Honor 9X: Great looking phone with cheapest pop-up camera

Varun Aggarwal | Updated on February 27, 2020

Honor 9X is the company’s successor to its best selling Honor 8X, an entry level device. Honor is trying to win back some of the lost momentum in the past year and the success of 9X will be the cornerstone for its positioning in India. The new Honor 9X packs a 48 megapixel camera, high-speed storage, and more storage. But will all these help boost Honor’s brand in India at a time when competition is at its peak?

The Honor 9X can be identified by from a distance with just its back panel. The diamond pattern at the back panel which combines to form a huge X in 3D makes the phone dazzle. The phone comes in two colour variants: Sapphire blue and Midnight black. Sapphire Blue definitely outshines the Midnight black, which has a subdued shine. The phone has an overall glossy finish that gives you a shiny look but is also a fingerprint magnet. Thankfully, it cleans up as easily and the gloss doesn’t make the device slippery.

The 9X offers a tri-camera setup at the back that include the primary 48MP shooter, an 8MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP depth- assist camera. A fingerprint scanner on the back was a refreshing comeback as personally we feel it is way faster and accurate than most on-screen scanners.

The front panel comes in a brilliant 6.59-inch full HD LCD screen that was easy to use and bright enough even under harsh sunlight. It is a notch-free design, thanks to the inclusion of a pop-up camera that’s the first in the price category. The colour reproduction was excellent with perfect visibility in different viewing angles.

The Kirin 710F processor in the device is coupled with a 4GB and 6GB RAM options. Both of them come with 128GB internal storage, which is quite a lot for a phone in the segment.

The device comes with a clean looking Magic UI interface, which looks very similar to Apple iPhone interface and makes it easy to scroll through apps. The flipside is the bloatware that it comes with. Third party apps like Opera News,, Wego Flights & Hotels, and Helo are unnecessary additions. Add to that the company’s own Honor Club, Honor Store and iTips apps that can’t even be removed.

Despite all this bloatware, the phone was quite responsive, had no lag while opening several apps. But things start to change when you’ve been using the phone for a few days and there are several apps that may be running in the background. Some jitters are clearly visible then. The matters get worse when you try out high performance games. While playing both Call of Duty and PUBG, we experienced frame drops and occasional stutter, which could be a result of each the bloatware, the Kirin processor or a combination of both.

The 4,000 mAh battery comes in handy for a day-long heavy usage. We had nearly 30 percent of juice left after a day of heavy social media usage, a couple of hours of Netflix and music streaming.

Camera, and more

The 9X 48MP sensor is pinned to 12MP by default to save storage space. But we were surprised to see its performance at both 12MP as well as full 48MP. Pictures were sharp, had a decent dynamic range and great details. Helped by 9X’s AI mode, the pictures look even brighter with high contrast and saturation. But if you’re not a fan of high saturation, thankfully you’re allowing to switch it off. However, with a 48MP sensor, the picture quality and details could be better.

The autofocus was reliable in most cases and we were overall happy with the colour reproduction and sharpness. The wide angle 8MP sensor adds your ability to capture a lot more in one shot but the images appear to be soft and the distortion, although expected, was quite bizarre. Overall, it is best to avoid. You’d be better off moving back a few steps and try and get the same shot with the standard 48MP sensor.

The night mode was a pleasant addition. Honor’s software was able to preserve a lot more details in shots that were taken in near darkness than we would’ve expected.

The selfie camera is the first pop-up camera in the segment and comes with some hits and misses. Under perfect lighting, the images look good, have decent colour reproduction but the moment the sun starts to go down, quality of photos clicked dip and you’ll find it hard to get a decent shot.

In sum, if you’re in for a great looking phone with a pop-up selfie camera and great specs, then Honor 9X could be a perfect bet. But if you’re a gamer and play first person shooting games or any high performance games, then the Honor 9X may not be the perfect match for you.

Price: ₹13,999 (4GB) onwards

Pros: Brilliant notch-free display, all-day battery life, good night mode photography

Cons: Bloatware, not ideal for gaming, poor ultra-wide lens

Published on February 27, 2020

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