Dubai: The Honor 8X is a stylish-looking smartphone that gives you the iPhone XS Max’s screen size and some features at a budget-friendly price.
It sports a 6.5-inch bezel-less 19.5:9 Full HD screen display (resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and 397 pixels per inch density) with a glass back and powered by home-grown 2.2GHz octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 970 processor. It houses 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage capacity. The SIM tray supports dual SIM cards and a microSD card of up to 400GB support. It weighs 175 grams.
Even though it looks similar to Huawei Nova 3i, 8X display is larger by 0.2 inches.
The 91 per cent screen to body ratio on 8X is more than Huawei’s flagship P20 Pro’s 82 per cent.
It runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with its new user interface — EMUI 8.2 — with smarter behaviour prediction and more intelligent resource allocation to understand the way you use your device and know what’s important to you.
Like its siblings, the device has a notch but sports a smaller one than iPhone X. When viewing photos, videos or surfing the net, the sides of the notch turns black and does not obstruct the experience, whether in landscape or portrait modes.
But if you are in the setting mode, the notch will obstruct you in the portrait mode and not in landscape mode. The notch can be turned off in the settings.
Honor 8X is also the first smartphone display to be certified by TüV Rheinland that can reduce blue-light radiation emitted by the screen to prevent eye fatigue. It also allows you to schedule eye comfort mode during chosen periods in the day, for example, an hour before bedtime. You can do the settings by going to display/eye comfort. You can enable eye comfort mode, adjust the colour temperature and schedule start time and end time of eye comfort mode for everyday use.
The facial recognition technology on this device is super-fast and opens the device in less than one second, much faster than iPhone X and Galaxy and even in very lowlight conditions. It is faster than opening with the fingerprint. It also got motion gesture and voice controls, and one-hand operations.
The fingerprint sensor on the back is placed a bit high as the device is a bit longer and it may be uncomfortable for some to place their finger.
The chip set is enhanced with Mali G51 GPU turbo, a combination of hardware-software integration and graphics processing acceleration technology, to optimise the mobile gaming experience.
Honor claims that the overall GPU performance is increased by 130 per cent compared to the previous generation, to meet the needs of even the most demanding gamers.
In reality, playing games such as King of Glory (Mobile Legends), Crossfire, Knives Out and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds offer smooth gaming performance and give more frame rate and lower jitter rate than the competition and it does consume less power. For gaming, Honor Play is much better.
Like its siblings, 8X’s dual cameras are artificial intelligence powered.
Coming to cameras, it sports dual set up with 20MP colour sensor with a f/1.8 aperture and a 2MP depth sensor with Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF).
By clicking the AI icon from the top of the bar, Honor claims it can recognise more than 500 scenarios in 22 categories in real-time.
It is a hit and miss, and some may like it. One thing is for sure, the AI can capture more light compared to the normal shot, making some turn out oversaturated. I recommend cancelling the auto mode in a bid to get the natural colours. You can also see the non-AI version of the image by clicking the AI symbol off from the bar and see the difference before you click.
In photo mode, you can click 20MP in 4:3 ratio, 15MP in 1:1 ratio and 13MP in 18.8:9 ratio.
The dual lens produces very good snaps with decent lighting but struggles in lowlight conditions. The images show accurate colours, high detail level and good dynamic range when shot in good-light conditions. Night shots, sometimes, resulted in smudged shadowy areas rather than crisp blacks and due to the lack of image stabilisation, even quick shots come out blurry.
But there is also Pro mode for those who want to tweak things further. If you’re a photography fan, you’ll likely find the Pro mode useful and enjoyable.
There is no option for auto HDR and you need to select it from the settings. The camera has tonnes of modes such as augmented reality lens, panorama, portrait, aperture, HDR, time lapse, night shot, slow motion, light painting, watermark and pro. There are nine different filters.
It does not support the super slow motion at 960 frames per second but at 480 frames at 720p per second.
In night mode, the photos are much better than taking in the normal mode as it opens the shutter for four seconds to capture more light and doesn’t require a tripod. It uses AI to steady the shot and sometimes the shot can be very noisy.
It records videos at Full HD at 60 frames per second and no support for 4K.
The 16MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture takes decent selfies in good daylight conditions. It also has AI beautification and 3D portrait lighting.
The front camera takes good pictures in well-light conditions but struggles in low light and noisy situations. The new beauty algorithm uses 3D facial recognition technology to enhance your natural features, from skin smoothening to eye and lip brightening but the tone of your changes. The beautification feature is available on both rear and front cameras. The camera can record Full HD videos at 30 frames per second.
The audio quality from the single speaker at the base of the device is good but not loud.
Regarding connectivity, it has, it has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2 and no NFC and USB Type-C port. It houses micro USB 2.0 port, which is a shame to use it in 2018. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The 3,750mAh battery gives more than a day for moderate users due to its Full HD LCD screen but it has quick charge technology to drive the battery from zero to full in 150 minutes.
In the video playback test, it ran for just over 14 hours which is pretty good. The ultra-power saving mode can also extend the battery life.
It is priced at Dh999 and comes in black, blue and red colours.
• Attractive design
• Value for money
• Helpful AI features
• GPU turbo technology for gaming
• Good battery life
• Powerful processor
• Some AI camera modes are a hit and miss
• Slow motion is at only 120 and 240fps
• No zoom supported in AI mode
• No wireless charging
• Camera needs improvement
• No USB Type-C port and 4K recording