Honor 8X Overview: What the Honor 7X Successor brings to the table
In 2017 Honor released the Honor 7X which would go on to become a top selling phone on Amazon, world-wide. It’s the super low price point that makes Honor’s X-series so popular. While their budget line tends to stay under or around $250, they never compromise on build quality, essential features, or the camera.
Now Honor has the Honor 8X, which launched with a price-tag of €279 ($320 USD). This slightly higher price allows them to add a few more premium features which we are going to take a look at in this mini-review.
|Chipset||HiSilicon Kirin 710|
|Camera||20+2MP/16MP AI Camera|
While the body of the Honor 8X is only slightly taller then its predecessor, the display is quite a bit larger. The spacious 6.5″ display features a 1080×2340 resolution that makes up an 91% screen-to-body ratio. To give you an idea of how impressive this ratio is, it beats phones like the Galaxy S9 and the iPhone XS. The front is nearly all-screen.
Read our article about the technology that went into making this display possible: How the Honor 8X Got its Ultra Slim Chin
The 8X display ends up having a 396 ppi (pixels per inch). At maximum brightness, this display will provide 470 nits of brightness. Indoor viewing is perfectly fine, while outdoors can create a bit of a problem with glare on the screen. Color reproduction is accurate, though not as saturated as an AMOLED screen (the 8X is LCD).
The display will ultimately be more than satisfactory, while being something that you probably won’t be thinking about too much.
One of the biggest features to be brought to Honor’s budget line is the AI camera system. While this technology used to rely on the NPU of chipsets like the Kirin 970, Honor has implemented an NPU into the new Kirin 710 which is what you’ll find in the Honor 8X.
The AI system is able to tell what type of scene you’re shooting and adjust the settings accordingly. This doesn’t just work for a general scene, but for different objects in your scene as well. Trees will be treated differently from the sky or a person’s face. This means these objects will be isolated and have the appropriate adjustments made to them.
The rear camera has a 20MP main camera with a 2MP depth sensor. The selfie camera is 16MP with a single sensor. You can shoot video at a max of 1080p at 60fps for the rear camera, and 1080p at 30fps on the selfie camera.
Video footage comes out very clear, with low light shots having minimal noise. We really wish the 8X had 4K video recording, though. For slow-mo, you can shoot at 120fps or 480fps. You won’t even find a slow-mo option in other budget phones, so it’s great to see this feature in the 8X.
Here are some sample photos taken on the Honor 8X.
The Honor 8X has one bottom firing speaker that is plenty loud. At low to mid volumes, you’ll get clear audio, while higher volumes have some pretty intense distortion. Watching videos or listening to music on this thing is best done through some headphones because of this distortion. The Huawei Histen sound effects give you a number of different effects to apply to your audio which can really improve your listening experience. These effects will only work through wired headphones, but it’s worth messing around with to get your headphones sounding just right.
While the Honor 7X struggled quite a bit with 3D gaming, the Honor 8X has seen some decent improvements. Benchmark scores show the device still performing fairly poorly when ran through tests like 3DMark. But Honor’s GPU Turbo technology make up for the lackluster benchmark performance by optimizing games like PUBG for your phone. There’s a lot that goes into this technology that we have covered in the past, but in my gaming tests, I can confirm that there is a real-world improvement in gaming performance.
My tests of PUBG gameplay had the game running at 30FPS throughout. Other games ram without any noticeable performance issues. With mobile games, you’re not going to find many phones that have any sort of significant lag for your standard racing games or shooters. These games are designed to run on as many phones as possible. The real test comes down to games like PUBG which features massive maps, rendering huge amounts of objects, and featuring 100 players in the same gaming arena. The Honor 8X is a perfectly acceptable phone for anyone looking to play these types of games on Android.
Not many changes have been made to the EMUI system since last year. Visually, everything looks the same. There are small changes to the camera app but nothing worth getting into. EMUI 8.2 is polished, stable, and very fast. There are three features of EMUI that I find myself using regularly.
Screen Recorder is a built-in recorder that can be activated by holding volume up and power. There’s also an option to choose if you want to record system audio or microphone audio. It’s really handy and I find myself using this feature regularly on all my Honor phones.
Screen Resolution is an option in settings that lets you lower your screen resolution from 1080 to 720. This can be an effective method to save battery life. You can also enable smart screen resolution, that will automatically lower your resolution when your battery gets low.
Phone Manager is an app that is packed with features, many of which are actually useful. Some of the functionalities I use are call/message block rules, performance optimization, shortcut toggles and smart tune-up.
In a recent EMUI update, the Honor 8X has been given full-screen gesture controls. These controls let you get rid of the navigation bar altogether, and use gestures to navigate your home, recent, and back buttons. Once you learn all the different gestures, it’s pretty intuitive and fluid, but perhaps not as buttery smooth as the gesture on the OnePlus 6.
The design of this phone is where you start to see where the higher price might come into play. This phone looks terrific for its price. It’s been a while since any other manufacturer has been able to match the beautiful designs of Honor’s phones. Now the Honor 8X has adopted the aurora-style design of their flagship phones. This blue model is the bluest-blue you’ll see. The way it reflects the light gives the phone that signature glowing look that we saw in the Honor 10.
While the build quality of the phone is probably the best you’ll find on a device in this price range, there are some design choices that I have an issue with. The microUSB port is a big disappointment. Every other budget phone I’ve reviewed in 2018 has had a USB Type C connection. microUSB is a thing of the past and we shouldn’t be seeing this used in smartphones anymore.
The Honor 8X is a good budget phone. With it costing about $100 more than the 7X, I don’t really see it becoming a world-wide best seller this time around. The Honor 8X falls into that price range where if you just pay slightly more, you can get something much better. A good example of this is the Honor Play costs around €70 more, but is significantly better than the Honor 8X by no small margin. I will be putting these two phones head-to-head in a comparison later on. While the 8X has a lot going for it, it lacks the “wow factor” that made the 7X such an amazing value.