Huawei’s sub-brand Honor just launched the successor to its wildly-popular Honor 7X in India. The Honor 8X, which is priced starting at Rs. 14,999, aims to continue the legacy of its predecessor and it definitely seems like a pretty capable device right off the bat. For a mid-range device, the new Honor 8X brings a ton of exciting features to the table, including an impressive 6.5-inch nearly bezel-less display, a capable dual camera setup and a very premium design. If you’ve been following our coverage then you’d probably already know that we’ve had the device for some time now and we’ve been testing it extensively to see how it performs.
So if you’re in the market for a new mid-range device and have been considering the Honor 8X, then you’re probably eager to know more about the device before you go ahead and buy it. In order to help you make an informed decision, we’ve put the new Honor 8X through its paces and without much further ado here is our in-depth review of the Honor 8X:
Honor 8X Specifications
In case you aren’t already familiar with the Honor 8X’s specifications, here’s a quick look at what all the device brings to the table:
|Dimensions||160.4 x 76.6 x 7.8mm|
|Display||6.5-inch FHD+ IPS LCD|
|Processor||HiSilicon Kirin 710|
|RAM||up to 6GB|
|Storage||up to 128GB|
|Rear Camera||20MP f.1,8 + 2MP|
|Front Camera||16MP f/2.0|
|Operating System||EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo|
Honor 8X: What’s In the Box?
The new Honor 8X ships a minimal bright blue box, with Honor 8X written up front and more details about the device mentioned at the back. Much like most other mid-range devices from other Chinese manufacturers, the Honor 8X ships with the usual bunch of things. Here’s everything you’ll find within the retail packaging:
- Honor 8X (with pre-applied screen protector)
- A clear case
- A 5V/2A charging brick
- A USB Type-A to micro USB cable
- A SIM ejector tool
The Honor 8X doesn’t ship with a pair of earphones, even though it does include a headphone jack. This means that buyers will have to use their own earphones with the device or buy a decent pair in case they don’t have one already. Other than that, the Honor 8X ships with pretty much everything you’d need, including a screen protector and a case, to start using the device without worrying about accidentally scratching/shattering the display or the glass back.
Honor 8X: Design and Build Quality
Compared to last year’s Honor 7X, which had an aluminum body and a notchless display, the company has taken a more modern approach with the Honor 8X’s design and build quality. The new Honor 8X has a more premium glass sandwich design with 2.5D curved glass on the front and back, and a sturdy metal chassis in between.
On the back, Honor has gone with a ‘aurora glass body’ which has been constructed using 15 layers that refract light and colors differently from different angles, giving the device a cool shimmery appearance. In order to differentiate the Honor 8X from other manufacturers who’re implementing a similar design on their devices, the company has divided the glass back into two different types of finishes that make the device look pretty great when held in the landscape mode.
Moving on to the front of the device, the Honor 8X features a 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and an 85% wide color gamut. The device have minimal bezels on either side, a small notch up top and a rather slim chin at the bottom, giving it a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio. To be honest, the display on the Honor 8X looks absolutely brilliant when compared to other mid-range devices, especially while watching videos or playing games.
To achieve such a slim 4.25mm chin on the Honor 8X, the company has made use of an advanced chip-on-film (COF) technology, that works somewhat like the display technology used on the iPhone X and folds the display connectors behind the screen rather than placing them within the chin of the smartphone. The front facing camera, earpiece and sensors are conveniently hidden within the notch, that doesn’t feel as intrusive as the notch on some other (more expensive) smartphones.
The power button, along with the volume rocker, resides on the right edge of the device, whereas the SIM card slot can be found on the left edge of the device. While the top is devoid of any ports and only features the secondary noise cancellation microphone, the bottom edge houses the single downward firing speaker, a micro USB port for charging and data syncing, the 3.5mm headphone jack and the primary microphone.
Overall, Honor has taken the device to a different level when it comes to its design and build quality. The Honor 8X looks and feels very premium, much more than any other mid-range smartphones in the market today. It’s worth noting that the device is a bit on the bulkier side and one-handed operation might not be as easy for people with small hands, however, Honor’s EMUI 8.2 has some enhancements for one-handed operation, which will definitely come in ‘handy’ if that’s the case.
