Honor 8X preview: Big, bold, and beautiful

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Honor 8X

Honor’s budget phones are always well-regarded for the hardware on offer, but if there’s one thing that Honor improved considerably over the last two years, it’s the design. The Honor 9N is one of the best-looking budget phones in the market today, and the Honor 9 Lite is no different.

The Honor 8X is the company’s best-looking device yet in this segment. The phone features a Kirin 710 chipset and a large 6.5-inch Full HD+ display, dual cameras at the back, 6GB of RAM paired with 128GB of storage, and a 3750mAh battery.

Like all Honor phones in 2018, it’s the design that sets the Honor 8X apart — the phone has a distinctive “double texture aurora glass” finish that Honor says is an evolution of the Honor 10’s gradient back. The end result is that the Honor 8X looks like a phone that costs well over its $300 asking price.

There’s the same aurora glass finish as before, but the Honor 8X also has a vertical band running down the left that creates a two-tone finish. The effect is quite evocative, and gives the Honor 8X an edge in this segment. The phone is available in blue, red, and black color options, and while the black variant is muted, the blue and red options are striking.

Honor 8X

The Honor 8X has one of the largest displays we’ve seen so far on a Honor device, sporting a 6.5-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD (2340 x 1080) panel. There is a notch at the top of the display — as is becoming the norm — but it is narrow enough that it isn’t annoying. Like the Honor 10, you get the option to hide the notch in the display settings.

The panel itself is quite decent, offering vibrant colors and great contrast levels. You get the usual features that are standard across all Honor devices — a blue light filter and ability to adjust the color temperature — and there’s also the option to reduce the resolution to 720p to conserve battery life.

The two-tone rear finish makes the Honor 8X one of the most evocative devices in this category.

There’s a considerably thinner bezel at the bottom this time around, and that’s mainly due to the fact that the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of the device. The sensor is ideally located at the natural resting position of your index finger, and I had no issues with authentication.

Honor also offers a face unlock feature that works reliably in both well-lit and dark environments, and it’s just as fast as using the fingerprint sensor.

Elsewhere, you get a dual SIM card tray along with a dedicated MicroSD card slot, and Honor has retained the 3.5mm jack. What isn’t so great is the MicroUSB charging port, which just doesn’t mesh with the rest of the hardware. For a device in this category to feature a MicroUSB in late 2018 is inexcusable.

Specs Honor 8X
Screen 6.5-inch Full HD+ (2340×1080) IPS LCD
Chipset HiSilicon Kirin 710
RAM 4GB/6GB
Storage 64GB/128GB
Software Android 8.1 Oreo, EMUI 8.2
Rear Camera 1 20MP, ƒ/1.8
Rear Camera 2 2MP
Front Camera 16MP, ƒ/2.0
Security Rear fingerprint, face unlock
Battery 3750mAh
Connectivity Wi-Fi ac, BT4.2
Colors Black, Red, Blue
Dimensions 160.4 x 76.6 x 7.8mm
Weight 175g
Price £229

Coming to the hardware side of things, the Honor 8X is only the second device to feature HiSilicon’s Kirin 710 chipset. Huawei debuted the platform on the Nova 3i earlier this year, and I came away impressed after using that particular device back in August.

The Kirin 710 is manufactured on a 12nm node and has four Cortex A73 cores that go up to 2.2GHz along with four Cortex A53 cores at 1.7GHz. There’s a Mali-G51 MP4 GPU as well, and Honor is bringing its GPU Turbo feature to the 8X. As a refresher, the feature lets you sustain peak performance in visually-intensive titles like PUBG without the CPU being throttled.

The Kirin 710 is more than adequate to handle everyday tasks with ease, and as you’d imagine, EMUI is perfectly optimized for the chipset. There’s no lag anywhere, and while the GPU doesn’t deliver the best visuals in demanding titles, games run smooth in medium settings.

Honor is increasingly turning to the camera to differentiate its phones, and the Honor 8X has a dual 20MP + 2MP cameras at the back, with the secondary sensor adding depth information. I haven’t used the camera enough to share my thoughts on it yet, but at a first glance it seems to hold its own in this category.

There’s the obvious AI-assisted feature that’s now standard across all Honor phones, and you also get a Night Shot feature that lets you take better photos in low-light scenarios. Up front, there’s a 16MP shooter with the usual slate of beauty effects and filters.

On the software side of things, the Honor 8X comes with Android 8.1 Oreo based on EMUI 8.2. It’s a shame the device isn’t launching with the Pie-based EMUI 9.0, but like Samsung, Huawei likes to roll out the latest version of its custom skin on its flagship.

Honor 8X

There’s no shortage of phones in this segment, from the mighty POCO F1 to the Vivo V11 Pro, Xiaomi Mi A2, Honor Play, and many more. The design of the Honor 8X certainly allows it to stand out in this category, and the all-day battery life coupled with the capable Kirin 710 make it one of the best sub-$300 phones in 2018.

The Honor 8X is now up for sale in the UK for £229 ($300) for the variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the phone is also available in India from Amazon for just ₹14,999 ($200). Right now, there’s no word on whether the phone will be available in the U.S., but we’ll let you know should that change in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the Honor 8X?

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October 15, 2018 at 10:08PM