Honor X9 Review: Honor’s Return to Midrange?

Honor X9
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Honor is officially back in the Philippines after being sold by Huawei back in 2022. It is now partnered with Iridium Technologies Inc. for distribution in the country. It has launched six new devices locally with one of their midrange offerings being the Honor X9.

The X9 packs all the amenities you expect from a midrange device: a Snapdragon 680 chip, a 6.7-inch 90Hz screen, a quad camera setup at the rear with a 64MP f/1.8 main lens, and a 4,800mAh battery that supports 66W Fast Charging. But are these enough to make the brand relevant again after its time away in the Philippines?

Honor X9 Review – Specifications

Honor X9

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Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 680
Screen 6.81-inch IPS, 2388 x 1080, 90Hz
RAM 6GB
OS Android 11, Magic UI 4.2
Rear Camera 64MP f/1.8 Main, 8MP f/2.2 Ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Depth
Front Camera 16MP f/2.5
Storage 128GB
Network Dual-SIM, 4G LTE
Connectivity WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.1, USB-C, NFC, 3.5mm Audio Jack
Battery 4,800mAh, 66W Fast Charging
Others Side-Mounted Fingerprint Scanner
Dimensions 166.1 x 75.8 x 8.1mm
Weight 189g
Colors Titanium Silver, Midnight Black, Ocean Blue

Honor X9 Review – Unboxing

Honor X9

The Honor X9 comes in a standard white box with the company’s branding at the front. It comes with a silicone case, a 66W wall adapter, a USB-C cable, a SIM ejector pin, and documentation. The brand omits the bundled headset to keep costs down.

Design and Aesthetics

Honor X9

Honor sticks to a traditional matte design for its rear but adds a little flash with a finish. It looks good while under the light. Its flat design means that fingerprints and dust won’t stick too much to the rear. The frame, however, is made out of plastic but feels tough enough that it should be able to resist a few reasonable drops.

The edges are curved and it feels good in the hand. It’s pretty lightweight as well for a 6.81-inch smartphone weighing in at only 189g. All its buttons are clustered at the right-hand side with its power button having an integrated fingerprint scanner while at the bottom are its USB-c port, bottom-firing speaker, and Dual-SIM tray. It does not come with a MicroSD expansion slot.

Screen and Audio

Honor X9

The Honor X9 sports a 6.81-inch 2388 x 1080 IPS screen with 90Hz refresh rate. Its large enough but not too large to enter the phablet category and its FullHD+ resolution keeps everything crisp. Colors are surprisingly balanced under Vivid mode but they start to look unsaturated on Normal mode.

Aside from offering balanced colors, the X9’s screen also has decent color coverage as it supports 96.50% sRGB and 83.30% DCI-P3. Brightness is excellent as the smartphone easily maxes out at 509 cd/m2 at maximum, which should allow it to be easily used even under intense sunlight.

  • sRGB – 96.50%
  • AdobeRGB – 72.20%
  • DCI-P3 – 83.30%
  • Luminance (Minimum) – 2.01 cd/m2
  • Luminance (Maximum) – 509 cd/m2
  • Gamma – 2.18
  • Contrast Ratio – 1485:1

Honor X9

It relies on a single bottom-firing speaker for external audio. We do miss proper stereo speakers on the X9 but its sole speaker does okay by itself. Volume can get loud, highs can get tinny at the top of the volume range, while bass can drown some of the finer details. There’s minimal soundstage but vocals are clear on most tracks or movies.

Software

The X9 runs on Android 11 with Magic UI 4.2. There’s already Magic UI 6 but it seems that their latest version of the OS is still exclusive to their high-end offerings at this time. Honor might have shed Huawei as its parent company but its OS still has remnants of their EMUI roots.

The software is standard Android affair. It has easy navigation, icons have rounded edges, a pull-down command center, extensive privacy options, and dark mode among many others. Some of the pre-installed programs are proprietary to Honor but it does have access to Google Mobile Services unlike its former owner.

Honor X9 Review – Cameras

Honor X9

Four cameras can be found at the back of the Honor X9: a 64MP f/1.8 main camera, an 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide, and two 2MP f/2.4 lenses for macro and depth. The former two can only be truly used while its macro camera is useless and only fills out a slot in order for the smartphone to be marketed as a quad camera device. Meanwhile, at the front is a 16MP f/2.5 selfie camera to take photos with.

The camera app doesn’t really have any standout additions but has all the standard modes including Photo, Video, Pro Mode, Portrait, Night, Aperture, HDR, Super Macro, Panorama, High-Res, and Dual-View among others.

Video maxes out at 1080p30fps for the main, front, and ultrawide lenses. A bit disappointing as we expected at least 60fps on the main camera for smoother video capabilities.

Main Camera

The 64MP f/1.8 main lens captures 16MP photos natively. It isn’t terrible but isn’t spectacular either. Details are okay but shadows lack detail and the sensor introduces a noticeable amount of noise even at just a hint of dreariness in the frame. There is some slight blurriness at the edges and the software does have problems taking photos in high-contrast scenes even with HDR on.

Ultrawide Camera

Photos from the 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide lens has slightly less detail than the main camera. There is no significant distortion at the edges but they do look slightly blurry and it will introduce noise any amount of cloudy weather or slightly low-light environment. Colors look unimpressive since they are look almost unsaturated.

Honor X9 Review – Benchmarks

Honor X9

Inside the Honor X9 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 chip with 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Performance is pretty good for most daily tasks. The smartphone ran smoothly throughout our review period and there is sufficient RAM to multitask efficiently between apps.

Stock benchmarks are good but nothing spectacular. The Snapdragon 680 is designed for the midrange market and it performs as such. Benchmark figures are decent enough with AnTuTu reaching the 270,000 mark while PCMark Work 3.0 scores the device at 7,412.

Gaming performance is adequate but the performance it offers can’t take advantage of its 90Hz screen. Mainstream games will be able to run smoothly on the device but most of them are capped at 60fps. Framerates are consistent only dipping in effect-heavy scenes.

Honor X9 Review – Battery Life

Honor X9

Powering the X9 is a 4,800mAh battery. It is a tad smaller than the 5,000mAh arrays we usually see in the midrange segment. The smartphone, however, is surprisingly battery efficient. Despite its 200mAh deficit, the Honor X9 should be able to last just under a day and a half in a single charge with average use.

It supports 66W Fast Charging, which means that its battery can be topped up quickly. Based on our experience, the smartphone will be able to reach 50% in around 20 minutes from 0% while filling it up to 100% should take around just more than an hour.

Honor X9 Review – Conclusion

Honor X9

The Honor X9 is a decent midrange smartphone that has its ups and its downs. It’s 6.7-inch 90Hz display is fast and has good colors, tremendous battery life that supports swift charging, and overall good performance be it daily tasks or gaming.

Unfortunately, some of its bad parts include its camera system – one of the most used features on a smartphone. Photos look dreary and unsaturated regardless of environment or lighting. The speakers could also be better by the inclusion of a secondary speaker for a stereo experience.

Honor X9

Ultimately, the Honor X9 is a smartphone of compromise. It is able to be priced competitively in the Philippines and come with good performance, a decent display, and terrific battery life at the cost of its imaging system.

Those who primarily use their smartphones as an entertainment device for gaming or watching content will get plenty of mileage from the Honor X9. People that focus more photo, video, or just a well-rounded smartphone experience will do better somewhere else.

Honor X9 Price and Availability

The Honor X9 is now available in the Philippines for PhP 14,990 along with their new devices like the X7, X8, and the Magic4 Pro. You can get them via the official Honor Shopee and Lazada stores, as well as authorized retailers nationwide.