Honor 8X: Display
Most mid-range smartphones these days feature great nearly bezel-less displays, but not all of them are able to get it just right. Even though it features an IPS LCD display, the Honor 8X gets as close to having a brilliant display as you can get at this price range. The device packs in a massive 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display that has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and minimal bezels on all sides. Honor claims that the display on the Honor 8X covers an 85 percent wide color gamut and it definitely looks quite vivid and crisp. Colors are fairly accurate, viewing angles are on point and watching videos in landscape mode on the device is an absolute pleasure.
The display also gets fairly bright, meaning visibility in direct sunlight isn’t a problem at all. The notch on the device is quite small, compared to a lot of other devices, and non-intrusive, but it isn’t as minimal as the waterdrop-style notch found on a growing number of modern devices.
Another interesting fact about the display on the Honor 8X is that it features a TÜV Rheinland certified Eye Comfort mode, which significantly reduces blue light emission thereby preventing eye fatigue and reduces irregularities in the user’s sleep cycle. This will be most beneficial for users who use their devices in bed at night right before going to sleep.
Honor also provides users settings to hide the notch, in case they want to, and it also provides users with the option to decrease the screen resolution to conserve battery if they’re running low. Users will also be able to alter the color mode and temperature of the display in case the default settings don’t fit their preference, which is a great addition that you won’t find in other stock Android or near-stock Android devices.
Honor 8X: Performance
The Honor 8X is powered by an octa-core Kirin 710 chipset which includes a Mali-G51 MP4 GPU, coupled with up to 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. For the unaware, the Kirin 710 is a pretty capable in-house processor from Huawei that directly competes with the mid-range Snapdragon 660 from Qualcomm. While the Kirin 710 outperforms the Snapdragon 660 in CPU-heavy tasks, its older Mali-G51 MP4 GPU isn’t able to keep up with the newer Adreno 512 GPU on the Snapdragon 660. The differences can be clearly seen in the benchmarking results posted by the device:
Note: Honor loaned us the 4/64GB variant of the Honor 8X for the purpose of this review
Starting off with AnTuTu, the Kirin 710 powered Honor 8X is able to achieve a decent score of 138401 which when compared to the 129863 posted by the Mi A2 and the 128304 posted by the Vivo V11 Pro (both of which feature a Snapdragon 660), is slightly better.
The Honor 8X is also able to outperform Snapdragon 660 powered devices in Geekbench 4, managing a single-core score of 1601 and a multi-core score of 5534. While the Mi A2 manages to keep up in the single-core score, the Honor 8X clearly wins in the multi-core score.
In GPU intensive benchmarks like 3DMark, however, the Honor 8X isn’t able to keep up with its Snapdragon 660-powered competitors. The device manages to score 955 in 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL test and 1125 in 3DMark’s Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan test. In comparison, the Mi A2 manages to score 1265 in the Open GL test and 1045 in the Vulkan test. The Vivo V11 Pro, on the other hand, manages to score 1211 in the OpenGL test and 962 in the Vulkan test.
While benchmark scores are great for a preliminary understanding of any device’s performance, they don’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of day-to-day use. Which is why games are one of the most important performance indicators for any device. In order to test out the real-world performance of the Honor 8X, I played a bunch of games on the device, including PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9: Legends, and Shadowgun Legends.
As with most mid-range devices, PUBG Mobile runs on medium settings by default on the Honor 8X. The game loads up quickly, runs smoothly and I didn’t notice any frame drops whatsoever. Cranking up the settings to high, we are afraid, results in a major hit on the performance and the game stutters quite frequently, especially in intense gun fights. Another interesting thing worth noting is that PUBG Mobile’s UI on the Honor 8X isn’t optimized for the notched display, which means that some UI elements get cut by the notch and the rounded corners. While this isn’t Honor’s fault to be precise, it’s still something worth mentioning.
