Honor 9X Smartphone Review

The Honor 9X has a 48MP main camera and a fun 16MP pop-up selfie camera but how good are they at capturing photos? Let's find out as we put the latest Honor smartphone to the test.


|  Huawei Honor 9X in Camera Phones
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Honor 9X
 

Quick Verdict

The Honor 9X is a cool-looking smartphone with a good camera that also has a good battery and, what we expect to be, an excellent price-point. There are some negatives that let the Honor 9X down a bit such as bokeh effects clipping your subject, the odd over-saturated photo and a rubbish digital zoom but if you don't mind the odd photo not been quite 100% for the sake of saving quite a bit of cash, you won't have a problem with the Honor 9X. In fact, for the most part, colours are excellent, photos are sharp (in good light) and for simply sharing to social media, you won't have any issues. If, however, photography is your main reason for buying a new smartphone, you will probably prefer the quality more premium brands offer. 

 

+ Pros

  • Price (we expect)
  • Easy to use 
  • Dual camera + Depth sensor 
  • Big screen
  • Low Light mode
  • Interesting design (pop-up selfie camera)
  • Good battery
  • AI-assisted (better dynamic range on dull days)
  • Close-focusing is good 

- Cons

  • Digital zoom is poor
  • No OIS 
  • Some colours can be oversaturated in photos 
  • No 4K video 
  • Bokeh effects can clip the subject
  • 48MP is nothing special 
 

 

The Honor 9X is, what we expect to be, the latest mid-range, budget-friendly smartphone (under or around £300) to be introduced to an already very busy mid-range smartphone market but with its improved camera set-up, when compared with the Honor 8X, is it worth an upgrade? Let's find out as we put the new Honor 9X to the test while also comparing it with the specs of the Honor 7X and Honor 8X. We say 'expect to be' as we're still waiting on price confirmation. 


Honor 9X Features

Honor 9X
 

The Honor 9X adds an extra camera to the rear camera set-up (48MP+8MP+2MP) and a 16MP pop-up selfie camera is built-in rather than a notch or in-screen camera taking up valuable display real estate. The introduction of the pop-up front-facing camera means the Honor 9X has a notchless FullView display with 91% screen-to-body ratio which is .9 of an inch bigger than the 8X screen and there's also an improved battery, too, which measures 4000mAh compared with the 3750mAh battery on the Honor 8X. AI Video Stabilisation is also available, developed on Electronic Image Stabilisation, but only when capturing 720p video (HD), not FullHD quality. 

As we've come to expect from Honor and Huawei, lots of AI camera features are built-in including some clever technology that recognises categories/scenarios in real-time to optimise camera settings and bokeh options when shooting portraits. A night mode is available along with a Pro mode and familiar features such as panorama mode, aperture mode and HDR. 

It's also worth noting that the Honor 9X does come with access to Google apps and updates (unlike some of Huawei's smartphones). 

Key Features

  • Rear camera: 48MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.4 super-wide-angle, 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor 
  • Front camera: 16MP f/2.2 pop-up camera 
  • 6.59" FullView Display, 2340p x 1080p, 91% screen-to-body ratio
  • Bokeh effects 
  • AIS super night mode
  • AI Video Stabilisation
  • AI camera
  • Rear cameras: up to 1080P(60fps) video recording
  • Front camera: up to 1080P(30fps) video recording
  • Storage: 64GB/128GB(Up to 512GB expandable storage)
  • RAM: 4GB/6GB
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • Type-C charging port
  • AI Signal Enhancer uses real-time AI algorithm to regain 4G signal 

 

Honor 9X vs Honor 8X vs Honor 7X

Honor 9X  Honor 8X Honor 7X
6.59-inch FullView Display (no notch) 6.5-inch screen 5.93-inch
48MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.4 super-wide-angle, 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor, AI-enabled 20MP+2MP dual-lens rear camera, AI-enabled 16MP+2MP dual-lens camera
16MP front camera (pop-up)  16MP front camera 8MP front camera
4000mAh battery  3750mAh battery 3340mAh battery
Kirin 710F  Kirin 710 Kirin 659
64GB/128GB Capacity  64GB Capacity  64GB Capacity 
Size: 196.8 mm x 77.3 mm x 163.5 mm Size: 160.4 mm x 76.6 mm x 7.8 mm Size: 156.5mm x 75.3mm x 7.6mm
TBC £239 £220 (Amazon UK)

