battery management in its EMUI software. In my time with the Honor 9X, the device was easily able to last for a complete day. At times, I was even able to stretch it to the next day. However, upon stretching the phone to the next day, I had to charge it by in the afternoon. My usage typically includes scorlling of social media, a couple of calls, Bluetooth connected at all times and gaming for a couple of hours.

Unlike the competion, the Honor 9X comes with a standard 10W charger in the box. Also, there is no support for fast charging, which means even if you buy a certified fast charging adapter, you will not be able to take its complete advantage.

 

Honor 9X Review: Verdict

Honor 9X is a great package overall. The smartphone offers a great design and a couple of distinguishing features. The handset does manage to stand out of the crowd with the addition of the pop-up selfie camera and a full-screen display. Honor 9X performs quite well at day-to-day tasks including making calls, scrolling through social media and more. But when it comes to gaming, a better chipset would have helped. The competition which includes the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Realme 5 Pro offers much better gaming experience.

However, if you are looking for a smartphone that can take your media streaming experience to a whole different level, the Honor 9X with its huge display and notch-less design will come to your rescue. Also, the design of the smartphone is something you can always flaunt about.

In a nutshell, the Honor 9X is a great smartphone and you cannot go wrong with it if you are an average user. However, if you are looking to game a lot, you might want to consider options like the Redmi Note 8 Pro, Vivo Z1 Pro and the Oppo K3.

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