Asphalt 9: Legends ran quite smoothly on the device, the game loaded up quite quickly, ran without any frame drops and even with all the particle effects in play the device didn’t lag even once. Even after cranking the settings up to high, the Honor 8X didn’t face any issues with the game and I was pretty impressed by its performance. A couple of UI elements on Asphalt 9 were also cut by the rounded edges, but the impact wasn’t as significant as it was on PUBG Mobile. Heating wasn’t an issue with the Honor 8X as the device barely got warm to the touch even while playing games for a couple of hours straight.
While playing Shadowgun Legends, which is a pretty graphically intensive game in itself, the device took a fair bit of time to load up the game for the first time, but the issue didn’t persist the next time that I opened the game. As with PUBG Mobile, the device was able to run the game perfectly well at medium settings, but cranking it up to high resulted in recurrent frame drops and stutters.
In my opinion, the Honor 8X’s performance is quite at par, and in some cases even a bit better, than the competition. With the device’s large display, gaming feels a whole lot more immersive and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a mid-range device to meet their mobile gaming needs.
Day-to-day performance is also quite satisfactory and I noticed no lag or stuttering in my time with the device. Apps load up quickly and run without any issues, however, in case you opt for the 4GB RAM variant of the device, do note that its multi-tasking performance won’t be as good as the 6GB RAM variant. In my testing, the device wasn’t able to hold more than two heavy apps in memory at the same time.
Honor 8X: User Interface
The new Honor 8X runs EMUI 8.2 built on top of Android 8.1 Oreo which brings with it a number of enhancements over stock Android. Since I’m not a huge fan of the default EMUI launcher, I installed Nova Launcher on the device which definitely saved me a lot of trouble. However, looking for particular settings within the EMUI settings menu still remained a hassle, so I had to heavily rely on the search option within the settings to find whatever I needed.
As far as the enhancements are concerned, I really liked EMUI’s implementation of full screen gestures. The gestures are pretty much like the ones found on MIUI 10 and feel quite fluid. I also really liked the way the full screen gestures work while using the device in landscape mode. Unlike other devices, the gesture implementation changes orientation along with the device which feels a bit more intuitive.
As I mentioned earlier, using the Honor 8X one-handed might be a bit of trouble for people with smaller hands and in order to prevent that EMUI 8.2 also has a convenient gesture to implement one-handed operation. Just swiping diagonally towards the center from any of the bottom corners shrinks the screen towards that side making one-handed use a whole lot easier.
EMUI 8.2 on the Honor 8X also features an App twin feature, another handy addition that will allow buyers to use two different accounts for the same app at the same time. All in all, EMUI 8.2 on the Honor 8X does pack in some handy features that I found myself using almost every day. So in case you’re not a huge fan of EMUI, you can definitely get by by installing one of your favorite third-party launchers and if you’re already familiar with the ROM then you won’t have any issue just fitting right in.
Honor 8X: Cameras
The new Honor 8X features a 20MP f/1.8 primary camera sensor coupled with a 2MP sensor for depth perception on the back, while up front it features a single 16MP f/2.0 selfie shooter. Before getting to the actual camera performance and the camera samples, I’d like to talk about the UI of the camera app and a couple of cool features that are available by default. Much like most other mid-range devices, the Honor 8X’s camera app features a dedicated Pro Mode, but since the Pro Mode, with all its settings, might seem a bit too overbearing for a beginner, Honor has included a separate Night Mode and an Aperture Mode.
Night Mode allows the user to manually adjust the ISO and shutter speed to help them click better images in low lighting conditions, while the Aperture Mode (as the name suggests) allows users to adjust just the aperture.
All other settings remain on auto, which means that users will be able to click better images without being overwhelmed by all the settings available in the normal Pro Mode. The camera app also includes a separate Light Painting mode which will allow users to click some great light painting images without worrying too much about the settings.