 

Honor 9X Handling

Honor 9X
 

The Honor 8X is a modern-looking smartphone that looks like most other smartphones released nowadays. It's smart, has rounded corners/edges and is available in an eye-catching colour choice. However, the back and frame are constructed from plastic (the 8X had a metal/glass construction), which can scratch easily but a clear case is provided so you can protect the smartphone while still leaving the cool 'X', which is created from diamond shapes, on view. When the 'X' catches the light, it looks great but isn't too in your face either as when we tried to photograph it to highlight the design, it wasn't the easiest thing to photograph! We've seen similar fun designs from Honor before with a V-shape pattern appearing on the Honor View 20 so perhaps it's an on-going trend we'll continue to see. There's also a black version available should you not want to stand out as much. 

 

Honor 9X
 

The 9X is slightly bigger than the Honor 8X but it's still comfortable to hold and unlike some more expensive smartphones, it doesn't have a habit of slipping off surfaces. Fingerprints are still a problem, though, but it's an issue for most smartphones nowadays and there's no official water resistance score for the Honor 9X either so avoid getting it wet. 

As the 16MP selfie camera is now a pop-up camera, the notch has gone so you have a FullView Display with a ratio of 2340px1080p and a 91% screen-to-body ratio. Overall, the screen is bright, clear and viewing it outdoors isn't a problem but the resolution doesn't match what's on offer from the likes of Huawei and Apple but for the expected price-point, this is to be expected. 

On the eye-catching back is a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device, as there was on the Honor 8X, but some other smartphones at this, expected, price point now offer in-display fingerprint sensors. It's no biggy that one isn't built-in and it's positioned in the perfect place for unlocking the smartphone with your index fingers.  It's also well out of the way of the dual lenses and built-in flash so you won't get smudgy marks on them. 

To the side is the usual unlock / power buttons and volume controls and to the bottom, you find the speaker, a headphone jack (some will give Honor bonus points for this) and a Type-C socket which improves on the MicroUSB socket found on the Honor 8X. 

The rear camera set-up features 1 more camera than the Honor 8X (20MP+2MP) with the introduction of an 8MP f/2.4 super-wide-angle lens and the main camera is now a 48MP f/1.8 shooter. There's also a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor for creating bokeh in portraits.

 

Honor 9X
 

A 16MP selfie camera is still featured, as there was on the Honor 8X, but it's now a pop-up camera that makes a slight whirring noise when you press the button that switches from rear to front-facing camera. Some might be worried that a small camera sticking out from the top of a smartphone could easily break but compared with other pop-up smartphone cameras, such as the one found on the Asus ZenFone 6, it feels really well built and resilient. Plus, the camera retracts if the smartphone senses you've dropped it. Bokeh/beauty effects can be applied when taking selfies. 

 

Honor 9X
 

If you're familiar with Huawei or Honor smartphones you'll notice the camera app is the same but even if you've not used an Honor smartphone before, the app is easy to use/navigate. There are a number of different shooting modes available including Photo (auto mode), Pro (where you can control shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc.), Video, Portrait (where bokeh and beauty effects can be used), Aperture (where you use a slider to open/shut a digital iris), Slow-mo, Panorama, Time-Lapse, Digital Filters, Watermarks, HDR, Light Painting (along with star trails and silky water styles) and a Night Mode which reduces camera shake which usually plagues smartphone photos captured in low light and gives you images with much more detail, too. It's advised you do pop the Honor 9X on a tripod, or other support, when using the Night Mode as results will be better. Flash is built-in along with AI assistance. 

The camera app has gesture control, which means you can take photos by waving at the front camera, and there's also smile capture. 

Battery Life – A 4000mAh battery is built-in which improves on the 3750mAh battery found on the Honor 8X and we had no issues with the battery lasting a full day when capturing photos, shooting video and uploading to YouTube. 

For those of you who like numbers, the AnTuTu benchmark for the Honor 9X is 175985 and the Geekbench ratings are as follows: 322 single-core and 1328 multi-core.

 


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