Honor 8X review

Honor is among a very few brands that pays as much attention to design as it does performance. The company has launched a number of affordable mid-range smartphones this year such as the Honor 9N and Honor 9 Lite that bring appealing designs while at the same time offer dependable performance. The Honor 8X can certainly join that list as well. The phone has been launched in India with a starting price of Rs 14,999 and going up to Rs 18,999 for the top-end variant.

As an affordable mid-range phone, the Honor 8X touts a massive 6.5-inch display on a compact form factor. It also highlights a unique double texture design on the back for a more attractive look that will allow it to stand out from the crowd. Additionally, the device also gets some AI features baked in thanks to a Kirin 710 chipset. The Honor 8X packs in a lot of features, which is important in a segment that is extremely competitive right now. But do all the features work in its favour? Read on to find out.

The Honor 8X is really all about the design, much like every other Honor phone. The device screams premium the moment you hold it. This is largely because of the 2.5D glass on the front and back and a smooth, curved aluminum frame in between. The rear panel is quite unique as it brings a dual tone design. While a large portion of the back has a reflective glossy look, there is a thin strip on the left side that gives a matt-like finish. On this strip you have the dual cameras and the Honor branding. It certainly makes the phone stand out and gives it a very unique look, but it's also a very subjective design. It does take a while getting used to this dual tone design, but it's nice to see Honor mixing things up like this.

Honor has significantly reduced the bezels all around to accommodate the large display. You only see a notch on top and a very slim chin bezel, allowing for over 90 per cent screen-to-body ratio. It's actually one of the thinnest chins you'll find in this segment.The display comes with a FHD+ (1080x2340) resolution. This is a pretty vibrant and sharp display with good brightness levels both indoors and outdoors.

Performance and software
The Honor 8X is powered by Huawei's own octa-core Kirin 710 AI chipset. This is offered with up to 6GB of RAM, which should be more than enough for your multitasking needs. It is great to see a chipset that is not a Kirin 659 powering a mid-range Honor phone. The new Kirin 710 SoC is noticeably faster and more powerful than the outgoing processor. Clocking at 2.2GHz, it also makes it faster than the Snapdragon 660 chipset, at least on paper. But the speed is noticeable in real-world usage as well as I was able to breeze through the UI swiftly. Opening and loading apps were pretty fast as well and I barely noticed any stutters while browsing through social media apps like Facebook and Twitter.

The unit I received had 4GB of RAM and the device managed to handle multitasking well, although EMUI tends to kill some background apps to free up memory and improve battery life, so you may find this annoying at times. The 6GB RAM variants should deliver a better experience as far as multitasking goes.

The dual cameras on the back comprises of a 20-megapixel primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor for depth sensing. On the front, the Honor 8X houses a 16-megapixel sensor inside the notch. The cameras are heavily backed by AI and there's an AI mode that is activated by default although you can toggle it off easily. My experience with the camera has been quite middling. Because of a very oversaturated display, any picture captured in daylight will look jarring. The colours are loud and contrast levels are high, especially with AI mode switched on, which means photos will look far from natural. They will look fine on a computer, but how often do we really transfer photos from a mobile to the computer.

The Honor 8X comes with a 3,750mAh battery which is decent. As my daily driver for a week, I managed to get a full day worth of battery life on most days with average usage. This included messaging, social media browsing and some amount of video streaming. The days I tested gaming performance was when the battery dipped quite a bit, requiring me to charge the device by 6pm.
The Honor 8X safely takes its place as one of the better phones in the Rs 15,000 segment. It really shines in two main areas - design and display. Honor, much like HMD, prides itself in offering some attractive looking affordable phones. The glass and metal design looks great and the dual tone finish on the back adds a unique flavour that makes the phone stand apart. The immersive-ness of the display is great for media consumption, but keep in mind that it is also a very saturated panel which can feel a bit too much for the eyes at times.