Now that we’ve got the features out of the way, lets talk about the actual camera performance:
Performance in Good Lighting Conditions
The Honor 8X’s primary dual camera setup is pretty capable in good lighting conditions and manages to click some pretty detailed images with the AI assist turned off. Turning on the AI assist automatically limits the image size to 12MP, which means that the colors on the pictures look a little better, but the images don’t have the same amount of detail as with the AI assist turned off. The camera also takes a significant amount of time to focus on the subject, so clicking a quick snapshot by double tapping the volume down button never results in a good image. Here are a couple of sample images clicked using the Honor 8X in good lighting conditions:
Performance in Low Lighting Conditions
The Honor 8X tends to struggle in low lighting conditions and has problems focusing on the subject at times. While the color reproduction of images captured in low light is on point, the iffy focusing means there’s a significant loss in detail. Turning on AI assist while capturing low light shots results in images that look a bit too unrealistic, but they’re definitely more usable than the ones captured without AI assist. The loss of detail remains a consistent problem in images captured both with and without the AI assist turned on. Here are a couple of low light shots captured by the Honor 8X:
Portrait Mode Performance
The secondary 2MP sensor on the Honor 8X is used solely for depth perception and the device manages to click decent portrait shots in good lighting conditions. The images have a decent amount of detail and good color accuracy, but the edge detection is a bit inconsistent and sometimes tends to blur out the subject. The background blur looks quite natural at most times, but in some cases it’s just a bit too aggressive for my taste. Check out some these portrait shots captured by the Honor 8X:
AI Assist Comparison
As mentioned earlier, the AI assist limits the size of the image to 12MP and therefore results in images that don’t have as much detail as the images captured with the AI assist turned off.
Depending on the subject, the AI assist also tweaks the colors and saturation of the images, which does look a bit more appealing but might not appeal to some users. The AI assist also foes a fair job of handling exposure, resulting in images that are less blown out. Here are a couple of sample shots taken with and without the AI assist featured turned on:
The Honor 8X falls a bit behind the competition when it comes to video capture. The device can capture up to 1080p videos, which just doesn’t cut it when most of its competitors support 4K video recording. On top of that, there’s no stabilization to speak of, so even though the video quality is good the videos themselves are quite shaky. Just take a look at this 1080p video sample I shot with the Honor 8X:
The Honor 8X’s 16MP f/2.0 selfie shooter is a decent performer and manages to take some great selfies. Images captured by the front facing camera have a a decent amount of detail, no unnatural smoothing and good color reproduction. In low-lighting conditions however, the Honor 8X faces the same issue. Selfies captured in low light look pretty decent from a distance, but upon close inspection it’s quite obvious that they don’t have as much detail as the selfies captured in good lighting conditions.
Most mid-range devices these days feature a software-enabled Portrait Mode for the front facing camera and the Honor 8X is no different. The device also features a Portrait Mode feature on the front camera and its performance is quite average. The edge detection, much like the Portrait Mode on the rear camera, is a bit inconsistent and the background blur sometimes looks a bit too unnatural. Here are a few sample shots captured by the Honor 8X’s front facing camera:
Honor 8X vs Xiaomi Mi A2 vs Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro vs Realme 2 Pro: Camera Comparison
Being a mid-range device, the Honor 8X goes up against smartphones like the Mi A2, the Redmi Note 5 Pro and the Realme 2 Pro. Therefore, in order to assess how the device stands in comparison to its competitors when it comes to camera performance, we’ve pitched it against the aforementioned smartphones in a camera showdown. The Honor 8X doesn’t fare as well against the competition, in nearly every scenario, with the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro consistently clicking better pictures. However, the Honor phone is able to click better pictures than the Realme 2 Pro. Here are a few sample images we used for comparison:
In low light scenarios as well, the Honor 8X isn’t able to keep up with the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which deliver better shots. The device, however, is able to click better images than the Realme 2 Pro, which is a relief. Here are a few shots we used for comparison:
Portrait Mode images captured by the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro are also better than the ones captured by the Honor 8X, with the device lagging behind in terms of details and color accuracy. However, that doesn’t mean that the images captured by the Honor 8X are completely unusable (the Realme 2 Pro’s images definitely are). Just check out these sample images we used for comparison:
The selfie shooter on the Honor 8X also doesn’t manage to beat the Mi A2 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro, both of which consistently deliver better results. Even with the software-enabled Portrait Mode turned on, both the devices from Xiaomi deliver better results. Once again, the Realme 2 Pro comes in last. Here are the sample images we used for comparison:
Honor 8X: Audio Quality
The Honor 8X features a single downward firing speaker which can get loud enough at max volume. It definitely isn’t the loudest speaker on a mid-range smartphone that I’ve heard so far, but it does manage to be heard even in noisy environments. However, the speaker suffers from the same plight that plagues other devices with a downward firing speaker, it gets easily blocked while using the device in the landscape mode. Considering the fact that Honor didn’t have many other options to change the location of the speaker, especially with the nearly bezel-less display, I wouldn’t be penalizing the device for this particular implementation.
