The new mid-range Honor phone will compete with Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Product: Honor 8X
Key specs: 6.4-inch full HD display, 4GB+64GB/6GB+64GB/6GB+128GB, Kirin 710 octa-core processor, 20-megapixel and 2-megapixel rear cameras, 3,750mAh battery
Price: Starts at Rs 14,999
Gone are the days when mid-range or budget segment phones were mere large bricks with high-end specifications. While Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5-series is still the best in the class, brands like Honor and Realme have shown that the premium design can come in the lower tier too. Realme, however, is still a new player but Honor, which been around for years, has improved its game in last one year.
Honor 8X joins a growing list of smartphones that excel on the design front yet don’t compromise on the features and of course, specifications. With prices starting at Rs 14,999, Honor 8X has a lot going for itself — in-house Kirin 710 octa-core processor, dual-rear cameras with Artificial Intelligence, and a well optimized 3,750mAh battery.
We have talked in length about the design in our first impressions of the Honor 8X. Here’s a brief recap. Sporting a glass back panel with 2.5D glass, Honor 8X features a double texture aurora glass body with grating effect. Does it look good? Yes. Does it look better than other glass phones? It’s subjective. Personally, grating effect or not, it just looks shiny, glossy and attractive.
What we didn’t like that it’s a fingerprint magnet and gets really easily smudged. But then, it’s universal problem for most of the glass phones around. Most probably, users will put a cover on the glass back panels, anyway. The phone offers a good grip, it’s slim and quite light for a large-screen phone.
Display, UI, Features
Honor 8X comes with a large 6.5-inch display with ultra slim bezels. There’s a notch as well. It’s quite futile to talk about the ongoing obsession with the notch screen. And some players have really started to pitch the notch as a feature. It is not, period.
Featuring a full HD+ display, the screen quality is quite satisfactory for the price point. From watching high-resolution movies/videos to browsing the internet, the screen scales up everything properly. Indoor and outdoor legibility is fine as well. The 91% screen-to-body ratio does make the screen more attractive, but it’s a lot up to Honor to make most of the real estate.
Honor 8X runs on EMUI 8.2 based on Android Oreo out-of-the-box. After having used stock on Android on several phones, it’s quite a task to get used to custom ROMs, especially when they are heavily customized. But if you have previously used an Honor phone, getting used to the UI won’t be a problem.
The customization does bring a slew of features as well. For instance, it has a Ride Mode, which turns off Bluetooth and headset and calls are automatically answered with voice or SMS message based on your Ride mode settings. The feature is quite similar to S Bike mode on several Samsung phones.
The EMUI still needs improvement especially when it comes to making the interface tad faster. It can also go a little easy on animations and stuffing some redundant features. The phone comes preloaded with apps like Netflix and Messenger. There’s also a Camera 360-degree, a shoddy photo editing application which is not at all optimized for Indian users.
Honor 8X comes with two cameras on the back with Artificial Intelligence. There’s AI in everything nowadays, isn’t it? Keeping the marketing buzzword aside, what really under the hood is an advanced machine learning algorithm. In the case of Honor 8X, the AI uses ML to optimize the settings for different kind of scenes. It does recognize a range of subjects like cars, flowers, plants etc.
But don’t expect the AI-powered dual-camera to blow your mind. The ML definitely kicks in but the quality of photos leave a lot of scope of improvement. In most of the cases, AI mode just bumped up contrast ratio, making the subjects little over-saturated and unnecessarily sharper. Perhaps future software updates can fix this bit. But this does not mean you should not use the mode. Just keep your expectations real. The best ML-based camera performance that any phone can deliver is Google’s Pixel 3 XL.
Overall, Honor 8X fairs well in our camera analysis. Low-light photos and front-facing cameras are impressive for the given price point.
Honor 8X impresses with its performance. Graphics-intensive games like PUBG and Asphalt run on this phone with ease. It does get warmer after a long session of gaming, but never to a really an uncomfortable level. It comfortably handles day-to-day tasks like browsing, streaming music and gaming, social networking apps. The battery life of Honor 8X is pretty good as it lasts long about a day with medium to heavy usage. On moderate usage with lesser screen times, you can squeeze little extra from Honor 8X. We were using the 4GB/64GB with Kirin 710 model of the phone.
If you’re looking for a phone that looks good and does not compromise on features, Honor 8X is definitely worth considering. Of course, elements like camera and software need work, but still looking at the price point, they don’t seem like a dealbreaker. If Honor 8X doesn’t interest you, alternative phones that you can consider are Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, Motorola One Power and Xiaomi Mi A2.