Audio output from the 3.5mm headphone jack is quite good and I have absolutely no complains in that regard. Audio quality from the earpiece was also standard and I had absolutely no problems in hearing calls with the device. In the audio department, the Honor 8X is pretty comparable to most other mid-range smartphones out there and although it doesn’t have any outstanding features, it doesn’t cut back on any essential ones either.
Honor 8X: Connectivity
Connectivity options on the Honor 8X are plentiful and most users won’t have any issues with the device in this particular area. The device features a 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB port on the bottom (which Honor claims was a cost cutting measure to keep the device’s price low). It has a triple slot SIM card tray with space for two SIM cards and a microSD card for expansion.
Although I wish Honor had upgraded to a USB Type-C port on the Honor 8X, I’d much prefer the micro USB and 3.5mm headphone jack combo than having to live with just a USB Type-C port. Other connectivity options include 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 low energy, along with GPS, AGPS, Glonass, and BeiDou for location-based features.
Honor 8X: Battery Life
The Honor 8X packs in a respectable 3,750mAh battery, but Honor hasn’t included any fast charging support. Instead, the device comes with a standard 5V/2A charger in the box and some software optimizations that allow the device to charge up slightly faster than usual. In my testing, I was able to charge up the device from 12 percent to 100 percent in about 2 hours, while charging from 12 percent to 50 percent in just 45 minutes. As you can already tell, even with the optimizations in place, the device doesn’t charge as fast as I’d like it to which is definitely a con in my book.
Coming to the battery life, the Honor 8X performs reasonably well and can easily last a full day even with heavy use. In my testing, the device delivered a screen-on-time of just over 4 hours and 30 minutes with moderate use and 44 percent battery left at the end of the day. With heavy use the device delivered a screen-on-time of around 5 hours and 20 minutes with about 20 percent battery left at the end of the day. In any case, the battery will easily last you a full day and might even last you long enough to last you half of the next day. However, with the slow charging I personally wouldn’t take the risk of not charging the device up at night.
Honor 8X: Should You Buy?
Priced starting at Rs. 14,999, the Honor 8X is definitely a compelling mid-ranger in the present market scenario. At this price, the device offers a stunning display, great performance, good battery life and a very premium design.
However, it does fall short when it comes to the camera performance. So, in case you’re in the market for a new mid-range device and would be okay with an average camera, then you should definitely consider getting the Honor 8X. However, if camera quality and fast charging are a priority for you, then you should probably consider another mid-ranger like the Mi A2 or the Redmi Note 5 Pro. Do note that even though these devices from Xiaomi deliver better results in the camera department, they can’t keep up with the Honor 8X in terms of performance and display quality. Since we tested out the entry-level 4/64GB variant, I can also assure you that you’ll get even better performance with the higher 6/64GB or 6/128GB variants which are priced at Rs. 16,999 and Rs. 18,999 respectively.
- Stunning display with minimal bezels
- Premium build quality
- One of the best full screen gesture implementation
- Great battery life
- Impressive performance
- Cluttered Settings menu
- No fast charging
- Average camera performance
- No 4K video support and no stabilization
Honor 8X Review: Next Best Mid-Ranger With an Average Camera
Well that rounds up our review of the new Honor 8X. For its price (starting at Rs. 14,999), the Honor 8X brings a ton of exciting features in tow which definitely make it a better buy when compared to its main competitors like the Xiaomi Mi A2 and the former mid-range champion, the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The only shortcoming that I could fihrefnd on the Honor 8X is its average camera performance (since I can live without fast charging support and I don’t mind the UI as much) and if you think you can get past that, then you should definitely go for the Honor 8X over any other mid-ranger in the market today.
Buy the Honor 8X from Amazon (starting at Rs. 14,999)